What Goes Up

Wed 3rd – Mon 29th Aug 2011


“What goes up must come down. Especially if it's a three-man tent on a Welsh campsite in the pissing rain.”





Passive-Aggressive Productions


‘Oxford’s New Writing Monarch’ (Oxford Theatre Review) Richard O’Brien presents a new dark comedy about a bad trip. A camping trip.

‘Brilliantly observed ... sharp, cool comedy’

Michael Frayn, 2010, on O'Brien's Instead of Beauty

C soco, 3-29 August (not 15)

22.45, Tickets from £6.50

What Goes Up is a darkly comic exploration of responsibility, ageing, and what relationships matter most.

Adam meets his mum's new 'male friend' for the first time on a camping holiday he didn't even want to go on. #FML. He ain't happy, and has no problem saying so, especially when the tent mallet is dropped on his games console. Maybe he'll find comfort in the arms of Bliss, a fellow unhappy camper?

The distractions of sheep, puberty, chemical toilets and mountain rescue don't hide the fact that something about this 'male friend' isn't quite right – the repetitions, the confused speech, the general loss of direction – or the central question: 'Mum, why is he even here?'

What goes up must come down. Especially if it's a three-man tent on a Welsh campsite in the pissing rain.

Since winning the Oxford New Writing Festival in 2010, Richard O'Brien’s six produced plays have attracted increasingly extravagant praise from increasingly prestigious critics.

‘Tremendously high gag count’ Oxford Theatre Review

‘It's honest, and immediate, and very very powerful’ Oxford Info

‘The dialogue is brilliantly observed - I believed every word of it’ Michael Frayn

Find Richard’s Fringe blog on www.broadwaybaby.com.

Passive-Aggressive Productions is the brainchild of James T Harding (Editor, Broadway Baby) and Beth Kahn (Producer, Oxford Revue). They’re passionate about new writing, comedy, and musical theatre, aiming to produce the best all three, preferably in combination. And they know where you live.

http://www.passiveaggressiveproductions.com | @pssiveaggressiv

Read the interview with Richard O'Brien:

Richard O’Brien Interview

When Michael Frayn calls your particular brand of comedy ‘sharp’ and ‘cool’, you know that you’re on the right track. Richard O’ Brien’s 2010 play ‘Instead of Beauty’ garnered these epithets and as such his latest production ‘What Goes Up’ has quite a reputation to live up to.

When I meet him before a performance of ‘What Goes Up’ he modestly brushes asides Frayn’s praise but there’s no denying that O’Brien isn’t a big deal on the Oxford theatre scene. Having been away on his year abroad O’Brien has left a considerable vacuum and ‘What Goes Up’ is highly anticipated. The tale of an uncomfortable camping trip between mother, son and mother’s ‘male friend’ O’ Brien describes the play as non-autobiographical. In fact, he describes his inspiration as stemming from his time as a reviewer here at last year’s Fringe after overhearing a woman on a bus talk about a ‘male friend’ and subsequently wondering what type of woman had to conceal a relationship in such a way. Conjuring the image of late thirty-something single mother with a strong inclination to mollycoddle her child the seed for ‘What Goes Up’ was planted.

O’Brien is clearly scarily intelligent. When I ask him how he finds the time to write these plays around his Oxford degree in English and French he cites good time management and a willingness to work in the holidays but when most of us would be hard-pressed to find the motivation to write a sonnet in the vacations, O’Brien’s impressive theatrical output suggests an individual with drive and ambition. Attesting his popularity to the success of his first play ‘Turn Again Lane’ because it struck a chord with Oxford audiences who enjoyed seeing their lives presented on the stage with added wit and nice songs, he rather self-deprecatingly also declares it was ‘not shit’. I think perhaps though he more accurately summed up the appeal of his work in his comment that he wrote seriously plays that didn’t take themselves too seriously.

Written specifically with Edinburgh in mind, ‘What Goes Up’ is a smaller affair than some of O’Brien’s other work with only four cast members and a running time of an hour. When I quizzed him on whether he altered his method to suit the Edinburgh standard he rather interestingly said that he ‘wrote the play he wanted to write’ and whilst his plays were student productions that didn’t mean he wrote with a student audience in mind, it just happened that he was a student writing plays. Whilst ‘What Goes Up’ wasn’t to my taste with O’Brien’s prolific output it seems a small deviation on his way to bigger things.

Admission: £7.50(£6.50) – £9.50(£8.50)

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