Review: Toothbrush at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Published

Credit: Calum Ross

Jen Bowey
Writer

We won’t be forgetting Toothbrush any time soon

When thinking about taking a trip to Edinburgh during the month of the Fringe, it can often seem overwhelming to scroll through hundreds upon hundreds of shows trying to decide what you want to fit into your tight schedule. In fact, until this year I had staunchly avoided the capital city during August. Whilst people travel from around the world to attend this festival, those swarms of people cascading down the Royal Mile have been enough to put me, somebody who has lived in Scotland their whole life, off – but that was until now.

This year a large group of my friends decided to make the trip in order to see a little-known play called Toothbrush, which ran from the 12 – 17 of August. All I knew going into the play was that it was about two close friends coming to terms with the reality that one of them was about to move to the other end of the country. Having just graduated university a couple of months ago, and having had to say goodbye to some of my own close friends for the same reason, my interest was already piqued by the premise of the production, but it was the execution that left me feeling both moved and inspired upon exiting the theatre.

Toothbrush was hilarious at every turn, keeping audiences on their toes from the very first line in which Kat shouts “suck on my clit”. However, what initially seems simply a comedy about two girls’ last wild night out together before parting ways to pursue their futures in different cities quickly reveals itself to be a touching depiction of the anxieties of growing older. Throughout the play Kat becomes increasingly intoxicated – with several different substances – and her attempts to cling on to Alena and keep things as they are become more and more desperate. Alena, on the other hand, appears to already be pulling away from her university best friend. Whether you’ve already graduated or have just moved cities to start university, at some point everybody must deal with the heartache of living far away from someone close to you. Based on their reactions, I got the impression that everyone else in the audience related to the lead characters just as much as I did.

Perhaps the most inspiring part of this production was the fact that the whole thing was pulled off by a small group of students from the University of Aberdeen’s MLitt Creative Writing course, and it wasn’t an integrated part of their course! Off of their own backs, these students managed to produce a show which sold out the majority of its run at the Edinburgh Fringe, and as anyone who has been in Edinburgh during the Fringe will know, it’s not easy to get people through the door when there are hundreds of shows on a day. They did all of this whilst simultaneously writing their masters dissertations. Having had the privilege to see the show in person, I can honestly say that it earned its spot at the festival alongside productions by industry professionals. The penultimate line of the show saw Kat calling to Alena “don’t forget your toothbrush”. Well I can assure you that my fellow audience members and I will not be forgetting Toothbrush anytime soon.