Tramway, Glasgow

Mary Brennan

four stars

THERE are words of welcome – or rather, words approving the effort we’ve made to come along. Caitlin delivers them. She’s always making an effort, so she deserves to be in charge of this welcome and the subsequent, chivvying clock-watching that underpins Deadline. And if you think that Junction 25 are just fooling around, and pretending to be under pressure, then, like them, you can watch the seconds ticking away on the upstage screen. Will the score of young performers manage to cover all the stress-inducing issues that concern them in just one hour?

Within minutes, the group has established the brisk, succinct style that will encompass the incentives – and the anxieties – attached not just to achieving success, but in simply keeping up. Keeping up with school-work and exam grades, parental expectations, and the demands of potential employers – to say nothing of the sniping rivalries that lurk on social media. The humour that percolates through their devised material is both pithy and profound, because even as it pillories the importance placed on certificates, medals and trophies as proofs of ability, it questions the value our society places on being continually motivated, competitive, and better than - well, better than who or what? There’s a brutal moment when unseen voices read out rejection letters from universities and personnel departments, the toll of disappointment heightened by the sequence where the group – all wearing Theresa May masks – sits silently, being bombarded by her words on goals for the future of society, and for its children. By the time the clock stops, this latest Junction 25 production, directed by Rosie Reid and Gudrun Soley Sigurdadottir, has made its points with aplomb – and even time to spare.