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Blueprints at Pleasance Courtyard, Beneath – Edinburgh

I still recall a college lecturer telling me many years ago that if we really could predict the future with a significant degree of accuracy, nobody would be in poverty. The Blueprints Programme doesn’t predict the future but does – one way or another, suspension of disbelief and all that – give its participants a comprehensive overview of their ancestry, which goes beyond what currently available online services are able to provide. I was somewhat amused by Adam (Martin O’Whyte) and Faith (Aisha Weise-Forbes) receiving their results by Royal Mail, even if it does give Faith an opportunity to read Adam’s results before he does, which wouldn’t have been the case if the reports were simply emailed.

Blueprints: Aisha Weise-Forbes and Martin O-Whyte. Credit Alex Brenner.
Blueprints: Aisha Weise-Forbes and Martin O-Whyte. Credit Alex Brenner.

Perhaps inevitably, the comprehensive battery of questions thrown at them by the programme, plus a blood sample, provides surprising results, which both parties care about a great deal, challenging the notion that love conquers all. The story follows the pair from the very beginning of their relationship – Faith probably wasn’t even seeking a relationship but Adam managed to charm her, and it is textbook case of opposites, and not only in socio-economic terms, though this played a significant part in their disagreements and arguments. A visit to a golf course was revelatory – Adam visited frequently as a child, his father, who emigrated from Jamaica to Britain, had done his best to assimilate into British life. Faith, however, has a different perspective: why are she and Adam the only black people there?

There is so much detail provided by The Blueprints Programme that the play could have been twice as long. It does well to provide enough background detail even before the couple indulge in the programme. Faith seems to jump to conclusions too quickly, however – laying into Adam for what his ancestors did and saying he is like them is a bit like assuming Australians who are the descendants of convicts are definitely going to turn to crime themselves.

There are other matters that aren’t so ridiculous – the couple’s families have histories of certain health conditions, and the programme is able to shed some light on whether, should they decide to have children, it is likely they will pass on such diseases to them. Commendably, the play shies away from a happy ending, plumping for a convincingly realistic one, and the range of human feelings and emotions are palpable through nuanced and outstanding performances from O’Whyte and Weise-Forbes.

4 stars

Review by Chris Omaweng

Adam and Faith are in love and ready to start a family. But their backgrounds, their connections to their own Blackness, their ancestry, and their futures are all part of the package. Enter “The Blueprints Programme” – an exciting new system that can tell you the entire history of your bloodline; what your child could inherit, and gives you the power to remove family traits forever.


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