The Show


Alasdair MacRae


Posted on:

3 Mar 2022

Film Reviews
The Show
Directed by:
Richard Rowden
Written by:
Richard Rowden
Marie Everett, Richard Rowden, Marc Aldridge, Celine Arden
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A couple embarks on a camping trip to Cumbria which pulls at the loose threads of their relationship. As Jackie (Marie Everett) and Sam’s (Richard Rowden) connection unravels secrets are laid bare.


The Show is a complex film to discuss, largely due to its inconsistency. There are moments where it feels bursting with difficult ideas all rushing to make their way to the fore. Then it will fall flat on its face and feel rather one-note. This is down to the unevenness of the characters of Sam and Jackie. The story is told from Sam’s perspective which shows him as the victim of an unfair and at times abusive relationship. There is more to him than being a victim too, there are secrets pertaining to his identity that make him feel increasingly trapped. Secrets that will ultimately lead him to a conclusion laced with tragic irony. Jackie on the other hand is shown as a stereotypically social media and image-obsessed tyrant. She has little regard for Sam other than to post their fictitious perfect relationship online. She does try to escape the simplicities of her reductive character but those attempts are often buried by Sam’s emotions.


It has to be said that the open landscape is a beautifully selected setting for the film. It performs as the glass-half-full or glass-half-empty situe. An opportunity to reconnect with life, to be alone together, or to be isolated from society with the one person you don’t want to be. It works to distil all of the internal and external factors that impact a relationship. There is one scene in particular where it also serves up some gorgeous lakeside twilight hour cinematography. A moment of magnificence that threatens to transcend the film. This time to somewhere ethereal or primal. And then it is jarringly undercut by the next scene.


Billed as a dramedy, The Show struggles with how to convey its dark themes. The cheesy sit-com music is designed to make the tension between the couple harder to bear. However, when the relationship reaches its breaking point and that music is piped in again over the top of the heated argument, it does the characters a disservice. Rowden means to heighten the impact of the conflict by euphemising the dialogue. But, because of the combination of the over-the-top performance from Everett with the reductive nature of her character, the tonal clash doesn’t quite come off.


The Show is comprised of several inspired elements that frustratingly don’t quite come together in a compelling fashion. It ambitiously grapples with a fistful of ideas and themes that are never quite explored enough to be satisfying.

About the Film Critic
Alasdair MacRae
Alasdair MacRae
Short Film