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The only way is up

Published September 29, 2019

This Way Up

I’m behind the times on this, but I’m glad I waited to watch Aisling Bea’s new comedy This Way Up. I bought the entire series to binge on the Apple TV and got through it in super quick time - it was wonderful and heartbreaking and genuine and lovely and inspirational and sobering all in equal measure.

The two areas it particularly shines in are the portrayal of struggling with mental health - Bea’s character Aine is recovering from a nervous breakdown and trying to deal with life in a very lonely London. It’s a difficult subject to talk about let alone make a comedy of, but the tone of every episode is perfect. The fact that Aine can whip smart her way out of any conversation, but seconds later when by herself, sinks to her knees in desperation - I don’t know if there’s anyone who couldn’t relate to that in some way.

And the relationship between the two sisters is the other area that works deliciously. Sharon Horgan is always the best thing in every programme she appears in but here she is matched by the lovely Aisling Bea. They riff off each other and seem like real sisters - bickering and bantering, but loving and supporting at the same time. It’s lovely but has that edge of knowing that any moment they could blow up into an argument - they’ve relied on each other too much but also need each other. The complexities are so real.

The show has received praise from critics and fans that will hopefully see it getting a second series. I need to know more about this fledgling relationship with the father of a suddenly-discovered child, about the engagement that has already been undermined before it has begun, and hear more from the mother who stole the episode she was in. We had six expertly crafted episodes, but I’m hoping for six more, please.

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