Aisling Bea’s “This Way Up” offers a fresh look at the issues of mental health, love and loneliness in London and how it impacts the lives of two sisters trying to piece a normal life together.
Bea plays Aine, who, after suffering a nervous breakdown and is trying to get her life back on track. She has a great job teaching English to foreign students, which she loves, here she’s animated and engaging with her students, often going beyond her call of duty. She’s committed and threatens to “Brexit the @£$% out of them” if they dont so their homework. The dialogue and references to current day issues provide further depth to the backdrop of this story.
Shona, her sister is the other meaningful and important relationship in her life, both sisters have a close and loving bond. Shona obsesses over Aine’s safety and mental welfare throughout the series, but they also provide a kind of sanctuary for each other. However, don’t let the charming Irish accent’s and “all is grand in the world” attitude disarm you, there are plenty of the darker moments looming around the corner.
What we are watching is the real impact of mental health has on individuals and their family and friends and how as the series gradually unfolds we see that although Ainee is marching through life there are signs that things aren’t fully working yet.
When Ainee isn’t teaching or with her sister she is left alone with her troubling thoughts and her true loneliness, she copes by taking longs walks in the local park late at night and on her own. Shona is in a constant state of panic about her late-night where about’s as she tries to tag her walks via GPS.
There are wins and losses throughout when Bea almost blows a new lead for private tutoring it’s her charm and desire to put things right that help her salvage the situation as she has already committed to the young student who has recently lost his mother and is now living with a father he hardly knows.
Originally commissioned as a six-part series, I doubt we’ll have even scratched the surface in that time and hope a second series is on the cards.