Then You Run – Sky Max

Reviewer: Maryam Philpott

Writer: Ben Chanan

As summer holiday plans go, escaping some hardened drug dealers who you have accidentally annoyed as you go on the run around Europe is pretty unusual, but the fate of teenage friends Tara, Stink, Ruth and Nessi depends on their ability to outfox men determined to destroy them. That becomes even stranger when one of them happens to be the uncle of one of the group. After the dull misfire of A Town Called Malice, the first three episodes of Sky’s Then You Run promises a much more satisfying story mixing comedy and drama across the eight instalments.

There is lots to love about the set-up for Then You Run written by Ben Chanan and based on Zoran Drvenkar’s novel, a collection of distinct and sassy teenagers who think they are more grown up and confident than they are, a mysterious serial killer with Killing Eve potential who calmly destroys a number of incidental lives and whose story will eventually cross with our runaway group, and a high-stakes drug deal gone wrong given extra weight through its family ties. Most of all, there is Richard Coyle, an actor who never disappoints, and he brings just the right balance of gravitas and menace to increase the jeopardy and prevent Chanan’s drama from becoming too self-satisfied.

Most importantly there is plenty of room to develop across the multi-part series. How and when these various strands will interact is certainly intriguing in these early episodes. The flip side of that is Then You Run has the potential to be a little uneven, particularly in the swing between the violent activities of the drug gang and assassin with the jauntier experience of the teenagers which has a knowing comedy, but as the plot settles it may also work well, giving the series sufficient jeopardy without needing to be overly gruesome or gratuitous. It helps that the characterisation is convincing in all of the plot segments, so the potential is there.

As the quartet of unlikely heroes, Leah McNamara as Tara, Vivian Oparah as Stink, Yasmin Monet Prince as Ruth and Isidora Fairhurst as Nessi are a convincing friendship group with each character given a distinct role. The extent to which they are able to overcome their individual and collective shortcomings to protect the group and outsmart the bad guys remains to be seen but there should be plenty of opportunities for each actor to take centre stage. As Tara’s vague father Cillian O’Sullivan is suitably slippery but it is Coyle as Uncle Reagan who has the best of it, certainly in the episodes available for preview, with a finely-balanced psychopathic crime boss that you can love to hate.

Then You Run has a long way to go but early signs are positive that this will be an entertaining summer series with plenty of enjoyable performances to sustain the story.

Episode One of Then You Run airs on Sky Max on 7 July.

The Reviews Hub Score:

Room to develop

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The Reviews Hub Film Team is under the editorship of Maryam Philpott.

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