Edinburgh Festival: The Playboy of the Western World

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The Independent Culture
A robust, earthy production of JM Synge's tale of the great boaster who achieves fame through notoriety, but loses it when his boasts are discovered to be in vain. In an otherwise straight rendition, the links between acts distinguish this as a Communicado production as the walking dead steal into Margaret Flaherty's shebeen and the burial (the corpse comically suggested by a pair of boots and a hat) erupts into drinking and dancing. Tara Kelly portrays Margaret as a woman whose frustrated desire to determine her own life leaves her on the brink of disaster. As Christy Mahon, Mark Aiken transforms from a state of cowering remorse to lumbering braggadocio with appropriate speed, but still exudes rural simplicity so strongly that you can almost smell the cowsheds.

Traverse (venue 15), Cambridge St (031-228 1404). 12noon 19, 25, 28, 31 Aug, 3 Sept; 3.30pm 20, 23, 26 Aug, 1 Sept; 7pm 21, 24, 27, 30 Aug, 2 Sept

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