Mr Swallow - The Musical, Pleasance Dome, review: 'Heroically ambitious and brilliantly entertaining'
Edinburgh Festival 2014: Mr Swallow is a quite hilarious creation
"How does Dracula stand?" squawks Mr Swallow, coquettishly cocking a knee as he welcomes Jonathan Harker to his spooky mansion. Not like that, Swallow. Nor was Dracula a talkative Northerner known for making his entrance on rollerskates - but this is Mr Swallow's musical and he'll skate if he wants to.
A regular on television sitcoms, Nick Mohammed has been bringing Mr Swallow to Edinburgh for a few years. A non-specific motivational speaker who never manages to stay on topic, he is a quite hilarious creation - camp, daft, huffy and, like all the best comedy characters, endowed with an inflated sense of his own talents.
In this new heroically ambitious and brilliantly entertaining show, Mr Swallow finally gets his big break, as the star of a new Dracula musical. Unsurprisingly it goes to the chatty megalomaniac's head and as the final dress rehearsal unfolds, he becomes a monstrous diva - tweaking a line here, extending a solo or trying out a new Scouse accent there, all the while fumbling his fangs and bungling his blood capsules. "Who WROTE this?" he demands, outraged, at one point.
It's all in the silliest tradition of backstage farce but crucially, like Noises Off and other classics of the genre, the musical itself is really rather good. The finer points of the lyrics are sometimes lost to chaos and the band but there are jokes aplenty, whether in a number about the appeal of evil or ordering a Chinese takeaway.
Kieran Hodgson, David Elms and Joanna Grace provide excellent support as Swallow's world-weary co-stars, but there is one reason to see this and he is standing centre-stage, in a wonky cape and roller-skates. Immensely enjoyable.
To 24 August, 0131 556 6550
Grace Dent on TVtv
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Academy criticised after no non-white actors nominated
tvAn expose of hooliganism masquerading as an ideological battle
artLee Hadwin can't draw when he's awake, but by night he's an artist
‘Remember the attackers are a cold-blooded, crazy minority’, says Blek le Rat
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 The truth about 'girl things': Three cheers for Heather Watson's honesty
- 2 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 3 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 4 Tennis fan suing Australian Open organisers for 'failing to shade spectators' during Murray match
- 5 Syrian refugee child beaten by Istanbul Burger King manager for eating customer’s leftover food
Heavy metal producer's corpse to be mutilated by models as per his dying wish
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction
Alfred Hitchcock's unseen Holocaust documentary to be screened
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Photographer Matt Lankes' portraits of the cast of Boyhood influenced the film's storyline
British Muslim leaders outraged after Eric Pickles says followers of Islam should 'prove their identity'
UK terror fears: My jihadist son returned from Syria mentally scarred – now he is being ignored
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
Billy Crystal: 'Stop shoving gay sex scenes in my face'
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners