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
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Planes go hybrid-electric in important step to greener flight
- 2 North Korean prison officers 'cooked prisoner's baby and fed it to their dogs', more horrific accounts from UN report reveal
- 3 Antonio Martin shooting: Mayor says there should be 'no comparison' to Ferguson
- 4 Antonio Martin shooting: Police and protesters clash over teenager's death just five miles from Ferguson, Missouri
- 5 British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Secret Cinema showed The Great Dictator at protest secret screening, following Sony's The Interview cancellation
Best underrated Christmas movies: From Trading Places to While You Were Sleeping
Cruel Woman in Black prank sees cinema-goers terrified by movie poster - watch their reactions
Game of Thrones season five: First preview clip shows a beardy Tyrion, a moody Cersei and a distressed Arya
Angelina Jolie 'didn't eat much' in sympathy with actors who had to lose weight for Unbroken
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever