Hamlet

REVIEWS
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Pleasance (venue 33), 60 The Pleasance (0131-556 6550), 4.40pm; to 28 Aug

Arthur Smith's shows regularly take the Mickey out of "the spirit of the fringe", but the fringe keeps clasping him to its bosom like a favourite idiot son. His 40-minute Hamlet is a whistle-stop tour of Prozac, "the cigarettes formerly known as Prince", and Kray henchman "Mad" Frankie Fraser ("I told him, 'I'm doing Hamlet' - he said, 'I'll do him for you if you like' "). In the show's most astonishing sequence, Sally Phillips as Ophelia works into her mad scene intimate details of her break-up with "Dick Kipper", a pseudonym for a well-known "Fist of Fun" comedian. Add in a closing operatic number with accompaniment from Tom Miles and you have a show that's not just barking but braying.

Ian Shuttleworth

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