Thompson persuasively blends the nasty facts with an imagined account of England's poor white-trash background, cutting back to the "rough teasing" which her adolescent hicksville gang considered a game.
Drawing such a connection is not hugely original, but Thompson's point is that England's mindset may be frighteningly commonplace. Recalling stepping over the line at the camp, Lynndie also disturbingly describes a rush of adrenalin and patriotic fervour. Unrepentant, she suggests she is the fall guy and martyr, America's Joan Of Arc. This is a superbly understated, unsettling performance and My Pyramids manages to be psychologically complex with wide reverberations.
Guardians is performed with great assurance at the Pleasance, but suffers by comparison. Peter Morris's play cuts rather more superficially between a morally numb and, again, unrepentant Lynndie and a 2-D, posh, amoral tabloid hack who tells us he faked photos of further prisoner abuse thereby indulging his sadomasochistic urges and gaining promotion.
At the Assembly Rooms, be warned, America's acclaimed Riot Group gabble through Switch Triptych, a muddled piece about telephone operators. Talk about communication problems. By contrast, Colin Teevan writes with beautiful old-school lyricism in Missing Persons: five menacing, tragic and comical monologues about contemporary heroes and antiheroes, based on Greek myths and performed with precision-tooled intensity by Greg Hicks.
Back at the Traverse, East Coast Chicken Supper is a darkening comedy about drug-dealing lads in Fife, with friendships and community values going to pot. This is Martin J Taylor's first play. The denouement is feeble, but he has a great ear for banter and the acting is terrific - especially from Paul Rattray and Paul Blair. Richard Wilson directs with characteristic polish. Mark Murphy's The Night Shift is an intruiguing dream play-cum-thriller about mental disturbance, all played out around one double bed, with two actors switching characters, blurring nightmares and reality. Catherine Dyson can be wooden and Murphy's dialogue turns pseudo-poetic but the plot twists are enthralling, like a disconcerting Escher staircase, and Jason Thorpe, as the nice boyfriend/ psychotic, is adorably funny and shockingly vicious. The restless dreams continue in Sleep...less...ness at Aurora Nova. The gaunt Russian troupe Do Theatre combine balletic spinning, clowning and dancing with overlaid projections of rain and ghostly floating windows. Some blips but mostly witty, haunting and inspired.
Fringe box office 0131 226 0000, to 29 August
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