Everything Else Happened, Assembly Roxy, Edinburgh


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The Independent Culture

Imagine the wisecracks and paranoia of Woody Allen, the tape-recorders and monologues of Samuel Beckett, the surrealism of N F Simpson…and that would give you some idea (a very inflated one) of this hour-long show based on short stories by Jonathan Safran Foer.

It’s an unusual fringe offering, ripe and literate, but curiously unsatisfying, as the four monologues never mesh, despite being played out on the one anodyne New York setting with actors moving props and scenery for each other.

The author of Everything is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (the latter filmed by Stephen Daldry) is well served by the acting quartet of Patti Love, Simon Scardifeld, Harry Ditson and Adam Lenson, who co-directs with adaptor David Kantounas.

And as a handy primer in Foer’s world of exasperation and resilience in the face of disappointment and set-backs, it’s a reasonably enjoyable diversion, especially with Love as an overwrought Jewish mother and Ditson as a wildly peculiar children’s entertainer.

But it doesn’t really amount to any coherent, or even stylistic, theatrical whole, and you’re left to savour fleeting felicities of expression about grocer’s cookies, or fear of dying by multiple colons, while each character communicates through a tape machine.

To 27 August (0131 623 3030)