Ladies and Gents, Traverse Four @ Your Convenience

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The Independent Culture

Quite why the members of Ireland's Semper Fi have to be so officious in priming their promenade audience about where to stand and how to behave is unclear. They should relax. They have a show and a cast that are easily capable of holding us in place without instruction as we lurk inside the public toilets behind the city's Catholic cathedral. Yes, public toilets - because Ladies and Gents is performed in that most unlikely of site-specific venues, drawing us literally into the seedy world that it describes.

Paul Walker's play is a clever piece of noirish drama set in 1950s Dublin in the aftermath of a political sex scandal. The small audience is split in two. One half goes into the ladies, the other into the gents, swapping places after 20 intense minutes. It's only after seeing both halves that we figure out what's been going on. Since surprise is the production's key quality, I won't reveal what that is, except to say that there's a prostitute, a photographer, a pimp and a hit man and it's all terribly revealing of a society crippled by hypocrisy.

Ladies and Gents is a short, sharp shock of a play that perfectly captures the sense of fear, malevolence and confusion lurking in society's underbelly.

Venue 290, 7.15pm, 8.15pm, 9.15pm (40mins) to 23 August, not 11 and 18 August (0131-228 1404)

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