Midnight Cowboy, Assembly Rooms <!-- none onestar twostar threestar fourstar fivestar -->

A snapshot of life on the edge
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The Independent Culture

If Tim Fountain's new adaptation of James Leo Herlihy's novel Midnight Cowboy resembles a series of snapshots more than a wholly cohesive story, that could have a lot to do with the legendary status of John Schlesinger's film. Yet John Clancy's tight production moves the action swiftly on as the hustling midnight cowboy ("a hell of a stud!") drifts into the life of the anti-hero, Ratso.

Slipping on Jon Voight's fringed jacket and Stetson, Charles Aitken makes a good stab at the vain young Texan, Joe Buck, who arrives in New York, naively relying on his fake cowboy credentials and his much vaunted physical attributes to smooth his path.

Turning in a fine performance as the crooked, sickly con man Ratso, Con O'Neill hobbles his way grubbily through their initial fateful meeting and subsequent interdependence in the city's seedy underbelly. O'Neill may not be able to shake off the mantle of Dustin Hoffman but, as the warmth beneath his sleazy facade begins to seep through, he assumes his own characteristics.

The small supporting cast, whether in the dream sequences or the oddball characters Joe encounters on the streets and in the bedrooms of New York, proves itself infinitely versatile, while Richard Foxton's flexible designs evoke the sordid settings of this haunting morality tale.

To 28 August, except 14 (0131-226 2428)

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