On Tour, Royal Court Upstairs, London

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The Independent Culture

Burke's characters ought to be intriguing: a specific breed of dodgy dealers who tag along when British soccer fans rove abroad, using the crowds as cover for smuggling. But the whole genre of darkly comic crime thrillers feels tired now. Also On Tour's first half, set in a prison cell, is animated only by cocaine snorting - with the powder bemusingly left, by director Matt Wilde, for any passing screw to see on Lisa Lillywhite's set of shoddy, squeaky plastic boxes.

Burke's slangy dialogue can be vibrant and entertaining. Nonetheless, his cockney, manc and scouse geezers - Daz, Hawk and Ray - aren't all that differentiated and the political/philosophical references are too patently imposed by the author this time round. The significance of Darwin's natural selection theory is glaringly obvious, as Hawk preys on the seemingly gullible Daz, and their conversation about indistinguishable fake and genuine currency alerts you to the possibility of conman and sucker switching, so later plot twists are no surprise.

Perhaps most striking is the common ground which On Tour shares with Shoot The Crow (see adjacent review) in highlighting the self-interest behind teamwork and suggesting law-breaking is the only way some see of beating the system. To their credit, Wilde's actors are doing a fine job. Andrew Schofield exudes dangerous acidity as the old hand, Ray. Jeff Hordley is excellent as the chummy, cunning Hawk and newcomer Paul Anderson, playing Daz with swagger, deserves to go places as well.

To 22 October, 020 7565 5000, then Liverpool Everyman, 28 October to 19 November, 0151 709 4776

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