Eric Bogosian's 1984 play about a "shock jock" who berates his listeners for relying on him for their opinions and entertainment is an odd choice for Edinburgh's newest venue, and for the inaugural performance of the Comedians' Theatre Company. What is essentially a collection of monologues would be better-suited to a smaller venue, where the lack of character interaction would not be exposed by such a big stage area.
Matters might be helped if Phil Nichol's interpretation of the Barry Champlain character was more energetic. It's surprising that it is not, given Nichol's exuberance as a stand-up. It's a controlled performance and the director Stewart Lee has clearly taken care to rein in Nichol's taste for excess. Nichol does relish the final "Hold the calls..." speech - predating reality TV by a decade - where Barry tells his audience how they have made their own fears and prejudices into entertainment.
Brief supporting monologues from Mike McShane, Tiffany Stevenson and Stephen K Amos do what they should, but Will Adamsdale (the 2004 Perrier winner with Jackson's Way) offers the most memorable performance with Kent, a druggie hoaxer who comes into the studio to meet Barry, only for his deficiencies to be exposed by his radio hero. It all makes for easy watching, with some dead air.
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