Edinburgh Festival 97 / Fringe

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Theatre

Disco Pigs

Corcadorca Company has a "tolchock" on its hands. Not since that delinquent "droog" Alex wound us up in The Clockwork Orange have we been riveted by teenage creations as disturbingly magnetic as Pig and Runt. Lifelong soulmates, the pair decide to celebrate joint 17th birthdays by venting their frustration with small-town life on Pork City (Cork): "Let's kill da town, ya on?" It's not that writer Enda Walsh catalogues any new teenage kicks, as a night spent fighting, drinking and dancing escalates into a tragic, bleakly comic journey of self-discovery. But, though our snouts are in a familiar trough, Disco Pigs ensures that it's pearls we're choking on.

This scintillating two-hander has some glancing similarities to that primer of near-impenetrable regional dialect, Trainspotting - a superficial but understandable comparison. Pig and Runt's quickfire, vibrant Cork pidgin English initially sounds like nothing spoken on earth, let alone in a sleepy city in the south of Ireland, but its alien vowels and thick consonants soon pound the ear into willing submission.

Enda Walsh has written two cracking parts for his young cast. Eileen Walsh (no relation) tempers Runt's toughness with an endearing brittleness. As Pig, Killian Murphy displays a combination of feral aggression, raw vulnerability and Celtic good looks that will inevitably bring Ewan MacGregor comparisons.

Don't let the show's title mislead you. This is no sub-Orwellian indictment of teenage venality. If Pig and Runt are swine, then they're trying to distance themselves from the herd. Pat Kiernan's production, notwithstanding its lightning pace, gives a deft account of our heroes' growing self-awareness - the piglets' realisation that they've outgrown their pen, that, in Runt's own words, "We're liddle babbas no more."

Pig and Runt's swaggering evocation of the night's events - a violent off-licence robbery, some disco mayhem, and a run-in with the local Provos - employs just two chairs as props. Walsh cleverly pitches the pair's rhetoric against the pettiness of their actions. With their habit of referring to themselves in the third person, they're pictures of teenage self-aggrandisement. Yet, if the play is well aware of Pig and Runt's selfishness, it also manages to make their exploits slyly, voyeuristically, enthralling. Disco Pigs comes to London's Bush next month. Sell your last packet of pork scratchings for a ticket.

Traverse to 30 Aug, 0131-228 1404

Mike Higgins

Hellcab

A cabby who both drives safely and is as willing to listen as he is to speak. Now there's a concept.

This anomaly in the world of cab-drivers is central to Hellcab. In a series of vignettes, an unnamed Chicago driver endures all the most hellish examples of humanity - crazed drug addicts, zealous Christians, a weekend cabbie late for his day job - and the tone changes with each from frightening to funny to sad. A small cast display incredible versatility in portraying a veritable legion of passengers, including standout turns by April Grace as pregnant woman and scary hooker.

Like Jim Jarmusch's Night on Earth, Hellcab meditates on people's need for connection, however fleeting, in a lonely world. Unable to disassociate himself from the strangers he meets, the cabbie (a wonderfully warm performance by Loren Lazarine) eventually learns that listening can alone make a difference.

Traverse to 30 Aug (not 25), 0131-228 1404

Maddy Costa

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