Edinburgh Festival 97 / Fringe


Life's a Gatecrash

A troubled, violent relationship collides head on with fate when Steve drunkenly runs a man down and leaves him for dead. He and his girlfriend, Nicola, return to their flat and their lives veer violently off course when an intense, strung-out visitor invades their home, dragging with him the heavily mutilated body of the hit-and-run victim.

The modern Manchester setting belies the timeless quality of Terry Hughes's writing and direction. This harrowing tale is built with a Hitchcockian skill that suggests it could translate easily to the screen and leaves you in no doubt that the half-midnight time-slot was invented for this thriller.

Helen Copley's understated performance as Nicola and realistic dialogue ensure that the play never lapses into one-dimensional portrayal of maleness. This winner of the Manchester Student Playwriting Competition is shortly to be adapted for Radio 4, where it will reach the wider audience it so clearly deserves.

At Venue 19-C, 00.30am (0131-225 5105), to 30 Aug

Anthony Thornton


Terry Titter's Full Length

There are many contenders for The Worst Title on the Fringe Award - how about Whoops Vicar Is That Your Dick? - but Terry Titter's Full Length is right up there.

Fortunately the show is a lot better than the title. Terry Titter is a graduate summa cum laude of the Bob Downe Academy of Spoof Cheesy Showbiz Types.

In a lurid pink jacket, apparently fashioned from Bacofoil and red clown's cheeks, he is a self-proclaimed "crap club comedian" (and much better fleshed out than his relatives, Renee, the sad woman, and Malcolm, the crap gay man, who follow).

As his pathetic patter crashes into a wall of audience indifference, he cries out with ever increasing desperation, "Get laughing, you bastards."

Swigging manically from a bottle of vodka and taking out a gun with which he threatens suicide, Titter slides into a Network-style public breakdown.

Never mind the name, feel the character.

At the Gilded Balloon, Venue 38, midnight (0131-226 2151), to 30 Aug

James Rampton