Young Pretender, Underbelly, Edinburgh

Alice Jones
Wednesday 10 August 2011 00:00 BST
Young Pretender
Young Pretender

"The ride stops at Culloden? No way. I don't think so." So speaks Bonnie Prince Charlie as reimagined by the intelligent young company nabokov and E V Crowe.

This is history, Fringe-style, an hour-long zip through the 1745 Jacobite Uprising, complete with Libertines soundtrack, Barbour jackets and skinny jeans. Crowe's writing zings off the page, telescoping the action into three claustrophobic scenes that move from the eve of Culloden to the Prince's ignominious flight and then back to his early days when he first persuaded Highlanders to join his cause.

We first see the 25-year old Prince, panicky and wired, as the power he craves slips out of his grasp. He's a fanatic, full of "newer new ideas" but also tortured by his youth. In a witty take on politics and power that buzzes with contemporary relevance, Crowe also shows us the before – a mercurial manipulator speaking of freedom and a New Scotland – and the after – an abject loser, scrabbling in the mud for atonement and lost ideals.

In his billowing shirt and limp-wristed fervour, Paul Woodson's Prince is as magnetic as Mick Jagger. Chris Starkie and Rebecca Elise as his acolytes provide excellent support. Recommended.

To 28 August (0844 545 8252)

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