DOUBLE FEATURE – #EdFringe ★★★★★

In Comedy, Edinburgh Festival, Festivals, Plays, Regional theatre, Reviews, Scotland by Thom DibdinLeave a Comment

★★★★
Gilded Balloon at Rose Theatre, Edinburgh (Venue 76) – until 28 August 2017
Guest reviewer: Hugh Simpson

Powerhouse double act Andy Gray and Grant Stott bring all their comic knowhow to bear on Double Feature from Gilded Balloon at the Rose Theatre.

Aside from their feted yearly panto appearances, the duo has taken to appearing together on the Fringe in relatively conventional drama. Last year, with Gray unavoidably detained in Shieldinch, Stott’s one-man show Tales From Behind The Mic took centre stage, but now they are reunited.

They play Mikey and Davy, charged with clearing out the cinema where they spent much of their childhood together, prior to its demolition for executive flats. Cue musings on the power of movies, the power of friendship, and the gaps between Hollywood and real life.

This strays much closer to panto in feel than their previous excursions into the Fringe did. This extends to some ad-libs, whether genuine or rehearsed, and came in particularly useful when a sound malfunction delayed proceedings.

Alongside the knockabout fun, however, there is a poignant story about the past and what we lose as we go along. A few years ago it would have been no surprise to see Gray turning on a sixpence from funnyman to weary sadness; it is a testament to Stott’s craft and dedication that he now also does it so well.

Cheeky riffing on cinema-going in the past and the inconsistencies of great movies do dominate, however. Those of a certain age will get more of the references, but it should have a wide appeal.
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Much of it is reminiscent of a friendly, nostalgic discussion in the pub – if, that is, you know a pub frequented by patrons with expert comic timing. Philip Differ’s writing plays to the duo’s strengths – much of the dialogue would look inconsequential on the page, but is brought to life by Gray and Stott.

That such warmth is sustained over the piece is testament to director Ryan Dewar, who has created a framework where the two of them can shine. It would be easy to take the presence of such a finely honed double act for granted; better, instead, to go along and marvel at the wit, the craft and the timing.

Running time 1 hour (no interval)
Gilded Balloon at Rose Theatre (venue 76), 204 Rose Street, EH2 4AZ
Wednesday 2 – Monday 28 August 2017
Daily (not Mon 14) at 7.15 pm
Book tickets on the Fringe website: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/double-feature
Production Facebook page: @doublefeatureplay

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Thom Dibdin
Thom Dibdin has been reviewing and writing about theatre in Scotland since the last millennium. He is currently Scotland Correspondent for The Stage newspaper. In 2010, he founded AllEdinburghTheatre.com. The city's only dedicated theatre website, it covers all Edinburgh theatre year-round - and all theatre made in Edinburgh during EdFringe. Thom is passionate about quality in theatre criticism and is a member of the Critics' Awards for Theatre in Scotland. In addition to his personal account, he tweets @AllEdinTheatre.
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Thom Dibdin
Thom Dibdin has been reviewing and writing about theatre in Scotland since the last millennium. He is currently Scotland Correspondent for The Stage newspaper. In 2010, he founded AllEdinburghTheatre.com. The city's only dedicated theatre website, it covers all Edinburgh theatre year-round - and all theatre made in Edinburgh during EdFringe. Thom is passionate about quality in theatre criticism and is a member of the Critics' Awards for Theatre in Scotland. In addition to his personal account, he tweets @AllEdinTheatre.