Gilded Balloon Teviot (Venue 14), Edinburgh – 3-29 August 2016
Reviewer: Hugh Simpson
The Club, the latest play from Edinburgh-born actor and writer Ruaraidh Murray, has a fiercely humorous energy and drive.
No significant new ground is broken here, but Murray’s piquant, picaresque tales of shady characters and tasty geezers survive the transfer to London with swagger and dark humour intact. Based on real events, the play deals with the Tardis, a nightclub in Clerkenwell masquerading as an arts venue for tax purposes. The club is prospering, but its owners’ financial and physical health is threatened by their habit of borrowing money from the sort of business figures who recover their debts with creative use of expandable builders’ foam.
Murray, as hapless club owner George, is energetic and convincing, while Mark Farrelly, as his louche, sinuously hedonistic business partner Nick has an unpredictable fire that makes the character’s gangland connections all too believable.
But it is as a double-act that the pair most impress, sparking off each other and relishing the rococo swearing and threats of outré violence that pepper the script. The notion that gangsters are overly sentimental may be a convenient fiction of the ‘Krays loved their mother’ school but the portrait of unspoken, uneasy co-dependence between the two characters lends complexity to their relationship.
There will be no awards for originality of the scenario, but the freewheeling, devil-may-care lewdness of the staging has more than enough vim and vigour.
Running time: 55 minutes (no interval)
Gilded Balloon Teviot (Venue 14), Teviot Row House, EH8 9AJ
Wednesday 3 – Monday 29 August 2016
Daily at 5.00 pm
Book tickets on the EdFringe website: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/club
Company website: http://www.ruaraidhmurray.co.uk