South Bend (4 stars)

South Bend

A cringe-tastic tale of long-distance love gone wrong

From the moment performer and writer Martin McCormick steps onto the stage and begins to tell his break-up story, most of the audience has already decided they're on his side. His character is one of those rare, loveable adolescents, who you can't help but sympathise with as he falls in and out of love for the first time. His trip to the States in search of his beloved, however, takes an intriguing turn.

McCormick switches seamlessly between narration and portraying his younger self, while Jess Chanliau does well to act every other character, from McCormick's disturbed girlfriend to her neurotic mother. This is all underscored by the live foley artist David Pollock – he's so good you don't really notice him until McCormick sends a hilarious torrent of abuse his way.

Grid Iron clearly had a lot of fun with this piece; setting a fast pace, they garner plenty of laughs through McCormick's wry cultural observations, but also through his increasingly desperate situation. There are a few poignant moments, but it never gets too serious. This unpretentious play immerses its audience in the nostalgia of young love and the early Noughties, only resurfacing as the 'fasten seatbelt' sign is switched off, and McCormick lands safely back on Scottish soil.

Gilded Balloon at the Museum, until 27 Aug (not 14, 21), 3pm, £14 (£12).

South Bend

  • 4 stars

A new play by Edinburgh-based theatre company Grid Iron. Martin McCormick flies across the Atlantic to reunite with a Californian woman with whom he has fallen in passionate love. But soon he finds himself completely broke and desperate to get back home.

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