Nina's Got News (2 stars)

Nina's Got News

Frank Skinner's debut play is weighted heavily towards puerile one-liners

Frank Skinner's first play has plenty of flaws, but a dearth of laughs isn't one of them. In isolation the gags work; his voice is strong and his sense of humour comes through. His comic tastes are puerile but Nina's Got News is full of jokes.

The problem is that Skinner's obviously not a playwright, and doesn't appear to have invested much time or energy in becoming one. There's a genuinely surprising twist (Nina's news), but once it arrives it goes nowhere with purpose, some meandering musings on religion and trust aside. Packing his show with one-liners, he's neglected to build any believable relationships either. The characterisation is non-existent and the dialogue lacklustre. There's banter at every juncture; both Nina (Jessica Clark) and her best friend Vanessa (Breffni Holahan) repeatedly walk all over the former's lapdog ex-boyfriend Chris (Rob Auton). It's exhausting. The three do strong work trying to sell their situation but the shortcomings are clearly in the writing itself.

This is one of the first works from the BBC and Avalon's new initiative for first time playwrights, Debut. The involvement of Skinner (unlike some struggling artists, his career didn't need this boost) can be explained by an absolutely packed room. It has the feeling of a work still in progress, rushed towards the finish line.

Pleasance Dome, until 26 Aug, 2.50pm, £16 (£14)

Nina's Got News

  • 2 stars

Debut play from comedian, author and broadcaster Frank Skinner.

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