- Gareth K Vile
- 14 August 2019
Disappointingly unengaging short
The Comedians Theatre Company have become a popular fixture at the Fringe, but this production of a late – and rarely performed – script by Eugene O'Neill is a dull and brief two-hander that fails to make a case for its existence. Mike McShane is solid as the stoic night-manager, Phil Nichol struggles to bring his fast-talking hustler to life, and the mundane dramaturgy adds little beyond a rapid-fire delivery and a ponderous sense of meanings hidden beneath the flow of anecdote and wise-guy rhetoric.
Nicholl's character Eerie is the problem: a small-time gambler, he comes across as a self-aggrandising bore. For all of this nostalgia and genuine warmth towards Hughie, the now deceased night-manager, he simply won't go to bed and insists on regaling McShane's character – another Hughie – with his petty tales of the streets.
Intended as part of a series of bijoux character pieces by O'Neill, it is a strangely static script that is not rescued by the direction or the performances. McShane offers a strong portrayal of a man bored by Eerie, until he reveals his romantic streak, in a fascination with the world Eerie presumes to move around: Nicholl never quite lifts Eerie above his tedious self-obsessions.
Gilded Balloon Teviot, until 26 Aug, 1.45pm, £13.50.