I Killed Rasputin
Free-wheeling style and strong cast in Richard Herring play at 2014 Edinburgh Fringe
This article is from 2014.
Comedian/writer Richard Herring's new play has the free-wheeling style of a Marx Brothers comedy, playing fast and loose with historical accuracy and film noir tropes.
Stephanie Williams' gorgeous, ornate set, with large screens which cunningly frame flashbacks, is perfect for journalist EM Halliday's (Joseph Chance) investigation into notorious healer Grigori Rasputin's murder and alleged dalliances with royalty.
Herring traces the prurient fascination with news back through the ages, and a gossipy tone persists: from Catherine the Great's equestrian 'outings', to royal in-breeding, no taboo is left unmolested.
The cast are uniformly excellent: Justin Edwards, gruff and deadpan as the Mad Monk Rasputin himself, has a Russell Brand swagger; Joanna Griffin a Vaudevillian presence as a maid and the sausage-toting Fuhrer; Eileen Nicholas as elegant as she is acerbic as Prince Felix Yusupov's wife. But it's the priapic, pan-sexual prankster Prince Felix's show all the way: Nichola McAuliffe's performance is an absolute fruity delight from start to finish.
There's even a slightly bedraggled-looking puppet dog, which snuffles around the floor, largely ignored. Intelligent and dark, the script is nonetheless undercut by some exclamations such as 'Oh, shit' or strategically placed knob gags - well, it is a Richard Herring show, after all.
Assembly George Square, 0131 623 3030, 30 July- 24 Aug, 3.35pm, £10-£14.50