Joseph Morpurgo: Odessa (4 stars)

This article is from 2014

Joseph Morpurgo

Exquistite one-person multi-character act at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

There are surely few one-person multi-character acts at the Fringe with as much talent to burn as Joseph Morpurgo. His Odessa hour has ambition by the bucketload and he possesses both the dramatic and comedic tools to carry it off with ease. Starting with some scratchy US TV news footage of a blaze at a chemical plant, the story is essentially a convoluted whodunit shaped by creations such as a Tony Montana-esque Santa Claus, the uber-macho police chief, a sleazy diamond salesman and, most memorably barmy, some Rasta static (you definitely need to see that one to fully comprehend its realisation).

There is a technical hitch which stunts the show’s growth at a crucial moment and you could be cruel in stating that if you play with fire (technology) you are left exposed to having your fingers burned (the technology packing in). But there’s more than enough in Odessa to see past the blip which, in any case, Morpurgo handles brilliantly while remaining steadfastly in character.

Compared in passing by some to Twin Peaks, presumably for the oddness of his characters, the setting out of a small-town mystery and a core clue held within a backwards-sounding voice message, Joseph Morpurgo has exquisitely built a vivid universe most particularly of his own.

Pleasance Dome, 556 6550, until 25 Aug, 5.20pm, £8.50-£10.50 (£7-£9).

Joseph Morpurgo: Odessa

  • 4 stars

Character comedy from the actor and comic, set to the backdrop of a London on fire in 1983.