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Capital Converse

Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh
Three stars

When you've got nothing, you've got nothing to lose, as some street-smart sage once wrote. So it goes for Malky, the Leith Walk wag at the heart of Mikey Burnett's play as he lets rip over one tragi-comic night sparring with his flat-mate Frank in the bathroom. When Malky bursts in, he's lost his last pound on a sure fire winner that fell at the first, the dole have stopped his money, and, most crucially, the love of his life has dumped him to the point of almost having to get a restraining order out on him.

What follows over the next fifty minutes is a quickfire riot of the sort of twisted desperado logic which initially comes on like a post Trainspotting flat-sharing sit-com. Things take a more serious turn in Iain Davie's production for the Napier University sired Trig Point Theatre company, as such exchanges point up just how much those backed into a corner by economic and emotional poverty can end up clutching at any straw that's going. The fact that the first voice you hear on this final night of Hothouse, the Traverse's week-long mini season of local grassroots theatre companies, is neither Malky or Frank's, but that of David Cameron, speaks volumes about where Burnett is coming from without ever having to lay it on with a trowel.

In many ways it is the meticulously observed behavioural tics and nuances of personality that count here, something relished by Daniel Campbell and James Garvock as they invest Frank and Malky with a depth beyond the play's initial hysteria that makes for a darkly funny portrait of life on the edge.

The Herald, November 17th 2015

ends

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