City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

I, Lear

By Lorraine McCann - Posted on 11 August 2007

Show details
The Black Sheep
Running time: 
Cal McCrystal (director)
Andrew Jones, Ciaran Murphy

It’s always unnerving, and not just as a reviewer, when you sit in a theatre po-faced while those around you roll in the aisles amongst all manner of internal organs let loose through split sides, isn’t it? Well, that’s what “I, Lear” almost managed to do to me yesterday afternoon.

Now don’t get me wrong: I was up for this. I like double acts, I like theatre that takes a pop at theatre-folk, and I like anything that takes the wee out of Alan Bennett. So when Andrew Jones and Ciaran Murtagh come on stage with the pompous air of two self-regarding thesps, I thought we were in safe hands.

Of course, there’s nothing new about the ‘acting masterclass’ conceit, but they did their demonstrations with sparky energy and wonderful timing. Trouble was that these were the best bits of the show and they were rather too few in number, with the space in between being filled with lengthy and mostly dull parodies of everything from Coward to Williams to Brecht.

A rendition of the song “Memory” from Cats, which would have been funny as a twenty-second visual gag, went on for four minutes and was sheer torture. And then they did it again.

As I said at the top, though, the day I went to see it, a good-sized crowd did a lot of laughing. So there you go: maybe there really is comedy gold in spangly suits and silly beards? You’d have to check it out for yourself, though, to be sure.