City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Gagarin Way Review

By Bill Dunlop - Posted on 16 August 2009

Fringe 2009: Gagarin Way
Show details
Comedians Theatre Company and The Stand Comedy Club
Running time: 
Maggie Inchley (director), Jerry Souza (light and sound), Aoife Meert (costume)
Phil Nicol (Eddie), Jim Muir (Gary), Bruce Morton (Frank), Will Andrews (Tom)

Two men wait, and while they wait, they talk. Tom (Will Andrews) has a degree but works as a security guard. Eddie (Phil Nicol)... well, we're not so sure about Eddie, and rightly so.

Gregory Burke's debut play, reprised here by the Comedian's Theatre Company is a bleakly comic take on our late-capitalist, post-idealist world. Eddie and his side-kick Gary (Jim Muir) plan ‘executive action' on a representative of the system that has ripped them off. But fantasy bumping against daily reality gangs aft a gley, in this case not before arguments fly faster than the bullets Gary couldn't afford to buy.

Set firmly in Burke's native Fife. There's consideration of the Kingdom's role in events of the twentieth century viewed from the distance of the twenty first. A militant, socialist past is tipped a nod and contrasted with the isolated, alienated shenanigans of the likes of Eddie and Gary, whose inchoate fury at their neutralisation can only focus on Frank (Bruce Morton), their intended target, as much a victim of the workings of capitalism as themselves. Frank, however, has achieved a self-awareness Eddie and Gary have either yet to achieve or that they deny to themselves.

The arguments and cultural references fly around fast and furious, to the point they become difficult to pin to the disparate characters and their particular journeys. Gagarin Way remains stimulating, but frustrating also. Although the play has worn well in many respects, and some at least of its arguments continue elsewhere, its open-ended structure still leaves a nagging dissatisfaction.

The cast, however, are a joy to watch, spot-on in interpretation and clearly happy to play ensemble, as the piece demands. There's been discussion of late of comedians ‘crossing' to more dramatic roles. This may make journalist's copy easier, but a short, sharp discussion with Nicol's Eddie and Muir's Gary might be an appropriate punctuation of this speculation.

Times: 7-30 August (not 17), 1pm

Copyright Bill Dunlop 2009

First published on 2009