City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Ben Russell: The Tokyo Hotel, Pleasance Dome, Review

By Garry Platt - Posted on 11 August 2015

Ben Russell: The Tokyo Hotel
Show details
Pleasance Dome
Running time: 
Ben Russell

The genre is noir The time, late Fifties-early Sixties. The place? The infamous Tokyo Hotel. The set could not be simpler, a black door, but it's a special door, a door through which Ben Russel leads a multitude of compelling characters, some mad, some bad, and some who simple left the orbit of the rational and logical world and are never ever coming back.

This show doesn't tell a story it imparts an experience, a mood, a state of mind through a series of encounters and scenes with the inhabitants of the hotel. Ben Russell's creations are pretty extraordinary. They have a concretion of madness, absurdity and sometimes seething resentment or sadness. It's also laugh-out-loud amusing. Strong transitions between the narrator and the encountered personalities can be startlingly funny in their jarring juxtapositions.

Highlights for me were the piano player who delivers some hilarious dialogue while channeling Thelonious Monk under the influence of unknown substances but possibly including marijuana, crystal meths, cocaine and Newcastle Strong Brown Ale - who knows? He also has one of the best catch phrases to precisely describe the personality of the character he has just portrayed. I won't give it away here, but it will leave you laughing.

The actor has a relaxed and natural engagement with his audience and the confidence of a performer who is sure of his material. This is undoubtedly my first gem of the Fringe, an under-the-radar show which is just wonderful to watch and needs bigger audiences. Go support this wonderful piece of creativity.

Til 29 Aug 2015, 9.40pm. Suitable for ages 18 and above