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The Racket review at Zoo Southside Edinburgh

This strong piece of theatrical storytelling is split into two halves, the first about the experiences of a middle-aged journalist disillusioned with his job in Iraq, the second focused on a grieving father’s loss of his children. As the narrative unfolds, coincidences emerge, until we learn the two characters’ lives are entangled in odd and painful ways.

Most of the credit for the compelling arc of this show goes to Richard Walker’s excellent solo performance. As the journalist, Walker is gruff and melancholy, weaving information about the human and financial cost of war into a much more intimate story about a failed love affair with a younger female photographer. Transformed into a Liverpudlian hippie later, he conveys the sense of wasted opportunity a father senses when he only understands his daughter’s ideals after her violent death.

The writing itself has problems, including implausibilities and some partially absorbed factual research, but this doesn’t detract from its strong criticisms of a war that cost hundreds of thousands of lives and made some people very rich. If the strand of idealism is rammed home a little too crudely at times, this is offset by Walker’s skilful ability to steer the material away from the mawkish and contrived.

Production Information

Zoo Southside, Edinburgh, August 3-27

Author
Richard Walker
Director
Anna Barry, Andrew Neil
Producer
Richard Walker
Cast
Richard Walker
Running Time
1 hr 30 mins

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