The Club review at Gilded Balloon, Edinburgh – ‘huge promise’
It’s the mad bad awkward 90s and the Tardis in London is under threat of closure. Running club nights behind the front of an arts centre, owners George (Ruaraidh Murray) and Nick (Mark Farrelly) need to make a lot of money very quickly to pay the rent. Luckily there’s a big party they’re doing tonight with people like Sting turning up.
George frets but is banking they’ll come through financially, but things are rapidly derailed by Nick who’s blithely setting up a booth by the entrance to entice celebrities to help him complete his collection of arsehole casts to get vital arts funding. Oh, and there’s mega-hoodlum Dave Sharkey, who’s on his way over to collect a rather large debt George hasn’t quite got around to mentioning to Nick.
It’s all gloriously, darkly downhill from here in this rollercoaster farce penned by (the non-fictional) Murray. Tied to chairs by Sharkey as he plots their demise, our hapless duo desperately concocts escape plans while descending into a spiral of ill-advised last-minute confessions and revelations that turn their already convoluted lives into a bitterly funny spider’s web of deceit.
Aided and abetted by Joe Harmston’s tight direction, Murray and Farrelly keep the tension going while also getting the laughs, fuelled by the constant plot reminders that you can rely on family, even if they’re arseholes. There’s a huge amount of promise in this one-acter and you can see this effortlessly expanded to TV.