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Performers review at Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh – ‘limp and laboured’

Performers at Assembly Rooms. Performers at Assembly Rooms. Photo: Alex Brenner

This can’t be the same Irvine Welsh. Master of the Scottish gothic, king of dialect, author of Trainspotting and Filth? It can’t be the same Irvine Welsh who’s spaffed out this, the latest creaking, irrelevant entry into the annual ‘huge, bollocks celeb-y comedy’ category.

Written with frequent collaborator Dean Cavanagh, who’s also never usually as shit as this, it’s a limp and laboured farce-lite that could happily have been penned 50 years ago.

To give the boys their dues, the set-up’s quite cool. It’s the story of two low-rent gangsters auditioning for roles in Donald Cammell and Nicolas Roeg’s 1970 film Performance. They trade sub-Mojo gags while they wait for Cammell to show. There’s some business with one of them having shagged the other’s niece, and then a posh pillock called Crispin arrives and unconvincingly convinces the elder to take his clothes off.

In the early moments it feels like it might be all building to a comic climax, but instead we get a quick glimpse of Perry Benson’s arse and the curtain falls. There are probably questions to be asked about the relentless, snickering homophobia and casual tossing about of racial epithets, but why bother? A wet fart of a play.

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Heinously unfunny gangster ‘comedy’ by two writers who should and do know better