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Leviticus review at Zoo Charteris, Edinburgh – ‘tonally uncertain but eventually exhilarating’

The cast of Leviticus, on at Zoo Charteris, Edinburgh The cast of Leviticus, on at Zoo Charteris, Edinburgh
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There’s a lot stuffed into Mandi Riggi’s Leviticus. Probably too much, in truth. It’s presented here by Where Are They Going, a New York-based company co-founded by Steven Spielberg’s son that focuses on developing new plays, but although Abigail Zealey Bess’ fast-paced production finds a hectic, headlong rush, Riggi’s play is too rough and too ragged to completely convince.

Just listen to this: Austin and Jess are a married couple. He’s gay. She’s not but knows he is. He’s dying. She desperately wants a child. He’s a dot-com millionaire. She’s a former prostitute. An old friend, Robert, comes over with his bible-bashing fiance in tow, and a secret life all of his own to divulge. All hell breaks loose.

The acting is fine. Megan Tusing is particularly great as Stacia, Robert’s hyperactive, comically homophobic wife-to-be. But there’s a tonal inconsistency to Bess’ staging that dampens the play’s farcical sense of fun.

At first, it tries to be all slick and sophisticated like an Aaron Sorkin script. Then it transforms into a diabolical dinner party like something from a cringe-worthy sitcom. It’s only towards the end that the show discovers the breakneck bravado it should have sustained throughout.

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A tonally uncertain but eventually exhilarating comedy-drama from New York-based company Where Are They Going