It’s a bit disconcerting to come across a straightforward tragicomic play at the Edinburgh Fringe, but that’s what Max Dickins’ Kin is. Just two actors and a funny script: no highbrow concept, no meta-theatrical playfulness, just laughs. And plenty of them.
Two estranged sisters reunite after more than a decade apart to watch over their father during his last days. They bicker about ex-boyfriends, reopen old wounds and pore over their festering family history.
It’s a change of tack from Dickins’ last show – the missing person mystery The Man on the Moor – and it proves him to be a dextrous playwright capable of sharp wit and emotional maturity. There’s a real snap and crackle to his dialogue here.
Oliver Senton’s unshowy production is helped by two excellent performances from Abigail Burdess and Kate Alderton. Burdess – familiar perhaps from some small-screen comedy roles – is particularly good, witheringly witty at first, then emotionally raw come the surprisingly moving conclusion.
There are much more daring, much more innovative examples of new writing on offer in Edinburgh, but if straightforward and sensitively handled comedy-drama is what you’re after, Kin will take some beating.