Aug 16 2017 | By More

★★☆☆☆   Familiar

Sweet Holyrood (Venue 94): Fri 4 – Sun 27 Aug 2017
Review by Hugh Simpson

Anomaly Theatre Company’s iDENTiTY at Sweet Holyrood showcases the work of writer/director Jack Jackman, in a way that is diverting but seems less than the finished article.

It is billed as ‘a sequence of darkly humorous plays’, but this is overstating the case somewhat. It is really a series of extended sketches and half-developed ideas, as if Jackman was not sure which one to run with.

iDENTiTY CRiSiS – Alyssa Muego and Rhea Paterson. Pic Anomaly Theatre Company

There is also no real connection between them – although a couple are about modern science and Big Data. They mostly deal with ‘who you really are’ – but that it is a worryingly vague theme that could encompass most of western theatre.

A sketch about a frantic bride-to-be is effective, while a piece about online trolling has some ideas worth exploring, but a lame skit about a bank robbery should have been jettisoned. The attention-seeking typography of the title seems to be trying to divert attention from the lack of real focus behind it.

What is not in doubt is the ability of the cast. Technical problems on this occasion meant a delayed start and a lack of stage lighting, but there is no need to make allowances for some committed performances. Jackman himself is at ease with his own material, while Aneurin Rees is an interesting presence, capable of underplaying and of huge gestures.

impressive and versatile

Alyssa Muego, Serena Doran and Rhea Paterson are impressive and versatile performers. Thomas Jaffray spends a little too long straining after laughs that are not going to come, but when he settles down has convincing comic rhythms.

There is no doubt that Jackman has some interesting ideas that chime with contemporary concerns. What he needs to do is pick one and stick with it instead of spreading himself as thinly as he has here.

Running time 1 hour 5 minutes (no interval)
Sweet Holyrood (Venue 94), Macdonald Holyrood Hotel, EH8 8AU
Friday 4 – Sunday 27 August 2017
Daily (not Wed 9, Wed 16, Thurs 24, Fri 25) at 3.45 pm
Book tickets on the Fringe website:
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