Fringe: Performers **

Performers
Performers

Performers **

Assembly Rooms (Venue 20), George Street.

Until August 27, 4.45 pm

Bit of a head scratcher over this one – a drama that gives us a glimpse into London’s 1960s/70s gangsterland and its many characters, but doesn’t deliver much in the way of a story.

Irvine Welsh and long-time collaborator, Dean Cavanagh, are the main names on the poster, giving the show its USP, and expectations of something punchy, something to savour.

Instead, while we get a piece with solid nods to the era of the Krays and is packed with more east end lingo than a rammy in the Queen Vic in Albert Square, it feels like an opening scene rather than a complete story.

It’s set entirely in the office of the producers of the cult 70s film Performance which cast real life gangsters next to Mick Jagger.

So, Alf (Perry Benson) and Fred (George Russo) arrive to see if they can win parts on the film.

Suited and booted, they’re old-school villains – the sort that love their mums, but are not averse to a issuing a slap when one is required. Not exactly Begbies then, but men who still understood the code.

They’re expecting the directors, but are put on hold pending the arrival of a runner who bigs up his actual role in the process.

While an edgy Fred helps himself to anything of value from desks, Alf, the older of the duo, sups a nice cup of tea – said cuppa referenced more times than really necessary – and chats to the office junior who just happens to be the teenage daughter of a fellow gangster doing a stretch in the Scrubs.

When Crispin, the hippyish wannabe director arrives, they suddenly discover the role may involve nudity and so they face the prospect of stripping off.

How far they go to be part of the movie is one of the plots, but it’s also about secrets and exploiting them for personal gain. There is no honour among these thieves.

Everyone here has something to hide, and everyone knows the score, whether that’s a pony or a monkey, the currency of the gangster.

There’s a great story in there somewhere, but Performers plods along at a slow pace without actually getting anywhere.

Benson, who you may recall from Scum and also Benidorm, takes the honours for a more rounded Alf, but this has to go down as a dull hour of drama.

Performers **

Assembly Rooms (Venue 20), George Street.

Until August 27, 4.45 pm

Ticket info at Ed Fringe