Review: The Titanic Orchestra John Hannah returns to Scottish stage for first time in 25 years

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The Titanic Orchestra

Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33)

Were it not for the presence of John Hannah, I wonder how attention this play would get?

The Scots born actor is making his return to the stage in his home country for the first time in 25 years, so it’s a great opportunity to see him up close.

But the show is, well, a bit of a head scratcher.

It’s different - that’s for sure.

Hannah is performing in an absurdist drama by the Bulgarian writer, Hristo Boychev.

It’s set in a disused railway station which is home to four down and outs whose lives are fogged by cheap alcohol and all manner of other problems.

They live in the forlorn hope of one of the trains stopping rather than shooting straight past so they can execute their inept masterplan - hopping on board, creating a scene and then swapping suitcases to make off with a passenger’s goods.

One day, a debonair, mysterious man turns up in a box - he tells them he is Harry Houdini.

In that role, Hannah executes some neat tricks, plucking money out of thin air, and slowly relieving them of their supplies of cheap booze.

Suddenly there are also train tickets for all - tickets that lead to a way out, but with no trains stopping, the quartet of lost souls still have no idea how to make the great leap forward.

And so they begin to vanish, one by one.

Is it Houdini’s greatest trick, or he is simply another huckster selling the illusion of a better life?

Minus the Hannah factor I’m not entirely sure this would be playing to full houses.