Gary Busey's One-Man Hamlet as performed by David Carl

David Carl

PM2 Entertainment, Richard Jordan Productions, ProjectY in association with Underbelly

Underbelly, Cowgate

From 06 August 2015 to 30 August 2015

Rating: *****

Review by Graeme Strachan

There's a telling moment in David Carl's affectionate parody of Hollywood's favourite C-list lunatic actor Gary Busey, where the actor yells out "I'm 71 years old!". It's the moment where the audience is reminded of the sheer backward brilliance of the concept of this show.

The premise is simple enough: having recently won the UK Celebrity Big Brother, Gary Busey has decided to perform Hamlet to the Edinburgh Fringe audiences.

It's a brilliant act of mimicry, with Carl embodying the exaggerated persona of a man over 40 years his senior with practised ease. Grinning manically and prone to unexpected ticks, whoops and bursts of laughter, he lopes around the stage; performing every role in the play through a combination of affected voices, puppetry and pre-recorded video.

It's a surprisingly close working of the play, as ostensibly each act and scene is performed to some extent. Although with some notable moments of hilarious adaptation.

It's the truest sort of manic Fringe comedy theatre. Bafflingly bizarre and pant-soilingly hysterical from the first moments, till the improvised Q&A session at the end. This is a show that may seem like a clash of ideas, but Shakespeare has never met Hollywood this entertainingly before.