Casablanca - The Gin Joint Cut

Morag Fullarton
Tron Theatre Company
Pleasance Courtyard

There is a fine line between success and disaster when you transfer a classic from any genre to the stage and then poke gentle fun at it.

In recent years, the proof that this can be done has been The 39 Steps, which managed to wow audiences in the West End and on Broadway.

Morag Fullarton's take on Casablanca is almost as good, after a rather limp start showing the trio of actors preparing for their big moment.

Once we get into Rick's Bar, the fun starts in earnest and, somehow, the company (from Glasgow's Tron) manages to condense all of the film's drama and pathos into under an hour, while getting lots of laughs along the way, and that is no mean feat.

While Humphrey Bogart lookalike Gavin Mitchell as Rick and Claire Waugh as Ilsa seem to have the starring roles and acquit themselves well, they are constantly upstaged by that fine character actor, Jimmy Chisholm. He plays five relatively minor parts, showing the skills of a practised farceur, regularly appearing in two places almost simultaneously.

Add in that poignant tune, played by a rather wooden Sam and you have one of this year's Fringe highlights. Extended to a couple of hours including interval, this concept might just have what it takes to become a global hit.

Reviewer: Philip Fisher

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