Jack Docherty: Nothing But
Gilded Balloon at the Museum
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe has always been a strange beast, an incomprehensible stramash of glamour painted over grime, where dreams can spring and die in rapid succession. This has been captured little better than in Jack Docherty’s new semi-autobiographical show about love, life, loss and legacy.
It’s fittingly across a Festival stage that Jack struts casting back to the days of his more youthful vigour and lusty wiles and the alluring audience member who stole his heart one night and led him on an adventurous rollercoaster of emotions. To go further into detail would spoil the wit and carefully crafted narrative that Docherty has woven out here, touching on his love of the city and the Festival, as he carries the crowd from bar to backroom to bedroom; but also film, with plenteous references to famous movie quotes and the cinematic lens which it all plays out through.
Docherty’s tale may be a fantasy of the Fringe, but it’s a grand, romantic epic viewed through rose-tinted beer bottles and the creaky nostalgia of old bones straining after a more spry memory. It’s often self-deprecating and occasionally overfull of recrimination and self-condemnation between the lighthearted moments and genuine laughs.
If even half of it is based on truth, then it’s a surprisingly candid tale, and one that won’t be soon forgotten. If there’s a flaw, though, it’s that Docherty does feel less than spontaneous telling it. It has the sense of a memorised performance rather than a spontaneous story, as the best of raconteurs can bring to any telling. But that’s a minor quibble in what is perhaps the most Festival Fringe of stories.
Reviewer: Graeme Strachan