Young Pretender

E V Crowe
Nabokov, Escalator, East to Edinburgh and Hull Truck
Underbelly

It's always interesting to see how the Fringe will manage to make new ideas come to the fore. There is always some new fashion in which a classic play or famous moment from history can be re-imagined into a different time or place. In this case Nabokov theatre have re-imagined Bonnie Prince Charlie as a modern day over-ambitious and overreaching hipster, madly in love with himself, his personality and utterly incapable of understanding why things won't work out in his favour.

The play is broken into three parts, the meat of which occurs in the hours before the battle of Culloden where young Charlie and his right hand man stand on the brink of collapse. Much later after the defeat, we gt to see a broken and embittered Charlie confronting his friend's daughter, who repeats the word 'Brilliant' enough times for it to become irritating and a final coda is set in the first days of the campaign, each helping to showcase the man, his actions, the lack of understanding for his chosen people and his inability to realise his own ineffectuality.

The closing scene is well placed and directed as the actors do well to show the difference in the man and his interactions at the three significant moments. However the play drags at the outset and the middle chapter is wordy without saying enough. Still, Crowe has drawn a fascinating caricature of the historical figure and his life.

Reviewer: Graeme Strachan