The play opens with a company of three performers about to go on stage on their first night to present a stripped down version of the iconic film. Thus what we are about to see is a play within a play.
The action takes place in Rick’s bar. Rick is played by Gavin Mitchell who looks and sounds like Humphrey Bogart. Jimmy Chisholm and Clare Waugh play all the other major and minor characters, including Victor Laszlo, Inspector Renault, Major Strasser and, of course, Ilsa Lund, immortalised by Ingrid Bergman.
The pacing of the scenes is fast and they do keep to the outline of the original story which is played out in a tongue in cheek manner with good-natured humour. Quite intentionally, the action does not always link up smoothly. Musical items also appear, the unforgettable ‘As Time Goes By’ and the singing of the Marseillaise.
All the famous lines are quoted especially in the final departure scene where the pace is slowed down for full dramatic effect. All in all, the direction successfully manages to introduce humour into one of Hollywood’s best romantic dramas without demeaning the original.
Just when we think the show is over there is a delightful musical finale as a celebration of a bygone film era.
Reviewed by Ben
Gilded Balloon Teviot: 14
2 to 27 August 2012 (not 13 and 20)
17.15 – 18.15
Fringe Programme Page Number: 265