Comedy review: Nick Coyle: Queen of Wolves

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Edinburgh Festival Fringe: Nick Coyle has always had a propensity for the twisted and a flair for the dramatic.

Underbelly, Cowgate (Venue 61)

***

And he channels both to good effect in this Gothic horror pastiche, with shades of the Brontës and The Turn of the Screw. Considering that this is a one-man production, with the story almost wholly conveyed via the monologue of his character, a poor, plain wretched governess by the name of Frances Glass, the chilling atmosphere the Australian evokes keeps you on the edge of your seat, the simple set cloaking a frightening darkness.

Finding on arrival that the children she was charged with tutoring are dead, Frances accepts an offer from her mysterious patron to house-sit their stately family pile. Scared out of her wits by what she finds tidying the rooms, she nevertheless forms a bond of sorts with the late lady of the house. Full of quirky similes and witty asides the script is consistently amusing. And Coyle imbues Frances with a compelling hysteria, as the plot cranks, via pop starlet Selena Gomez, towards its dread conclusion. Ultimately, the balance is tipped too heavily towards horror but it’s a winning spoof nevertheless.