Theatre review: DeLorean

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Edinburgh Festival Fringe: In 1981, the first DeLorean sports cars rolled off the production line in Belfast, brainchild of American entrepreneur John DeLorean and herald of a bright future in a city blighted by violence and unemployment.

Assembly Rooms (Venue 20)

***

Less than two years later, the plant closed and the company was declared bankrupt. Jon Ivay’s new play sets out to tell the complex story of the DeLorean dream and how it failed so spectacularly, taking millions of pounds of government subsidy with it.

From the outset, the play feels overly burdened with detail. Trying too hard to be comprehensive, it buries the dramatic potential of the story under the weight of still more events, people and places. A charismatic performance from Cory Peterson as DeLorean leads a strong cast of eight, but the staging feels unimaginative – we don’t see a single car, far less the distinctive wing-doored DMC-12, the car of Back to the Future.

Thoroughly researched and carefully dramatised, the play will appeal to anyone with an interest in the story. But some of the most interesting questions – was DeLorean a conman, a madman or a visionary? – are unanswered, while potentially fruitful plotlines, such as the British PA who attempted to betray him, remain unexplored.

Until 27 August. Today 12 noon.