Theatre review: Deal With The Dragon

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In the heady world of San Francisco’s art scene, two artists vie for a career-making award.

Star rating: ***

Venue: C Nova (Venue 145)

Gandhi Schwartz (yes, really) is loud and seemingly hell-bent on self-destruction through drugs, alcohol and meaningless sex; Hunter is reserved, crippled with neuroses and living with a seductive but dangerous dragon named Bren.

Kevin Rolston’s one-man show manages to be both a grown-up fairytale laced with terror (predominantly from Hunter’s perspective) and a darkly camp comedy (courtesy of Gandhi).

Bren gets the best of both worlds: a German-accented aristo toying playfully with a telemarketer one moment and literally breathing fire the next. Rolston dives headfirst into the dragon’s physicality, sumptuously flexing his wings and snorting ­animalistically when enraged.

It’s more than a tad self-indulgent – Gandhi’s funny-dark AA monologue goes on a shade too long, as does a somewhat redundant ­epilogue – but Rolston is a highly watchable performer, and Hunter’s denouement with Bren displays a solid knowledge of what makes mythical story structures so indelible. Keep an eye out too for Rolston’s improv skills – with the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo thundering on just a stone’s throw from the venue, Gandhi’s reactions to unexpected sound effects are priceless.

Until 29 August. Today 8:30pm.

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