Soap star slips effortlessly into one-man show mode

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I Shot Dirty Den, ***** Underbelly, Cowgate WHAT happens to your favourite soap characters when their plotlines come to an end? Do they survive off-screen, buying up all the properties on Albert Square and plotting a comeback after 20-odd years, or do the actors simply move on to pastures new?

For Pavel Douglas, alias EastEnders gangster Gregory Mantel, the answer is a combination of the two.

In his one-man play, which is part-autobiography and part-fiction, Douglas tells the story of his childhood in post-war Poland, his move to Britain at a young age, and how he ended up at Edinburgh's Underbelly by way of primetime TV, James Bond movies and voiceovers for nuclear reactors. While Douglas's backstage tales are always entertaining, it's in the insights into his time in Poland, where his Scottish mother was always the outsider, and where he was taught to despise her, that the real heart of the play emerges. Douglas barely knew his father for most of his life, a regret which clearly still haunts him.

Confident and engaging throughout, Douglas is a welcoming host with a story to tell. Forget EastEnders, this is real life.

&#149 Until August 25