Theatre review: The Year That I got Younger

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THE YEAR THAT I GOT YOUNGER **** SWEET GRASSMARKET (VENUE 18)

AINDRIAS de Staic is as close as you'll get to an Irish Phil Kay: a wild-eyed shock of Celtic unpredictability, with a mass of unruly hair, a boho get-up and a startling over-eagerness to whip out his instrument unannounced (a violin, that is).

The Galwayman debuted at the Fringe last year with Around The World On 80 Quid, which went on to scoop a couple of awards. This new show tells his story of trying to sober up while on a 12-month visa in Australia.

It takes de Staic a while to figure out that he wants to sober up, so we first hear of him dealing ecstasy pills smuggled from Dublin in felt pens, and smoking crack with his mate before watching him float off down a river in his fiddle case. He finally gets clean with Aborigines in the outback, after taking a friend's polite advice to try going 'walkabout' ("that's Australian for 'fook off'").

The one addiction de Staic's incapable of kicking is music, and since he's lost his violin, he has to find alternative fixes – from blowing a teapot to tooting atonally on plastic pipe with a condom on top, played through a loop peddle to create a freaky cacophony.

Often the show leaves the bounds of theatre altogether and locks into a freewheeling musical stand-up groove; by the time he's finally got his hands back on his instrument (I still mean his fiddle, although he is just wearing pants by now) the sense of joy and redemption expressed through his playing is quite moving.

Like Kay again, de Staic's genuinely off the rails ("ADD, OCD, all that shoite") and has no quality filter. But there's no doubting that the man's got talent and humour in abundance – he's just doesn't seem to know exactly what to do with it yet. That watching him try to figure it out is a gut-bustingly funny experience in itself says a lot about how much of a prospect this original crackpot truly is.

• Until 24 August. Today 7:45pm

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