Comedy review: Raphael Wakefield: Wengerball, Assembly George Square, Edinburgh

If Roy Keane can inspire a musical, then Arsène Wenger can inspire a winning character tragicomedy, attests this impressive debut from Raphael Wakefield.

Raphael Wakefield: Wengerball, Assembly George Square Studios (Venue 17)

Raphael Wakefield: Wengerball, Assembly George Square, Edinburgh * * *

Although it contains some lovely caricatures of the likes of José Mourinho and Gary Neville, you don't have to be a football fan to appreciate the tale Wakefield imparts, how the professorial Frenchman revolutionised England's beautiful game, but was destroyed by the commercial forces he helped usher in.

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Like Caesar in Julius Caesar, Wenger actually remains a remote figure, more spoken of than speaking. Wakefield instead makes his focus Arsenal FC's calculating US billionaire owner, Stan Kroenke, his insipid son Josh and an unlikely central protagonist, former vice-chairman David Dein. A scheming hunchback, pouring rebellion into Josh's ear, Dein nevertheless seems to have the club's best interests at heart. Pivotal in facilitating Wengerball, with its influx of silky European players, he's a complex character, backing his man while appeasing a sceptical board of grotesques, including Sir “Chips” Keswick, rendered here as a self-satisfied, cannibal potato. Jumping in and out of character, Wakefield also affords glimpses of his own life, the parallels with Josh in his frustrated creative ambitions.

Like Wenger, he's ultimately emboldened to realise that the performance is everything.

Until 26 August