44 Inch Chest, theSpace on North Bridge, Edinburgh * * *
Performed by a talented cast, this lively play – which was also adapted into a film – might start off like numerous other Tarantino-esque gangster flicks, but writers David Scinto and Louis Mellis give it a subversive twist, through the character of Colin, who doesn’t really want the man who slept with his wife Liz tortured, but instead for him to understand his feelings of disappointment and heartache.
This is a story of unrequited love dressed up as a macho thriller and told in a way that eventually undermines the grim chauvinism banded about by Old Man Peanut and the rest of the gang – although there’s plenty of that too, with camp sociopath Meredith simultaneously creepy and unapologetic about his sexuality in a way that also creates a provocative mix.
While the piece at times feels like an overly heightened pastiche and ends rather abruptly, it’s metamorphosis from one thing to another invites us to reassess this film genre’s fascination with throwaway violence and consider how it might be replaced by something more compassionate and hopeful.
Until 24 August