Theatre review: Who is Daniel King, Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh

Dan does the white man's overbite in Ed Eales-White's sitcom-esque play
Dan does the white man's overbite in Ed Eales-White's sitcom-esque play
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Dan's got a job, a partner and baby, but, he wonders, is he really 'living his best life'? Shouldn't he, maybe, be a dancer?

Who is Daniel King, Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh * * * *

Swapping his business suit for a tracksuit, he abandons his family responsibilities to follow his dreams. The only problem is he has no training or conventional talent ­– just a weird groin-heavy move that everyone finds creepy. And yet his under-supported partner, Anne Marie, and frantically-clinging-onto-his-youth best friend (dynamically played by Ed Coleman), have their own, subtler dance moves, which they nonchalantly perform as they deliver the comic one-liners of Ed Eales-White's sitcom-esque dialogue. In this world it seems dancing is allowed, but only if you don't do it too much.

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It's a great, original concept that takes what could be a standard mainstream comedy, complete with the familiar figure of a female killjoy spouse (who Lorna Shaw works hard to flesh out), into more surreal and silly territory. "I don't need to learn anything, " Dan says. 'I've seen Black Swan." Played with amusing understatement by Eales-White, this ageing everyman is so convinced by his ability to move it's simultaneously hilarious and inspiring – a counter-narrative to all the men who believe that they can't dance or are so sacred by the prospect that they fail to see any joy in it.

The piece ends with Dan deciding to put on a blue leotard and sacrifice all to perform at Oxted's Got Talent. While the play is as uninterested in the fate of Anne Marie as he is, the selfishness of the dancer is taken to its logical, ridiculous conclusion. With an abrupt but exhilarating finale, this isn't a piece that's interested in exploring the consequences of Dan's actions, but instead creates an appealing fantasy in which both we and he can buy into the idea that these don't exist.

Until 24 August

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