Theatre review: Double Feature

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Edinburgh Festival Fringe:

Gilded Balloon Rose Theatre (Venue 76)

***

They’re Edinburgh’s favourite comedy double act, stars of the annual pantomime at the King’s Theatre; and now, at the new Rose Theatre off Charlotte Square, Andy Gray and Grant Stott offer another rousing master-class in light-touch Fringe comedy, after recent hits including the Fringe First winning Kiss Me Honey Honey, back in 2013.

This year, the vehicle for their extraordinary partnership is Phil Differ’s Double Feature, first seen last year at A Play, A Pie And A Pint as Moving Pictures, but now given a new ending with more tragic overtones.

For old pals Mikey and Davey, the job of clearing out the old local cinema before it’s converted into flats brings back powerful memories of wonderful childhood and teenage days spent in the back stalls, watching the greatest movies of the late 20th century; and for most of its length, Differ’s play is just a friendly, jokey nostalgia trip, part cultural, part social, as the two men send each other up rotten while reminiscing about the sleazy manager, and the all-powerful box office manageress who doubled as interval ice-cream girl.

In the end, something darker intrudes, as we realise that ghosts are only memories with an exceptional grip on our emotions. And although Differ’s play is mostly the lightest of stuff, it offers Gray and Stott a range of wonderful opportunities for the inspired, slightly surreal by-play that is the trademark of their stage relationship, and of what’s fast becoming one of those priceless comic partnerships, never to be missed.

Until 28 August. Today 7:15pm.