*** WHO'S AFRAID OF HOWLIN' WOLF C SOCO (VENUE 348)
THE set-up is more Edward Mamet than Edward Albee: two men talk as they staff a late-night jazz/blues radio station. The deliberately mundane dialogue is less than sparkling ("I hate sugar, it tastes like blood – or batteries") but there's a bittersweet twist in the tale.
A Howlin' Wolf record causes Lester (James Scott) to reminisce about the time he received a call at the station from a smoky-voiced siren at four in the morning. The affair is improbable – but then again, they often are. The reasons for it ending are ludicrous – but then again…
Writer-director Dave Fargnoli's play is slender but enlivened by a fine cast and original presentation. Ashley Hunt as Lester's colleague gives a very fine comic performance, but the undisputed star of the show is Megan Maczko as the obscure – and impossibly beautiful – object of desire.
She could have stepped straight from the set of a 1940s Hollywood movie and is blessed by an extraordinary singing voice. She's backed by the Poison Whiskey Blues Band – two Edinburgh musicians whose on-stage strumming acts as a kind of Greek chorus (one nifty ad-lib by them nearly brought the house down).
Fargnoli should tighten his script to showcase more of Maczko's wonderful voice, but this show is impossible to dislike. It's slight but sweet and warm – like a stolen kiss, or a sip of Jack Daniels.
Until 25 August. Today 8:45pm