Theatre review: The Friday Night Effect

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Edinburgh Festival Fringe: Neatly conceived and brilliantly acted, this interactive theatre performance from Sunday’s Child follows a group of Irish lasses on a night out in Dublin – but only if you decide it that way.

Assembly George Square Studios (Venue 17)

***

At key junctions in the story, the audience are asked to vote on which choice the girls should make – not based on the most sensible course of action, but what they, the audience, would truthfully do in that situation. Hanging over every decision is the threat that the lead character, Collette (Eva O’Connor, who co-wrote the script with Hildegard Ryan), could die by the end of the night.

O’Connor and her co-stars, Mary O’Loan and Annette O’Shea, are exceptional; Pius McGrath, who assumes all seven of the male supporting parts, delivers several good performances and one or two less good (his Jerry is wonderfully pathetic; his Brian, a one-note villain).

The script, too, is lively and absorbing, especially considering how many paths it could take. But the decision to put the girls’ fate to an audience vote, while inventive, feels ghoulishly flippant the closer we come to night’s end; we’ve built up such an affection for these characters, having a Chris Tarrant-style “ask the audience” cliff-hanger leaves a sour taste in the mouth.

Until 28 August. Today 2:35pm.