Theatre review: Three Tales of Life and Death by Craig Lucas

Edinburgh Festival Fringe: Craig Lucas is a Pulitzer and Tony-nominated playwright but perhaps best-known as the screenwriter of 1989 Aids drama Longtime Companion.

Assembly Rooms (Venue 20)

***

Like many writers, you suspect he must have a drawer full of unused ideas and scenes that don’t lead anywhere. Unlike other writers, however, you suspect Lucas has decided to group a load of these pieces together and call it a play.

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That’s not to say this isn’t worthwhile: the professionalism of veteran actors Richard Kline and Pamela Shaw ensure that every comedic beat is hit.

The opening sexagenarian tryst gone wrong is worthy of mid-range Woody Allen but how it relates to a Twilight Zone-ish tale of a lonely barmaid visited by an enigmatically mute customer or the closer – where the ghosts of HIV victims ponder the Aids quilt in Washington DC – is not readily apparent.

In the background, a TV screen frequently comments on the action with scene-setting news clips (although quite how the Edward Snowden story figures in this collage of love and mortality may prove impenetrable).

As a piece, this may fail to coalesce into a satisfying whole but the polished performers lend it an enjoyable sheen.

Until 26 August. Tomorrow 3:50pm.