ThE­ATRE ThE WAY TO KEEp hIM spOTLITEs@THE MEr­CHANT’s HALL (VENUE 278) HHHHH

The Scotsman - - Fringereviews Hotshow -

THIs re­gency play by Arthur Mur­ray was orig­i­nally staged in 1760 with David Gar­rick in the lead­ing role.

Ar­ti­fice, a new pro­fes­sional com­pany de­voted to re­viv­ing in­fre­quently per­formed plays in pe­riod set­tings, has cho­sen a re­cep­tion room in the Mer­chant’s Hall to make its Ed­in­burgh de­but.

It’s billed as site-spe­cific which isn’t quite true – a light and airy liv­ing room would have been bet­ter suited to the play, which still sparkles with wit af­ter more than 300 years.

Mur­ray satirised the new con­sumerism of the time, with men be­com­ing dandies and de­vot­ing them­selves to plea­sure. His play fea­tures some strong and fas­ci­nat­ing women, who he warns not to be­come com­pla­cent in a world where men sud­denly have so much op­por­tu­nity to amuse them­selves.

The eight play­ers give a spir­ited and amus­ing per­for­mance which dusts off Mur­ray’s text and brings it to life. The elab­o­rate cos­tumes, by Hi­lary Bax­ter, are re­ally stun­ning, al­though pos­si­bly they made the ac­tors too hot. Un­for­tu­nately for the au­di­ence, this meant the air con­di­tion­ing was switched up so high it was like sit­ting in a fridge.

CLAIRE SMITh

Un­til 30 Au­gust. To­day 4:15pm.

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