Scottish Daily Mail

Real drama behind Jaws has lots of bite

- By Alan Chadwick

WE’RE going to need a bigger boat’, says one of the actors in this comedy drama set in 1974 behind the scenes during the making of the Steven Spielberg blockbuste­r, Jaws.

But it’s not a bigger boat The Shark Is Broken needs, it’s a bigger venue. The production, directed by Festival veteran Guy Masterson, and starring Ian Shaw playing his late father Robert, is the runaway hit of this year’s Fringe. And it’s easy to see why. The show and threestron­g cast really are terrific.

A sharp, satirical and hilarious look at Hollywood, and the fame game and celebrity, the show takes its title from the fact that during the movie, shooting had to be held up countless times because of technical difficulti­es with Bruce, the mechanical

shark. ‘Why can’t they just use a tame shark?’ queries a not too bright Richard Dreyfuss.

The play focuses on the relationsh­ip between the film’s three stars – Shaw, Dreyfuss and Roy Scheider – as they spend their downtime together. So we watch them chewing the fat about their careers, (all are convinced the film will bomb); playing cards and, in the case of Shaw and Dreyfuss, constantly clashing.

The hard-drinking Shaw, who never appears without a bottle of booze, has no pretension­s about the movie biz and is keen to get back to his writing and family. The whiny, self-obsessed, neurotic Dreyfuss, (played with a fine twitchy energy here by Liam Murray Scott), is an intellectu­al desert obsessed with celebrity. ‘I’m officially big,’ he crows when the notices come in for his previous movie. Making up the triumvirat­e is Duncan Henderson as the dull, factoid-obsessed Scheider.

Aside from the comedy, there is also a poignancy in Ian Shaw playing his father in his battle with the booze. At one incredibly moving moment, Robert Shaw wonders aloud what his father would have made of his son turning out to be an actor. ‘I wonder if he’d have been proud.’ The applause ringing round the auditorium should at least provide his son with the answer.

Assembly George Square Studios, Aug 21, 23 and 25

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