Bruce(Jack Baxter) is nineteen, unemployed, living with his Nan but desperately seeks to better himself. Setting his sights high he becomes involved with a girl from the right side of the tracks but this fizzles out when she chooses to better herself by going to university he realises he must deploy other methods in which he too can raise himself to a higher social strata gaining respect and financial clout.
The easiest means of doing this, he believes, is by selling drugs via the internet-the Silk Road of the title is the journey such drug transactions take on the black market- and in this venture he enlists his unknowing Nan’s assistance at setting up a decoy business to detract attention. Unfortunately he manages to attract some attention of the most unwelcome kind; a local ‘businessman’, Shaggy, who is none too happy about an interloper encroaching on what he considers to be his territory. What ensues is a situation which goes from bad to worse and then gets even worse as time runs out for Bruce, who cannot meet the unfair demands of his new ‘partner’.
A veritable tour de force, Baxter gives what must surely be a major contender for best performance of the Fringe 2014. Slipping in and out of characters-Shaggy, Nan and even a brilliant Michael Jackson at one ludicrous moment- each perfectly nuanced with a seamless ease; sometimes using a sucker punch motion to indicate a change of scene or situation and sometimes not. His performance is electric, compelling and palpable, never letting up or losing your attention once throughout.
Alex Coates has provided Baxter an excellent script to work with: imaginative, well constructed combined with well thought out and provocative dialogue. The setting is minimal but this only adds to the plethora of talent and energy seething from the stage. I would recommend this show to anyone and in a year when I have yet to see a disappointing piece of drama and the standards are high ‘Silk Road’ and Baxter are the best yet by quite some way.
‘Silk Road’ is on at Assembly George Square’ until August 25th at 1.20pm