Returning to the Fringe after three successful years and sell out shows- Big Sean, Mikey and Me, Boxman and Bath Time– Ruaraidh Murray teams up with Megan Shandley in the title role of Allie for 2015’s offering and rest assured it is as impressive, if not even more so than previous offerings. The tagline ‘Revenge is best served radge’ more than sums it up.
Just as intense and complex as previous works Allie also utilises Edinburgh locations and reference points to great effect but whereas his previous writings saw Murray delve in and out of characters with consummate ease this very dark comedy sees him concentrate his energies into just the one persona: the damaged and abusive Bobby Warren.
Starting with the bold and brassy sounds of ‘Big Spender’- which is used to punctuate crucial moments as the drama twists and turns- the piece begins with Allie introducing us to the charms of Scotland Yard, a park in the Canonmills area of the city, where she meets locally renowned bad boy Bobby Warren in auspicious circumstances. Being a trusting fifteen year old Allie is initially impressed by Bobby’s braggadocio and smart arse attitude. This rather swiftly lends her to falling for his patter and pretty quickly finds herself pregnant.
It is at this juncture that the swift humorous rapport between the two shifts from being playful into something far more sinister and deeply complex as the realities and responsibilities of the situation they are now in starts to reveal itself as something serious. Bobby’s reaction to this is to lash out at anything in his vicinity which more often than not turns out to be the defenceless and eventually worn down Allie.
Things go from bad to worse very quickly and just as it seems Allie has little chance of extricating herself from her impossible situation Bobby conveniently provides her with an escape. Or does he?
Murray and Shandley work excellently together in this extremely competent piece of high tension drama which shifts and changes pace excellently making you both laugh and cower away almost simultaneously. The dialogue is outstanding, the humour raucous, ribald and totally believable whilst the darker moments are brilliantly handled; never do you not believe in the characters or the drama unfolding. The challenge of a bigger theatre space and having someone onstage to spar with has lent Murray the power to develop his writing in a more intense and concise manner and Tim Stark’s direction is spot on. Once again Ruaraidh has provided us with one of the Fringe highlights. In fact this could very well be THE Fringe highlight!
Bump is at The Gilded Ballon at 5pm every day until the 31st August.