Theatre review: Dying On Stage
Edinburgh Festival Fringe Scotsman review: Dying On Stage at Lauriston Halls (Venue 163), reviewed by Sue Wilson
Full marks to the Manchester/Liverpool team of playwright Ed Chapman and actor-director Leo Appleton, jointly comprising Hawthornthwaite Productions, for audacity in their choice of title – but thankfully Appleton’s solo performance, as gameshow host Roy Stacey, facing an accusation of under-age sexual harassment, doesn’t die, though it does noticeably wilt as the tale proceeds.
It opens with Stacey in full Saturday-night flow, with us cast as his studio audience. These scenes of his brash, ebullient public persona alternate with vodka-fuelled dressing-room musings, revealing the loneliness and disillusionment beneath the glittering professional success.
Though the sad-clown duality is somewhat over-familiar, and Chapman’s script contains its fair share of clunky phrases, Appleton fleshes out the character effectively, even if the venue’s intimate dimensions demand considerably less projection than he delivers in the live-TV sequences.
When Stacey is accused of drunkenly groping a producer’s daughter at a party, however, the show’s treatment of the issue ends up as a decidedly uncomfortable fudge, especially – and puzzlingly – given the post-Jimmy Savile investigations and arrests that presumably inspired it.
MORE INFO: Dying On Stage at Lauriston Halls (Venue 163), 16-17 August
Originally published in The Scotsman