Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas*** (Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh)

Posted: August 12, 2014 in Theatre

fear-and-loathing-2-lst143046Going into the 1970s, America, with Nixon in the White House and still traumatised by assassinations and Vietnam, needed to be high on drugs and Hunter S Thompson’s famed novel offered the fantasy equivalent. The novel’s unstructured, anarchic form makes it almost impossible to dramatise, but Lou Stern has done a pretty fair job, concentrating on comic set pieces to show us the psychedelic mayhem resulting when a journalist (Tom Moores) and his “attorney” (Rob Crouch) set off for a long weekend in Vegas in a convertible packed full with every conceivable form of drugs. Dressed in Hawaiian shirts and wearing sun glasses, the pair are, at times, very funny and a narrator (John Chancer) strings the episodes together, adding a little gravity towards the end. The sets are as tacky as the city in which most of the action takes place (before it became family friendly), but Stern’s high energy production helps shortcomings to go unnoticed. The world has changed in 40 years, but this show gives us a nostalgic “trip” down the sleazier corners of Memory Lane.

Performance date: 12 August 2014

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