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Home arrow Archive: Earlier Fringes arrow Archive: Edinburgh '08 arrow Hit Me:The Life and Rhymes of Ian Dury
Hit Me:The Life and Rhymes of Ian Dury
Published on Sunday, 22 August 2010

4 stars

Gilded Balloon Teviot (venue website)
4-30 Aug (not 10, 17, 24), 3:00pm (4:30pm)
Reviewed by Catherine Meek

You don’t have to be an Ian Dury fan to enjoy this outstanding show.  If you are an Ian Dury fan, you will not be disappointed: from the photo on the flyer it’s obvious that Dury impersonator Mark White is a lookalike, but once you’ve actually seen his high-quality performance you’d be forgiven for mistaking him for the original article.

The drama, like in Dury’s life, is intense and spans three decades from 1970.  Energetic performances from White, true to the originals of Dury’s famous hits (Reasons to be Cheerful; Hit Me with your Rhythm Stick), intersperse with a visceral monologue in which Dury’s background torment is revealed.

Far from the bold performer he is, the real-life Dury is also seen struggling with mental anguish and his disability from polio. The script highlights Dury’s loneliness and his dependency on his manager and friend Fred ‘Spider’ Rowe, superbly played by Josh Darcy, the only other member of the cast.  Spider is a simple, even one-dimensional character, but this does leave room for the intensity of Dury’s drama.

It seems churlish to criticise this generally magnificent show, but in fairness to review readers, I am bound to note that this script is overladen with expletives.  For all I know, this may replicate the bawdy nature of Dury’s and Spider’s communication, but the language evidently did offend some if not many of the audience.  I also wondered at the level of expression given to a character who wrote his own songs in plain yet poetic language.

Despite those reservations, I have no hesitation in recommending this polished, entertaining and high-quality performance.

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