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Silence of the Trams II
Published on Wednesday, 18 August 2010

3 stars

The Stand Comedy Club (venue website)
6 - 30 Aug (not 16), 6:40pm (7:40pm)
Reviewed by Trystan Davies

All aboard!  Or, in this case, maybe not.  The Edinburgh tram plan is stalling, but the city's comedians are in full flow.  The question is, how strange can things get?

If you're looking for an insight into Edinburgh’s relationship with its not-so-forthcoming public transport system, then this is the show for you.  Your guides are Stand regulars Jim Park, Derek Johnston, Niall Browne, Gordon Alexander and Martin McAllister. 

First stop, and the audience is introduced to the tram route on a large screen.  Suddenly we flash back to 2001, when Edinburgh’s politicians are debating how to distract people from city problems – cue the tram idea.  Second stop, and we jump to the near future; the trams are running, but a conductor tells some very bad jokes along the way.

Each tram drop-off is a slice of Edinburgh life – a sardonic shoplifter who’s unhappy with what he’s stolen, the hilariously arrogant businessmen, and a naïve, posh student trying out tram jokes at the Fringe.  Like the trams project itself, some sketches (deliberately) fail to finish.  Others point out dragging aspects of Scottish life, from the national football team to the release of the Lockerbie bomber.  By the final stop, the line has reached the airport, and the show ends in the year 2031; the council are now arguing over how to distract people from the trams – with interesting results… 

The four local comics highlight how strange the experience of the tram system is, while pointing out incisively that the city of Edinburgh and Scotland can also be odd.  Unfortunately, however, these two components don’t balance out.  There's scope for much more regarding the trams themselves and how we got to the situation we're in; the construction process must be ripe for satire.  The show's approach may have more appeal to a non-local audience, but the four strayed too far from the main subject for my own taste.

Unlike Edinburgh's transport, The Silence of the Trams II is well thought out; but like the tram model in Princes Street, it needs a bit of polish. 

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These are archived reviews of shows from the Edinburgh Fringe 2010.  We keep our archives online as a courtesy to those we've featured, and for readers who'd like to research previous years' reviews.

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