Dogstar Production’s Tailor of Inverness, revived in the time slot just before Jacobite Country at the Cowbarn, won a Fringe First in 2008. And author Henry Adam’s earlier satire The People Next Door was a huge hit at the Traverse in 2003, also winning a Fringe First before transferring to London and touring worldwide. So the pedigree of this new play was highly promising - which makes the disturbingly unfunny result all the more disappointing.
Maybe you have to be Scottish or even from Jacobite Country, ie the Highlands, to get it. The work of Dogstar, based in Inverness, is inspired by the region’s “defining characteristics”, including a marginalised history, shifting population and harsh but beautiful landscape. But, to be honest, I don’t think I’d care much about the characters – an angry stand-up named Haggis McSporran and his wired friend Craitur Face – even if I were.
They meet in a mental hospital and what follows – suicide attempts, the massacre of Shetland ponies, comedy circuit success and an uzi-wielding, pot-dealing grandma – may be a dream or even a dream within a dream ... or not. Whichever, while the four-strong cast (all women, three of them playing men – which, I assume, is a metaphor for aforementioned marginalisation), you’re keen to wake up from it long before the end.