Joe Presley in Half a Person
Joe Presley in Half a Person

Not being a big Smiths fan myself, it's difficult to work out whether one of them would love or loathe this theatrical tribute.

Things start off well for Half a Person: My Life As Told By The Smiths, a one hour show which was picked up by King's Head at the Edinburgh Fringe and reworked by Cross Cut theatre company.

It opens well, with a bold entrance from skinny jeans-clad William (Joe Presley), spinning a leftfield anecdote about being cornered in a YMCA sauna - but it soon becomes predictable.

At times it's like being stuck in a one-way conversation at a party while he pours out his life history - but without the escape route of going for another drink. Girlfriend angst, a gay best friend who loves him, it's all a bit hollow.

It's also hard to settle down into the story when you're worrying which song lyrics will pop up next. The most striking lines are all hacked up versions of Morrissey's best: "I'm just another boy with a self-inflicted thorn needing extraction."

Pretty boy Presley is amiable enough and does a decent imitation of the Smiths' singer during the song snippets which break up the action, all to an awkward karaoke backing track. But the curled hand gestures so clearly Morrissey's affectation aren't kept up in his monologue which is jarring.

Director Donald Purlford should have ironed out kinks like these for a smoother finish.

Half a Person: My Life As Told By The Smiths continues at the King's Head until 16 February