Poet and playwright Richard Marsh is playing a character called Richard Marsh in his first solo show, which is funny, self-deprecating and full of good gags (“I love you more than Gary Glitter loves Thailand”).
He plays up a sort of ingratiating, bespectacled geekiness – he looks a little like a shorter version of Stephen Merchant of The Office fame -- that makes you wonder if he really means anything he says, and the incessant rhyming doggerel is a little wearing after half an hour or so, like the Edinburgh grey drizzle.
“That’s why I’m here,” he says, “well, just for the beer; my life has been directed by Lars von Trier.”
But the cathartic purpose of his narrative wins out in the end. This is the story of one true love, that of Richard and Shivaun, honeymooning in America in a Honda Civic super-glued with chewy, fruity Skittles (a bowl of them is passed round in the fringe’s most blatant exercise in product placement), and its expiry in a new one.
Richard’s new partner “lives with” his old one, and he with hers: “You’ve been so kind being him for me that I’ll be her for you.” This interesting, poignant development is rather tacked on at the end, but the journey is pleasant enough, and Marsh is clearly a new name to watch.