Billed as a “lovingly disrespectful homage” to that great love story from Hollywood, Casablanca: The Gin Joint Cut does exactly that: seventy years on since the film was first released, Casablanca is ripe for a little ribbing.
Directed by Morag Fullarton a talented cast of three play all the roles between them, in a Stones in His Pockets, ‘deliberately change character on stage’ sort of way.
Jimmy Chisholm is a gloriously camp Captain Renault and heroic Resistance leader Victor Laszlo while Clare Waugh is both the jut-jawed Nazi Major Strasser and Ingrid Bergman’s pouty heroine Ilsa Lund.
Her former lover-turned-cynic Rick Blaine is the excellent Gavin Mitchell – and he does a damn good Humphrey Bogart. Mitchell relishes the classic, oft-parroted lines (“Here’s lookin’ at you, kid”) but he’s already taken the mick out of them earlier, so in this topsy-turvy world of parody that’s allowed.
Early on, some amusing “behind-the-scenes” style interviews mimic Hollywood’s penchant for gossip and show off how talented these character actors are. We could easily have gobbled up more of these.
There was still a thrill down my spine at some moments between Rick and Ilsa – even though the rug is swiftly and skilfully pulled out from under each serious scene. I can’t stop humming “As Time Goes By” - but with a wry smile at the almost-unacceptable-joke that, naturally, accompanies it.
Credit must go to the production team which pulls in real laughs with mad sound effects - this Casablanca with a twist is a proper team effort. Mostly spot-on gags and cracking impersonations make this transfer from the Edinburgh festival (for the second year running) a fun, irreverent humdinger.