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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Paddy Cunneen's Fleeto can't be the only play about Glasgow gangs at this year's Fringe but it's surely the most powerful. And don't let the fact that it's based on The Iliad and written in blank verse put you off.

In fact, Cunneen's extraordinary script is the star. Transplanting tragedy from classical Troy to the Easterhouse estates, it's the story of Mackie (Jordan McCurrah), a teenager caught up in an act of random revenge after his own friend is stabbed. If 'caught up' seems a passive euphemism for 'committing', it's because Mackie never sets out to murder. But his fate intervenes.

From the bold blue of Scottish pride to the glistening red on Mackie's blade, Cunneen paints a vivid portrait, establishing light and shade not just in setting but moral commentary, mostly voiced by the Greek chorus of the duty police officer (Steven McNicoll). Here is the heart of self-Lothian, he quips, but you're not so far removed from it yourself.

Sparsely choregraphed but superbly acted, it's the language that lingers. It sounds like Shakespeare but pours out of teenage mouths as truth. A short, sharp, stab of a play whose dance of death plays out in your mind, as it does in Mackie's, long after the event.

- Nancy Groves


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