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Silk Road (Edinburgh Fringe)

A fast-paced monologue about the darker side of the internet

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

You can do anything on the internet these days. Date, buy clothes, deal drugs. In a bid to improve his lot and impress his ex-girlfriend, 19-year-old Bruce quickly discovers just how easy it is to sell narcotics out of his bedroom. Under the cover of a tea cosy business run with his nan, the protagonist of Alex Oates' new play finds that his product is soon flying off the shelves, all with a little help from the eponymous online dealing network.

Delivered as a fast-paced, intermittently poetic monologue, Silk Road offers us Bruce's perspective in jumpy snatches. One moment he is rhapsodising about the girl he has lost his heart to, the next he is offering us facts about the ins and outs of online drug selling. It can be difficult to keep up with, and some of the detail is lost in the rush of its frantic delivery by the otherwise excellent James Baxter. It is almost as if the show itself has been sampling the substances that Bruce so successfully sells.

Of course, a tale about drug dealing cannot be expected to conclude without complications. Bruce eventually runs into trouble, discovering that his chosen trade is not as simple as he first thought. From here on in, Oates' play settles onto familiar tracks, offering little to surprise its audience. The internet certainly has a dark, murky underside, but don't expect to see much light shed on it here.

Silk Road runs at Assembly George Square Studios until 25 August

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