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Title and Deed (Edinburgh Fringe)

Will Eno's monologue invokes the spirit of Samuel Beckett

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
'A perfect marriage of actor and material': Conor Lovett in Title and Deed
© Joan Marcus

This monologue from American playwright Will Eno feels at times like a therapy session, as an Irish emigre regales us with cautionary tales from his lonely life.

Eno's language is poetic, Beckettian in flavour, and studded with surreal humour. Our host is unsure whether a quote is attributable to Shakespeare or a guy he's painted houses with. Of a potential love interest, he tells us "she had a pretty way of cringing." And perhaps my favourite of all, of reaching a crossroads in life, "I went my separate ways."

There is also deep wisdom in the whimsy, and the tale soon darkens with implications of parental abuse and a recurring motif of death and funerals. "Don't get too lost for too long," he cautions, "they stop looking eventually." But Eno is ever quick to break the tension with an audience aside, and in the great Irish tradition humour is never far away.

Conor Lovett delivers it all effortlessly in a perfect marriage of actor and material. Although perhaps a touch over-long, in a sea of one man shows at Edinburgh there are few as consummate as this.

Title and Deed runs at Assembly Hall until 25 August (not 11)