Festival

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On the back of her acclaimed Channel 4 series ‘The Book Club’, expectations were high for writer-director Annie Griffin’s feature debut, a fictional foray into the off-stage tantrums and tribulations of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – territory the one-time performer knows only too well. The main strand is devoted to the judging of a high-profile comedy prize (a thinly disguised Perrier Award), where tension’s crackling between local radio personality Daniela Nardini, supposedly Hollywood-bound improv genius Stephen Mangan and shortlisted Irish funnyman Chris O’Dowd, yet there’s time too for bright-eyed talentless neophytes, a paedophile priest and avant-garde Canadians who make quite an impression on their middle-class Edinburgh landlady. Sadly, though, this is one of those ensemble pieces where the comedy isn’t that funny, the drama not terribly biting and the pacing fragmented when it’s not monotonous. These problems are compounded by Griffin’s uncertainty in interweaving her plot strands, often covering transitions with touristy filler material shot in the Scottish capital during last August’s blow-out. There’s a certain authenticity at least, but this has to go down as a big-time missed opportunity.

Release details

Rated: 18
Release date: Friday July 15 2005
Duration: 107 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Annie Griffin
Screenwriter: Annie Griffin
Cast: Amelia Bullmore
Billy Carter
Raquel Cassidy
Megan Dodds
Duncan Duff
Jonah Lotan
Meredith MacNeill
Stephen Mangan
Lyndsey Marshal
Peter McDonald
Stuart Milligan
Daniela Nardini
Chris O’Dowd
Deirdre O’Kane
Dorothy Paul
Lucy Punch
Gabriel Quigley
Clive Russell
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