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Adam Caslin: Nobody's Boy review

Laughing Horse @ Espionage

By Ben Walters |

The quintessential Fringe experience is to take a punt with no expectations on a show happening in the back room of a pub and find yourself in the presence of something special. I haven’t had many such experiences so far this year but Adam Caslin’s ‘Nobody’s Boy’ is one of them. The format is conventional, as are some of the choices: Caslin sings songs about romantic frustration by the likes of Amy Winehouse, Nina Simone and Jacques Brel. His voice isn't always dead on and his patter is pedestrian. But the arc of the set tells its own clear story and when the numbers come off, there’s a charge in the air that makes the hairs on your neck stand up. You believe that he’s actively summoning the energy of his talented arranger and accompanist, Clara Tracey, and channelling it through these songs in the service of a heartfelt expression of pain and anger: when Caslin disgorges the Killers’ ‘Read My Mind’ with fury or delivers Simone’s ‘Be My Husband’ accompanied only by his own stamping foot, it’s electrifying.

And if you like the sound of this, try:

‘The Worst of Scottee’, the alt-performance messmaker’s Edinburgh solo debut, in which reports of his youthful bad behaviour are recounted and unpacked with technical ingenuity and to troubling effect.

For more from Ben Walters in Edinburgh, follow him @not_television


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