Nick Coyle @ Underbelly Cowgate
Comic chills in a mock Gothic melodrama
The Brontë Sisters meet Norman Bates in this comedy horror from charismatic character actor Nick Coyle. He plays Frances Glass, a virginal Victorian governess – complete with black bonnet and tight corset – who’s asked to look after creepy Blackbell House for six weeks while the master is away. A tense tale then unfolds as sheets are swished off twitching pieces of furniture and secrets are whispered by ghostly voices on the back of the wind.
It’s an atmospheric piece with lovely design and art direction and a winning performance from the happily dragged-up Coyle. He more or less manages to keep the flow going even when the writing sags, and he’s in his element whenever his winsome heroine gets a chance to cavort to modern pop music.
In the end though, a bit more time spent on the writing would have made this stronger. The faux-Gothic story doesn’t quite deliver and the scares are largely undone by the general air of spoofiness. Neither of these flaws would matter if there were enough gags, but the pacing is uneven and the set-piece moments feel a touch overextended.
Nick Coyle: Queen of Wolves, Underbelly Cowgate (Iron Belly), until 27 Aug (not 15), 5.30pm, £8-10