He Had Hairy Hands @ Pleasance Courtyard
With He Had Hairy Hands, Manchester comedy group Kill the Beast bring an expertly silly production to this year's Edinburgh Fringe. This 1970s supernatural murder mystery oozes with fast-paced, highly visual jokes, deliciously gruesome details and tasteful quantities of green slime.
In what must be an exhausting feat of coordination, the four actors manage to switch between scenes in seconds, convincingly transforming a dog's leash into a telephone cable into an Alpine climbing rope into the bonds holding a tortured prisoner into an upscale tailor's measuring tape. The quick rotation of characters, costumes and accents makes for a jam-packed show, but irredeemably losing track of the course of events is unlikely to happen. The story is wafer thin, and the next song or absurd aside to latch onto is never more than a moment away.
Some of the writing has the impact of a Norwegian troll run amok, though not all of its sophistication. An unborn child is rechristened as an 'unwanted womb bogey,' a less than handsome man 'looks like a worm in a sock' and the occult finds itself on solid underpinnings when the protagonist exclaims: "If the supernatural doesn't exist, then how come it does?"
Achingly clever it may not be, but confidently delivered and very entertaining it certainly is.