Paul T Davies reviews Murder Ballads now playing at Greenside Theatres as part of the Edinburgh Fringe
Here is an absolute treat for Nick Cave fans and those unfamiliar with his work alike, and, late night, it offers a very cool way to end your Fringe day! This is a stage adaptation of the album of the same name by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, told by the regulars of O’Malley’s Bar, Millhaven, West Texas in 1882. It reminded me of the Cohen Brothers’ Balled of Buster Scruggs; stories linked by music, and are equally dark in material- the clue is in the title!
The ensemble is terrific, especially vocally. Writer Gerry Smyth also performs, playing a wonderful comic creation, and Thomas Galashan and Tom Wilson are mighty fine in their roles, both welcoming and threatening when needing to be! But it’s Laura Connolly who is the most impressive in her roles, all clearly distinct, and all of them have a great connection with the audience. It’s very slickly and inventively directed by Ellie Hurt, and there is a huge amount of comedy that balances out the dark, especially when the material begins to feel a little misogynistic.
Perhaps because the show had to be edited for Edinburgh and the accents were a little strong, (but very good), I lost the plot in places. But one of the highlights is Where The Wild Roses Grow, later made famous by Cave and Kylie Minogue, here haunting and sinister and beautifully sung. If you are looking for something a little different this Fringe, this is a production for you, energetically performed by a talented quartet.