The Coach *** (The Scotsman)
EDINBURGH FRINGE FESTIVAL, VENUE 260 @ JURY'S INN
SHIFTING uneasily from comedy to drama, The Coach focuses on Terry, a misguided individual who lives his failed dreams of professional football vicariously through coaching an under-13s team. Early scenes, in which Terry, played with great believability by David Anton, practises his motivational speeches before the mirror while his teenage daughter pleads desperately to be allowed in to use the bathroom, or splutters at the breakfast table over his wife's incomprehension of the beautiful game, are played for laughs at the little man's expense. But increasingly, he emerges as a truly dislikeable character. Matters come to a head in the game's half-time team talk, when at 1-1, Terry lambasts his young charges with a rollocking that would better befit a cup final, yet even now he remains a figure of fun, a blowhard who takes himself too seriously. So it comes as quite a shock to see him being interviewed by the police. Writer Sheahan portrays Terry's tantrums in broad strokes, but there's a recognisable authenticity to him and the play pulls you into his mindset. As his long-suffering wife and the detectives, Caroline Nash, Tom Mason and Susannah Hallcroft provide strong support.
• Until 24 August. Today 10.10pm