The Wee Room is a rather hot and sweaty venue, perfect for Bath Time; Ruaraidh Murray’s one man show is intense, febrile and gritty. Shooting up in the same vein as Murray’s 2012 show - Big Sean, Mikey and Me - Bath Time depicts Edinburgh’s 1990s underworld. Opening with a hungover man in a dress in a box, it’s an hour of drugs, sex, fights and Scottish charisma and it certainly entertains.
Murray switches expertly between his three main stars, Spike, Billy and Joe Joe, and the people with whom they come into contact. He traverses the potential potholes of cross-characterisation with an arsenal of voices, physical expression and what could potentially be called interpretative dance; Bath Time fully showcases his energy and acting talent.
The flaw, however, lies with the script. It’s just a bit too much like Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting. There are the same heroin injections, the same nervous deals and the same psychotic, violent friends. The number of close parallels to such a famous predecessor means that aspects of Bath Time seem cliché. It’s a fantastic series of hard-hitting themes to follow but the show sometimes feels too derivative of Danny Boyle’s adaptation.
Saying that, there is an elemental seam of originality running smoothly beneath the show; in essence, it is Murray’s personality that drives Bath Time. He could be criticized for what sometimes descends into feverish delivery, but, really, that works. The show’s about people who are often impassioned or on edge, so a pyretic ingredient simply makes the experience all the more captivating.
It is, in many ways, quite the emotional rollercoaster, but it is also slickly punctuated with humour. Blood and staple guns are balanced out by virginity loss sketches and junkies pretending to be Sherlock Holmes. Sometimes this tactic teeters towards a jerky effect but it also pushes a fast and furious pace. This ultimately makes Bath Time a great rub in the tub. Murray is definitely worth a watch, especially if you appreciate a good Scottish accent and a bit of 90s trance.