Okay, this is always a tricky one. These performers are school kids. They have taken on Phyllis Nagy’s adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s novel of deceit and manipulation and bring it to the Fringe. They are only here for a week, and it must be an awfully big adventure. But the bottom line is, it is also plain awful.

I can’t blame the performers, they are so young. Indeed a couple of them, Rosie Tressler as Emliy Greeleafe and Caitlin Jones as the charmer Tom Ripley’s Aunt Dottie look like they may have some talent. I note that there is no director credited in the program. I assume it was a teacher. I assume these youngsters have been studying drama. However there is little evidence of this on the stage. The staging is appalling. Characters meander on and talk at each other but no one is listening on stage. No one has given these young people any guidance, not a sliver of stagecraft. The all shuffle nervously from foot to foot, stare a the floor when they aren’t talking, deliver all the lines in the same monotone, uninflected way. Whoever was in charge should take responsibility for this. The kids look unbearably nervous, and their state of mind won’t have been eased by several punters walking out not long after the beginning.

What is annoying is that nowhere in the publicity is this described as a school’s production. There are so many plays to choose from up here the public has a right to know what they’re getting to make an informed choice. In any case, I have seen some amazing school’s productions in Edinburgh, this is just a very bad one. In the Fringe program the production is referred to as an “official sell out show, 2007”. Really, THIS production, with these actors sold out in 2007? If that is not the case then the blurb in the brochure is misleading at best.

The Blurb

Diverse Attractions. 12th - 16th August. 15:15 (1h30)