Review: The Devil Masters

PICTURE the scene: a lavish New Town apartment. It’s Christmas Eve. Two upper-crust Advocates, enjoying a pre-presents-opening dram, are about to have their lives literally turned upside down by a house-breaking, dog-napping ned.

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Sound like a basic ransom plot to you? It might. But it’s actually an accidental social experiment; a perverse ‘trial’ that suggests anyone, regardless of their social-status, can become a gruesome product of their environment given the right circumstances.

Iain Finlay Macleod’s black comedy about the contrasts of class division might provide you with plenty festive amusement, but for those occupying the Leishman household, it’s not the season to be jolly. Roles have been reversed at this unlikely crime scene and it’s up to you, ‘the jury’, to decide who is at fault.

Cutely directed and superbly acted, this cartoonish 80-minute piece is effectively a series of cleverly-disguised sketches.

The set could be any living-room on Abercromby Place, and the pace bounces from shifty radge on-the-run to condescending snob at an art exhibition depending on who’s talking.

Keith Fleming’s ‘wee bampot’ of a character (John) comes across as an extra from an Irvine Welsh novel and John Bett is highly likeable as Cameron, an over-cautious, yet harmlessly naïve advocate, but the real star is Barbara Rafferty, as posh-but-potty-mouthed advocate, Lara, who proves a Glasgow woman will always remain a straight-talking Weegie no matter what she is exalted to, or reduced to, in society.

There’s a surprise twist at the end, but ultimately the real Devil is in the detail.


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• Until 24 December