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Festival Review: Crocodile Fever ***

Michael Cox reviews a production that takes many unexpected turns.

Crocodile Fever asks a lot of its audience. It all starts conventionally enough—two estranged sisters have a dialogue in the living room of the house they grew up in. Why are they estranged? Why is one obsessively cleaning and the other packing a gun? And why are things so tense between these two?

Meghan Tyler’s script does answer all of these questions—and then some. The play’s first half is an excellent battle of wits between two interesting characters. The dialogue is sharp and brimming with intelligence. The play then takes a few drastic turns: go with these turns and there is much to enjoy, but the final 40 minutes might prove unbearable if not.

However, there is no denying the talent on show here. The cast are excellent, particularly Lisa Dwyer Hogg and Lucianne McEvoy as sisters Fianna and Alannah. Gareth Nicholls’ direction is constantly sharp, keeping the action crisp and the dialogue focused, while the design team have created a production much fuller and more complicated than the opening moments hint at.

But the real star here is Tyler, whose script is far deeper than it first appears. Go with her on the journey and it pays rich rewards. Fight against the plot turns and you’ll be left out.

Part of Made in Scotland.

Performs in repertory at the Traverse until August 25. Check the venue for specific times.

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