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Theatre Review: The Basement Tapes ****

Michael Cox reviews a production that's both funny and scary.

The Basement Tapes begins in a surprising way: with a gag. A young woman’s grandmother has recently died, and she has been tasked with clearing out the years of stuff that have accumulated.

The title does give a little away: the woman discovers a tape. But what’s on the tape, and how will it affect her once she hears it?

To say anymore would be cheating, but it might be a fair warning to state that, even though the first half is for the most part a comedy, it all comes down to an extremely intense final 15 minutes that takes a few brave leaps and surprising turns.

Stella Reid is terrific as the lead character, balancing between outrageous shenanigans and absolute terror with ease. The design is also much more complicated than it first appears, subtle in its overall approach. Zanetti Productions’ play is an absolute treat. Both funny and scary, it’s most certainly worth a brave journey down into the basement.

The Basement Tapes is at Summerhall at 6.30pm until August 26th.

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