closure criag sollyThe Closure of Craig Solly is Russell Kane’s debut Fringe theatre performance, a monologue given by a convicted mobster, Craig Solly, from his prison cell. This is accomplished writing and acting, though the experience Kane creates is a fairly well-worn one.

The monologue opens with a scene that Kane frequently returns to, the crime that put Solly in prison. He stands at the side of his bed, having just caught his girlfriend cheating on him, a Stanley knife resting against the offender’s testicles, a pot of acid by his side, ready to be doused on his girlfriend’s body.

What follows is an exploration of Solly’s psyche: Kane takes the audience through cocaine addiction, institutional corruption, his motivations, his comforts. Solly – and Kane – resist easy explanations and psychoanalytical proofs.

Kane’s style is taut and suitable for the material. He keeps the laughs at bay, so that the atmosphere broods with an intensity which doesn’t quickly dissipate. Solly is clinical and malevolent, confessional whilst resisting intimacy. Kane’s physicality is menacing and well detailed, compulsively hitching up his beltless trousers as he paces the stage.

What limits this production, though, is the lack of clarity as to what the audience are actually watching, and what their role in this is. The programme notes allude to the idea of a ‘closure process’, a procedure where friends and family of the victim are brought in contact with the perpetrator. This is supposedly what Kane is attempting to recreate on stage, but he fails to effectively co-opt the audience into the drama.

A one-man show about a psychopath isn’t a Fringe rarity. This show is a capably constructed example of a well-worn experience. It’s dark and comic, but the formal fuzziness stops this from being as extraordinary as it might have been.

The Closure of Craig Solly is at Underbelly Bristo Square (Venue 300) until 24 August as part of the Edinburgh Fringe. For more information and tickets see the Edinburgh Fringe website.