Darkchatter Phil has, on occasion, been known to let nostalgia get the better of him on occasion when making show
selections. Too often in the past he has been duped into watching sketch shows linked to Back to the Future, or improve
shows tied into Quantum Leap, only to come away in dire need of alcohol. So, determined never to be fooled again, Phil
was adamant he was not going to see anything film/tv-themed this Edinburgh when making his choices, and lasted 3
seconds before spotting ‘The Shark is Broken’ and jotting it down as a must-see. So, was this to be on a par with the
original 1975 classic, or on a par with ‘Jaws-The Revenge’ (which is garbage, in case you weren’t sure).
The plays is set aboard the Orca as filming of Jaws wraps up in 1974. The film was notorious for being delayed due to the
mechanical shark failing repeatedly, and this follows conversations between the three lead actors from the film as they try
to fill their time with games and such over a period of about 8 weeks. As the play progresses, the characters become
increasingly frustrated with situations, but also come to bond as a group, as you can probably predict.
The play is, essentially, as much a nod to the life of Robert Shaw and his struggles with fame, alcohol and the death of his father as it is anything else, understandable considering it is co-written by Shaw’s son Ian, who also plays Shaw in the play. Shaw is the spitting image of his father, and plays the troubled actor perfectly, but it is perhaps the understated performance of Duncan Henderson that is true star of the show, adding humour and charm as Roy Scheider aka Chief Brody. Completing the cast is a solid performance by Liam Murray Scott as Richard Dreyfuss, though perhaps playing him a bit closer to the character of Hooper than the actor himself, who is forced to face some uncomfortable scenes with Shaw as their troubled relationship whilst shooting is outlined.
Beautifully directed with lovely use of the Jaws theme periodically, this is a well-acted and emotional play that gives enough of a nod to Jaws fans to keep them salivating, but also enough humour and warmth to deliver sufficiently to non-fanatics. In short, the shark may have been broken, but thank heavens for us it was!
The Shark Is Broken is at Assembly George Square Studios until August 25th (check listings for dates)
Assembly George Square Studios (Venue 17) 11.00