Edinburgh Festival Fringe comedy review: Steve Bugeja: Day Release, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Jay Richardson
Steve Bugeja eclipses his early promise as a solid gag writer to deliver a polished hour of plentiful jokes and compelling storytelling.
Having established himself as something of a geeky loser, a reluctant misfit on a stag do who’s decidedly uncomfortable in a lap dancing club, with an aching, unrequited crush on his childhood friend, his puppyish desire to please her finds him agreeing to drive her hardcase father from prison to her wedding.
Initially stuck for conversation on the extended trip, the odd couple slowly warm to each other and establish an unlikely rapport, which serves Bugeja well when he comes to extract meaning from the encounter.
Artfully relayed, with rich characters brought to life over a careful, if predictably plotted story arc, he endearingly colours the tale with his paranoia and nimbly plugs it full of great lines and asides, amalgamating the two with his occasional, legally shaky allusions to his companion’s crime.
As debut shows go, it’s an unusually ambitious and assured introduction. And although the plotting feels excessively calculated, robbing it of some of the emotive power Bugeja intends for it, it’s nonetheless an impressive package from a comic showcasing a broader scope of talent than he’s hitherto revealed.
Just the Tonic at the Mash House (Venue 288), run ended
Published in The Scotsman on 29 August 2015
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