Studio 1, Assembly Rooms, George Street, Edinburgh
As an enthusiastic Tony Hancock fan since childhood, it was a given that I would want to see Heathcote Williams’ Hancock’s Last Half Hour. Essentially a monologue, it chronicles the great comedian’s desperate last sojourn in an Australian hotel room as he steadily drinks himself to oblivion. Pip Utton doesn’t so much play the role as inhabit it. He manages to conjure Hancock’s rumpled desperation perfectly, while the voice is also spot on. You might expect a play with such a grim storyline to be a rather glum affair, but don’t be fooled. Williams’ script is liberally stuffed with acid one-liners that will have you laughing out loud, right up to the heartbreaking conclusion. I loved Utton’s post-bow speech, urging those of us who liked his performance to tell everyone via social media – and those that didn’t to keep our mouths shut! Well, Pip, I loved your performance and I’d urge others to catch it while they still have the chance. Please note, you don’t have to be a Hancock fan for this to work, but it certainly helps. Stone me – this is a cracker!