Famous Spiegeltent, St Andrew Square, Edinburgh
The massive queue outside the Famous Spiegeltent speaks volumes about this show. American performer Miles Allen has really hit the zeitgeist with One Man Breaking Bad. There’s also an irresistible story behind the production that sounds like a PR man’s wet dream. (Perhaps it is). Allen was homeless on the streets of LA, when somebody filmed him imitating characters from the iconic TV series. The film promptly got a million hits on Youtube and overnight, Allen had a career. He went on to be the runaway hit of the Melbourne comedy festival and… ah, you can guess the rest.
As massive Breaking Bad fans we were bound to want to see this. But in the cavernous surroundings of the Spiegeltent, it all felt rather so-so. Allen is undoubtedly a talented impressionist (he nails the character voices with ease) and his attempt to encapsulate the entire series in 60 minutes seems an intriguing proposition. But sadly, the rather flat script, peppered with ‘topical’ references (Braveheart anybody? Only Fools and Horses?) failed to connect with an audience that had arrived seeking a good time and were met with exactly what it said on the can. A synopsis of the series. A malfunctioning microphone for a large section of the proceedings didn’t help matters and the only parts that took off were the bits where Allen deviated from the core story to add another dimension. (A sequence with a singing glove puppet was by far the best bit). This would have worked better in a smaller venue where Allen could have really connected with his audience, but this was a major disappointment. Shame.