The poster—a heavily made up woman's face, bloodied and beaten—makes a promise of slick violence that this tasteless new offering from writer and comedian Ruaraidh Murray more than delivers. He's scored comparisons to Irvine Welsh and Quentin Tarantino for his previous Fringe shows Big Sean, Mikey and Me, and Bath Time, which chronicled the lives of tough men spitting and swearing their way through the mean streets of Edinburgh.
Allie is an equally manful attempt at a female perspective. It moves from noir to just nasty thanks to its use of domestic violence and rape as fodder for laughs and voyeuristic thrills. Scottish actor Megan Shandley is brilliantly fierce, compelling to watch and even able to make the wooden animal collection that comprises her only personality quirk feel believable. But as her spat-out stories of shit-smearing playground revenge turn abruptly into tales of cartoonish hyper-violence at the hands of her initially loving boyfriend (played by Murray himself) shit gets rather too real.
Tim Stark's direction encourages a rapid-fire style that bounces with energy, Murray's Timberland boots stamping on the earth or onto softer adversaries with an almost joyful aggression. But the psychological motivations behind his abuse are as thin as his worn-down soles. We're shown that he's as cool, calculating and nasty as the toy crocodile Allie clings to, but although this tale flicks aggressively from shock to plot twist, there's none of the real heart or insight that would make it more than a man-sized Punch and Judy show.