The Fringe may abound with envelope-pushing comedians and cabaret acts aiming to shock, but the most provocative man in Edinburgh could well be middle-aged actor Pip Utton.
Utton has become a Fringe staple, the master of the monologue. This year he is also appearing in two other original plays as Charles Dickens and the Hunchback of Notre Dame. But Adolf is almost certainly his most challenging performance.
The stage is dramatic yet stark – an illuminated Nazi banner, a chair and a table draped in red velvet with a flickering lamp and a glass of water. Hitler is awaiting the imminent fall of his empire from the safety of his bunker, and the audience are his party faithful. His farewell becomes a drawn-out monologue as he ruminates on his motivations and accomplishments.
Light and sound are used incredibly effectively here. Each time Hitler is carried away by his vision of a warped utopia, each time his strength and conviction are renewed, the lights go down, a spotlight is focused on Utton and his voice echoes as Hitler is swept up in his own sense of power.
This show is actually a perfect example of the end justifying the means. It is certainly one of the most challenging pieces of theatre you will ever see. At this performance a sizable chunk of the audience walked out, viciously heckling Utton in the process. Which only served to make the final denouement even more powerful.
This show is hateful, divisive, challenging, even monotonous in parts. It is horribly uncomfortable to watch. But whatever you do, stay until the bitter end. Otherwise you will be depriving yourself of one of the most powerful pieces of theatre you will ever see.
17 & 24 Aug 1545 (1715) @ St George’s West