Robin Cairns presents this comedy full of stereotypical characters and absurd situations. Jumping about the stage he tells of poor Malcolm, a quiet soul from Morningside, and how he finds himself caught up in a web of in-laws, street performers and of course pandas.
A meek and mild man at heart, Malcolm's world is thrown into chaos when after jokingly offering Edinburgh's giant pandas at the Morningside Charity auction, they go missing. Shunned and banned from his local Margiotta's, his situation worsens as his son-in-law comes to stay, and brings his Dad! Strange goings on in his garden shed, local drugs barons and a sex helpline contribute to Malcolm's existential crisis; all he wants is the door back on his toilet.
The characterisation is full of energy; the poise, gait and accent of each person is easily recognisable and well crafted for laughs. The story, though absurd, is well thought out, interesting and funny. It suffers a drop in pace and drags near the end, but ties up all the many threads well.
The story is set in Edinburgh; locals like me will appreciate all the references and tropes of people and places, but I fear most of the humour would be lost on anyone from outside of the central belt. They may also struggle with the accents, although he has balanced well having dialect words for flavour and making sure their meanings are fairly clear.
The humour also pokes particular fun at different Scottish stereotypes, and it's here that I have a problem with the play. Jokes about Glaswegians beating their wives – so they have black eyes, like the pandas – simply aren't particularly funny or clever. Equally, I didn't enjoy talk of benefit 'scroungers', which plays to the crowd in the worst kind of way.
But the audience and I laughed heartily at jokes about the trams and street performers. Central Belt residents will appreciate the tropes and local references, but if you're visiting from the south then be warned that most of this show will be rather lost on you.