EDINBURGH FRINGE: The Brunch Club at the Pleasance Pop-Up: Levels EH8 8FQ 9 (1 hr 20 mins) ****
The University of Edinburgh’s newest café and lounge may not be as exciting as some of the locations in which the Grid Iron Theatre Company has performed (such as Edinburgh Zoo, a boat builders’ island in a Norwegian fjord or a working cancer hospital in Jordan), but for The Brunch Club it is perfect.

For writer and director Ben Harrison’s latest creation is set in just such a place.

As part of induction week, a group of young people between school and college meet up to make new friends and explore new interests. They each have their own personalities, and fiercely so, but they are stereotypical of certain groups, mainly because of their upbringing, and really want to belong. As they spend time together their insecurities manifest, but ultimately they discover they are not really that different, friendships are made, and The Brunch Club is formed.

Ben Harrison’s new work is drawn from more than 100 young people from across Scotland and performed by The Network Ensemble, a production company for emerging creative talent trained in Scotland and part of the Pleasance Futures programme.

The cast members are drama graduates and so should certainly be able to empathise with their characters. So convincing are they that you would think they are playing themselves, but it is only at the curtain call that their masks fall and you realise they really are acting very well indeed.

There are too many to mention for a Fringe review, but the oldest of the characters (and, I suspect the actors), Jamie McGregor adds gravitas as a knife-wielding bully. As he paced around the performance space I really felt intimidated.

This study of current archetypes also features an all singing, all dancing trip down the years from the 1940s through Teddy boys and hippies, mods and rockers,  punks and emos in a colourful, fast-paced entertainment.

The Brunch Club is at the Pleasance Pop-Up: Levels EH8 8FQ 9 until Aug 24 at 8.15pm. Tickets £12 with concessions.
Box Office: 0131 556 6550/www.pleasance.co.uk
Image: Robin Mitchell