EDINBURGH FRINGE: The Red at the Pleasance Dome EH8 5AL (venue 23)*****

Marcus Brigstocke is a star of the Fringe - without even appearing onstage.

For in making his debut as a playwright and director the comedian and actor lays bare his years as a recovering addict and produces a show which is revealing, funny, tender and informative.

Like Ian Shaw’s The Shark is Broken, Brigstocke writes from experience. This means it feels real, and adding to the magic mix are father and son Bruce and Sam Alexander, who play... father and son.

Both are heavyweight actors and casting them is a mark of genius. There is a deep understanding between them; they are easy with each other, and their relationship brought tears to my eyes.

John (Bruce) has died and Benedict (Sam) has left his wake to go down to his father’s wine cellar and read a letter his father has left for him. In it John tells his son he has left him a special bottle of wine he wants him to drink it. Trouble is, Benedict is a recovering alcoholic. He has been dry for 23 years, and the dialogue consists of the two men (the father comes back from the dead for this conversation) discussing if and why Benedict should drink the wine.

Along the way, we hear about life, loves, addiction and the pros and cons of drinking wine.

It’s obviously a very personal piece of work for Brigstocke and he’s done an amazing job.

Dare I say...cheers!

The Red is at the Pleasance Dome until Aug 26 at 4pm. Tickets from £11 with concessions.
Box Office: 0131 226 0000 edfringe.com