EDINBURGH FRINGE: The Shark is Broken at the Assembly George Square Studios, Studio Three EH8 9LH (venue 17) *****
What a privilege it was to be in the audience for The Shark is Broken.

The director is no less than Richard Burton’s nephew Guy Masterson, this year taking part in his 26th Fringe. But the real coup is the co-writer and star of the play, Ian Shaw.

For the show is set on the film set of Jaws, which starred Shaw’s father, Robert Shaw.

Earlier in the week I had heard him talking about how he penned, with Joseph Nixon, the play based on his father’s diaries. “He struggled with alcohol and his diaries were quite a hard read,” he had said.

This, of course, comes out in the story as the three stars of the film, Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss and Roy Scheider, are stuck on a boat in (if the sound effects are anything to go by) rough seas, because of problems with ‘the shark’.

Shaw - who had described his father as ‘old school’, Dreyfuss was more neurotic and brash, while Scheider was the mother figure trying to keep everybody happy - was, of course, in a unique position to write this play and the air of authenticity really comes across, especially as he, playing his father, looks so like him (a gasp went through the audience as he made his entrance). Duncan Henderson is also a double for Scheider both in looks and demeanour, and Liam Murray Scott, another lookalike, is certainly neurotic and brash as Dreyfuss!

This is a hugely enjoyable insight into the making of one of the most iconic of films and its stars. It’s almost like eavesdropping as they discuss Steven Speilberg (‘he may be just a kid but he’s crazy’) and the film (‘a retarded offspring of Moby Dick’), while opinions are aired and egos clash. Fascinating, not only for film fans but for those who appreciate fine acting, there is talk of a full version going to London and on tour. Don’t miss it!

The Shark is Broken is at the Assembly George Square Studios, Studio Three on alternate days until Aug 25 at 11am. Tickets are priced from £13 with concessions. 
Box Office: 0131 226 0000 edfringe.com
Image: Nick Driftwood