All Star Madness

September 11, 1991

By Fiona Fort

The Edinburgh Years
Directed by Cameron P. Mellor
Reviewed by Fiona Fort

The Doug Anthony Allstars, middle-class Canberra boys and musical comedy group the world loves to hate, wreak havoc once more in their new feature-length film, The Edinburgh Years.

The film focusses upon the mystery surrounding the death of José Phillipe McDermott, renowned leader of the Spanish-Scottish community of the 17th century — a mystery to be solved by the last descendant of José, Paul José Xavier McDermott and his two partners, Richard Fidler and Tim Ferguson (together known as the Doug Anthony Allstars).

José's final resting place, Edinburgh, is under siege — the annual Fringe Festival is under way, and the DAAS suffer numerous delays, encountering street performers and some of the more unsavoury Fringe artists, including reggae band Dread Zeppelin, the Reduced Shakespear Company, the extremely dangerous Chris Lynam, not to mention the inimitable Bob Downe.

The DAAS's search for answers about José's death takes them to the Scottish Records Office, a Spanish-Scottish history lecture and a very strange performance of Macbeth, often with hilarious results. Accompanied by their long-suffering film crew and the incomprehensible Scottish driver Nigel ("We could never understand a word he said" — Paul McDermott), the group continues its search, as well as the endless battle for the front seat in the car, as tensions mount.

With the ominous grandeur and superb scenery of Edinburgh as their backdrop, DAAS finally come to relive the past as a shocking revelation about José's death forces them to a tragic confrontation and a chilling, confusing and typically violent DAAS ending. Fans of the recent ABC TV series DAAS Kapital won't be disappointed; neither will fans of the group's earlier work on the Big Gig.

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