A spotlight shines on a bowler-hatted man standing in the corner of the stage. He speaks to the audience directly, peels a banana and watches another spotlight beside him, waiting for the show to begin. Barry McGovern's opening gambit in his solo stage adaptation of Samuel Beckett's trilogy of novels, Molloy, Malone Dies and The Unnameable, is pure vaudeville.
When the curtain rises, McGovern is tucked into a gravestone grey room before launching into what are revealed as a series of profoundly funny comic routines that lifts Beckett's prose off the page for a deeply entertaining 85-minute tour de force.
The comedy is most evident in Molloy, as the ageing sometime vagrant now living with his mother regales us through the incident and colour of his day with deadpan guilelessness. So obsessive is Molloy's description of how to cope with juggling stones between pockets it appears borderline OCD before he realises the pointlessness of his activities.
Malone Dies finds our hero laid out on a slab waiting to expire. This, too, becomes a hilarious litany of life and death that is delivered with a sense of timing many Fringe comedians could learn much from.
Only in the final part of Colm O Briain's production do things get really serious, as McGovern, on his knees and shirtless, punctures the mood with a monologue on identity, reinvention, the nature of existence and the need to find meaning, even as you become narrator of your own fiction.
It is 27 years since McGovern first performed I'll Go On at Edinburgh's Assembly Rooms. Age has brought an even greater understanding of this mighty piece of existential music hall.