AUGUST 8-12 2000


August 8-12 7.30pm August 11-12 2.00 pm

"Seriously Nasty’ (Oxford Times Group)

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Grim giggles from the corrupt American Dream

THEATRE PREVIEW Americana Absurdum

Not one show, but two plays under a single title, performed on alternate days, this programme from the pen of Brian Parks, editor of The Village Voice, makes its way to Europe after a long period of filling houses off Broadway. Vomit And Roses tells the story of a dysfunctional family of undertakers, whose greatest anxiety is to find a prom date for their daughter, whose loud defence of masturbation has rendered her beyond the pale locally. The second piece, Wolverine Dreams features a deranged airline owner who fancies himself a poetaster.

‘lt's been compared to Orton, but I think it's more absurd,’ says Parks, giving us a flavour of the black comedy involved. ’I grew up with a kid whose family were undertakers, and I thought this was kind of funny,’ The first play throws existential quandaries against everyday American concerns like prom nights. ’The second play is about an airliner crash where the crass commercialism of the owner is juxtaposed with his taste

for poetry.‘

But will this grim American humour translate to European tastes? 'We hope you'll find most of it funny, and the rest exotic,’ says Parks.

Americana Absurdum (Fringe) The Present Company, Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428, 4—27 Aug (not 74) 7. 75pm, f9/flO (f8/f9).

MUSIC PREVIEW Miss Peggy Lee: Cocktail Hour

Kate Dimbleby makes the songs of Peggy Lee all her own

An established and experienced jazz singer in her own right, Kate Dimbleby’s career has been variously boosted and blighted by the fact that she’s David Dimbleby’s daughter. Ironically, her Fringe appearance again sees her shining in the shadow of someone else's celebrity as she takes on the role of legendary jazz singer, Peggy Lee.

Adapted from the sell-out London show, The Making of Peggy Lee, to a one-hour cabaret version, Dimbleby is keen to stress that the show is less a tribute than a musical exploration of the larger-than-life personality. ’lt’s not a Stars In Their Eyes show by any stretch of the imagination,’ says Dimbleby. ’| always intended to make a show that used Peggy Lee as inspiration rather than imitated her.’

Although sounding very much like the inimitable Miss Lee and flawlessly

recreating her effortless delivery, Dimbleby brings a style all her own to some of the star’s most popular songs. (Catherine Bromley)

a Miss Peggy Lee: Cocktail Hour (Fringe) Pleasance Festival Of Music 2000, Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550, 4—28 Aug (not 8, 22) 6.25pm, £8/f9 (£7.50/f8.50). Preview 3 Aug, £3.


Period 0f Adjustment

Rare staging of a little known Tennessee Williams’ play

Famed for his tumultuous dramas that deal with the recurrent themes of sexual depravity and moral decadence, Tennessee Williams' Period Of Adjustment has been largely ignored by the critics perhaps because of its comparative lack of controversial material.

As the play’s director, Holly Burn explains: 'lt's not really like any of his other plays, it's quite unusual. The characters portrayed are dealing with much more everyday problems than are typical in his plays.’ lntrinsically

examining the question of compatibility in marriage, the play centres on two couples addressing their problems over the course of an awkward Christmas holiday.

Instead of the usual melodramatic sense of understated hysteria, this play adopts a more subtle tone, perhaps the reason for its lukewarm critical reception. The success of this staging then lies in the exploration of the darker subtext to the drama and its suggestion that Williams' apparently neat conclusion is anything but. (Catherine Bromley)

3 Period Of Adjustment (Fringe) Rocket Venues, Rocket©Theatre Arts Centre (Venue 76) 667 6666, 7—72 Aug, 6.30pm, £6 (£4).

DANCE PREVIEW Joe . . .A One Man Dance Show

I Diva Las Vegas!

Louis Kavouras lives in Las Vegas, but his dancing and choreography are a far cry from the tits ’n' ass commercialism of so much entertainment in America’s gambling mecca. Still, he appreciates the city’s vulgar energy. 'lt’s so plugged in. Anything’s possible. It’s also the American West, where there's room to explore and forge your vision.’ Kavouras’ current artistic gamble is joe, eight humorous, poignant solos created during the past fifteen years. Altogether they require maximum physical and emotional stamina. ’Each is a window into a character at a turning point,’ the long, lean performer explains, ’where there is either the choice to go forward or go back and remain stagnant.’ Expect to see dancing full of liquid energy. ’I grew up in Florida on the water,’ Kavouras says, ’so I understand a sense of flow.’ By the time he reaches his blindfolded finale, there may not be a dry eye in the house. (Donald Hutera) Joe . . . A One Man Show (Fringe) Louis Kavouras, The Garage (Venue 81) 227 9009, 6-28 Aug (even number days only, not 22) 6pm, f 5 (£4).


Lulu In La La Land

Dance into the future

Martial arts and ballet may not seem obvious bedfellows, but as Rosa Mei is an expert at both, it's not so strange to find the two disciplines in her latest production. Fusing intricate movement with powerful gestures and abstract symbolism, Mei has created an off- kilter universe with the alluring Lulu at the centre. 'She is an involuntary femme fatale; a woman who’s aware of her powers of sexuality and isn't afraid to use them,’ says Mei.

Mel's creation exists in a futuristic setting, complete with sound bites from 605 sci-fi movies. ’Lu/u In La La Land traces the psychological repercussions of the character in this imaginary place. The creatures that surround her are angels, demons and beasts it's a reflection of Lulu's moral consciousness,’ says Mei. Aiming to