. . ~ QaM- [le
The Gospel according to Berkoff
Last year the Fringe crucified a gay Christ, this year Steven Berkoff’s Messiah resurrects a revolutionary communist. The reincarnation of Christ’s image is nothing new; for centuries conflicting artists, politicians and theologians have struggled to capture his essence for their own particular ends. Indeed Berkoff attributes part of Christianity’s enduring appeal to Christ's multi-faceted persona. ’I think every generation finds its own image,’ he says. ’We’ve chosen one that suits us, and one that’s faithful to the New Testament.’
Written and directed by Berkoff, this incarnation of Christ flows from a deep respect for a powerful, sensual human being, rather than a transcendental pious figure. ’He was a radical, revolutionary zealot determined, with his group, to overthrow the hegemony of the Romans,‘ says Berkoff. ’He’s searching for his own crucifixion; he knows Israel is waiting for a Messiah and the only way to unite all the factions is to be it.’
Despite presenting an overtly political portrayal of Christ, Messiah
also strives to humanise the man who, for many, is the immaculately conceived son of God. ‘Whether he's a communist is, in a way, peripheral,’ says Berkoff. ’The essence is a person of acute compassion and passion. A person of perception and somebody who has a single- minded focus on creating the messianic position for
Bible bashers beware — this Jesus is a lefty, and he’s also a lover. ’The idea that he is celibate goes against nature,’ says Berkoff. ’The love of woman is the love of nature, and the love of God himself. Jesus did not go against
Five big stars for 3 Dark Tales
theatre comedy dance music books
Steven Berkoff: a man on a messianic mission
nature.’ Berkoff laments that it is impossible not to offend the fundamentalists, but insists that this portrayal honours and celebrates the idea of who Jesus Christ is. Berkoff is no devout believer but, with his disciples, he is eager to translate what he sees as the essence of Christ’s values into the theatrical performance. ’There will
be an ensemble, so not only will it be about Christianity,
3 Dark Tales *shhhk Dance macabne in three parts
Generally Better Productions received five stars last year for Bond, so big things were expected from 3 Dark Tales. The audience was not disappointed. This company uses dance, music and text like no one else, to create a unique theatrical experience that leaves a lasting impression.
3 Dark Tales, as the name implies, is three separate yet connected stories of lives gone wrong. The first of these, 'Dream On Mr Tibble’ IS about a downtroddon accountant, With a demonic Wife at home, and an equally diabolical boss at work. His pitiful eXistence is examined in excruoating detail. The results are both painfully funny and tragic.
The second play, 'The Unfortunate Predicament Of Amelia Sas', concerns the secretary at Mr Tibble's office, a
the production also has to be Christian. It will be physical, dynamic, controversial, symbolic and everything that is Christian.’ (Davie Archibald)
a See Hit list, right.
woman with a lifetime of frustration bubbling inside her, caused by her overbearing parents. The two have a chance of happiness together, but, inevitably, her tale also has a tragic ending.
The final piece, ’Frank's Wardrobe', focuses on their boss, who hides his unsatisfactory domestic life behind a show of bravado in the office, until circumstances change and he is forced to face his true nature. All three stories are performed With perfect precision; not a syllable or inch of movement is wasted, and every second of the 90- minute show counts.
While Generally Better Productions may have been a little ambitious When first naming their company, the quality of their work to date completely justifies their claim. In fact, they’re not Just generally better, they’re Significantly better. (Kirsty Knaggs)
Li See Hit list, right.
Not been to bed yet? Just keep going.
See preview, left. Messiah (Fringe) East Productions, Assembly Rooms (Venue 3), 226 2428, until 28 Aug (not Mon) 77.30am, £70/f77 (f9/f70).
3 Dark Tales
See review, left. 3 Dark Tales (Fringe) General/y Better Productions, Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) until 28 Aug, 77.30am, £9/f70 (£8/f9).
Poet In New York
Dito van Reigersberg’s stunning one-man show is a very physical portrayal of Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca’s stay in New York in the 305. Dali's depiction of a penis as battering ram rivals Meg Ryan's fake orgasm. See review. Poet in New York (Fringe) Pig Iron Theatre Company, C (Venue 34) 225 5705, until27 Aug (not 77-20) 72.35pm, £6.50 (£5.50).
Changeling Rooms Audiences choose daily from a tempting menu of thought- provoking and saucy short plays. See review. Changeling Rooms (Fringe) Changeling, C (Venue 34) 225 5705, until 27 Aug (not 73) noon, £5.50 (£4.50).
Satirical, surreal yet serious- minded and it's about the peace process. See review. Say Nothing (Fringe) Ridicu/usmus, Traverse (Venue 75) 228 7404, unti/26 Aug (not Mon) various times, f 9 (f6).
Royal Shakespeare Company Fringe Presents Soho — A Tale Of Table Dancers
Voyeuristic drama. Soho — A Tale Of Tab/e Dancers (Fringe) Royal Shakespeare Company Fringe, Pleasance (Venue 23) 556 6550, 70—7 7, 73—74 Aug, noon, [5 (f4).
10—17 Aug 2000 THE LIST FESTIVAL GUIDE 25