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MUSIC PREVIEW Royal Scottish National Orchestra

MacMi/lan does Britten

Primarily known as one of today’s most successful living composers, James MacMillan’s conducting activities include working with an impressive roster of orchestras. To engage him as conductor of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra in an all-Britten programme is an ingenious mark of confidence in the new directions this parallel career may lead. The ’Spring Symphony’ is, therefore, a fitting choice of repertoire, especially with the youthful forces of soprano Lisa Milne and tenor Ian Bostridge.

The former so quickly an international star, but born, raised and trained in Scotland, and ever true to her roots is a favourite of the Edinburgh Festival. Glyndebourne under Rattle and San Francisco Opera are on the horizon, but so too is a CD of Hebridean folk songs. For Bostridge, singing goes hand in hand with on- going literary success. His first book, on 17th century witchcraft, has led to another, this time on music and singing. (Carol Main)

a Royal Scottish National Orchestra (International) Usher Hall, 4 73 2000, 77Aug, 8pm, £5—f37.


The Cleveland Orchestra Revamped Usher Hall feast

The world may abound in international festivals, but the lure of Edinburgh is still such that an orchestra the calibre of The Cleveland is more than willing to make the city its only UK stop this year. The part it is to play, however, is rather special. At the plum opening concert, alas sold out, the orchestra, under long-standing conductor Christoph von Dohnanyi, takes the stage not only with its own Cleveland Orchestra Chorus, but the Edinburgh Festival Chorus and RSNO Junior Chorus for Berlioz’s breathtaking

THEATRE PREVIEW It Was Henry Fonda's Fault

Owen O’Neill relives his California stage nightmare

Best known as a comedian, Fringe regular and prominent redhead Owen O'Neill is also a prolific writer and actor with a CV boasting theatre, TV and film credits. His sitcom The Fitz is currently brightening BBC schedules, and his latest play is about to open at the Traverse. Who says men are useless at multi- tasking?

O‘Neill’s one-man show is based on youthful encounters with Jazz Hegarty, the ‘torchman' at his local cinema. Hegarty's love of 19405 classics and his claim that he was Henry Fonda's stunt double instilled in young Owen an enduring obsession with all things Hollywood. 'I believed every word Jazz told me,’ says O'Neill. ‘I remember him saying Henry Fonda had very small hands and because Jazz’s were so big he had to put them in his pockets when he was being filmed.’

O’Neill's starry dreams were

realised 30 years later when he was asked to take his award-winning play Off My Face to LA. Far from being an overnight success, the production was an unmitigated disaster. ‘Not one person turned up to see it.’ he recalls bitterly. 'The publicity people were complete bullshitters, the venue was rundown, there were potholes in the road

and the place was full of |unatics.'

Yet O'Neill's story has a strangely poetic conclusion. 'I

dramatic cantata ’The Damnation Of Faust‘. Two days later, they’re on again with the Berg Violin Concerto and Bruckner’s ‘Symphony No 4'.

Apart from being a highlight of the Festival, the Cleveland will also give us the first chance to see what has been happening to the Usher Hall after all these months under wraps of hoardings and tarpaulins. Some

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James Macmillan says Britten rules



A fine example of a talented multi-tasker

was walking down Hollywood Boulevard feeling depressed one night and I spotted Henry Fonda's handprints. I put my hands in them and they were really fuckin' small. And I was so excited I shouted: “Jazz! You were right!".’ (Allan Radcliffe)

It Was Henry Fonda ’5 Fault (Fringe) Owen O’Neill,

Traverse (Venue 15) 228 7404, 16—26 Aug (not27)

surprising colours might be hard to miss. (Carol Main)

£4 The Cleveland Orchestra (lnternational) Usher Hall, 473 2000, 73, 75 Aug, 8pm, £5—f39.


Velvet Cabaret

Radio sketch show goes live

Mark McDonnell and Steven McNicoll are in an ebullient mood. The Edinburgh half of Velvet Cabaret have just been given the go-ahead by BBCZ for a TV version of their renowned radio sketch show. After toiling away for three years with their Glasgow-based partners Gavin Mitchell and Julie Duncanson, you can’t help feeling their success is fully deserved. ’Ve/vet Cabaret is one of those things that just evolved,’ says McNicoll. ’It’s a lucky bag of comedy.’

These two chunky japesters are seriously prolific actors who have performed in everything from the Fringe to schools educational programmes, but this year they are putting all their energies into this show. ’We’re such sexy individuals, we will give you masturbatory fantasies,’ says McDonnell. ’You can drink while you watch and you will laugh yourself German.’

’It’s milk and muck,’ adds McNicoll. There can be no higher recommendation. (Paul Dale)

l Velvet Cabaret (Fringe) The Stand (Venue 5) 558 7272, 14—75 Aug, 8pm, free.

9.45pm, £9 (£6). Preview 15 Aug, £6 (£4).

THEATRE PREVIEW Attic Memories Locked Safely Away

Physical theatre by performers with learning disabilities

The philosopher John Locke held that personal identity consists in memory. On this premise, if you lose your memory, you lose your identity. It is this idea that No Limits Theatre Company explore in Attic.

’It’s completely incidental,’ says artistic director Janet Nettleton of the link to Locke’s ideas. ’I only found out the day after I’d written it because a colleague had heard something about him on Radio 4.’ The company - founded by Nettleton in 1995 produces theatre by people with learning disabilities, but it is the quality of the performances that she hopes they are noted for.

’Audiences have said that they are so absorbed by the performances, they have to remind themselves that the people have disabilities,’ she says. ’Which of course, is our aim. My ultimate hope is that people take away a positive image of people with learning disabilities, and the quality of work that they can produce.’

(Kirsty Knaggs)

n Attic Memories Locked Safe/y Away (Fringe) No Limits Theatre Company Quaker Meeting House (Venue 40) 220 6 709, 74—79 Aug, 8.45pm, £4.50 (£2.50).

58 THE “ST FESTIVAL GUIDE 10-17 Aug 2000