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My Life llas Stood: Edie Campbell is 'absolutely compelling'

meme My Life l-las Stood swank

The ultimate play on the life of Emily Dickinson

This is really a Radio 4 play writ large - wilfully middle class and highbrow, it is still a fascinating look at one lndlvidual's obsession with the Belle of Amherst and her ethereal body of work.

Edie Campbell is absolutely compelling as an actress in the process of writing a homage to her heroine. Drawing a contrast between her own life and that of Dickinson's she expertly highlights what it means to be truly in love with Iiterature.My Life Has Stood takes Alan Bennett's Talking Head monologues as a template, and it has to be said that Campbell's control of tone and pace is almost as strong as that of the Governor. She weaves a web of adolescent frustration, longing and hero worship around her audience, and you leave the auditorium determined to get yourself down to Waterstone's to invest in a copy of Dickinson's

Letters and Poems.

Jack Lynch's direction borders on the serene while Sebastian Williams' lighting design is an object lesson ln theatrical subtlety. A warm and delicious paen to the bibliophile in us all, if you love Dickinson you will love this - a work of sincere maturity. (Paul Dale)

I My Life Has Stood (Fringe) Komedia O Southside (Venue 82) 667 2212, until

27Aug, 11am, £6 (£4).

CLASSICAL paswew National Association Of Youth Orchestras

Inspirational stuff from young musicrans

With 23 concerts this week alone, the Festival of British Youth Orchestras is a major contributor to the classical programme on the Fringe. Yet it’s the Cinderella of its genre. Unjustifiably, says conductor William Conway, who wields the baton at the closing concert on 2 September. 'If I conduct a professional orchestra, the level of performance starts at 90% and moves up a couple of percent in the concert. With some of these orchestras, you can be starting at 20% and the achievements they make in a week are incredible. They make an awful din at the beginning and can’t quite believe it sounds like a recording a week later.’ Judge for yourself: there’s an eclectic

array on offer this week ranging from a promising programme of Purcell, Albinoni, Vivaldi and Handel to award- winning Edinburgh Schools Jazz Orchestra’s concert covering 405 swing to 90$ rock and Latin. (Gabe Stewart) I National Association Of Youth Orchestras (Fringe) Central Hall (Venue 100) 229 2921, until 2 Sep, various times, various prices.

THEATRE West End Girl in“:

Entertaining fluff

This farce is rather like a seedy, urban version of Jackanory. Told at breakneck speed by a woman of questionable virtue (clad in a negligee, fishnets and kitten-heeled mules), it relates the sorry tale of Claire, Hatty and Nathan, flatmates who inhabit

22 THE LIST FESTIVAL GUIDE 24 Aug—2 Sep 2000

a dodgy flat in Soho. The narrator is aided by a series of stills on three television screens which constitute an amusing photo story replete with the obligatory over-the-top facial expressions.

It is fluff of the highest order, but nevertheless manages to be entertaining and a pretty decent way to while away half an hour.

(Dawn Kofie)

I West End Girl (Fringe) Jacqueline Cloake, The Garage (Venue 81) 221 9009, until 28 Aug, noon, £5.50/£4.50.


Y Touring - Learning To Love The Grey its: Science-based drama provokes debate

Sarah, an open-minded playwright, is confronted with the cold-hearted pragmatism of an expert in the field of cloning, when she’s asked to research the topic for an educational new play. Exceedingly self-reflexive, given that this play has been commissioned for the same reasons, the drama is given depth by the romantic relationships of those involved and the fact that as an MS sufferer, Sarah has a vested interest in stem cell technology. While hardly groundbreaking theatre, there are some solid performances here and the play warrants a visit, if only to provoke debate on these very topical and controversial issues.

(Catherine Bromley)

I Y Touring - Learning To Love The Grey (Fringe) Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550, until 28 Aug, noon,

£6. 50/£7. 50 (£5.50/£6. 50).

THEATRE Manon/Sandra **~k A Catholic and a transvestite search for fulfilment Manon is a wannabe nun with a fervent passion for God and her new rosary. Sandra is a transvestite with a fervent passion for beautiful men and green nail polish. Speaking directly to the audience, they take it in turns to reveal their innermost thoughts and desires, and at first, they seem to be worlds apart. As the play progresses, however, you realise that the gulf between them isn’t all that wide. Both are desperately seeking fulfilment in their own way, and it is through each other that they have a chance to find it. A compelling story performed with great conviction. (Kirsty Knaggs)

I Manon/Sandra (Fringe) Royal Shakespeare Company Fringe, Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550, until 28 Aug, 12.15pm, £5/.50£5 (BI/£4.50).


Imagine Thatl **** Huge fun with huge ideas This highly interactive kids' show deserves an award for the best explanation of a human gene.

Wrapped in a TV game show format, our two charming hosts (one resembling Meryl Streep on E) whizz back and forth in a time machine, bringing back gadgets and scientific progress reports from the future.

’The thing about the future, is that humans form it for themselves.’ And that’s as heavy as it gets. Possible negative or positive consequences of scientific developments are floated for kids to mull over for themselves - do the benefits of being able to milk strawberry-flavoured drink straight from the udder outweigh the extinction of all butterflies?

Great fun and thought-provoking too. (Gabe Stewart)

I Imagine That! (Fringe) Scottish International At Dynamic Earth (Venue 18) 530 3557, until 28 Aug, 11.30am, £5 (£4).


A Midsummer Night's Dream ****

Dream of a show from young Londoners

Told through a combination of music, mime, street theatre and circus skills, Albert and Friends' innovative production of Shakespeare’s tale of midsummer mayhem is a colourful and fun affair. Verdant and pretty, the Tron Square is the perfect venue for it.

This troupe, which consists of school children from West London between the ages of eight and eighteen, perform such feats as skipping and dancing on stilts, juggling knives and riding unicycles. All the performers do so with a talent and confidence beiying their years. Although at times it is a little difficult to follow, it still manages to be utterly enchanting. (Dawn Kofie) I A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Fringe) Albert and Friends Instant Circus, Wireworks Tron Square (Venue 119) until 28 Aug, 12.45pm, free.

National Association Of Youth Orchestras: Musical Clnderellas who do go to the ball