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Picasso's Women: Gaby 8: Marie- Therese

Spanish artist adds yet more colour to his palette

When it comes to pulling power, you’ve either got it or you haven't. And Pablo Picasso had it. In spades. Fringe audiences have already been privy to four of the ladies in the great painter's life, as Olga, Jacqueline, Francoise and Dora opened their hearts to varying shades of acclaim. But that was only part of the story. Brian McAvera's original play featured no less than eight beautiful muses who had the misfortune to hook up with the womanising brute. TWO have yet to make it up from London's National Theatre, where the whole thing originally received a rehearsed reading, but Gaby and Marie-Therese are in town for one week only.

‘I didn't know until about a week and a half ago that l

was going to be up here,’ laughs Josie Lawrence who, along with Candida Benson, will be performing the double-bill of monologues. The Whose Line Is It Anyway stalwart had initially shied away from the full Fringe run due to a prior commitment, but with Susannah York's Jacqueline finishing a week earlier than the rest, a space became available.

'Brian phoned and said it would be nice if six of the monologues were up here rather than just four,’ explains Lawrence. ‘We said yes and forgot about little things like people not knowing we're here [they're not in the Fringe programme]. And when they said "we've got you a space" we had no idea they meant that one,’ she says gesturing behind her to the huge Assembly Room's Music Hall. 'But thankfully when they close the balcony off it becomes quite intimate. So I just keep telling myself, “Enjoy the week Jose, and even if you only get three people in, do it".’


Trysts and spurns: Josie Lawrence plays Picasso's illicit love, Gaby

Despite her concerns, the interest surrounding the other Picasso shows, and Lawrence’s own pulling power, should see the bums on seats quotient well into double figures. Although out of order chronologically Marie-Therese met Picasso when he was 55, whereas Gaby was the apple of his eye at 33 - the juxtaposition of the two women's characters make them a perfect pairing. The former was an innocent seventeen-year- old gymnast, whose passion for Pablo led to her tragic suicide when he eventually shunned her. The latter was a worldly-wise artist who’d been there, done that and ultimately chose another man over Picasso.

'She's just a lovely character,’ says Lawrence of Gaby. 'At one point she says "Pablo wasn't going to add me to his collection, I was going to add him to mine" and tells women in the audience "men train as easily as dogs if you treat them properly". She's a madam, but I like her.’ (Kelly Apter)

I For details, see Hit/ist, right.

Alasdair Gray

Scottish author celebrates the art of the preface

Do you head straight for the real meat of a book in chapter one? Or do you savour the preface as a tempting taster prior to the main course? Snackaholics are likely to graze till they burst on Alasdair Gray's monumental Book of Prefaces.

Gray’s inspiration was William Smellies’s preface to The Philosophy of Natural History. It speCulated that if one collected together the prefaces summarising the ideas and motives behind great books, it'd make

a fascinating literary history. Gray set about the task sixteen years ago, but it only reached completion when a list of literary luminaries helped him out with the commentaries margin notes that bring the prefaces to life.

’I sent out a list of authors I wanted. Frank Kuppner did Carrol’s The Hunting of the Snark and Hopkins’ Wreck of the Deutsch/and, both about disastrous sea voyages. Liz Lochhead, who wrote Dreaming Frankenstein, did Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.’

The finished reSult is over 600 pages of laVishly designed illustrated text, starting With a history of common philosophy through the first English text of the Lord's Prayer Circa 650, and finishing With Wilfred Owen in 1920. So how does such an administratively complex work compare to writing fiction? ‘That’s rather like asking a chef how his meat course compares With his dessert or fish courses, when one prepares several kinds of dishes and doesn’t specialise'

So what dish is The Book Of Prefaces? 'A ghastly goulash,’ he replies immedzately, 'With lots of different flavours.’ (Gabe Stewart)

I Alasdair Gray in coversation with A.L. Kennedy (Book) Charlotte Square Gardens, 624 5050, 25 Aug, 2.30pm, £6.50 (£4.50).

I-Iiilifl *

Fill up on this banquet of goodies

Dr Palfi In The Really‘ Dangerous SafetyS ow

The crazy doctor's back in town with another crowd-pleasing exercise in mirth. He's not called a consultant laughologist for nothing you know. See review. Dr Pa/fi In The Really Dangerous Safety Show (Fringe) Scottish International at Dynamic Earth (Venue 78) 530 3557, unti/27 Aug, 2.45pm, £5 (£4).

Journey To The Centre Of The Earth

Jules Verne’s epic adventure tale has never been more fun than in the capable hands of master storyteller, Mark Pencak. See reVieW. Journey To The Centre Of The Earth (Fringe) Blue Boat Theatre, The Stand Comedy Club (Venue 5) 558 7272, until 28 Aug, 7pm, £4 (£3).

Picasso’s Women: Gaby & Marie-Therese

See preVieW, left. Picasso’s Women (Fringe) Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428, until 28 Aug, 2pm, {9/in (f8/f9).


Dark, dangerous and drug- fuelled, Jez Butterworth's powerful look at 505 Soho gangsters. Mojo (Fringe) The Rea/ly Youthful Theatre Company, Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428, until 28 Aug, 7.30pm, in/fli (f9/f70).

Loco County Lonesome The laughs come thick and fast in Pat McCabe’s tale of two unemployed butchers reminiscing about old times. Loco County Lonesome (Fringe) Black Box Theatre, Assemb/y Rooms, 226 2428, until 28 Aug, 2.50pm, £9/f 70 (f 8/f 9).

Somebody To Love

Queen have never sounded so good. Three mask-wearing mime artists tear at the heartstrings in this pOignant love triangle set to some of Freddie's greatest hits. See reView. Somebody To Love (Fringe) Blow Up Theatre, P/easance, 556 6550, until 28 Aug, 7.40pm, £7/f8 (f6/f7).

24 Aug—2 Sep 2000 THE LIST FESTIVAL GUIDE 23