Festival film see page 59 0 Festival art see page 62

DANCE Aria Spinta *****

Pan-European dance comedy

Comedians on the Fringe would kill to be able to guarantee an hour’s worth of smiles and laughter, but it’s a dance company, Déja Donne, who are fulfilling this promise. Five interpreters (they do much more than dance) are at the centre of the piece, based around a show going off the rails. The tone is set from the outset when an argument flares up between two performers over their choice of music.

The performers hail from all over Europe, but their madcap humour takes a karate chop through language barriers. Whether deadpanning, flirting with the audience or arguing amongst themselves in a variety of languages, their focus and energy never falters.

Lenka Flory and Simone Sandroni's choreography is consumed and vividly projected onto the floor by the dancers, easily conveying the emotional as well as physical dynamics of the group. The music, a quirky mix with an Eastern European flavour adds to the nervous energy on stage, as do the colourful costumes which are tugged and even discarded

with wild abandon.

For 60 minutes, Déja Donné take you under their wing and into their own off-kilter universe. When one of the performers slings a tray of drinks over his shoulders and sets off around the audience to sell them, you wonder ‘are they really for sale or is this just part of the performance?’ The answer is both. You don't have to worry about digging deep for narrative meaning, just sit back, relax and enjoy the

talent in front of you. (Louisa Pearson)

Aria Spinta (Fringe) Déja Donne, Continental Shifts At St Bride’s (Venue 62) 346 7405, 27—37 Aug (not 29) 8pm, £7.50 (£5.50).

CABARET The Catweasal **** Uninhibited cabaret night

Many moons ago, happenings like this used to be a mainstay of the Fringe. But that was all before the corporate bodies began swallowing the talent up and depositing it into the cash tills of ever expanding box offices.

And so, Loki Productions' The Catweasal comes as a breath of fresh air; it’s a wide-eyed innocent cabaret night that welcomes one and all. In two hours I saw didgeridoo players, a man singing to an avocado, another man declare he was the original dice man and a girl wind her way up to the ceiling in a fabulous dress. An excellent

and thoroughly unpretentious night. (Paul Dale)

a The Catweasal (Fringe) ..oki Productions, Counting House (Venue 776) 667 4268, 25—26, 28, 30 Aug, 8pm, £4 (£3).


John Hegley *hhk

He’s a poet who knows it

All things doggy needn’t be doggerel, as poet and pup-promoter John Hegley proves. Just don’t get him started on the dog poo that is the Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

Moving from quirky verse to spot-on song pastiche and back again, the wonderfully self-contained Hegley proceeds at his usual leisurely pace,


with the audience appreciativer nibbling these choice treats from his hand. The dour-faced, bespectacled one‘s entertaining observations on life, love and Luton (from a human as well as canine perspective) range from the bittersweet to the acerbic with the odd moment of despair thrown in.

Highly recommended for Hegley fanciers everywhere. (Allan Radcliffe) a Dog (Fringe) John Hegley, Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428, until 28 Aug, 9.40pm, £ 70/£ 77 (£7/£8).§


James Campbell their

Kids comic turns to adult storytelling

Not your usual stand-up comedian is James Campbell, more your sit-down storyteller. But at a festival overflowing with half-baked jokesmiths, that can be no bad thing.

When comparing this to his successful children’s show, there are similarities in as much as his material concerns observations of the kids he has performed for and recollections of his own childhood. While this show is reminiscent in flavour, he’s obviously done a little less preparation for the grown-ups. However, his strength in riffing on almost any subject to logically bizarre conclusions remains intact. Very original, very clever and very funny, indeed. (Ross Holloway)

a James Campbell May Contain Traces Of Nuts (Fringe) James Campbell, Gilded Balloon (Venue 33) 226 2 75 7, 9.45pm, until 28 Aug, £6.50 (£5.50).


The Tempest ***** Spectacular outdoor Shakespeare

My lowbrow taste has been challenged. And it is AandBC’s production of The Tempest that’s done it. Performed outside, a

huge suspended moon

The Catweasal

illuminates the action of Shakespeare’s tale of magic and betrayal. Inevitany some words are lost to the air, but this hardly seems to matter.

The use of space is extraordinary; the characters charge around, leap up ladders and weave amongst us. Ariel is played by the ensemble; whispering echoes, haunting singing and a lone flute surrounds the audience; and the fools, a Nu Yawk Trinculo and a Steptoe-ish Stephano, are a comic delight. Be warned though: it gets cold, so wear your legwarmers and take a flask of hotness.

(Viv Franzmann)

u The Tempest (Fringe) AandBC Theatre Company, Scottish International At The Quad (Venue 792) 530 3557, until 28 Aug, 8.30pm, £72 (£9).


Owen O'Neill **** Stand-up/playwright heads for the (Hollywood) hills

Owen O’Neill will be known to many as an accomplished Irish stand-up. This show, like his earlier Off My Face, is a one-man, theatre-cum-comedy tale. Here, he deals with his life-long obsession to become a movie star after seeing the work of Henry Fonda as an impressionable teenager.

O’Neill’s performance is exemplary, playing out half a dozen characters with ease and conviction. However, on occasion you feel like this is a stand-up performing a drama; if O’Neill had played this more seriously then the greater emotional resonance would have pushed it into the realms of

genius. (Mark Robertson)

It Was Henry Fonda ’5 Fault (Fringe) Owen O’Neill, Traverse (Venue 75) 228 7404, until 26 Aug, 9.45pm, £9 (£6).