MUSIC PREVIEW National Youth Choir of Scotland/Scottish Chamber Orchestra

The Youth are getting vocal

Much of the Fringe may be over, but the youth orchestras at Central Hall carry on regardless, as does the National Youth Choir Of Scotland. Established in 1996 to provide a forum for young people to sing to the highest possible standards, they are joined by the SCO for the UK premiere of the orchestral version of Lux Aeterna by the American composer, Lauridsen. 'lt’s a work that Christopher Bell, our artistic director, found while in Australia,’ says Robert Tait, the choir’s Administrator. ’We've done it in Stirling with organ and in St Andrews with piano, but this is the first time with orchestra.’

On arrival, members of the audience will be given a candle. During the performance the lights of the cathedral will dim and the building will be illuminated by candles, bringing the light eternal of the work’s title to life in a very real way. (Carol Main)

a National Youth Choir Of Scot/and/ Scottish Chamber Orchestra (Fringe) St Mary’s Cathedral (Venue 97) 226 5 738, 29 8 37 Aug, 70pm, £8 (£6).

COMEDY BBA And Proud *‘kt

Bouncing experience from British Born Asians

It is all about setting out the rules of

engagement. While this

DANCE/PHYSICAL THEATRE Bertrand's Toys 1H"ka Dead brilliant, or just deadening?

This terrifyingly clever Fringe show has generated a buzz of aesthetic controversy. Director Dmitri Ariupin and performers Marcella Soltan and Andrej lvashnev, who dub themselves blackSKYwhite, lurk in Moscow's underground theatre scene. Here they lead us down into the black hole of their fearsome imaginations. The result is a piece of carefully lit, diabolically pixilated human animation that suggests Tim Burton with claws and fangs.

The actors embody a series of wickedly cheerful dolls and jack- in-the-boxes let out of a hellish toybox. Most of these macabre mechanicals are fantastic, scary, occasionally even poignant. Soltan is particularly astonishing; for her, limb or head are just objects to be juggled. She starts out as a kohl- eyed, Joker-mouthed stringbean of a clown, face fixed in an evil, gleeful grimace. Other guises include an armless victim of some

cruel. alien body horror, pointy outgrowths thrusting

from various parts of her torso.

Cued to a killer soundtrack, this unrelenting, unrepentantly creepy performance hammers away at us. Some deem it an amazing chunk of brute-souled

artistry. Others, despite recognising the skills

impressionistic look at the world of young British born Asians packs in a bundle of

« ;~ experiences and funny

snippets, there is no firm structure to lay out their stall on. Too often it is not clear whether actors are indulging in a moment of role-playing within character or actually playing another 2,. character altogether. It is a pity because despite floppy patches of writing, this is an energetic performance, particularly from Clare Ramsaran and a high-octane Alec Christie. All Wisepart need to do is marshall their riot of ideas into a more coherent structure. (Tim Abrahams) 22 88A And Proud (Fringe) Wisepart Productions, C too (Venue 4) 225 5705, until 27 Aug, 70.30pm, £7.50 (£5.50).

“WWII “low-late theatre comedy dance music books

Bertrand's Toys result in mixed emotions

involved, damn it as work that disappears up its own

nihilistic fundament; take the batteries out and it


Fright Nights it

Classic horror tales re-enacted

It’s midnight, you’re in a haunted hotel, and you’re about to see five classic horror tales re-enacted. If you enjoy being scared out of your wits, you can't ask for much more than this. Unfortunately, this production doesn't live up to expectations, even allowing for first-night foul-ups such as over-running by an hour. The choice of stories is excellent; the plays include Dahl’s The Land/ady, Poe’s The Tell-tale Heart and Stevenson’s The Bodysnatchers, but they are all performed with such a complete lack of conviction that their inherent terror is lost. A disappointing production which doesn’t do justice to its material. (Kirsty Knaggs)

Fright Nights (Fringe) 5 of A Productions, Crowne Plaza Hotel (Venue 39) 226 5 738, until 28 Aug, 77.45pm, £6 (£4).


The Bongo Club Cabaret ****

Where comedy meets theatre and . . . erm, bingo

Where during the Festival, can you play bingo for a Nana Miskouri album, see a full-sized brass jazz band, enjoy a variety of high-profile Fringe comedians and musicians, listen to the sexual exploits of a stuffed gerbil, and still have enough cash left over to get a few drinks in? Although, like the proverbial box of chocolates, at The Bongo Club

grinds to a halt. You decide. (Donald Hutera)

a Bertrand’s Toys (Fringe) b/ackSKYwhite, Rocket @ South Bridge Resource Centre (Venue 723) 558 9997, until 26 Aug, 8.30pm, £7 (£5.50).

Cabaret you never know what you’re going to get, rest assured it'll be among the best entertainment on offer. And, considering that the mayhem goes on until Sam, that's one huge box of theatrical Milk Tray . . . (Olly Lassman)

a The Bongo Club Cabaret (Fringe) The Bongo Club - Out Of The Blue (Venue 743) 556 5204, until 28 Aug (not 25—27) 70.30pm, £5/£ 7 (£3 before 77pm).


Mad Mack & Alfie Joey *‘k‘k

Comedy duo present stalk show Barrie Hall and sidekick Alfie Joey deliver a Reeves and Mortimer-style performance that, at best, offers a hilariously off-beat insight into the obsessive fantasies of a Geordie cab driver and would-be celebrity stalker. With classic impersonations of ’high- profile’ stars including Kilroy and Bruce Forsyth and a charismatically mental performance from Hall, for the most part this show is a success. It's just a bit of a shame that the turbo-paced plot, in which Mad Mack eventually kidnaps a second- rate club performer, degenerates into complete mayhem in the second half, leaving the audience perhaps more baffled than amused by Mad Mack’s psychotic rantings.

(Olly Lassman)

gig Mad Mack 81 Alfie Joey (Fringe) Ho/yrood Tavern (Venue 84) 557 4972, unti/27 Aug, 70.75pm, £6/£7.50 (£5).