THE JEW OF MALTA Dark physical drama about racial intolerance 000

With the current state of the world. it's tempting to look back for reassurance that social intolerance is nothing new in society. Religious conflict is of particular contemporary concern. biit Christopher Marlowe's text. written in the late 16th century and performed here by Italian company Teatro Della Contraddizione. demonstrates a plethora of prejudices affecting many faiths.

Treated with bitter unfairness. Barabas the Jew is stripped of his property and money by the Maltese governor, a Christian named Ferneze. in order to pay tribute to Turkey. And so a battle of revenge and persecution develops between Jew. Christian and Muslim, all equally deceitful and cruel.

This is a highly physicalised adaptation, directed by Marco Maria Linzi and Julio Maria Martino. The show's six energetic and intense performers embody the text as a dark farce. injecting elements of Commedia dell'arte and grotesque mask work. Despite moments of stunningly dramatic visual impact and a highly creative approach. overall it‘s a difficult spectator experience. Movement detracts from the text (which is muffled under the masks and tricky to understand). and this in turn draws attention away from the complexrty of the carefully structured. detailed movement. It all becomes rather exhausting theatrical overkill and the effect is at times confusing. smothering the brutal potency of the story. (Michelle Macintyre)

I Souths/d8, 667 2272. until 28 Aug (not 16), 7.50pm, £9 (£7.50)

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM FROM THE EAST Korean Dream with myths and magic 00..

Fantasy. dreams and magic meets Korean mythical folklore and dynamic theatricality. Yohangza Theatre Company's unique movements and physical and vocal expressions are used to convey the essence of the play, the nature of dreams and the

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opposing binaries of fantasy and reality. It's the tale of four lovers. tangled in a web woven hy mischievous fairies. In this version Oberon and 'l itania swap sexes. Puck's diVided into twrns and Bottom is a slightly cra/ed woman.

Usmg percusSIon. dance. singing. acrobatics and tonnes of effortless energy. it seems there's nothing this lot can't do. Performed almost entirely in Korean. With a few original one- liners thrown in wrth comic effect. the grOup rely on our knowledge of the plot. Confusron is inevrtable if your memory's a little ha/y. Comedy. fantasy. romance and dreams are- all present. as expected. hut it's the visual and physical elements that (llél‘.'.’ us in. The fairies. rooted in Korean mythology. play a hig part in the action. They are both grotesque and delightful. conveying the supernatural and mysterious With l‘ll‘y/lllllllC. ritualised moves. which humour us as they captivate. lots of graceful leaping about the stage leaves the huinhle spectator a little hreatlrless. This production captures the play's rnag c: truly enchanting. iClair'e Pielar I C. 0870 701 (310:3, untrr’ 25) Aug.

4. 750m, 519.530 (519.5%). 513.50).

STORIES FOR THE WOBBLY HEARTED Short stories for the lonely 0000

Across the hedsits and hotels of the land. and even in many a married quarter it exrsts. quietly unacknowledged_ hut pressineg present: loneliness. Fitting. then. that this series of monologues by Daniel Kitson should set itself in a lonely little room. decorated wrth many a table and standing lamp.

Kilson's succession of little stories of



Radical and exciting theatre from a young company 0...

The beauty of theatre is its capacity to deliver a direct, in the flesh message to its audience, unmediated by the usual dumbed-down commercial considerations of such mediums as film and television, the bromide of mass culture. Sometimes one forgets this, for few companies are wont to take maximum advantage of this aesthetic and political challenge that theatre presents. The TEAM though, a tough, clever and immensely physical young New York company, are clearly willing to take up the cudgel and go for it, to the great advantage of its audience.

This stunning, quite exhausting piece of non-linear, resolutely anti- naturalistic metatheatre views a classical narrative, that of Hamlet, from an oblique and very contemporised angle. The younger characters of the play are cast into the void of our apocalyptic geopolitical world to battle with the media, representation and reality. Hamlet (Jessica Almasy) is thrown into disorientated nihilism by the death of his father, while Laertes (Brian Hastert), a smooth glad-handing politician, controls a pliant cliche-hungry media, with the big bland moralistic good versus evil speeches that have been the overture to so much mass violence in recent years. Meanwhile, Ophelia (Kristen Sieh) has upon her the madness of a middle-class liberal world, supporting the orphaned victims of her own culture in the third world with sponsorship, and nearly getting around to voting against the gunslinger in chief in the last election, while Horatio (Jill Frutkin) seems to become a trope for the confused American everyman seeking heroes in vain from a hegemonic controlling mass culture.

But none of this conveys the furious energy of the company. Under the direction of Rachel Chavkin, the ensemble throws itself about the stage with such wild vigour that just watching them made me feel as if I needed a walking stick on leaving the auditorium. The piece teems with ideas, which are brought to the fore by its detachment from conventional story, and television and multimedia are used to sinister and alarming effect. Something about Walter Benjamin’s ideas of reproduction and ideological selectivity underlies a repeated loop of the assassination of John F Kennedy, and it. has a powerful effect. The cast are all strong, with Almasy’s frail yet rumbunctious Prince, 3 sort of Robert Kennedy, but with radicalism, a particular highlight. This is theatre of ideas and excitement; it has some rough edges, yet this seems only to add to its cogent discourse. It’s knackering, but see it. (Steve Cramer)

I (3 Central. 08/0 [0/ 5.705). urrfri’flfl/lug. (Sp/n. f‘t-i‘.:')() s’§‘/'.:’>()),

isolalion run like shaggy dog stories. full of crisp cornic observations and quiet Wll. which set its audience along trtler‘rng nicely. Between each story a short frlrn is hr'o'ken into episodes. leading to a moving pay off. l rent a lonely and desperateh anal man who engages wrth little rnarathons of late night telly lo a girl entirer unahle to recover from her last ltl‘lélliOllfilllll, and on to a happy couple wrlh a prohlern not unrelated to their hliss. we are presented With a succession of engaging Vignettes on some lonehy little souls.

One or two of the stories inadvertently hetray their pa. off early on. making for a long :isten. txit Kitsori’s engaging and self effacing presence make this a nice little late night wrnd dots-«rt with no great pr'oiundrty hut plenty of entertainment. Worth a \‘.-'at(:h. (Steve Cramer)

I I/‘ave/se theme. 998 740-1, urrtr/[h‘s‘ Aug int)! 13'). 2C).: (Op/fr. f‘lf) f‘f) (531.350).

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