Festival Theatre

ADVENTURES OF BUTT BOY AND TIGGER Polished insight into the joys of online dating on. Anyone who has dipped their toes in the choppy waters of internet dating will find this Sparky, well-observed two—hander from Australia's Out Cast Theatre enjoyably close-to-the- knuckle. Butt Boy (Jamie) and Tigger (Matt) meet in a chatroom late one night. After a round of coy flirtation, the pair proceed to act out a series of intricate sexual scenarios. But, having shared their most intimate fantasies in cyberspace. will the pair actually hit it off when they meet in the real world? In the scenarios these late-night chat addicts enact online, playwright Steven Dawson has fun sending up


Tense slice of cockpit-set verbatim theatre O”

the corny sexual fantasies beloved of bog standard gay men's porn (encounters in the gym showers, the army barracks, tussles in hay bales with stable boys), while poking fun at the gay male's fabled horror of intimacy (intriguingly, an audible rumble of disquiet went around the room when one of the characters mentioned the 'L' word). The sedentary nature of online interaction is counteracted by the punchy dialogue. which drives the action, and there are engaging, energetic performances from Felix Allsop and Angus Brown.

If the script descends into exposition towards the end, and the soundtrack is occasionally a little on the literal side, these are minor complaints

The cockpit of an aeroplane is one of those intriguing but concealed nooks - like the vestry of a church or the wings of a theatre generally forbidden to lay people, but which provide endless fodder for the imagination. What exactly is going on behind that closed door? As this theatrical documentary from New York’s Collective: Unconscious brings to light, the tiny enclosed space at the front of a plane can be the scene of some

incredibly tense real-life drama.

Created entirely from the black box transcripts of six airline emergencies, much of the dramatic tension that arises from these situations comes from the awareness that disaster is imminent, but not knowing when or how. As each emergency is caused by different factors, all six sequences feature their own self-contained narrative arcs. The account of the Simmons Airlines flight, for instance, lures the audience into a false sense of security as the pilot and co-pilot chat casually about their plans for the weekend. Suddenly the emergency arises, and there’s a sickening jolt at the

swiftness and totality of the disaster.

Other emergencies, such as the one that takes place aboard an AeroPeru Airlines Flight, are painfully drawn-out, causing everyone in the room to move forward inch-by-inch in their seats, nails chewed to the quick as they await the outcome, the banal statistics about fatalities flashed up on the monitors between sequences. Meanwhile, the military flight ambushed by

missiles is horribly swift and frantic.

It all makes for compelling viewing, though there’s a niggling doubt throughout that there’s much to the impact of this show other than audience titilation. What purpose is served by serving up, literally, hundreds of freak fatalities for our entertainment? Another slight problem here is the spatial arrangement: the piece would perhaps have been more effective in the round, with the audience closer to the action, rather than stuck at the back of the lengthy Cow Barn auditorium. For the maximum impact of this show, arrive early and bag a seat near the front.

(Allan Radcliffe)

I Udderbe/ly's Pasture, 0844 545 8252, until 25 Aug (not 72), 7.40pm,

{372—81450 (210.50213).


about an othen/vise polished, funny and moving slice of late-night entertainment.

(Allan Radcliffe)

I Pleasance Dome, 556 6550, until

25 Aug (not 72, 79), 70.50pm,

$750—$850 (ES—E7).


Powerful take on true-life tragedy OOOO

Thirteen years after Cheryl James died at Deepcut barracks, the young army private's parents continue to campaign for a public enquiry. No longer solely concerned as to whether she committed suicide. as the army originally claimed, Des and Doreen James now seek more fundamental answers about the notorious barracks, where three other young soldiers died between 1995 and 2002.

Beaming a searchlight into the fog of a suspected cover-up, Philip Ralph's script stays soberly critical, drawing its chilling, gut—punching strength from real-life legal documents and verbatim quotes. Like the James‘, who Ralph interviewed over three years, the playwright doesn‘t want to embellish facts or provoke outrage. This genuinely compelling, nerve—hitting production from gutsy Welsh company Sherman Cyrnru gradually transforms the James' cosy, living room into a blur of ballistics diagrams and court officials. Passionate, shrewd journalist Brian Cathcart smells corruption, while wild card forensics expert Frank

Swann uncovers compelling new evidence to challenge the official line on how Cheryl died.

Ciaran McIntyre (Des) and Rhian Morgan (Doreen) lead a strong ensemble cast in this shattering, thought-provoking drama. as the ordinary couple sucked into an MoD war game. This account of the James' ‘abject despair’ and quest for justice deserves to provoke a much wider- reaching political debate on the army's duty of care towards soldiers.

(Claire Sawers)

I Traverse Theatre, 228 7404, until 24 Aug (not If, 78), times vary, $74—$76 (NO—£7 I).

WEIGHTS A see and eye shotgun tale mo


Poet, playwright, actor and former judo champion Lynn Manning knows all about loss. Raised in penury in California, Manning lost his parents to the bottle and his siblings to the foster care system. Then in 1978, aged 23. Manning lost his sight in a shooting incident in a Hollywood bar full of ‘tourists, punks, junkies and juicers'. Having spent 20-odd years creating Weights, Manning performs catharsis by monologue on these events and those that followed. Alone on a minimally furnished stage, Manning freeform scats his way through what he has called his ‘interminable memoir'. Funk and jazz guides him through the memories, from ‘days of sour plums and pixie straws'. before his parents ‘climbed inside a wine bottle' to that fateful night and beyond. Taking his lead from the first person autobiographical narratives of Richard Wright, Maya Angelou, Gil Scott Heron, Ray Shell and Claude Brown Jr among others. this is moving, witty and all too raw, Manning laying out a powerful mandate of self-reliance and hope. It's a captivating journey, one that you will not forget in a hurry. (Paul Dale) I Assembly Rooms, 623 3030, until 25 Aug (not 77), 72.45pm, $72—03 ([77 1—2/2).

Online Booking

Fringe www.edfn’nge.com

lntemational Festival www.eit.co.uk Book Festival www.edbookfest.co.uk Art Festival www.edinburgharttestival.org