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No cure for insomnia 0000

Next time you find yourself wide awake in the middle of the night. desperately trying to think of ways to make yourself tired. try taking a few leaves out of David O'Doherty's self- help manual for insomniacs.

Rule number one: counting sheep is just silly: they jump around too much. Try ebunting something boring. like tortoises or. better still. rocks. If that doesn't work. why not turn on the light and play a game. like pretending your bed's a boat drifting in shark- infested water. Too scary? How about pretending your beds a castle? Or you could wrap your duvet round your shoulders and pretend to be a superhero . . .

There's an endearing scruffiness to this gentle show. in which O'Doherty and his long—suffering bedroom partner Maeve. leap from one game to the next in a bid to tire themselves out. Both performers have a lovely. gentle rapport with the audience and the daft banter and slapstick is frequently laugh-vout-loud funny.

(Allan Radcliffe) I Assembly Rooms. (523 3030. until 25 Aug, 2.20pm, £78479 (537—538).

JAMES CAMPBELL’S SHUT UP STUPID Scatalogical comedy with scenes of mild peril 0.

James Campbell's latest offering calls itself a 'black experimental comedy'. and you'd be right for wondering if this is suitable for children. lvluch effort has gone into scripting the warped chronology and fourth-wall antics of

PAINTING MUSIC WORKSHOP The art of sound .00.

There are several enjoyable aspects to this imaginative workshop, but the best one is the gift that keeps on giving. In just 40 minutes, Rhuti Carr and her musical cohorts give you a new skill that will stay with you for life. Gathered around a giant piece of paper, with paint pallets, brushes and water in abundance, we sit and await our instructions. Today, says Carr, we’re going to learn how to paint music. A bizarre concept, but, when you look around the room at the end of the session, that’s exactly what we’ve all done.

With Carr on the oboe, accompanied by a pianist and cellist, they demonstrate how some notes are long, others short, loud, soft, high, low - all of which can be translated into an array of colours on our increasingly vibrant paper. 0r, amusingly, the musicians can play what we paint, when volunteers from the audience step up to the easel.

One instrument at a time, we learn to interpret their sound. Until finally, when all three musicians come together in a brief but beautiful recital, we’re all busily painting a colourful picture to take home. With adults actively encouraged to join in just as much as children, this is a fun but relaxing exploration of cross-artform creativity. And, with a few pots of paint and a CD, a new trick you can play at home any time you like.

(Kelly Apter) I Sweet ECA, 0870 247 0136, untl/25 Aug, 72.50pm, 23 (£5.50).

the plot. but they're wasted on an audience that‘s not too fussed about such heady concepts.

The two leads specialise in a kind of simpering lunacy and cartoonish tenacity and there are moments of ‘mild peril' one scene involving a knife to the throat certainly has some parents on edge but the material is largely family friendly.

Older children may appreciate the lay analysis of a parent's mind. while their younger counterparts might enjoy the healthy dollop of scatology in the midsection. but this just isn‘t enough to make a passable show. Kids are hard enough to please at the best of time but thinking this kind of caper is good enough is just. well. stupid. (Oliver Farrimond)

I Sweet ECA, 0870 24 70736, until 25 Aug, 4pm, lf7—L‘8 (ITS—E7).


. blend of physical theatre and scientific Technoclowns inspire again 0000

exploration. Against a highly energetic soundtrack. Sirop and Smith perform experiments involving light, steam. smoke and soundwaves to present natural phenomena. such as the similar branch patterns in leaves and human veins.

Following last year's Visua/i'se show. Science Made Simple duo. Debbie Sirop and Gareth Smith illuminate young minds once again with Visual/so: Reloaded. an entertaining


They also clown around with two Apple Macs. a video camera and strobe lights to project psychedelic images onto a big screen. Sirop and Smith are an amusing duo. with the l tall Sirop towering over the shorter Smith and defeating him at blowing smoke rings and creating whirlpools. Their act isn't perfect, however. and occasionally there's a lull between acts or too many minutes spent on not-so- interesting demonstrations, such as comparing defrosting peas to green balloons floating in the air.

But encouraging kids to look at their world through a scientific lens is no easy feat. and Sirop and Smith do it very well. (Theresa Munoz)

I Venue 73, 07074 207373, until 24 Aug, Noon (74—76 Aug) 8 2. 75pm (7 7—24 Aug), £8 (£5).


Don’t wake the volcano 00

Brief Candle Theatre makes its Fringe debut with No Place For Dreams, a show by Paul Whitfield that boasts a lot of energy, but is altogether too austere. On a volcanic island filled with Spray-Riders, Wind-Eaters and Fire and Soil people, we meet Loam. a boy of the Soil who is unhappy that he’s part of the island's most humble group. The island society forbids the groups from mixing, in case they offend the spirit of the volcano so when Loam befriends Ashe, a girl from the dignified Fire group, both are sentenced to death.

In their portrayal of a society that follows primitive rules, the Brief Candle players tend to shout their lines rather than act them, and one character in particular offers ear- splitting screams. The plot's extreme seriousness, along with the mid- show beating scene, may disappoint some parents. And the players' habit of stopping the show to congratulate the audience on how well they are i listening and clapping along, feels planned and insincere.

(Theresa Munoz)

I The Space (0) Venue 45, 556 04 76, until 23 August (not I7), 7.05 pm. $6.50 (535).

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