VINCENT Hazy portrait of an artist I.
Leonard ‘Spock‘ Nimoy's one-man show about Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh explores the last ten years of the artist's life. looking into the events leading up to his suicide. American actor Jim Jarrett plays both Vincent and his brother Theo. whom we first discover speechless with grief at Vincent's funeral.
Jarrett portrays the two brothers as polar opposites: Theo has a soft voice and gentle demeanour, while Vincent spits. growls and gets depressed about his work. Jarrett indicates which brother he is playing subtly. moving between a desk piled with letters. or a blank canvas and easel.
A slide show of Vincent's handwriting and paintings runs simultaneously on a screen behind Jarrett. but even the vibrant colour of the familiar works does not prevent the play from getting a little dull. Despite Nimoy's claim that he researched the correspondence between the Van Gogh brothers for years. he doesn't offer any ground- breaking insights into their relationship. Nor does he particularly explore why Vincent committed suicide. revealing only that the artist never felt loved. Most disappointing. however. is Jarrett's clumsy Dutch accent. which distracts from the emotion of Theo's story. While intermittently entertaining. this is not the last word on the most- discussed artist of all time.
(Theresa Munoz) I Assembly Rooms, 623 3030. until 25 Aug, 4.25pm, $72—$73 (El 7—272).
SUPPER Food for thought 00.
In any conversation. there's always another conversation going on beneath the ostensible day to day chat. This premise is the starting point for Supper. which amounts to an intriguing conceit about love. subjectivity and memory.
The audience are invited to some comfy seats around a corner of the
balcony bar at the Assembly Rooms. where they are equipped with a set of headphones through which they
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eavesdrop on the inner thoughts of a character at the four-person dinner party that goes on before us. One may choose either the female or male perspective as a script — I chose the male. Here. the rich tones of Sandy Grierson illuminate the otherwise banal chit chat of a quotidian meal between
four thirtysomethings. notably played by volunteers from the audience. Much of the monologue that proceeds from this amounts to a gorgeous soliloquy. which moves from a complaint abOut dodgy teeth to the love of the character we are listening in
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GEORGE ORWELL’S COMING UP FOR AIR
Funny, tragic stage adaptation of little-known text 0000
What swiftly becomes apparent about this adroit adaptation of George Orwell’s lesser-known 1939 novel is how powerfully it resonates today. Written on the eve of World War II, while the author was in Morocco recovering from an injury sustained fighting for the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War, it uses the ostensibly mundane story of an everyman going through a mid-life crisis to address much larger issues: fear of a looming conflict and dread of the kind of society it will usher in.
Orwell’s evocative use of language may root Coming Up for Air in the period in which it is set, but his railing against modernity will nevertheless strike a chord with contemporary audiences.
Dominic Cavendish, who, as The Daily Telegraph’s theatre critic is a Fringe veteran in one sense, makes his writing debut at Edinburgh with this piece. He has made a fine job of paring down Orwell’s 240-page novel to a tight 55-minute monologue. It no doubt helped that the book is itself written in the crystal clear, first person voice of George Bowling, an affable, slightly overweight 45-year-old insurance salesman who’s unhappily married with two kids. Still, Cavendish has a sound enough grasp of Orwell to know which parts of the text to retain and what to ditch. And he’s got a terrific performer here in Hal Cruttenden, a dramatic actor familiar from television shows ranging from Eastenders to Kavanagh QC, but better known on the Fringe as a stand-up.
Bowling’s bittersweet, nostalgic yearning for a vanishing England is funny and tragic, but his concern with the country’s faltering economy, the erosion of civil liberties and the increasing shoddiness of everyday life is the meat of the piece. Realising this, Cavendish has cut the book’s humorous climax, to end the show on a resoundingly serious note.
(Miles Fielder) I Assembly Rooms, 623 3030, until 25 Aug, 7 lain. l‘l 1.50—5‘12. fit) (£770.50—El 1.50)
54 THE LIST FESTIVAL MAGAZINE 14-21 Aug 2008
on for his partner, incorporating the verse of Andrew Marvel in his thought process. as well as offering us an insight into his inseCurity about losing his significant other at some point. Symon Macintyre's production of John Harvey's script is a likable enough piece. but reaches no great heights in terms of the insights offered. You're also left wondering whether subjectivity works in quite the isolated way that this piece proposes — there's a sense that Our freewheeling internal streams of consciousness are not much contingent on what's happening around us at any given time. And whether the external world can be as neatly cut off from our thoughts is a moot point. (Steve Cramer) I Assembly Rooms. 623 3030. until 24 Aug (not 18 8. 79), 2.30pm, £7.50 (£5).
MARRIED TO THE SEA Poetic writing tells a coastal tale of loss and decline .0.
A sparse stage and a small cast of three belie the detail in this lyrical tale from the fledgling Dragonfly Theatre. Set against the decline of Galway's old Claddagh seafaring community. writer, director Shona McCarthy's first full-length play could have been morbid. but is in fact warm, funny and beautifully evoked.
Eight-year-old Jo. nicely played by Siobhan Donnellan with only a slightly irritating child accent. narrates the story. She's happy when she's with her dad learning the ways of the sea. but too young to understand the meltdown taking place in her parents' relationship and the consequences of the events she's witnessing. Her innocent interpretations bring humour and spirit to a story that's ultimately about the devastation of a family and a way of life.
Deft seafaring metaphors abound. tying up the characters and their lives With the traits of the sea. Poetic imagery evokes ‘big. black belly- bursting clouds'. and there's a masterful performance from Fiachra O'Dubhghaill who. with Rory Bremner- style genius. takes control of eight characters. including Jo's father and win neighbour. Teresa Naughton.
Featuring a wake. a priest. drink. j.)hilandering. dark Superstition and tragedy. this is an Irish story with few surprises. It won't knock yOu sideways. but you should enjoy the ride. (Susan Wright)
I Assembly Rooms. 623 3030, until 25 Aug (not 78). 7.30pm. $70—$72 (SQ—£77 l).