Festival Theatre

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Cabaret fun with an anti-porn message 000

A polemic against mainstream pornography is not what you'd expect from two be-corseted cabaret performers. but as the Riot Showgrrrls say themselves. there's a difference between taste and morality. and this show aims to celebrate the flamboyant variations of safe sexual practice while condemning violent. fetishised versions of sex.

For a lot of its length the show is a recap of some things we already know about sex and porn. It's no secret that pornography likes to subjugate women. and that the women are often lying when they say they like it. History suggests that outwardly confident girls often get the wrong kind of attention and that sex with someone you love is always better. But it isn't all so obviously the case here and the section on 88M sex raises dubious points about acceptable forms of male violence that are left largely undeveloped.

The politics aside. this features a good performance by two female singer-songwriters with sparkling wit and commanding stage presence. The cabaret elements aren't Just a foil to get burns on seats. but a sideways iif incomplete) approach to complex issues of the male gaze. It's an entertaining show that some members of the audience might find themselves slightly at odds with. iJonny Ensalli I Gilded Balloon Tex/rot. (568 (£550. until 25 Aug, 10. lSp/n. 578.:‘>()——f‘$).:3() (L‘ 7. SO—L‘8. :30).


Narratives of soldiers’ mothers who bear the burden of war 00

Mother/and is a piece of verbatim theatre. which gives voice to the testaments of women from the north east of England who had children serving in the armed forces in war zones. With the least amount of staging, the indIVidual voices. which are studied at length by the cast of four excellent female performers. are given centre stage.

Not all the stories end in tragedy but a sense of loss and confusion is palpable throughout. Where the stories




Bold, original show from sickeningly talented young

performer .0000

Stefan Golaszewski’s a sickeningly talented young man. Squished into a sweaty attic in the Pleasance and armed with nothing more than a handful of props and some banging techo music, the young London lad is bowling over audiences with his first solo show, a smart, sharp, funny, charming and ultimately very affecting autobiographical monologue about falling in love and having his heart broken. And what makes this show really special is the wildly imaginative writing that absolutely nails all the eagerness and awkwardness of


Golaszewski’s account of a brief encounter that blew his mind and changed his life takes place over two nights back in 1999, when he was 18 years old. A chance meeting with a girl in a pub in Walthamstow, and a date at the dogs the next night, puts the cocky

intersect. with a particular phrase or expression of emotion. the actors physically come together. But for the most part the differences are exposed; each has a disparate response to the forces. to war. to the effects on their family and to being a mother.

One of the first responses to this type of theatre is "ix/hy'f. . tating the situation. il()‘.'-./(}V()l' eloquently then neglecting to comment on it makes it unclear whom this process is for. Steadfastly refusing to choose sides. the piece i)(2<l()l‘i(}‘3 mere reportage. The lack of narrative arc and the ending of each story being a foregone conclusion allows for no ]()tll'll(}\/. At

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youngster through an emotional rollercoaster that

takes him to extremes of feeling, the like of which he’s

never come close to experiencing before. Or, to

paraphrase Golaszewski’s gloriously wonky expressive style, having met the girl of his dreams he feels like the

first man to ever put on a pair of glasses.

It’s writing like this, all unlikely and inappropriate metaphors and similes, that marks out the show. It’s naked and a bit naff, but it’s also bold and original and it rings true. (If you’re looking for a comparison, Enda Walsh’s celebrated 1997 debut Disco Pigs comes to mind). Combine that with a beautifully modulated performance that’s by turns frantic and tranquil (in all the right places) and you’ve got arguably one of the most assured and exciting Edinburgh debuts of 2008.

Having appeared with the comedy troupe Cowards in

least it's a good starting point from which to take things tuither. and. With further development. could lead to some interesting results.

iSu/anne Blackl

I Underbelly 0844 54:3 8252. until 24 Aug, 7.05pm. $79—$70 (YB—£9).


Impressive site specific verbatim piece 000.

One of modern Britain's cruel realities is that. while a US presidential hopeful dominates front page news. the continued homelessness of thousands of UK citizens after the 2007 floods. has gone largely ignored. When this situation is mentioned. it is usually in hindSight or as a symbolic baptism for Gordon Brown's first days in power. rather than in the context of one of the worst humanitarian disasters on mainland Britain in decades.

It is precisely this indifference that gives The Caravan its power. While we are used to collectively shrugging our shoulders at the misfortune beamed into living rooms from abroad. being confronted by domestic misery serves as a sharp )olt.

Set in a tiny trailer and composed of

2005, this is not technically the first time Golazsewski has appeared at the Fringe. And, on evidence of this winning show, it won’t be the last. (Miles Fielder)

I Pleasance COi/ityard. 556 6550, until 25 Aug, 3. 75pm. 58.50—99.50 /£T7—£.‘8).

transcripts of interviews with ‘flood Victims" (a term some of the protagonists are at first bemused by). The Caravan has chosen voices from a wide spectrum of social classes and backgrounds. and thus serves as an intriguing pertrait of modern Britain. One man laments the damage to his spacious country house. while a woman rails at the indifference of Hull City Council. The choice of a site specific setting works so well as a backdrop for some of the excellent acting that. at times. you feel you're in the background of a documentary. (Miles Johnson)

I Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550. until 25 Aug (not 79), times vary, £8.50 (98).