3 comparative peace of the present
f day and looking back with fond
nostalgia to the auld days 0‘ fechting. Billy Riddoch as the cowardly but nonetheless endearing warrior gives a convincing comic performance.
Needless to say skirmishes between the Murrays and their neighbours, the Scotts. soon recommence. Scott the Younger is captured. and given a choice — the gallows or marriage to Sir Gideon‘s daughter Meg. Will the problem resolve itselfhere and now? No. for the lass has a muckle mou‘.
This is the first time the play has been performed in the original Braid Scots. but the show owes much of its life and vigour to the language. The play at times threatens to hover uneasily between the mortal and the faery worlds. without coming to rest in either ofthe two. but the consistently high quality of the live music and the strength of the comedy (particular credit to Nicholas Coppin as Wattie and Barbara Rafferty as Sir Gideon's long-suffering wife. Grizel). prevent an audience‘s interest from lagging. (Helen Davidson) The Lass Wi' The Muckle Mou. TheatreAlba. Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh Suite (venue 3) 226 2427/8. Until30Aug (not Suns). 6—7.30pm. £4 (£3).
Desire by Stephen Jeffreys based on Robert Louis Stevenson’s tale The Bottle Imp. raises complex moral questions about greed and desire. the pledging ofone‘s soul in their gratification and the morality of imperilling the souls ofothers.
However. in this production by Communicado while there is energy. there is no tension. and while there is colour. there is no menace. There is neither pace in the direction. nor conviction in the characters.
Both the company and the writer have done other highly impressive work. but in this was an uninspired production which left the issues unprobed and the conscience
unsearched. (Sally Kinnes)
Marital Aids is a cheap title for a play about a chilling subject. one of a rash of plays on the topic currently infecting Edinburgh. This one is a short, simple and moving two-hander in which Ryk is forced to admit to his wife Julie that there‘s more to his relationship with Brian — spoken of but never seen — when Brian proves antibody-positive. Though the play is technically flawed by lack of information as well as misinformation (the distinction between proving positive and having AIDS is never fully explained: and the implication that a negative test result means that they are ‘safe‘ is inaccurate). as a human drama it covers the issues without breaking new ground. (Mark Shenton) Marital AIDS. Binary Theatre Company, Royal Scots Club (venue 57), 30Abercr0mby Place. 556 4270.
22—23 Aug, 12 noon. £3 (£2).
10 The List 22 Aug- 4 Sept
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l The disturbing story of the Kerry I babies rears its ugly head again. this 5 time in the form of a one-woman I play by award-winning writer. Polly ' Teale. Teale worked closely with director. Julia Beardsley and actress. Carole Pluckrose. researching the I story. including a visit to Ireland to I meet Joanne Hayes and others I connected with the case. The play explores Siobhan’s
t (Joanne) development from when
police. Fallen looks at Siobhan's
; emotional development; her
; fantasies and illusions. Her pathetic assertion in the closing lines that
f bigotry as were the writings of Edna O‘Brien — but this is not fiction!
mannerisms are authentic. A f one-woman play may not be the
3 4829. Until 30 A ug.
she started work. meeting Tobias (Jeremiah). who was to father her two children. We are familiar with the subsequent events; the mystery of the baby washed up on the beach. the dubious nature of the police investigation. and the inconclusive findings ofthe tribunal that sat to determine the role played by the
‘Nobody'll have me now. I suppose’ is as vivid an indictment of rural Irish
The language. accent and
ideal medium for a plot that concerns so many individuals. and action is hampered by a lot of movement of props. distracting actress and audience alike. Direction should. but didn‘t. counteract the play‘s inherent short-comings. thus placing even greater demands on this extremely competent actress. (Triona Carey) Fallen. St Mary '3‘ Hall. St Mary 's Street (venue l 9). 55 7
10.30am—12noon. £3 (£2).
ENGLISHMEN AND A BROAD
The Fringe programme calls this ‘cabaret'. but don‘t be put off by that. Englishmen and A Broad are three highly-individual stand-up comics who are comfortable with their audience and are prepared to step beyond their rehearsed material.
The ostensible star of the show is
Steve Nallon. revealing that he is more than just the voice behind Spitting Image‘s Margaret Thatcher. The Prime Minister invites the assembled subject to bombard her
‘ with tricky questions. but what she
gets are rather predictable and awe-struck enquiries about Ronnie. Mark. Norman. Denis and her
- favourite comedians )‘The Two
Ronnies— but I do wonder if their jobs could be done by just one Ronnie‘). Still. Nallon conjures up a savage Maggie-ism in response to the most pallid ofquestions, to ensure that we get the unvarnished truth about that finger. relations with HRH and what Denis does in the bath.
The Broad is Kitty Hollerbach. from San Francisco. more in the mould of American stand-up comics featured at the Assembly Rooms in recent years. holding forth on diaphragms. wierdos and Americans abroad.
Best ofall. though. and first on. so don‘t be late. is Jeremy Hardy. whether responding to the racket from Hooligans downstairs. delving into an Army-dominated childhood near Aldershot. revelling in his own prejudices or ridiculing those of others.
Not many ‘cabarets‘ in Edinburgh offer real entertainment and off-the-cuff performances; this one does — but think up a completely off-the-wall question for the PM beforehand. (Mark Ellis) Englishmen and A Broad, Heriot Watt Theatre. 30 Grindlay Street (venue 7), 2293574. Until30Aug. 8.30pm. £3.50 ([3).
BILL AND BEN
Bill and Ben is a fascinating piece of theatre. Ben Jonson has been imprisoned for having ‘rufﬂed the feathers ofa gentleman popinjay‘ and makes use ofhis time reading over Shakespeare's newest play Macbeth. Ranging freely from impromptu soliloquies. ‘If it were done . . .‘ to satirical pastiches. ‘15 this a bottle (ofale) that I see before me?‘ Jonson casts a highly critical eye over much of the bard‘s work. Whether or not you would agree
with the assertion that Shakespeare’s work is composed largely of ‘popular aphorism and patriotic drivel' it is surely healthy to challenge the notion that unfavourable comments upon Shakespeare are well nigh equivalent to blasphemy.
Andrew Tansey is excellent as the author of Volponeand The Alchemist and obviously feels at home with Shakespeare. whether as Harry V exhorting his troops. Macbeth‘s Porter. or the inept Dogberry. (Helen Davidson) Bill and Ben. Streetcar Theatre. Theatre A TC (venue 101) Riﬂe Lodge, 32 Broughton Street. 5571785. Until 30 Aug (not25 Aug). 6—7pm. £2.50 (£2).
BARNES STDRMING '
An hour-long triptych ofessentially male discourses on the human condition. held together by the exceptional performances of Simon Kunz. It is a pity that his three character studies should have been relegated to so dismal a venue as the Walpole Hall. where variations in set and lighting are restricted by Tic Toc's attempt to accommodate eleven different shows under one roof.
Three ageing East End pimps mourn the boozed-up demise of the best ‘flatback‘ they ever knew; Diogenes holds court from his barrel with both a ranting naked follower and Alexander the Great; two brigands in 17th century Westphalia establish a familiarity with an aristocrat they have ambushed that prevents them from killing him - until they discover that he intends to negotiate a peace that will end the anarchy from which they profit.
Each ofthe three short pieces exists in its own right (the on-stage costume changes are choreographed but add little. other than proof that the same three actors are involved in them all). and yet the recurrent grim humour and the tightly-controlled malice of Kunz‘s presence reinforce the themes that are implicit in the scenes which Barnes creates: that human nature is unchanging. or at any rate does not advance. and that ironically. selfishness draws people together more powerfully than charity. (Mark Ellis) Barnes Storming. Second Thought Theatre. Walpole Hall, Chester Street (venue 18). 2263358. Until30Aug. 6pm. £3 (£2).
In a festival as large as the Edinburgh
Fringe. it is inevitable that some
plays and productions do not receive
the acclaim and support they
deserve. It is deeply concerning.
however. that a play ofsuch power. g
and such remarkable brilliance.
should be almost totally ignored. 1 In over fifteen years ofFringe i
viewing. I doubt whether] have seen anything to match Night. Mother. or witnessed performances ofsuch intensity. An audience ofeighteen
was given an emotional drubbing
they are unlikely to forget. as Yvette Edelhart and Amy Greenhill gave __1