After the extroversion and exuberance of his earlier plays, John Clifford has turned inward with Playing With Fire which opens at the Traverse on 11 June.
‘lt's very, very different from Losing Venice,’ says Clifford. (Losing Venice, Clifford‘s smash-hit epic jaunt through 17th century Spain, has successfully toured to Australia, Scandanavia and Hong Kong, since it opened at the Traverse two years ago.) Playing with Fire is a one-act, indoor piece, which happens more or less in real time, and is ‘serious with funny bits.‘
Based onthe Faust legend, it follows the fortunes of Justina, an alchemist living in Paris during the Hundred Years‘ War, who is tempted by the Devil. ‘Nobody would have been taken in by Mephistopheles because it’s so obvious he's a shit,‘ says Clifford. The devil in Playing With Fire, is by contrast, truly persuasive. ‘It was a lovely character to create, but also a
BLAZING A NEW TRAIL 1i
dangerous one because in the end he’s the devil of despair, making concrete all my negative feelings about the world. He‘s a very powerful character, and in the end he may be right.’ Playing With Fire owes something to Clifford‘s recent project with the Actors‘ Touring Company, forwhom he translated and adapted an early
Spanish play, Heaven Bent Hell Bound.
‘Putting a devil on stage is a pretty
freaky thing to do,‘ he admits, and he was glad of the chance to experiment within another playwright‘s framework. ‘Then if it‘s a disaster, they can’t blame me.‘
The 15th-century setting of Playing With Fire has, Clifford feels, obvious parallels with today. ‘lt was a period of continuous warfare, which we also have in the world today, although our country has an uneasy kind of peace. Life is very unstable, and people are preoccupied with death. . . haunted by a sense of impending extinction.
‘l'm making it sound very gloomy, but it isn‘t.‘
Clifford may be despairing of ‘the way this country is going‘, but he is enthusiastic about theatre and its large possibilities tortoday: ‘lt‘s all about transforming an ordinary room, making things happen in it. . . fantastic and dream-like things. I see people in the audience laughing or crying, responding emotionally, and that’s lovely.‘ (Julie Morrice)
Charity Variety Show Tue 9 June. £3.50 (£2.50). In aid ofthe Royal National Mission for Deep Sea Fishermen. Proceeds from this concert to Eyemouth Centre. Joining Ron (.‘oburn on stage will be The Tartan Laddies and The Jacobites. amongst others.
0 CHURCHILL THEATRE
Morningside Road. Tickets usually available from (‘ruikshanks the Newsagents. opp the Theatre.
Equus Until Sat 30 May. 7.30pm. £2.50 (£1.50). Leitheatre present Peter Shaffer’s powerful play about an adolescent‘s tortured sexuality. The Late Christopher Bean Wed 3—Sat 6June. 7.30pm. £2. Tickets available from usual outlets and also from Mrs Wilkie. 46 Viewforth Terrace. Edinburgh. Edinburgh People's Theatre in a comedy adapted from the French by Emlyn Willians. Consuming Passions Tue 9 June. 7.30pm. £1 .50 (50p). Scottish Dance Theatre. See Spring Fling Diary for full details.
Khoros Dance Theatre Wed 10 and Thurs 1 1 June. 7.30pm. £1 .50 (50p). See Spring Fling Diary for full details.
Spring Lothian Dance Company Fri 12 June. 7.30pm. £1.50 (50p). See Spring Fling Diary for full details.
0 FRENCH INSTITUTE 13 Randolph Crescent. 225 5366.
Rencontres Theatrales des Colleges Wed 10June. 7pm. Lothian Secondary schools present extracts from French plays as they compete for prizes including two tickets to the Avignon Festival.
0 KING'S THEATRE 2 Leven Street. 229 1201. Box office Mon—Sat 10am—8pm. Bar. [D]
Annie Until Sat 30 May. 7.30pm. Sat mat 2.30pm. £4.50 adult; £3 child: £2.75 cones (OAP. Student. Disabled and U840). £1 off all evening and Sat perfs. A new production of the highly popular musical based on the comic strip story of Little Orphan Annie. an orphaned waif living in 1930s'
America who is adopted by a millionaire.
Up 'n’ Under Mon 8—Sat 13June. Mon—Fri 7.30pm; Sat 5 and 8pm. £6. £5.50. £5. £4.50. £3.50. Tue—Thurs OAP. Student. Disabled. UB40—£2 off Stalls and (irand Circle seats. Mon eve and Sat mat all seats £3.50. 1 lull Truck Company in John (iodber‘s (Shakers, Bouncers. Blood. Sweat and Tears) early Hull Truck popular hit play about rugby. Voted Comedy ofthe Year in the 1984 Laurence Olivier Awards.
0 MANDELA THEATRE Gateway Exchange. 2—4 Abbeymount. 661 0982. Cafe and Bar facilities during
Hull Truck Company bring John Godber’s award-winning rugby comedy, Up'n‘Underto the King‘s
MACLASH Sat 30 and Sun 31 May. 7.30pm. £2 (£1). The Merry Mac Fun Co. Sec Spring Fling Diary for full details.
0 NETHERBOW 43 High Street. 556 9579. Box office mam—4.30pm: 7—9pm perfevgs.
Churches Drama Federation Annual Festival Until Sat 30 May. Please check with theatre for details. Blackfriars Wynd Wed 3-Sat 6June. 7.30pm. £2 (£1). See Spring Fling Diary for full details.
Out of Boundaries Mon 8 and Tue 9 June. 8pm. £2.50 (£1 ). See Spring
w. L‘ k, \ \
Theatre, Edinburgh this month. See Listings.
Fling Diary for full details. International Mushaira Wed 10 and Thurs 1 1 June. 7.30pm. £2 (£1). An evening of poetry and music presented by the Scottish Poetry Library. See Spring Fling Diary for full details.
Dress Casual Thurs 1 1 June. 8pm. Free. See Spring Fling Diary for full details.
Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat Mon 1—Sat 6 June. Mon 7.30pm. Tue—Thurs 2pm and 7.30pm: Fri and Sat 5pm and 8pm. £6. £5. £4. Mon. two tickets for the price ofone. Cones: OAPs and children £1 .50 off all prices. Schools Only. Wed and Sat mats £3. Party cones also. The Rice-Lloyd Webber hit musical based on the Old Testament tale ofJoseph and his coat ofmany colours: Joseph. favourite of his father. is maltreated by his envious brothers. but when he becomes the Pharoah‘s right-hand man during the famine. they are forced to seek his mercy. Presented by Bill Kenwright productions.
O ROYAL LYCEUM Grindlay Street. 229 9697. Box office Mon—Sat 10am-6pm. 10am—8pm on perfevgs. Bar. Rest/Cafe. (TheatreSaver Concession Cards cost £1 . last all year. give £1 offthe full price each time you come for you and a friend — available to OAPs. UB40s. Students. disabled. under 24 railcard holders. YTS scheme and young people under 18).
The Gorhals Story Until Sat 30 May. 7.45pm. £4 (£2.50). 7:84 Scotland in a wonderfully spirited production by David Hayman of the play by Robert McLeish about life in the Gorbals during the post-war housing crisis— and since.
West Side Story Mon l—Sat 6 June. 7.45pm. Sat mat 3.15pm. £3.50—£5.50. Cones available. Tue—Thurs for OAPs. UB40s. Students. Disabled and under 14s. Edinburgh Music Theatre Company in Leonard Bernstein‘s wonderful musical version of the Romeo and Juliet story, set in 1950s‘ gangland New York.
The School for Scandal Fri 12 June—Thurs 6 Aug. (To be played in repertoire with Tartuﬂc opening later). 7.45pm. Sat mats on 11 and 26 July. (all seats £2.70). After show discussion Mon 15 June. £2.70—£6. TheatreSaver holders£1 off Summer Super Saver offer — reductions for those booking both shows. FREE Preview on Thurs 11 June. Richard Brinsley Sheridan‘s much-loved comedy ofmanners with a new prologue written by Liz Lochhead, whose highly successful translation of Tarruffe returns as the second part ofthe summer season.
0 THEATRE WORKSHOP 34 Hamilton Place. 226 5425. Box office Mon—Sat 9.30am—5.30pm. Bar. Cafe. Mrs MacKechnie Meets the Megaloths Until Sat 30 May. 7.30pm. £2 (£1). Lung Ha Theatre Company. See Spring Fling Diary for full details. Fun Day and Cabaret Sat 6 June. From 10am (Cabaret at 7pm). Free. See Spring Fling Diary for full details.
0 TRAVERSE THEATRE 112 West Bow, 226 2633. Box office Tue—Sat
322 The List 29 May — 11 June