Cambridge Experimental Theatre‘s production at KING LEAR. well nigh unrecognisable asthe original. distinguishes itseltbythe vigorous. carnivalesque insanity injected into every scene. The cast oltwo women and one man march on stage in amenacing processionto the increasinglytrenzied accompanimentoia tin drum.

DirectorRoland Kenyon has decided to poriraythe relationship between Lear and his charming elder daughters as clearly incestuous. Goneril and Regan simper and pout. openly vying iorsexual as well as monetaryiavours.

The cast otthree grapple gamely with thetragedy. but nobody could denythat anyplay which loses more than halt itsdramatis personae is bound to lose a certain ‘ie ne sais quoi.‘ CET do howeverachievea mute eloquence in an auditorium which vibrated notonly with the stitling heatoia summer'sdaybut withthe unalleviated darkness oithe play.

0 King Lear. Cambridge Experimental Theatre. Theatre. ACT (venue 101) 5571785. Until 29 Aug (not Mon17 and 14) 1.50pm. £3 (£2).


Beginning. ending. and irequentlyquoting the lines dearto any romantic‘s heart —‘Letme nottothe marriage oltrue minds admitimpediment'— Canadian actress Meriel Brook portrays a dozen oi Shakespeare's heroines. taking as herlinkthe unityingtheme oilove.

No doubt in an attemptto avoid banality. very iew oi the most iamous speeches were given. butmany people in the audience must haveieltshort-changed when not even Lady Macbeth got a lookin.

Giventhat each character had to be acted out of context. Ms Brook showed a range and variability which many conventional actresses might well envy.

In no sense an authoritative interpretation ‘Shakespeare‘s Women‘ nonetheless oiiers an interesting sidelight onthe plays. (Helen Davidson)

0 Shakespeare's Women. Meriel Brook. Gilded Balloon Theatre. Cowgate (venue 38) 226 2151.Until 22 Aug 5.30pm. £3.50 (£2.50).


The billing ‘Hamletin Thatcher‘s Britain' raises

expectations oipolitical satire. but this 1‘/2-hour musical is simplya reworking oi Shakespeare ior modern times. Set in a cut-throatstock exchange plagued by a predatory Press. it jettisons some at Shakespeare'splotand all his subtlety. but remains quite close tothe original until the slightly bewildering ending.

This is a slickproduction with dynamic staging and some strong periormances. notablyirom Peter Mounsey and Louise Russell asa touching Laertes and Ophelia. Paul Manuel's Mark(Hamlet) is rathertoo laid-backand dispassionaie. and MatthewCunliiie‘s usurping uncle is distractingly iidgety: but the overall eiiect is well~conceived and imaginative. with original music by Andy Reid. an enthusiastic chorus. and some very successiul scenes. (Andrew Burnet)

0 We Burn Daylight. Esher Youth Theatre. YWCA. 7 Randolph Place (venue 8) 2254202. Until 15Aug 1020pm. £2.80.


The Taming oi the Shrew has always been a triile embarrassingiorany deeply committed ieminist who is loath to denigrate W.S.'sgreatness. but irritated atthe unabashed male chauvinism oithe play. Nobody. however. can long remain immunetothe charm and exuberance oi the Pretty Vagrant Company’s production oi this bawdy comedy. The casttake painsto endear themselvestothe audience by chatting convivially with the punters beiorethe periormance. quite literally. kicks oiiwith a brawl.

The pertormances oi Katherina and Bianca. played respectively by Karen Gluck and Olivia Fuchs. 'the one asiamous iorherscolding tongue asis the otherior her beauteous modesty’. are particularly sparkling. Bianca. supposedly virtuous. spends hersparetime perusing DrRuth's Guideto Good Sex and. one assumes. putting it into practice. whilst sister Kate iailstoiend oiiunwelcome lover Petruchio. ioisted upon herby her unsympathetic lather. No sournote sounds in azany. brilliantpresentation oithe taming oithe ‘irksome. brawling scold.‘ (Helen Davidson).

0 The Taming oi the Shrew. Pretty Vagrant Company. Cation Studios. Calton Road (venue 71)556 7055. Until 29 Aug. 2.15pm. £2.50



0 Presented here bya newly-termed group oi iive Cambridge students who aim to producee ‘tamiliar plays in uniamiliarways’. this production is certainly uniamiliariorthose not acquainted with the Marowitz collage technique where the chronological order oithe play isturned on its head and the original language ‘selectively retained but reallocated and ordered.‘ The intended eiiect is a concentration on the inner ‘dissolution oithe character‘ at Macbeth. seen here as the victim oia witchcrait conspiracy masterminded by Lady Macbeth.

Not tor the Shakespeare purist, this is nevertheless a well-craited and iinely executed reinterpretation oi the classic drama at ambition. (Lily MacGillivray)

o The Marowitz Macbeth. West oi Cambridge Theatre Group. Riddles Court. oii Lawnmarket. (venue 11). 225 8961. Until 22 Aug (not Sun). 3.45pm. £2 (£1.50).


TAG Theatre Company. a Scottish-based group. have casta dark. disturbing magic overtheir production at the tragedy oi the Moor. Shakespeare clearlylet rip an evident iascination with evil. in this play about the ‘green-eyed monster jealousy' and other unpleasantiorms oi paranoia. Laurie Ventrie. in the part at lago. the Satanic genius. has an appropriately cratty and grasping expression. drawingthe valiantgeneral inevitably into his web. Brian Bovetl is an excellent Othello. but his initial bungling oithe rhythms oi the verse was regrettable. A bizarre decision to cast a male actor in the role oi Bianca. the mistress oi

Cassia. Othello's iormer lieutenant. marred a show which was otherwise sensibly directed by Ian Brown. Whetherthis was some kind oistatement about male andiemale roles. or simply reilected a lack oi suitable iemale actresses. was diiiicult to ascertain. Putting aside minorquestions oi gender and the like. the production stands out as one oithe best. and most taithtul. Shakespeares around.

0 Othello. TAG Theatre Company. Lyceum Studio. Cambridge Street. 229 9699. Until 29 Aug. 2.30pm. £3.50 (£2).


Finally. aiterreduced Shakespeare. extemporised Shakespeare. and one-man Shakespeare. comes the inevitable Shakespearean breakiast show. Thankiully notas unpalatable asit sounds. this thirty minute helping oicoiiee. croissants. and “Tony and Cleo’ is one oi the better ways oi recoveringiroma hard nighton the Fringe. and steeling oneselitoiace the onslaught oia new day.

The acting may be ham. but it's hard not to laugh at the exploits oi CR (perhaps moreiamiliaras Caesar?) and co in an updated world oiword-processors. insider dealing and Britvic Orange take-overbids. The member oithe company most deserving oipraise is undoubtedlythe hard-worked coiiee lady. who passed amongstboth audience and players. doling outthe promised cups.

Essential viewingior those with a sense oithe sublimelyridiculous. (Helen Davidson)

0 Shakespeare ior Breakiast. Apache Associates. St Columba‘s By The Castle. Johnston Terrace. 220 1410. Until 29 Aug. 10.15am. £1.50.

TAG's Othello


One oi Shakespeare's darkest comedies. this play is duly periormed on a bare black set. though splashes oi colour are provided by the Restoration costumes, suggested perhaps bythe play's supposed lirst production in 1741. Catharine Carlyle's Helena is elegant and beautiiully spoken. and Philip Spedding's two roles are both well handled. Ruius Sewell gives a subtle but iussy portrayal oi Bertram. and Jonathan Rigby's Parolles is coniident and lively- perhaps too much so in the interrogation scene.

His direction. however. leaves something to be desired. It istoo simplistic and lacking in energv; oiten tailing to tilt liie irom the text. The climax in particular is short oi emotion and dynamism. though there are sensitive moments. notably the scene between three women which begins the second halt.

(Andrew Bumet)

o All's Well That Ends Well. Free Shakespeare Company. Demarco Gallery Theatre. 17-21 Blacktriars Street. (Venue 22). 557 0707. Until Aug 22. £3.50 (£2.50).


Despite minimal props. basic costumes. and the pressure oithe next company panting outside ioriheirtum on the boards. the Shakespeare Alternative present a remarkably vivid. it hectic. version at this evergreen tragedy.

Bringing alive the boisterous bawdiness oi Romeo and his associates. more through enthusiasm than by iorce oi Shakespeare's language which gets lost in the excitement at quick repartee - a vein oi inteciious humour warms the production. as does the depth at emotion generated between the characters.

Caline Carr's delighttully childlike. yet sensual Juliet catches the contradictions oi innocence and passion. ably supported by Charles Daish as a mercurial Romeo.

Cleverly creating a strong illusion oi place. this is an exuberant. it slightly undisciplined periormance. racy to the pointoi breathlessness. yet capturing the spirit at the

play with touching eiiect. (Rosemary Goring) 0 Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare Alternative. Abbotsiord Lodge. (venue

84). Until 29 Aug (not Mons) 2pm. £2.50 (£2)


As it the Fringe needed reminding that Shakespeare isn't sacred. this show reduces some 01 the world's greatest plays to the level oi anarchiciarce.

Hardly admirable in itseli. but the cast otthree Caiiiornian males achieve this teat in just one hour with seductive charm and humour. Appearing attera rather unnecessary and unexciting dance act. they rattle theirway through all 37 plays-well, almostali. Some are eliminated iora variety 01 reasons: CORIOLANUS. ior example. which has a rude title. The comedies. since they have basically the same plot. are all rolled into one. andthe histories become a game oi American iootball. though King Lear is sent oiiior being iictitious. One play is almost torgotten but receives a iult twenty minutes' attention atthe end.

This extraordinarily cultural tour de iorce occurs at an ungodly hour and is selling out. so rise earlyto avoid disappointment. (Andrew Bumet)

o The Complete Works oi Shakespeare. Reduced Shakespeare Company. Celtic Lodge. Brodie's Close. Lawnmarket (venue 6). 225 7097. Until 29 Aug.


Another demolition job on Shakespeare's pedestal. this is utter chaos. buta remarkable exercise in

; versatilityand quick thinking. For starters. the

company oi seven is cast at random by scraps oi paper drawn irom a hat bythe audience. Thus each actor must be prepared to play any part. Further impositions at this sort are made on both players and script at various points throughoutthe periormance; and this group's abilityto seduce and delight their audience lies in theirsurprising ability to incorporate our ideas while keepingthe show on approximately the lines 01 Shakespeare's originals. (Andrew Bumet) o Hamlet/King Lear Improvised. Abbotsiord Shakespeare Festival. Abbotsiord Lodge. 18 Morningside Road (venue 84) 447 1122. Until 27 Aug. 9pm/10pm. (Check at Box Oiiice ior details). £2.50 (£2).

The List 21 Aug ~ 3 Scpt 15