AROUND THE RINGE
as Donny. owner oithe resale shop where the action occurs. Shambling purposeiully about his shop he tries iutilely to resolve on plansto regainthe Buiialo. or stolen nickel he believes he has been swindled out oi. Hex Robinson as Teach. Donny‘s partner in crime. has not quite theiilm-star swaggerhis name might imply. but brings intelligence and depth to the part.
A savage indictment oi contemporary American society. this beautiiully directed play portrays the proiound sorriness oi human aiiairs. Harrowing. but compelling. (Helen Davidson)
0 American Buiialo. OTG. Abbey Laird Hall (opp Fringe Club) (venue 14) 226 5985. Until 29 Aug. 6pm.
£3. IT’S THAT RAT AGAIN
Letme letyou know what this is all about. as they say at the outset oi this involved production. There‘s this rat. buthe‘s not reallyarat. He‘s really Winston Churchill. who has been reincarnated and is tryingto blow up Mrs Thatcher's cabinet. only there isthis emergency plumberwho stamps on him. Then he comes back as a waitress. . The ratacts very well. but it is diilicultto see justwhy we should botherto suspend disbeliei. o lt‘sThat RatAgain. O‘Connell‘s Consortium. Mandela Theatre. The Gateway Exchange. Abbeymount (Venue 6)652 0181, Until 22 Aug. (not Sun)3pm £2(£1.50)
LIKE DOLLS OR ANGELS
Hannlgan. ialrground stuntman and proprietor oi 'Hannigan's Wall oi Death'. isiacing personal and iinanclal disaster: Marvin the Manacled Midget has lied. taking most oi the stall with him; histrick motor-cyclist. now chewing tobacco because his hands shake too much to roll his own. threatens to iollow him; and there is his glrliriend Zuki (as in Suzuki 750cc). whom he hasiust catapulted not only across the River Severn and into the record books. but also into a conirontation on the nature oi their relationship. Stephen Jeiirey's short. atmospheric piece. perlorrned by the newly iorrned 8P Springboard Theatre Co. is rich in bitter humour and extraordinarily moving. tor beneath the sarcasm is the sad. sordid and iamiliartale oi too many broken promises and uniuiiilled dreams. Mlk Cahlll (Hannlgan) and Liz
Hutheriord (Zuki) are reireshinglyiree oithe grand dramatic gesture: their rough-and-ready naturalism is a periectioit to the iierce and witty script. and convincingly sympathetic to their battered and world-weary characters. (Robin Muir) 0 Like Dolls or Angels. 8P Springboard Co. Assembly Rooms, 54 George Street (venue 3) 226 2427/8. Until 29 Aug. 4pm. £3.50 (£3).
HERE TO STAY
Asad. iirst playirom studentJulia Biggs. HERE TO STAY is the story oi a couple learning to cope with theirmongol son. No miracle improvements here; Jonathon. excellently played by Matt Stringer. grows up ever lovable. but no less dependentthan he everwas. Yet despite the bleakness oithe scenario. there are some delightlul moments. Jonathon goes to the doctor‘s and responds politely to his patronising ‘You look very smart today“. bytelling him ‘You lookvery smart today too.‘ in the end it is other people’sattitudes that provide both the comedy and the pessimism in what is a reireshingly unsentimental play. (Stephanie Billen)
0 Here To Stay. Bulmershe Revival Theatre Co. Soulhside International. Soulhside Centre. 117 Nicolson St (Venue 82). 667 7365. Until August 22. 3.05 pm. £2. (£1)
THE LAST DAYS OF NOSFERATU
An adaptation oi Stoker's Dracula set in a postWorld War I world oi gas masks and grim laces. Innocent Harkersets oil to Transylvania. equipped with Kodak. Polyglot dictionary and Baedeker. Attracted to a scenic castle. he becomes trapped. with visitations irom a brutish Dracula. who iinds a photograph oi Harker's wile. and so beginsthe cursed ioumey back to iind her. Swiitly changing lights shiningirom rapidly opening and snapping shut suitcases create a disturbing world oi shadows alternating with iierce beams. Nosieratu himsell creeps behind a paper-thin Japanese screen, his presence anounced bythe gentle tinkling oi bells, as it in a light wind. Any leellngs oi complacence are soon dislodged in this slick but chilly version oi a traditional nightmare. The Shadow Syndicate. Fringe First Winners in 1986. have abandoned blood and iangs. to reawaken the lndeiinable elements oi disturbance irom an old legend. (Ann Crookenden) o The Last Days oi
Nosieratu. The Shadow Syndicate. Canongate Lodge. Royal Mile. Canongate (venue 5) Until 29 Aug (not Suns). 8.15pm £4 (£3).
A witty adaptation at Thomas Love Peacock's stand againstthe encroachments oi ‘black' romanticism. A random house party gathers at Nightmare Abbey. deep in the Lincolnshire wastes. Home oi Scythrop Glowry. gloomy poet. attracted only bythings old; ghosts. graves and epitaphs. The plot hangs on his two loves. the winsome Marionetta and the mysterious Stella. but the characters really serve as vehicles as well as victims ior Peacock‘s satire on all that is morbid. The iouriemale members oithe cast play their various parts to great humorous eiiect. and explode the iallacy that women can‘t impersonate men. EleanorZeal. author oithis adaptation, and iounder oithe company. is resplendently Gothic in plush dressing gown and nightcap. The iirst appearance otTheatre Caddis. we look iorward to more. (Ann Crookenden)
0 Nightmare Abbey. Theatre Caddis. Canongate Lodge, (Venue 5) Until 22 Aug. 6.05pm. Red Rose Theatre. Aug 24—29. 12.05pm.
THE MASTER OF HEADLAND HALL
A disinherited bastard son limps around a humble cottage. awaiting the day when his lather will die and he becomes masteroi Headland Hall. Butsuperior cousin Neville returns irom the East, to snatch the inheritance irom his grasp .. . Well that's the story anyway. But in this one-man show irom Clive Mendus. hisiellow actoriails to turn up. and Mendus is leit ina sweat. desperately tryingto keepthe audience amused until the ilunkershows.
Mime impressions. stand-up comedy. nervous improvisation iall ilat. so the deserted actor proceeds to blend snatches 01 his liie story with scenes irom the original play. We iind that his lile pivots on the missing actor. his arrogant brother, more successiul proiessionally. more attractive to girls. more interesting to theirmother. And so his tile is mirrored in the melodrama and both lead to a dark conclusion.
THE VERY TRAGICAL HISTORY OF MARY SHELLEY
Don‘t expect a straight liie history. Instead the three glamorous members oi Tattycoram. in silkand diamante. present breathless sketches interrningling real events with the creatures oi Mary Shelley's iancy. These take a myriad oi iorrns. A sensual display at ‘boneless' belly dancers. who had intrigued Mary on hertravels with Shelleyto Europe. Visions oithe poet's atoms washing in the sea. alter his early death by drowning. Fantasies oi re-animation. coming naturally to a woman who had buried a husband and tour children by the age at 25. at dead babies coming alive. vermicelli moving oi its own accord. and at course oi Frankenstein. Tattycoram pace around the
stage. counterpointing speech and movement to indicate the rush oi ideas at a iertile imagination. (Ann Crookenden)
o The Very Tragical History oiMary Shelley. Tattycoram. Mandela Theatre (venue 79). Abbeymount. 652 0181. Until 22 Aug. 1.30pm. £3 (£2.50).
This oil-beat blend oi clowning. mime. music and serious drama is intriguing and proiessionally acted. (Ann Crookenden)
o The Master oi Headland Hall. Clive Mendis. Calton Centre. Montgomery St (venue 56). Until 29 Aug (not Suns). 6.15pm. £3 (£2).
From the pen oi Nick Darke (whose last piece. ‘The Dead Monkey'. was staged by the RSC) and via Liverpool Playhouse. comes an amiable. weather-beaten black comedy. No surprises here - bizarre. kindly accounts at human aberrations are always Darke’s stuii. Lest we should iorgetthis. two iamiliarmotiis-a murderous ovenglove and a tour-legged chicken-are vital parts ol the plot. Christopher Duinn is a convincing sharp rustic. telling direct tothe audience a story oi country politics in darkestWest Country. a sort oi murderous Archers. His material ls good and iunny.
and he tells it well on Candida Boyes' splendid set (a great drape oi weathered kitchen ilagstones). Guinn conildes as he might in a Cornish pub. mimicking his uppity wiie Myrna and the local nob: our reaction is hallthe ilattered tourist. halt ‘when is this loony going to leave me alone?’
But the piece remainsa short story. the sort you might get irom a good- humoured Steinbeck. and it is more suited to the radio than The Traverse. As beiore. lam leitlongingior something substantial irom Mr Darke's quirky. and always original. imagination. (Alex Benton) 0 Bud. Diiierent Drummer Theatre Co. Traverse Theatre. Grassmarket (venue 15) 226 2633. Until 29 Aug. Times vary.
Jean-Paul Sartre's Hell is a hot room. three ugly chairs. and three uglier characters. Between them enough tire and brimsione is produced in 75 minutes to iill the Pit lor eternity— proving the thesis that any normally-ilawed human beings have no need oi pitchiorks and imps to make llle hellish ior each other.
; Sartre’s dense. witty play is periectly served by Frank Hauser's translation and Vanessa Fielding's direction— actors Joanna Foster. Mariorie Yates and Clive Arrindell playthe incompatible. iallen three with precision and remarkable style. (Alexander Benton)
0 Huis Clos. Omerta Theatre Company. Canongate Lodge. Royal Mile (venue 5) 031-556 1388. Until 22 Aug. 4.15pm£3 (£2).
APART FROM GEORGE
Nick Ward’s ‘Apart irom George' is horribly good. A sombre. brooding play. it explores the tension
. building up around George. J a middle-aged man who has i just been laid oiiwork.
Ward sets the play in the Fenlands. ‘a nothing land which God would soon return to nature“. andthe sense oi the emptiness and distance oi the environment lills the play mirroring the sad. uncommunictive relationships betweenthe characters. George’s marriage is empty; his relationship with his daughter is hostile; his liie seems meaningles.
Though surprisinglylunny in places. Ward's writing is poetic and his own economic direction at the National Theatre Studio Juilds up the play's - atmosphere beautiiully. On a bald white set the space
'I'hc 1.15131 Aug —‘ 3 Sept 21