Kings Theatre, Edinburgh

The pleasure that plays like this give (they now mainly survive in Saturday night Radio 4 reserves) is as inexplicable as the pleasure of a crossword puzzle is to one who doesn’t do them.

There are ot course stage thrillers so wittin written that they transcend their genre— ‘Sleuth' is an example. This play, written by Francis Durbridge, one of the most successlul of all stage thriller writers, isn't one of those.

The programme notes tell us that Durbridge gets his ideas staring at a blank sheets of paper and, without meaning to be unkind, the page must have still been pretty blank when he finished sketching out the main character. Ray Lonnen (known to millions—as we say—asthat detective in ‘80th Sottly‘. and more recently the newspaper man in ‘Crossroads') plays a wealthy author in the middle of a divorce and on the brink of a million dolar publishing deal for his diaries. But, no Jetrey Archer he, why is everyone so interested in getting hold of the diaries? Murder, intrigue, red herrings. John le Carré-type spies all dulytollow.

The tightly written (a flash back is only once used), short scenes maintain the interest— and you genuinely want to see it out to the end; like crosswords it‘s not the meaninings that matter so much seeing the solutions neatly tit into place. (Nigel Billen)


Cabaret. Brunton Theatre

If there is a star in the stage version of Cabaret, based on lsherwood‘s short stories and John van Druten's I am a Camera, it isn‘tthe nightclub singer Saly Bowles or her all-too English lover. Clitt Bradshaw, it is the period, the spirit of Thirties Berlin with its tacky low-lite and seedy attairs where lite was drunk in lull and to the dregs and it the Hitler Youth were terrifying it was precisely because they had so much spirit. not because they lacked it.

All this comes across very well in the Brunton's production which opens their autumn season in the same week that Bob Fosse, who directed the award-winning tilm, sadly died. There

are no heroes here, and director Charles Nowosielski allows the story of the love affair between Sally and Clilt to lead but not to dominate the play.

Instead the story which is told is about the uncommonality of human purpose as Germany heads tor the rapids and pitches headlong towards Nazism and the mocking ethics of the Kit Kat Klub scan the disquieting themes of the play in Kander and Ebb's memorable score.

By giving equal weight to each of the characters and not changing the set between scenes, everyone becomes a part of the same complex picture. Alan Cumming underplays the easily caricatured English gentility ol Clitt, neatly wrapping the character in a plausible charm and there is tine strong singing from Anne Smith as Sally.

More could have been made at the


imagery and the costumes somehow miss the decadent allure of Weimar low-lite. Yet even here there is something teelingly awtul about the messy ill-structured lives of the cast which is evocative and lormidable. (Sally Kinnes)


Mitchell Theatre, Glasgow.

As you'd expect from 7:84, the ‘people‘s theatre'. with lierce socialist allegiances. their latest production is stirring fare.

Through the ghost-dictated account of Mary MacPherson. bard ofthe Highland Land League whose poetic and prolitic song-writing voiced the crotters' troubles. John McGrath‘s work draws the obvious parallel between their nineteenth-century struggle and those today lighting for similartreedoms: their land, their language and lifestyle.

Materialising in remarkably good shape in a modern Skye cafe, Mairi Mhordemands that herstory be told, and brooks no digression. Hopping from past to present. her history, and the Highlanders', is gradually patched together, the long-departed joining with the still-living in telling the tale, and quite unabashed at their anachronism.

But with moments ot sharp parody. this somewhat exhaustive history is fused by Catharine-Ann MacPhee‘s delighttul Gaelic singing (subtitles provided) and slick, versatile comedy from Robert Handleigh. Occasionally raw, this is nevertheless a heartfelt and warming production. (Rosemary Goring)

Edinburgh Festival. Early booking advised. Alloa Town Hall 2 Oct. 7.30me ( 'arnegie Hall. Danjermline 3 Oct. 7.30pm. End of tour.

0 Bozzy Winged Ilorse Touring Productions. following a highly

I successful run at the Edinburgh

Festival this year. are taking their revival of Frederic Mohr‘s Fringe First winning play on a national tour. Michael Mackenzie plays Boswell in this one—man account of Dr Johnson's biographer. For further details ring Winged Horse. ()31 226 3521).

Royston Wardie Barn (.‘omnzunity ('enrre Fri 2 Oct. 7.3(1pm: Civic Theatre. Motherwell Sat 3 Oct.

7 . 30pm; [faster/rouse Community Centre, Glasgow Tue (3 Oct. 7.30pm; Dranu‘hapel Unemployed Workers

('enrre. Glasgow Thurs 8 Oct.

: 7.30pm; ('ivie Theatre. xlyr Sat ll)

Oct. 7.30pm. End oftour.

o The Last Days of Nosteratu The

i Shadow Syndicate‘s successful

' Edinburgh Festival show touring

? extensively in both England and

Scotland. Glasgow A rls ('enlre Wed I, 7—Fri 9 Oct. (MI 331 4526; Alloa

Town Ila/l Sat Ill Oct. (125‘) 213131 )1 Theatre Works/lop, [:‘(linlmrg/i Thurs 15—Sat 17 Oct. 325 7942. Tour continues.


The Borders Festival moves into its second week ofevents theatrical. music and historical in town halls. stately homes and pubs. Many venues are only an hour‘s drive from Edinburgh. The lull programme and

. ticket information are available from 1 the Selkirk Tourist Information , Centre.(1)75())2()()54.

0 All Hallow EVE by James I logg. ‘A major discovery. this is the really

. important one.‘ says Judy Steel. The Ettrick Shepherd portrays a whole

community held in thrall by pagan belief. Performed by the

NorthumberlandTheatre('ompany. 1

£3 (£2). The performances all begin at 7.30pm. Tue ()Oct. Wed 7 ()ct. (ialashiels Volunteer I lall; Thurs 8 Oct. Kelso Tait hall; Fri 9 ()ct. Peebles Burgh Ilall: Sat I(l()ct. Selkirk Victoria Ilall.

o The Wizard Lady of Branxholm by Judy Steel. Through the figure of Janet Beaton. Lady of Buccleuch. the play examines the role and image of women at the time of Mary Queen ofScots. Written for performance in village halls. £2.5()(£l.5()) Performances all begin at 7.30pm. Fri 2' Oct. Ashkirk Village Hall; Sat 3 Oct. Broughton Village Ilallz'l'ue (T Oct. Newcastleton Village Hall; Wed 7 Oct. Lauder Public 1 Tall: Thurs 8 Oct. West Linton. (iraham Institute; Fri 9 ()ct. (‘lovenfords Village Hall: Sat I(l()ct. Ileriot. McFie Ilall.

0 Tamlane Theatre Alba tour their successful. magical production of the play by Edward Steven based on the Borders legend about a young knight rescued from the clutches of the Faery Queen by the true love of a young girl. £3 (£2) Fri 2 Oct. St Boswells Village Hall: Sat 3 Oct. Traquair I louse.

20 The List 3— I 5 October