into the horror of a stale marriage. it shows Emma (Samantha Rushton) prcening and playingat life. caught forever in the coquetry which society expected ofthe nubile miss. Middle age finds her emotionally still a petulant child. unable to accept her husband’s successor his need for other people. IIardy. strongly played by Peter Mills. appears reasonable and kindly. but more than happy to take advantage of his privileged position as a man in I9th century middle-class England. Ilardy‘s women. Tess. Sue Bridehead. Iiustacia Vye and the rest are made very solid flesh in this play. jarring with the realistically drawn Dorchester household. Something more than a quavery lighting change and an inexplicable sound effect is needed to delineate the imagined from the real. IIneven acting and an uncertain staging make for some undramatic scenes and sticky moments. but when they get going there are some touching and convincing exchanges. (Julie Morrice) I Armed Neutrality (‘AZTS Canongate Lodge (venue 5) L'ntil Aug 20. 6.30pm £2 (£l .50).


Sue Casson‘s musical biography of Katherine Mansfield tugs in different directions. It takes two traditions and attempts to weave them together. The biographical material Mansfield's love-affairs. her literary ventures and her illness— is an unusual subject choice for a popular-style musical. Mansfield's literariness and her on-off relationship with John Middleton Murry are perhaps too internal to succeed as the stuff ofan up-front musical.

But the score and the songs are powerful. Penelope Mc(ihie's Mansfield is. through song. convincingly highly-strung. vital and tigerish upon demand. The other tiger. Middleton Murry (played by Jolyon Wolfin) was more mouselike. and lacked claws. The performances ofthe supporting cast were sterling and the group song ‘Scandal‘ (which punched home the catty hypocrisy of London society) deserves particular mention. in reality for Mansfield.

The strength ofthe production is undoubtedly its score. Casson has done

a good job with an insubstantial plot. which is illuminated by director Patricia Miller with occasional flashes of brilliance. but which suffers from an overall sense oflooseness.

I Two Tiger: by Sue Casson. Capers. The Pleasance (venue 33) 556 6550. 12 Aug—3 Sep (not Suns). Noon. £3.50 (£2.50). [Fr]


A portrait of Dorothy Parker doesn't readily fail. If all her witty sayings were laid end to end. it wouldn't surprise me if they made a halfway decent Fringe show. This one-woman celebration skirts this solution. however. and takes as its principal subject the vulnerable. all-too-human underside to Dorothy Parker‘s viper wit.

Ensconced in a parlour-palmed boudoir. Susanne Rock gives an appealing performance. easily holding the attention of her audience. who act as confidant and confessor to her zany Dorothy. A light touch with Parker‘sepigrams and a stylish stage presence make up for some shaky switches in mood between the private misery and public armour ofthe quickfire New Yorker. (Julie Morrice) I An Audience with Dorothy Parker Northern Production Company. Playhouse Studio (venue 50) 556 6550. Until 3 Sept 11am £2.50 (£2)


lwondered how an adaptation of Joyce's string of short stories would work on stage. and it didn't. ‘Dubliners‘ the volume is a seriesof diverse fragments. strung together by themes ofthe city. inactivity. and the unchanging face of Irish society. The adaptation. directed by Nigel I.uhman. selects scenes and sets them all in apub.

Buoyant as the seven members of the cast try to be. it is hard to work with material which is so undrarnatic. Having once myself tried to adapt one of the stories. "The Dead. for stage (rigor mortis had nothing on the end result). I know it's an impossible task.

Asa handfulof thumb-nail sketches (Joyce‘s epiphanics). the adaptation shows something of pub

‘hospitality‘ in Dublin. but fails to capture the essence ofJoyce's vision ofthe city. With more silence and getting on and off stage than content. erratic Irish accents and an abrupt. unforeseen end. ‘Dubliners‘ never stood a chance. despite some sturdy acting and an admirably conscientious bar-man. who stood polishing glasses for an hour.(Kristina Woolnough)

I Dubliners. Cambridge Floodlight Theatre Company. Canongate Lodge (venue 5) 556 1388. Mon. Wed. Fri 14 Aug—3 Sep. 4.30pm. £2.50.


Mikhail Bulgakov‘s political satire becomes sharp anarchic theatre in the hands ofthe Cambridge Youth Theatre. The evil. counter revolutionary Professor takes an innocent mongrel for the latest ofhis experiments. (iiven human organs the dog does not immediately become the highest of God‘s creatures.

This tale ofwild supposition. of corruption in high places. ofthe struggling masses is told with wit and bite. Some of the ensemble playing is both inventive and exciting. after a slow start. The farcical elements are handled at speed. with the cast providing the set. the place or the time. such as the whole ensemble reflectingthe dog in a giant mirror or rows of dismembered human brains. In this nightmare world people cling to any flotsam; the danger of individuality leaps out time and again in this bright inventive production. Love Bulgakov‘s stories‘.’ See this. it won‘t hurt. (Tinch Minter)

IThe Heart at a Dog cv 1 Productions. Southside International.(venue 82) 667 7365. 15-27 Aug. (not Suns) 2.45pm. £3.50 (£2.50)


I f V f%£$§‘

The Secret Agent


Joseph Conrad sub-titled his classic novel. based on a true story in which anarchists fatally botched an attempt to blow up Greenwich Observatory. ‘a simple tale'. And soit is. in outline. Though it was written in 1907 The Secret A gen! belongs in the sewers ofthe 19th century. and the Cambridge Touring Theatre has ingeniously recreated Mayhew‘s London from unpromising materials. Without sacrificing the novel's irony and cleverly retaining its integrity this distinguished company create a piece oftheatre which is at once familiar yet original. There is one

act and a multipliciton scenes and while the cramped surroundings caused a few first afternoon hiccups. the cast ad libbed with aplomb. Sam Lathem. as the double-dealing Mr Verloc is less porcine than Conrad specifies but is suitably sullen and bovine. Winnie Verloc (Claire Davies). his incurious wile-is played with beautifully judged ambiguity. as if one foot is in David Copperfield. the other in Madame Bovary. And there is a remarkably poignant performance from Katie London. reversing the Shakespearian custom of boys playing girls. as Winnie's screw-loose brother. Stevie. whose every entrance evoked sympathy. But there are many fine performances here not least among the loopy members of the underworld. nimny choreographed by Patrick Kerr. under the skilful direction of Patrick Kerr. (Alan 'I‘aylor)

IThe SecretAgent Cambridge Touring Company. The Pleasancc (venue 33) 556 6550. L'ntil 24 Aug. 4pm. £3 (£2)


A collection of stories by Italo ('alvino forms the

invisible line between

basis for this improvised play by Able Bodies. Set in the urban poverty of Northern Italy and staged mainly in black and white. it conveys an atmosphere similar to that ofthe neo-realist films of that period.

Marcovaldo is a dreamer. seeking nature in the pavementsand parks of a city that thwarts him at every turn. IIis misadventures are inevitably comic. but it isa comedy tinged with pathos. reminiscent of Jacques 'I'ati or Theatre de Complicite. And like Theatre de Complicite. Able Bodies make use ofa wide range ofcomic techniques the sound effects are particularly ingeneous.

Where the adaptation (which incidentally has the approval ofCalvino‘s widow) fails is in its inability to follow the seasonal pattern ofthe book. Within the natural cycle. Marcovaldo‘s behaviour assumes a greater significance than the simple series ofcomic scenes that the play can convey. In itself however. this is a highly entertaining and engaging production - accompanied. I must add. in weeks I and 3 by a very good breakfast! (Kasia Boddy)

I Marcovaldo St Columba‘s By the Castle (venue-1) 220 1-110. L'ntil 3 Sept. Times vary. £2.50 (£2).


()ne expects perhaps too much of the Shadow Syndicate. Their adaptation of I lenry James' icy story is clever and intriguing. the staging is concise. the acting convincing. Yet it does not satisfy the anticipation which their slick self-confidence promotes. The audience at the first night sat with cliff-edge attention. ready for the sudden shocks. the stomach-jarring plunges that have become the Syndicate trademark. And they got them. Ilow could they not'.’ The Turn ()f'l‘he Screw is without doubt one of the most unsettling stories written. and the ambiguities of it. the unexplained terror of it are nicer realised by thisproduction. Miles. the incredibly beautiful boyof the story. is played as a squatting ghoul. his sister as a sinister. doll-laced changeling. 'I'lie governess. impeccably characterised by Beatrice (‘ommins. treads an

delusion and clear-sighted concern for her charges. There is intelligent use of a bold. stark set and. as ever. Adrian Johnston‘s score is magnificent. distantly pounding then surging to provoke moments ofdrama. But the spasmodic scene changing. and the ineffective use of film prevent any build-up of belief in the narrative. See this show. but for real thrills look no furtherthan Ilenry James.(Julic Morrice)

I The Turn at The Screw The Shadow Syndicate. Crown Theatre (venue 53) Until Sept 3 (not Aug21. 23) 9.20pm. £4 (£2).


From the underwater music that fills the room as you take your seat. tothe eye-glittering antiseptic conclusion. this one-man adaptation of Zamyatin's futuristic novel We pitches you into a different and uncomfortable New World (with strong shades of Huxley).

Writtenin 1922. it led understandably to the author‘s expulsion from Russia. A bleak view of 2000 years hence. when humans are herded into a glass city under the watchful gaze ofguardians (prototypes of Big Brother). it shows the caged lives of those under the One State‘s vice-like control. where every minute is programmed. every name is a number. and sex is allowed only by coupon.

One man's tale. Weis the account of D503. builder of the Integral. the ()ne State's ‘ultimate weapon ofsubjugation'. A man who admits ‘I don‘t like jokes. and I don't understand them'. he is played with admirable energy by Peter Ireland who follows his gradual descent from obedient state-servant to a human with something close to

original thought. all for the love ofthe rebel. A330.

A simple production which makes clever use of lighting and bare props.(director Liz Swift) the company creates effects and the illusion of outside voices with a video screen and a slickly-timed stream of music. Boiler-suited and bespectacled. Ireland is by turns neurotic and sane. a rebel and a robot. and pins

the attention with an intense. ascetic and increasingly compelling performance.( Rosemary (ioring) I We Alternativ State Theatr. Marco‘s Leisure

The List 19—25 August 1988 21