Centre. (venue 98)228 2179. Unti13Sept. 2.15pm. £3(£2).
REOUIEM FORA WOMAN’S SOUL
Stuart Blackburn‘s adaptation of Omar Rivabella's Requiem For A Woman ".s Soul presents Us with two sad artd sorry characters: Susana (Rhorta Campbell). art irtnocertt political prisoner who is tortured artd abused by her captors. artd Father Antonia (Tirtt Tracey). a parish priest who relives the rrtisery of Susana's inhuman treatment through a series ofdiaries that she manages to keep.
The play is primarily a condemnation of torture (in case artyone was in two minds about it). but also goes some way to explore the psychological and social motives of the torturer. Perhaps it would ltave been better to take these ideas ftrrtlter because what the Mandela company give us is less a fully dramatic reworking artd more a narrative rendition of the novel. Despite the bleak spider's yveb of a set and the impassioned perforrnancesofthe actors. I couldn‘t help feeling that the novel has failed to make a complete transition to the stage. (Mark Fisher).
I Requiem ForAWoman’s SoulThc Mandela Theatre (Venue 79) 652 03120181. Lintil 3 Sept (not Suns). 9pm. £2.50 (£1.50). (Fr). ADL'LTS ()NLY.
Midnight at the Calton studios. and Eerie ()rum could have a cult eontedy hit on their hands. This is Dracula done straight. with white-painted faces. funny accents and avast array of unreliable props. The performances are priceless: Willie Harper as van Helsing ptrts Peter Cushing iii the shade. and Jane Baikie's Mrs Wenstrom takes overacting into a new dimension.
The rag-bag of a staging draws out every last drop of awkwardness from the valiant cast. and holds the audience rapt in terrified expectation: will van Helsing manage to get the catch of his Gladstone bag open and get the garlic out in time? Will the coachman burst a blood vessel or let slip his Transylvanian accent'.’ It says a great deal for the resilience of Bram Stoker's story that the
Hale-in Walt (b be raviawad next uieek) Freeldad tic—hat. hoe 83
audience irt this grotty vertue elirtg on to the end artd are rewarded with art orgy of banshee wailing. howling wolves attd earrtage worthy of a Rambo movie. Ifyou tire of serious. worthy dramas. see this. (Julie Morrice)
I Dracula Iierie ()rurtt
Theatre. Calton Studios
(venue 71 ) ITntil 20Aug. Midnight £3 (£2 ).
()ver the past few years National Youth Music Theatre have acquired quite a reputation for producingentertaining family musicals. artd The Little Rats. the companion piece to Drake. takes place urtder the aegis of the official Festival.
However Drake. a musical comedy about the run-up to the Armada is a disappointing production. The cast. who range irt age front the under-tens to nineteen. are clearly enthusiastic artd well-trained btrt could benefit frortt material which is less corny arid unorigirtal.
There were performancesof note. Queen Iilizabeth had a strong artd trrtcorttrived stage presertcc. combined with a beautiful voice. which helped to keep the show together. arid the Killigrew dUoofscheming mother artd son provided comic reliefat appropriate moments. (Helen Davidson)
I Drake N.Y..\1.'I‘. (ieorge Square Theatre. (Venue 37). 667 370-1. Aug 23. 25 10. 15am. Aug 17—19.21—264pm. Aug l2-1-t.20. 26. 7. 15pm. £4.50
SEJANUS: HIS FALL
There is pcrltaps art
oby ious reason why Styrmus is one of Ben Jonson‘s rrtost obscure and rarely performed plays. and that is the sheer accumulation of facts artd rtarttes of a long forgotten period of Rorttart history. familiar no doubt to the classically educated Jacobeans. but completely irtaceessablc to a modern audience. The story of Sejartus. constructed along the lirtes ofthc formal. choral tragedies popular iii the early 1700s about the great man's fall front power. is also a satire on the corruption of state goverrtment: a subject that might conceivably excuse the New Classical Theatre Company their choice of play.
Their approach to this wordy text is. however. a brave attempt to rework a difficult piece of theatre iii a way that reveals new possibilities artd resources of the stage. Criven the tiny upstairs space ofthe Festival Club. they try to ntakc the play work through a concentration on the text itself; on its very textuality'. through the use of voices irt chorus artd extraneous noisesof typewriters. drums and recorded sound. I lowever because it is a difficult work. the way they ltave chosen to play it as a rttirtirttilist piece. with art almost non-existent set. few props. costumes that seem to have been thrown together in a hurry artd the minimum of movement. the performance becomes static and at times hard to follow. (Nicola
I Sejanus: His Fall New Classical Theatre Corttpany. Festival Club (venue 36). 220 2276'. Lintil27 Aug. 6.15pm. £3 (£2.50).
SHADOW OFA GUNMAN
The squalor of a Dublin tertentertt iii the troubles of 1920. Iintera beautiful poetic soul artd a sentimental Catholic. They wilfully transcend their environment and provide irony. Adda touch of self-deluding grandeur artd a romantic young woman attd there‘s art explosive situation. Donal sees no harm irt letting pert young Minnie think him a gun-man on the run. it raises his esteertt iii a Republican household — until it leads her todeath.
()‘Casey's delicate language is sensitively handled by Paul Burns as Donal artd I’aul (iardiner as Seamus. Ann Bates's direction is well paced. letting both passion arid fervour seep out. asone after another illusion is swept away. ()‘Casey's picture of innocence being kicked aside by gun-men calls for our tears while we smile irt recognition of human weakness artd self-deceit. A naive community clogged tip with myth and religion well mirrored irt a cluttered set. (Tinch Minter)
I Shadow of a Gunman Caucus'l'heatre. Canongate Lodge (venue 5)5561388. l-t-20Aug. 2. ltlprtt. £3 (£2)
From the grainy silent movie opening through the various stages of discovery arid despair this will tingle the brain cells. A man found living like a beast is 'rescued‘ artd educated. Steven Anteche's portrayal of his discovery of light. space. co-ordinatiort artd finally the power of the serttencc is powerful sttrff. Assailed by the voices of teachers. ertdlessly bludgeoning him irtto understanding. he wins our sympathy as he searches for a way through this new jungle of moral. social artd grammatical precepts. Teachers become his new tormerttors. bombarding him with the superiority of their world. flooding him with higltislt tcc artd TV ads.
The coldness of this production adds to the loneliness of his position: the furniture onstage.
first alien and frightening. becomes closer to him than the two prompters. Kaspar. the mart caught irt a time-warp is Peter Ilandke‘s image of the individual today. Taught to ptit things irt order. he draws us towards the inevitable as he applies this notion of order to his new world. (Tinch Minter)
I Kaspar LAXA. Moray House I 'nion. (vertuc 108) 5565184. l'ntil20 Aug. 4pm. £3.
"Through our father we love our men artd our (iod.' intone the entire cast irt the opening linesof Caryl Churchill‘s Cloud Nirte. a play which then blithely proceeds to debunk all the conventions artd taboos of patriarchal society.
Iidinburgh I'rtiversity Theatre Company's production is clever artd fast-moving. rely irtg upon art extremely versatile cast who each take on at least two roles. regardless of gender. The broad-sltouldered Shan Khan appears clad irt a trailing lace dress. as Churchill explores the inverted nature of rttuclt adult sexuality . artd Caroline Richards is astonishingly convincing as Iidward. the sort of a boorish army officer artd his dissatisfied wife. The reason for all the role-swapping becontes apparent irt the second halfof the play. where Iidward. now grown-up. arid played by (iraham Young. ltas realized his homosexuality. arid the almost ‘masculine' confidence.
Simon Bayly's direction gave coherence artd tension to art adrttittedly disparate text. artd Ite evert succeeds irt averting imminent farce when homosexual Iidward leaps into bed with his married sister artd her lesbian lover. Questionable as sortie of the motivation seertted to be. Cloud Nine is a valuable arid perceptive piece of theatre. artd lilTTC do it jushce.
I Cloud Nine. IilITC. Bedlam Theatre (venue 49) 225 9893 L'ntil Aug 20. (rtot Sun) 4.50pm; tltert Aug 22—27 2.25pm. £2.50 (£3)
— THE BELLS
Henry Irving ntade his name irt The Bells at the end ofthe 19th century. arid the play itselfwas
regarded by audiences. used to the stilted rttelodrartta of the Victorian stage. as a piece of psychological realism. However the play ltas aged. artd this revival by the Sutherlartd Studio Revelle rs only shows us how it has aged. The company approach the play as Victorians. with only a few concessions to rttoderrt staging. The acting is sound; the original music. played by a trio of musicians. is fattltless. arid the prodttetiott is well-rehersed. but it does rtot shed arty new ligltt onto the text. artd does not attempt to engage with the imagination of a rttoderrt audience. (Nicola Robertson)
I The Bells Sutherland Studio Revellers. Canongate [.odge (verttre 5). 556 1388. l'ntil 20 Sept. 11.40pm. £3 (£2.50).
LE MISANTH ROPE
Moliere is notoriously difficult to play well. As the note on the back of Lowbrow Theatre Company 's programme reminds us. Moicrc‘s comparty of actors. I.a Troupe Du Roi. played together for tw elve years irt the provinces. experimenting with imported Comedia Dell‘arte tecltrtiques. before returning to Paris to perfortn his plays. No doubt slap-stick artd rough artd turttble farce were employed durirtg perforrttartces. btrt by skilled theatre rttert artd probably with restraint. This production by I.oughbrottgh 1f rtiversity Drama Departntertt proceeds with a recklessness breathtaking for a satire on drawing-room manners; wigs fly off. dresses burst their buttons. chocolate boxes get squashed arid the cast seem to spend ntost of its time sprawling aimlessly around on the floor. The words are chewed tip by inappropriate blocking. artd neither Moliere‘s delicate text or the company conte off well irt this production. (Nicola Robertson)
I Le Misanthrope Lowbrow Theatre Company. Arter'l‘heatre (vertue 101 ). 557 1785. 27 Aug. 2.10pm. £2.50 (£1.50).
John Webster. author of the White Devil. wasa man obsessed with death. In this his first play he
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The List 19— 25 August 158—853