()ne ofthe most memorable images in this adaptation of ()rwell's classic comes when the animals. having overthrown Farmer Jones. are working for themselves and build a windmill. They make it out of big red and white bricks. like a giant lego set. and they work slowly and painfully. with an unquestioning childish innocence. When it's finished. its potential labour saving value is of course denied them. and the power-corrupted Napoleon claims it for his own ends. lt'sastrong. poignant scene and drives home its point very well.
()therpartsofthe staging are much more predictable. It takes more than the banging of dustbin lids to suggest a revolution and Boxer‘s undeserved death is portrayed by wrapping him in a white sheet which turns red. None ofthis took the audience by surprise and it dilutes some of the strength ofthe piece.
The adaptation by Ian Wooldridge is. however. very sound. This version was first performed by TAG Theatre Company in 1981 and two ofthe original cast asked Wooldridge to direct this production for Centre Stage. It‘s not a bad show and Orwell's watertight message is clearly made. but it lacks a bit ofthe spark you hope to find on the Fringe. (Sally Kinnes).
IAnimal Farm Centre Stage. Lyceum Studio (Venue 35) 229 9697 '9. Until 3 Sept. 3pm. £3.50 (£2).
KISS or THE SPIDERWOMAN
Staging an adaptation of this startling Manuel Puig tale of emotional suspense and revolutionary fervour in a South American prison. so soon after its success on the big screen. is either a risky gamble or a sharp piece of marketing. Fortunately. APA from Canada carry it off at least with near-complete success. An angled expanse of rope netting. against which the two performers hurl themselves dramatically like caged monkeys. provides the perfect theatrical metaphor for the claustrophobia and tension oftheir confinement. Joseph Cazaiet as Molina. the
charminglyeffete homosexual and Jack
Langedijk as Valentin. the romantic revolutionary. chart the complex relationship that builds between the two cellmates with mature talent and subtlety. Immaculater lit and stage managed. the shifts of scene and mood are slickly interwoven and simple but effective solutions found for the tricky plotting. Forthose who aren't familiar with the exhilarating twistsand turns of the original story. this may well be an unexpected surprise. (Simon Bayly) I The Kiss OtThe Spiderwoman. APA Canada. Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2427/8. Until 3 Sept. 8pm. £5 (£4).
- A FEAR or FALLING
Three prisoners locked in a mad world where sadism is condoned. brutality is commoner than fresh air. Simon. the State's most valuable political prisoner. is tortured daily. His neighbour Thomas cocks a snook at the Governor‘s demands for information until Stephen is sacrificed. Two criminals then rethink their value systems. their lives. their sentences. The swings and uncertainties until a new commitment is reached by both men. are charted with bitter irony and defiance. Mark Aldridge presents a world where contempt for human life is locked in perpetual conﬂict with natural optimism. chillingly revealed under stark overhead lighting. Most entrances are through the audience. bringing all the horror closer to home. Ian
The Kiss of the Spi
Kearns plays the innocent with conviction whilst Simon Farrington‘s Thomas. a tough little sparrer. complements Roger (ioldby‘s more intellectual dissident. A tribute to Steve Biko. it makes a plausible image of a State gone completely insane. (Tinch Minter)
I A Fear of Falling What Now? Theatre Company. Mandela Theatre. Abbeymount. (venue 79) 6520312. 26.29.31 Aug.2 Sept. 4.30pm £3 (£2)
PLAY SCHOOL Every teacher‘s nightmare. an unknown crowd of uncontrollable thugs. thugs who see quite clearly what a teacher‘s iob is. These four have no ntention of letting Miss FIart get on with herjob ind go through the usual aunts. bullying and riolence. Additional :lements are that most ielicate of sensibilities. nale pride pitted against a aoung female in a position )fauthority. Spike has host to lose and eventually takes one arrogant step too many. An interesting study of the leader and the led. the strong and the feeble. the underprivileged and the snob is developed under explosive circumstances. Keenly differentiated performances from Rab Christie‘s fearlessly physical to Colin Lowden‘s tough bully raise key issues ofour time. Robin Lindsay Wilson addresses personal responsibility at many levels. exposing clearly the barriers of class war. the frailty of male egos in the aftermath ofwomen's lib. In scenes ofwild aggression the inner conﬂicts find free expression. Brave. powerful performances all
round. (Tinch Minter)
I Play School Glasgow Arts Centre. Harry Younger 1 [all (venue 13) Until 3 Sept. 7.30pm £3 (£2)
MISS MARGARIDA’S WAY
How is a deeply frustrated person to teach biology to the young? On her desk Miss Margarida has a statue of the Virgin. but in the drawers she keeps less conventional teaching aids. Any topic but sex education offers an escape route duringthis lesson. Alexis Leighton grabs at each as a drowning man clutches at straws. trying to stiﬂe her own cries for love. respect and gratitude. In a performance that swings between seductiveness. demureness and defiance. she takes cover behind her spectacles. revealing a lonely woman. Frightened ofeverything. she still shouts her philosophy of the world to her trapped pre-adoiescent audience. Taken at a cracking
pace. this one woman piece from Brazil will both entertain and shock. delight and dismay. A highly idiosyncratic personality emerges. responding to pressures and stimuli we have all experienced. the only credible product of her unique set of hopes and fears. Stay up that extra hour and enjoy this lively performance. (Tinch Minter)
I Miss Margarida’s Way Glasgow Arts Centre. William Younger Hall. Lochend Close. (venue 13) L'nti13 Sept. 12.30am. £2 (£1)
_ BREAKA LEG
Paul Merton has proved adept at salvaging some advantages from catastrophe. Last year his show closed the day after it opened — no reﬂection on his ability asa comedian. but due to him breaking a leg in a football match with a load of fellow comedians. ‘Imagine.‘ he says. ‘Kenny Dalgleish trying to be a stand-up comedian. and you‘ve got an idea how bad we were.‘
His show's a good exercise in the art ofbland self-mockery. Comedians. he claims. have very lowly ambitions. Making no exception for himself. he tells us conspiratorially that all they really want to be is a quiz show host.
Many of the jokes
centre on the vaguaries of
London life. Pissed and ignorant mini-cab drivers. ineffectual answering-machines. Jimmie Tarbuck look-alike competitions all cause gales oflaughter in this late-night show.
Merton has so far
successfully resisted any further disaster that malevolent fate could wish upon him. L'sing asa title the old theatre jargon for Good Luck is a move which has clearly paid off. (I lelen Davidson) I BreakA Leg Paul Merton. Assembly Rooms. Until 3 Sept. Midnight.£4.50 (£3.50)
_ BLOOD WEDDING
Communicado give Lorca's Blood Wedding harsh and intense treatment in this Fringe-First winning production. Director Gerald Mulgrew and designer Colin MacNeil brilliantly evoke the atmosphere of the repressed. rural Spain of the Thirties. in the story of
: a young bride who.
cajoled into a marriage largely ofconvenience. runs away with a former lover on her wedding day. bringing ruination to all the families involved.
An air of inspired and uncontrollable lunacy hovers over the drama. Eerie. ballad-like music was specially composed by Karen Wimhurst. and sporadically accompanies the action. Unfortunately at times this detracts from. more than it enhances the action. When the lovers disappear together the Father. (Graham Valentine). assumes the cameo role of the moon. slowly chanting the lines which emphasize how close to madness the two lovers have come.
The standard ofacting in this show is so high that it merits. and has in fact received the kind of treatment normally accorded to Festival productions. Nonetheless. the Bride. played by Alison Peebles. might have been a little less imperious. and more clearly racked by conﬂict and passion.
It's a demanding piece of theatre. in terms of time. (two and a quarter hours) and emotion. but rewarding by the atmosphere and the gutsiness with which Communicado imbue it. (Helen Davidson)
I Blood Wedding Communicado. Lyceum Studio. (venue 35). 229 9697/9 Credit cards 229 4353 9pm. £4 (£2.50)
LILY MORGAN This is a wee gem ofa play. Performed on a bare set. save for a table and chair. it successfully recreates the hope and bitterness. friendships and jealousies that form a part of everyone‘s late adolescence.
I-in isa nice girl. everyone agrees; but. well. not very exciting really. in fact boring. However. in reality Lily. excellently performed by Penny Killow. harbours the same thoughts of ambition and envy as everyone else. In fact. Lily empathises with Lady Macbeth and when Ms Bevis announces auditions for the part in the forthcoming school production Lin determines to get the part.
The members of the Far East Theatre Company. are billed as East Anglia's leading Youth Theatre and that is certainly not hard to believe. They all perform convincingly and Zowie Poynter is particularly good as Mo. Lily‘s best friend.
Rob John‘s text is warm and often funny. anti the production includes a simple yet powerful dream sequence in which Lily and Mo follow Lady Macbeth's example and seek to ‘remove' their opposition.
Suffering from minor fringe fatigue on entering the theatre. I left refreshed and entertained and only regretting thatI had shared the experience with a relatively small audience. Spare an hour and see this show. you won't regret it. (Ron Aitken)
I Lily Morgan Calton Studios. Venue 71.556 7066. to Sept 3. 6.30pm £2.50(£1.50)
DIARY OFA SOMEBODY
Exeter University Student Theatre presents John Lahr's Diary ofa Somebody with great enthusiasm and a degree of polish. Based on Joe ()rton's diaries. written in the last eight months ofhis life. (he was dubbed by Ronald Bryden ofthe Observer in 1966 asthe ‘Oscar Wilde ofthe
14The List 2— 15 September 1988