everyone who never finds a personal medium. always caring too much what othersthink. But the anger of ‘Why me‘.” does not scream through Beverley Newns’s script. and it leaves the audience wondering why not. Ultimately we need the pain to identify at any depth. Humour and live jazz/blues music jauntily aid this cop out. (Tinch Minter)
l Blind Man‘s Butt National Student Theatre Company. Theatre West End. Princes Street. (venue I26) L'ntil 3 Sept. l.15pm.£2.50(£2i
REASONS FOR THE BEGINNING OF DELIGHT
Who or what are Plath’l‘aucher'.’ You’ll never know from the Fringe programme. but they are. respectively. a writer and choreographer team from New York City. who collaborate on dance theatre. In their European premiere. Reasons/0r the Beginning ()fl)eligltt. three barefootcd women dance like ripples in a whirlpool. Only one woman speaks. the others dance mute around her. After a confusing start. the story becomes a women's odyssey in the Big City. From a keyboard operator who types her fantasy into the computer and gets fired to a TV personality who conducts a very different kind of aerobics class. the heroine. ably played by Constance McCord. once again plunges into joblessness only to rise from dishwasher to gourmet short order cook. ‘Somehow.’ the author is saying. ‘we all lose something when we go through life. picking up weights sewn into our shoes.‘ Well. not much weight in these dancing shoes. especially in a fine solo by Lauren Naslund. You should enjoy this innovative combination of spoken word and body movement. which seems to open so many possibilities. (Kerry Napuk) I Reasons iorthe Beginning oi Delight Platthaucher. Southside Centre. (Venue 82) 667 7365. Until 3 Sept (not Sun). 5pm. £3.50 (£2.50).
In this one act play by Lanford Wilson the Ninety-Seven Minutes Here Tonight Company are true to their name. not a minute more and not a
minute less. The verbal action takes place in an old boathouse. Talley‘s Folly. on the Talley farm near Lebanon. Missouri. USA in the early evening ofJuly 4. I944. The story is a romantic waltz between unlikely characters: Matt Friedman. 42. is an accountant from Springfield who also is an escaped Jew from Nazi dominated Europe and Sally Talley. 3l . is a frustrated but liberal minded spinster tryingto escape her family and discover a new life for herself. Naturally. Friedman the Jew is not nopular with Sally's conservative family. What happens when Matt returns after a year's abseence to claim his Southern Belle? Whatever happens. it would have happened better in much less than 97 minutes. The characters strain for sympathy and there is never enough humour to make the long wait worthwhile. Moreover. the play‘s mystery. Sally‘s terrible secret. would not make any of today's second rate soap operas. One wonders why Wilson won a Pulitzer Prize in l980forthis dribble. Nick Olcott. as Matt. looks dishevelled enough. but on occasion loses his mid European accent which wears thin as the play wears on. Catherine Nix was good as Sally. displaying a range of emotions and looking the part. As Matt said: ‘we are all like eggs afraid to have our shells broken. ' Alas. very few eggs were broken in this play and none had double yokes. (Kerry Napuk) ITaliey's Folly Ninety-Seven Minutes llere Tonight. Crown Theatre. (Venue 53) 667 7588. Until 3 Sept. 7.15pm £3.50(£3i.
Apart from revivals of safe old favourites like Annie. Cabaret and Sweet Charity. musicals area rare commodity on the Fringe. which makes the appearance ofa minor West End hit like Songbook more welcome than it is. Chelmsford l923s' production. in Edinburgh for one week only and unlisted in the fringe programme. is certainly a braver choice than most; but it remains definitely and defiantly as a curiosity item only. Monty Norman and Julian More‘s concept is to create a revue musical reviewing the career ofa famous songwriter: a
response. no doubt. to the success of shows like Side by Side by Sondheim. This one is Side by Side by Shapiro. Shapiro who‘.’ Why. Mooney Shapiro of course. who between the years I908 and I977. ‘survived 69 years of whatever the 20th century might throw at him . . .' says the programme. It affords them the chance to write a pastiche score oi period music over the decades to attribute to him; clever. but maybe too clever for it‘sown good. Because. true to the composer they've created. most of it is pretty dire. The small company. however. rise majestically to the occasion. celebratingthis as ifitsthe real thing. lt’sastrangc little show; and one which the authors are apparently considering revising. then reviving. I think they should be discouraged. (Mark Shenton) I Songbook Chelmsford I923. Grcyfriars Kirk House (Venue 28). 225 3626 Until 3 Sept. l2.30pm. £3 (£2.50)
The Oucstors incatre Company is nearly 60 years old. WithJudi Dcnch as President. Oucstors is one ofthe most respected British amateur companies and no stranger to the Fringe. ln Aristophanes‘ last surviving play written in 388 BC. Wealth Steve Fitzpatrick adapts and directs a cast ofeight players. Instead oflyrical Greek. we get lyrical Cockney. right East End it was too. Chrcmylus. an honest but poor man. asks blind Wealth. a personification. into his home. ignoring Wealth's admonition that wealth corrupts. turning good men into evil ones. Chremylus with his slave Carion persist. believing once Wealth‘s blindness is cured the world will be saved because everyone will be wealthy When Wealth‘s sight is restored. he looks like a hippy coke dealer from Miami. But
Communlcedo's Blood Wedding.
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what about Poverty. another pcrsonification'.’ Will Chremlyus become an evil one‘.’ Can the world be saved? Jack Wood is very good as the central character. supported ably by Alan Widdrington and an enthusiastic and well-costumed cast. The play raises some interesting philosophical questions which. unfortunately. are not answered. Considering that Aristophanes was the greatest Greek comedy writer. advocated
women‘s rights and was a
pacifist. This adaptation only makes you wonder what the original was like. (Kerry Napuk)
I Wealth Oucstors Theatre Company. Old St. Paul's Church Hall. Jeffrey Street (Venue 45) 557 5684. Until 3 Sept. 9.15 pm. £3(£2.50).
DISTRICT SIX With increasing media attention focussed on South Africa's Group Areas Act. which is being tightened up by the Whites-Only l louse in the South African Parliament. District Six. a musical about a colourful Cape Town suburb. seems to be utterly rclevent to present developments in apartheid politics. The show is based on the true story of a multi-racial area. which in 1966 housed more than 40.000 people. but today isa barren. windswept piece of land in the heart of Cape Town. The cast reﬂect the colour and teeming life of District Six. with their lively performance of songs ranging from ballad to kwela. mbaqanga to jazz and a cappella harmony. Problems. however. become evident as the show progresses. It is disappointing that the music is recorded. even to the extent of putting the saxophone solos. which
could be so powerful. onto tape. It also sounds as if some of the singingis
recorded. but this could be
due to technicalslip-ups' ' by the Lyceum Theatre. Cassiem. the hero ofthe piece. rejects the District Six gangland scene. which is heavily influenced by American music and mobster ethics. declaring he is going to create his own ethnic. Cape sound. Unfortunately Cassiem's idea ofCape music seems to come straight out of a Lloyd-Webber production. It would have been nice to hear some real South African street music.
For an entertaining evening out the show comes highly recommended. Its message is clear even ifit is sugared: the South African government's policy of evicting people from multi-racial areas is untenable to the majority. (Nicola Robertson)
I District Six Baxter Theatre of Cape Town. Lyceum'l’heatre. Run finished.
BLOOD ON THE NECK OF THE CAT
From the initial thunder clap when Phoebe Zeitgeist lands on earth to the final distorted speeches. the Schiller-Theater‘s production was both dazzling technically and sad in its revelations of human relationships. Barbara Frey's Phoebe made a seductively frail Marilyn Monroe figure. takingthe suffering of others upon herself as Butcher. Lover. Model and Mistress tell her about their inadequacies. Fassbinder's gallery of types are found like human ﬂotsam. stiffs alive but instantly eager to ﬂex their ego musclesonce Phoebe charges them into consciousness. Their failures tocreate happiness accelerate into greater and greater
degradation. as they teach -
Phoebe. the spirit ofthe times. how human beings communicate. The three sections of the play merge into each other with the final twist as Phoebe. now knowing the language but not the code gives back their phrases in ever more inappropriate situations. The titled stage. lit round with fairy lights. the cosmic whoosh as this extra-terrestial being wakens or sucks individuality from each of the humans. her distorted speech add to the terror at the end. (Tinch Minter) I Blood on the Neck oi the
Cat SchillerTheatre Company. Berlin. St Bride's Centre. Run finished.
In Euripides' powerful play The Bar‘c/tae. the audience are invited to participate in the dark mysteriesofinitiation and ritual. Nancy Meckler's production at the St. Brides Centre attempts to chart the bounderies of induced Bacchian madness; to show how loss of individual identity lapses into a frenzied and uncontrolled release. which is as dangerous as the earthquakcsand thunder-bolts that Dionysus looses upon Thebes.
The set reminds the audience of the two elemental forces which control the Greek world: sand to represent Demeter or the earth. and bowls of water for Dionysus. the god of water. wine and blood. A shrine decked with candles in one corner. reinforces the ritual religious thrust of the production. and the use of percussion throughout the play. particularly the resonant African drum. stirs emotions deeply embedded in our collective past.
The performance by a cast of young actors is. however. disappointing. due perhaps to first night nerves. The women in the Chorus. which is the lynch pin and focal point ofthe play. are dressed in pretty patterned frocks. which they exchange for pctticoats as their madness turns to terrifying insanity. Unfortunately on the night. they lacked the intensity and vitality their parts require. although the way they reacted to Pentheus‘ abusive outbursts and prepared the sacrificial meal. worked well within the ritualistic interpretation ofthe play.
Dionysus (Simon Tyrrell) is awkward in a difficult part. while Pentheus (Peter Ilamilton Dyer) gave a strong and convincing performance. Given time and a responsive audience. this production could gather pace and power to do justice to Meckler's direction. (Nicola Robertson)
I The Bacchae Shared Experience. St Bride's Centre. Until 3Scpt. 7.30pm.1& 3Sept. 2.30pm. £6.50 (£5). 225
The List 2 — l5 September 198819