Wendy Darling is solo mime artist Peta l.ily‘s latest show. It representsa meditation on the characters and the themes of .l..\1. Barrie'smagieal novel. Peter Pan. (‘entral to the piece is Wendy. now matured into astylisb woman. on her return to the house of her childhood. During an uneasy night spent alone in the nursery. surrounded by her old belongings and engulfed by the memories they evoke. Wendy confronts her past. With ingenious simplicity and depth of understanding. l.in reintroduces as. through Wendy. to such familiar characters as(‘aptain
I look. Tinker Bell and. of course. Peter Pan himself. In doing so. more universal themes of love. jealousy and motherhood are aired.
As a piece of theatre. Wendy Darling makes tough. albeit justified demands on an audience. Its comtemplative. rather than narrative nature requires a high level of concentration. In terrnsof visual design the set. featuring Wendy'sold dolls' house and variotis toys. provide fascinating objects to study and muse on. one‘s thoughts directed by Lily‘s revealing words. This is complemented by Nick Dw yer‘s minimal music. which effectively builds tip to a throbbing pitch at varioUs stages throughout the piece. In her typically self-assured and elegant style. Peta Lily as ever rewards her audience with an engrossing and pleasurable performance. (Katrina McPherson)
I Wendy Darling Theatre Workshop. 29 Aug 3 Sept.12.15pm.£3(£2.50).
Giselle. Playhouse Theatre
The curtain came up on a forest of browns. So far. so unexciting. A pretty
raven-haired (iiscllc in blue and her handsome lover ((‘ount Albrecht disguised as a peasant) flirt in that forest and are interrupted by I lilarion. a real villager also set on (iiselle‘s heart. After chasing l lilarion away. Albrecht and (iiselle join the rest of the village who have just arrived for festivities. and dance to celebrate the harvest.
Matsuyama Ballet from Japan treated the story of (iiselle with reverence to its western roots. Set in medieval Germany. their stage was populated with crimson-coated cavalicrs. rustic villagers and. in the second act. grey female spirits aka the Willis out in force in search of lost male souls. Traditional lines were toed on all counts.
For that reason. this production seemed dated and a little dull. The contrast between the first act — the festive village. and the second — (iisellc has died of a broken heart and has become one ofthe Willis in a dark wood. was less dramatic than it should have been. Yoko Morishita as (iisclle on several occasions did ask the audience (sweltering in the heat ofthe Playhouse) to open its collective heart. and certainly hit the spot when she was sent mad with grief on discovering that Albrecht was a (‘ount and already betrothed. But while Kasuhiro Kaneda made an angry llilarion and Tetsutaro Shimizu a dashing Albrecht and the rest ofthe cast were proficient. there was a touch of the regimented army about their style. That suited well the Willis line-ups (surely the precursor to Busby Berkley routines) but left character lacking.
Had it not been for the lightness of foot and acting ability of Yoko Morishita and the handsome Tetsutaro Shimizu this production would look better in mothballs than at the Edinburgh Festival. (AB)
FESTIVAl KIDS —
FLYING CHESTYCOFF BROTHERS
The Flying Chestycoff Brothers have an act Ican thoroughly recommend for all children. Their show is lively and energetic. irresistably enjoyable. original and skilled. But their great success is in the instant rapport they strike with their audience: I have never seen children (and even their timid adult companions) less reluctant to participate or more at case when they do.
This unforced relationship is extended after the 35-minute performance in a short workshop which has even the shyest children running around with eager smiles. their inhibitions long forgotten.
Don‘t miss it! (Andrew Burnet)
I Stop That Box! The Flying Chestycotl Brothers Kazzum (Venue 102) L'ntil 3Sept. lllam.£2
ALISON IN BLUNDERLAND
A guitar-strumming storyteller in green tights and an improbable wig introduces this tale ofa little girl falling through her video and finding herselfin Blunderland. where she meets an amiable magician and a rather unsavoury gentleman. Dr Nasty Evilperson. whose name says it all.
There's a charm about the way this rather predictable story unfolds. which is due in part to the vivacity of the three main performances. though the appeal to children's enjoyment of the disgusting is also a factor. The plot struck me asa little thin. and momentum ﬂagging. but perhaps that was to do with the very small audience when I saw the show. Every effort is at least made to involve those children who do amend.
This is a warm-hearted and undemanding show. which is worth the short journey from the city centre. (Andrew Burnet) lAllson In Blunderland Kazzum (venue 102) Until 3Sept. ll.30am.£2(£l)
SWEENEY TODD Two very good ideas have gone into this show. The first. which will appeal to the thinking parent. isto extrapolate from the notorious barber shop’s Fleet Street location a framework plot oftabloid press sensation-mongery.
in which the honest journalist (there are a few of us) is manipulated by his Editor into macabre embroidery of innocent facts. with near- murderous results. lt‘sa well-wrought allegory.
Equally ingenious and unusual is the promenade production. in which the audience visit three separate playing areas (the Playhouse‘s red-painted corridors become remarkably atmospheric) before participating in the very satisfactory execution of poetic justice.
The standard of acting. it must be said. is not very high. but with originality like this. who cares'.’ (Andrew Burnet)
I Sweeney Todd Northern Production ('ompany. Playhouse Studio (Venue59) 557 3807. [Intil .3 Sept. 10am. £3 (£l)
THE RED NOSED BAGGY TROUSERED CIRCUS SHOW
The Black Box Puppet Theatre (‘ompany attempts to recreate the nostalgia and excitement of the circus. using large. beautifully manipulated puppets. Rinky Dinky. the (‘ircus (‘lown. asks at the beginning of the show. ‘how many of you have been to the circus'." and sheepishly the mass of parents respond. while the children look slightly bewildered.
The show is slick and enjoyable. but it seems to appeal more to the adults in the audience than to their children. Rinky Dinky and Stephen the Ringmaster are too sophisticated with their chat-show banter for the very little kids to understand. and consequently their attention strays. This is a pity as the puppets. when they appear. are thrilling. They perform on the flying-trapeze or lift weights. There is a beautiful scene with a ( ‘hines'e dragon and a butterfly. and the children sat rapt when the tiger was brought on.
Perhaps Rinky Dinky and his crew should develop their act for an adult audience. who could marvel at the puppet-master's skill. (Nicola Robertson)
l the Red Nosed Baggy Trousered Circus Show Black Box Puppet Theatre (‘ompanyx lnstitut Francais D‘Ecosse(venue 55). Until 3rd. 10am 86.: noon. £2.50(£l .50)
The List 2 :l 5 September 1088 21