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Two very different Fringe hits return to Edinburgh for the Traverse‘s Pick of the Fringe this fortnight. James Mavor and Sarah

Hemming report.


In Jenny Landreth‘s play about Bay City Rollermania, Alexandra Cross plays an adolescent Ian who can Singalonga Les, has grinning pap pix above her bed and wears baseball boots and hall-mast, sla-press, hi-waisters with tartan trim. The girl is English but identities so strongly with her heroes that she wishes to be born again Scots.

For anyone with secret nostalgic desires just to hear the old songs again, All at Me Loves All 0t You comes highly recommended. It's an evocative and pointed rellection ot the pleasures and pressures of growing up and (sadly) growing out at such innocent obsessions.

Jenny Landreth grew up in

Birmingham and now lives in London. '

where she still leels ‘culturally very unrooted‘. ‘The play is about wanting to be part at a gang or a clan,‘ she says.

‘Alexandra and l were interested in girl lans and she had been a Ian at the Rollers. They were so extreme. Great comic potential and theatricality. The connotations just aren‘t there with, say, The Osmonds. The Rollers have a sort ol absurdity about them.‘

On stage, Alexandra Cross switches between the girl and her disapproving mother, who sees the Virgin Mary as a more suitable role model, boylriend Dave who’s a Slade tan and a sociologicalIy-minded teacher who deconstructs the lyrics to Shang-a-Iang in class. It‘s rich. character comedy stutl.

During the Festival the press arranged a photo-opportunity with drummerWoody‘s mum, who corrected a grave error in the play. Alex imagines the Rollers are coming to visit and prepares milkless tea lor Woody. ‘Ilis mum said that when Woody comes home she has to order an extra pint! Then she told us how Staurt was doing really well now in the music business. In South AIrica.’

To create the play, Landreth indulged in some uselul method-writing techniques- listening to the Rollers’ oeuvre at length. A habit-lorming occupation, it seems. ‘Now I go into record shops, ignore all the new stutl and look tor Slik and The Rubettes. We get really excited when someone linds 3 Gilbert O‘Sullivan album. When I was young I had no pocket money to go to discos. I can do it now and don‘t have to worry about being in by ten. It‘s not having a good time. I‘m just doing research.“ (James Mavor)


I was sitting in The List oltice during the Festival this year when a List reviewer came staggering through the door. ‘Stallerhol.’ she said, shaking her head

and collapsed onto a chair. ‘Stallerhol‘. ‘What about it?‘ I asked, a little concerned. ‘Is it awlul?‘. ‘No' she said. ‘lt's brilliant.‘

She wrote as much and so did several others, and the Wilde Players lound themselves nominated Ior an Independent Theatre Award Ior their production at Franz Xaver Kroetz‘s play. All this came at something at a surprise to the group themselves. ‘We didn‘t envisage anything like that at all,‘ says Andy Williams, one at the cast. ‘We just lloated along tor three weeks. We‘ll probably come down to earth with a huge bump when we do it again!‘

The Wilde Players, all recent graduates Irom King Allred College, Winchester, lirst did Stallerhol as part at a German season. It is a tough play, documenting the brutal relationship between a Iarmworker and the mentally retarded daughter at his boss, wordlessly, graphically and sometimes shockingly. The Wilde Players arrived at their spare, naturalistic production gradually.

‘It helped having no director in a way,‘ says Williams. ‘We had to discover it all together. The production we lirst did in rehearsals was very bizarre and completely dillerent lrom the end product. It was going to be an expressionist piece with buckets oI really disgusting stuff all over the place gradually it became the bare essentials with as little emotion as possible.‘

For the audience it is not an easy sit. ‘l'm not sure I could manage the that concentration,‘ says Williams. ‘It's painlul for an audience to watch on several levels- because it's in silence, and because it‘s shocking.‘

During the Festival the experience was intensitied by the staging the company used a tiny, bare room with only a strip-light on the premises at the Church at the German Speaking Congregation and one at the challenges tor the group will be in adapting it tor a larger space in the Traverse. Not the most natural choice at play tor a church venue, one would have thought, but even the Reverend came to watch it. ‘He seemed to like it, says Williams laughing. ‘l‘ve never really seen such a relaxed Reverend.‘ (Sarah Hemming)

I All at Me Loves All at You and Stallerhol are at the Traverse, see listings. All OI Me is also Ieatured on Channel 4‘s Hallway to Paradise on 14 Oct. See media listings.

22 The List 14 27 October 1988