have its world premiere at the Traverse on 11 April. The play. part of Monstrous Regimcnt‘s ‘Women In A European Context' season. was written for Mary McCusker by Ian Brown (not the Trave rse‘s Ian Brown). It is based on the true story of Beatrice de Plannissoles. who was imprisoned as a heretic during the French Inquisition in the fourteenth century. Mary McCusker explained its

relevance today: ‘The play

takes up Beatrice‘s story after her release from prison. She looks back over her life. trying to make sense ofit. IIerlife was hedged in by men. She tries to draw something out of her life that is herown. It‘sa very female experience.‘

Artistic Director ofThe Crucible in Sheffield. Clare Venables is directing ‘Beatrice'. She has concentrated her efforts on making history take on universal significance: ‘Beatrice goes on a journey of self-discovery which brings her into the present tense. Hopefully. there are enough echoes to relate Beatrice‘s experience to that ofthe modern woman.‘

Venables and McCusker admit to having had to re-work the original text provided by Ian Brown. albeit with his collaboration. ‘1 instinctively rejected quite a lot of it initially‘ said McCusker. ‘but I had to accept that some things were a fact of Beatrice's life. whether I liked them or not. We all worked together. and spent a week rearranging it to put the emphasis in the right places.‘

Although Clare Venables has known Monstrous Regiment for years. and is on the company's advisory panel. this is the first time she has directed them: ‘Monstrous Regiment were a very important influence on me. But I‘ve always worked in the mainstream. so the occasion to work with them never really arose. I have it in my contract with The Crucible that I can do outside directing. but I


don't often have time to.

‘Beatrice' fitted in to the end of one season. and before I started work on

the next. although I am programming it at the

moment too.‘

In terms of the demands of a solo performance. McCusker finds it at once challenging and daunting: ‘It's quite frightening doing a one-person show. There's nobody there but you.‘ For Venables. whether she‘s directingan army or one actor. her role remains the same: ‘It's difficult for Mary. because she doesn't have anyone else to bond with on stage. The director's

job isthe same.’

The work of Monstrous

R:gimentis.feels McCusker. in no way ' passe: ‘It's still necessary

to work to put women's experiences centre-stage. Men are seen as the norm. and women are the second

sex. And our experiences

are central not just to us. but to the world.‘ Despite Monstrous Regiment‘s underlying and very specific ethos. Venables believes that ‘Beatrice‘ will appeal to a wide audience: ‘It is certainly not a play that tells you what to think. It takes you on a particular journey of a particular woman. But it is also an archetypal journey". Beatrice opens at The Traverse on I 1 April.


In a city which has spawned several of the most pandemically popular comic knaves in the country (Coltrane. Connolly. Sadowitz and Hitler among them) it appears incongruent that no one comedy club has so far managed to thrive in the second city‘s fecund soil.

Allan Cunningham. proprietor of Blackfriars bar in Bell Street. has long observed this and has shown a quite missionary zeal in attempting to bring new acts to public attention. via the basement of his Merchant City pub. Alas. for thelast few years these efforts have been haphazard and largely futile but. with the

L opening of his Comic Club

on Friday 7th of April. something is clearly crystallizing from the

‘r. 7 hitherto fragmented

Scottish comedy scene. This is because it is. in

many ways. a joint

venture witht he performers themselves

who have recently got theiract togetherto form

a collective of comdians— namely. The Funny Farm.

. Theguineapigsonthe ' inaugraleveningofThe

Comic Club are all from the Farm.

The comic wunderkind of last year's So You Think You‘re Funny (Mayfest comedy showcase for aspiring newcomers to be repeated this year) contest. The Funny Farm as member Bruce Morton explains have two basic aims.

One is to help themselves find work. promote shows and generally beg. borrow and steal each other’s comic zeltgest. In a wider sense. the group aspires to raising the visibility of comedy in Scotland and encouraging the growth of a viable cabaret circuit: ‘We intend to be agitators to try and get comedy presented properly and in the right environment.‘ says Morton. And. as Allan Cunningham argues. this is where the Comic Club is expedient: "Ihe re are various pubs which try to present comedy but it is sporadic and badly publicised.‘ On a cursory inspection. the L-shaped basement of Blackfriars seems well nigh perfect. with its intimate private club feel and specially modified performance area.

The club will initially appear on the first Friday ofevery month: this hardly represents. I tentatively suggested. a veritable feast of rib-tickling and thigh-slapping. Cunningham again: ‘It is only for starters. we'll move up to weekly in the near future and ifwe find that there is enough demand and talent. then we‘ll have the Comic Club on every night!‘ And. if developed. the whole propositon could help persuade London‘s latest talent to stop just beatling around the close-knit clubs ofthe West End and pay more than their token trip Northwards at Fest-time. Both men are suitably respectful of London's recent output. but they are quick to refute allegations of copycat modelling on the famous Comedy Store; ‘I wouldn’t even draw anlogies.‘ syas Morton ‘Glasgow has it‘s own identity and situation; the comedy scene here is hungrier and fresher‘. (Stewart Campbell)


Adapted by Stephen Macdonald

Forth Children’s Theatre A musical based on 'H- Me and times of Al Capone 52-05- ond Lyucs JOHN GARDINER MUSIC ANDREW FARR

DlreCted by Wed 5 - Sat 8 April, 7.00pm Charles Nowoslelskl PSo: 8 A ril, 2.0013112i Muslc composed by M

Richard Cherns 8 ll 8 I E II Mandela Theatre Company v d l ‘lar‘o 5 sir i) APR'L "Olinféiic‘é'znd’hygro‘érisy" 18—22, Palace Theatre, by JOHN MCKENZIE

Kllmarnock; 24—25, Churchhill Theatre, Edlnburgh; 27—29, Adam Smlth Theatre, Klrkcaldy

MAY 1—7, Maytest, Glasgow; 9—12, Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh; 19-20, Perth Theatre

Saturday 22 April 8.00pm £3 (£2 concession)


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e--- __J

The List 7 -— 2() April 198‘) 23