IRONMISTRESS In this eerie psycho-drama based around the austere and mechanical world ofa Victorian ironworks factory. we are confronted with the spiritual and moral paralysis of an age ruled by the machine. The play focuses on the sacrifice that a mother makes to attain the power ofa man's position in society — to hold the iron keys to a factory within patriarchy.
The production manages to avoid being overt in the feminist or anti-monetaristic statements evident in April dc Angelis' script. By giving the play a poetical emphasis on symbols and imaginative interpretation. it maintains an almost visionary intensity.
VigoroUs performances by Gillian Brown as the ‘lronmistress' and Louise Waddington as the daughter. Little Cog. and
fantasy figure Shamy Pins.
make this show- compelling. Always poignant. at times warily amusing. the relationship between the ‘lronmistress‘ and her daughter makes this the most powerful feminist play I have yet seen. I urge you to see it too. (Robert Alstead).
I Ironmistress (Fringe) Hill Street Theatre (Venue 41 ) 225 7294. Until 1‘) Aug. 7.45pm: 21 Aug-2 Sept. 1.45pm: 28 Aug--2 Sept. 7.45pm; £4 (£3.50).
TIES THAT BIND Julie is a disturbed teenager. in the sense that at home and at school she never gets any peace. Just as she begins to come out of her shell. things start to happen to her which drive her offthe rails.
With minimal use of dialogue. great technical ingenuity. and a cunning combination of full-face masks. film. original music and good acting. a cast of three unfolds her story. The style of this production is similar to that ofTrestle's earlier
I Top Storey. Both shows derive from a snippet of poetry; both are coloured with splashes of knowing humour; both are overshadowed by menace and despair.
details would undermine Trestle's sensitive strategy ofgradual and subtle revelation — but it's a bitterly moving story. and one in which the real heroes and villains are slow to emerge. lts events may hurt. anger or nauseate you. but I urge you to see it as an example of highly inventive. atmospheric theatre. (Andrew Burnet)
I See llitlist for venue details.
i ROLLING THE STONE
A mild rather comical Sisyphus bounces and bumps his way around a rope net strung from floor to ceiling. He is pleased to be a character in l lomer‘s best-seller. even if it isa minor one. and proud of his old-guard status iii the fiery pits of hell.
llis monologue. supported by a brilliant diva ( Mcdtisa‘s little sister). is fast and erudite — often comical. always political in a disguised sort of way. Why does he keep rolling a stone up a hill wlieti he has failed toget to the top for over three-thousand years;
why do we all carry our own stones through the badly organised. artificially created hell of western society '.’ llolding torches. the audience are challenged to keep up with the quick-fire banter. riddled with allusions to the classics and clever iopicality. of the dazzling Mi (Tatic. Better than Red Magic. this show is going to be a front-runner for yet another Fringe First for the ('rane Williams partnership. (Nicola Robertson) I Rolling The Stone (Fringe) (‘rane and Williams. Dcmarco Gallery (Venue 22). 557 0707. until 26 Aug. 9pm.
RED KING RISING
fiver wondered what it would be like to enter the mind of a controversial figure like Lewis Carroll? Grant Morrison of2()()() A I) fame presents his version. when Alice jumps into Charles Dodgson's ear and explores various chambers in his brain. innocently provoking the tortured man to all sortsof declamations. The result is something very sinister. As far as historical facts are concerned this is largely conjecture. but the issues thrown tip. his darker desires offset by images ofJack the Ripper. are extremely disturbing. Masterful in execution. the play keeps these dark forces under reign. never sliding into melodrama. Dodgson retains our sympathy as a witty and brilliant man. hesotted by the engaging Alice. The production is dramatically stark. with a dark intimate aspect and an ingenious use of echo and lighting: this could equally be the warm centre of Dodgson's brain or the cold recesses of Victorian London. .lanet Dye gives a commendably bold. iion-schmaltzy rendition of Alice and (‘hristopher Craig's impassioned portrait of(‘aroll fits like a glove. Well worth seeing. (Jo Roe). I Red King Rising (Fringe) ()xygen l louse. Netherhow Theatre (Venue 30). 5569579. until 19 Aug. 10.30pm. £3 (£2).
DICK’S ISLAND lfyou‘ve ever wanted to see why Saturday Night Live is so popular in the Statesthis is yourchancc. Ginger Donelson and Caroline Cromelin. two popular American actresses. bring usa baker‘s dozen of characters from the tiny Georgian island where the name ofDick is better than looks or money. and marriage is no guarantee of separate bloodlines. The General. a Russophile whose 100th birthday is likely to be his last. is the focus ofsundry scheming by most ofhis
relations. Will Nova
Nuggett turn Arcadia plantation into a Gone Withthe Windtheme park? Will it wind up as Guy Dick's Golfing Institute ofthe South? Will Carressa du Pears. whose pigeon is Past Life Therapy. be able to resist the advances ofMark Anthony? Cromelin and Donelson exhibit flawless comic timing. an effortless variety of accents. and a smooth touch with the farce pedal. There may be one too many Dick jokes. but listen up. boy. it's his island. (Wes Shrum)
I Dick's Island (Fringe) Donelson and Cromelin. Moray House Union (Venue 108). 5565184. Until 26 Aug. 10pm.£3.25 (£2.25).
THE ODE T0 ST CECILIA
Written and directed by Steve Shill. whose work with Man Act has produced sortie of the most exciting theatre in Britain. The Ode To S! ( 'eci'liu. promises much but delivers little.
A groupof underfunded. second-rate musicians in a classical orchestra arrive at a deserted country mansion to perform in a Festival for St Cecilia. the Patron Saint of Music. They wait and wait and nothing happens. The ideas and the set are strongly reminiscent of Peter Greenaway’s later films. beautiful with a rotting underside.
The set is impressive. Black and white. with the curtains blowing in a thundery breeze. leaves swirling through the door and the bright light ofan autumn day. However. as the muscians idle away their time waiting forthe next performance. and we learn that men and women are simply caged animals. the action and dialogue dwindle away and the pace slows imperceptibly to a halt. By the time the actors leave the stage the audience is left wondering what it was all about. (Nicola Robertson)
I The Steve Shill Leicester Company (Fringe) ()de to St Cecilia. Assembly Rooms (Venue 3). 226 2428. until 20 Aug. 1pm. £4.30(£3.50).
, ALL THE BETTER ‘ TO SEE YOU WITH
Incest is a powerful subject. something we leave just at the edge of ourimagination. shying away with an embarrassed laugh or a shudder. We‘ll treat it as a sick joke or as a subject of blind moral outrage. The most impressive thing about Marianne Colbran‘s mesmerising solo performance. chronicling the growing up of a girl sexually involved with her father. is how convincingly she creates a whole and human fabric for her character‘s life. Heather's dangerous relationship is woven into a score of other situations — we momentarily forget him as she deals with irritating flatmates. hilariously miserable parties. beginning romances— but. like the bed which is one of the few props on stage. their relationship is always in the background. Heather is not a helpless victim of her father. but the effect of their intimacy can't be escaped— Colbran is brilliant at showing how it breaks into the rest of Heather‘s life. Based on the actual experiences ofa close friend. Colbran’s Heather. in all her humour and pain. is movingly real. An intelligent. funny. and powerful treatment ofone oflife's greyareas. Definitely worth seeing. (John Thompson) I All The Better To See You ' Wilh(Fringe)Marianne (‘olbran. Mandela Theatre at the Wee Red Bar (Venue 79).2291003. L'ntil 26 Aug. 9pm. £2.50 (£2).
FALLING FOHA DOLPHIN
Simplicity and elegance characterise Roy llutchins‘ totally controlled and utterly compelling recital of Falling For/1 Dolphin. the epic poem by Ileathcote Williams. As soon as the house lights dim. leavinga spotlight on Hutchins. perched on a stool and
without a microphone. the audience are immediately drawn into the author‘s sense of humility asthe initial encounter. and subsequent dalliance. with a hermit dolphin in the Atlantic waters offthe coast of Ireland is described. The symbiosis that seems to develop between man and dolphin evokes a shared ancestry, a rejection of the material world and an elevation of the spirit.
W Without doubt.
Hutchins‘ own performance heightens the emotions just as much asthe text. His commitment partly comes from having accepted an invitation from Williams to visit Ireland and swim with the dolphin. (Mike Wilson) I Falling ForA Dolphin (Fringe) Roy Hutchins. Assembly Rooms (Venue 3). 226 2428. Until ZSept (21.29). 4pm,£5.50 (£4.50)
Robert Louis Stevenson and W.E. Henley were friends. They shared their ambitions. their frustrations. but never their art. Their story is brought to life in agutsy yet ingenious drama by Jonathan Smith. It's a 19th-century Prick Up Your Ears — without sex or murder. but with double the passion.
The young performers are cast way above their playing age. But herein lies the fascination. Rachel Sanders and Sally Spurring perform dramatic alchemy in their several roles. and Mark Crosse creates a Stevenson for our time. Martin Swinchatt's Henley is a tour de force. Director Anthony Seldon‘s care and commitment are central to their success.
It's performed with the minimum fuss. and maximum intensity. punctuated by the haunting strains of Elgar‘s Cello Concerto. A profound and compulsive afternoon's theatre. with an audience of three. Go see. (William Cook)
I Sliver (Fringe) Masque Theatre. Canongate Hall (Venue 5). 556 1388. Until 26 Aug. 4pm. £3 (£2.50).
The List 18 — 24 August 1989 23