Just when Green politics begins to adopt a harder edge. Ecocide reminds us that knitting balaclavas foor our boys at the front is still considered a legitimate tactic in some quarters. The episodic nature of the production is partly responsible for its inability to pursue any one ecological concern to a challenging conclusion.

Sure. we are given a couple of plausible justifications from those who perpetrate crimes against the environment. for example the culling of whales and seals; and we are introduced to a few distressing and movingly performed vignettes involving those who suffer. invariably as innocents.

However. the overall package does not satisfy much more than a curiosity for a little knowledge. Pictures of a cuddly white seal pup hanging dead from an ice pick and a rain forest about to be reduced toa desert might shake us out of a certain apathy. but we are not offered too many solutions. lfbeing well-meaning and earnest is a step in the right direction and not just a sop for our guilty consciences. then perhaps the play should endeavour to hammer even that simple point home. (Mike Wilson)

I Ecocide (Fringe) Rainbow Theatre Company. Canongate Ilall (Venue 5).5561388. until 26 Aug (not Sun). 12.30pm. £3.75 (£2.50)


Using the father‘s funeral asthe setting forthe action. with a priest serving Catholic Mass. Colin Teevan‘s new play develops around a series of recollections by the family. who re-enact moments ofjoy or crisis

with Sam. the father. Sam‘s presence in the

. action is. however. deliberately fragmentary.

He scuttles across the stage to answer a

perpetually ringing telephone; stuttering and

5 apologisingthrough his

I drunkenself—deception.

Guiding the viewer through this dark family nightmare are two masqued characters. skilfully played by David Hunter and Sandra McKay. who drink tea and maliciously spread gossip. They manipulate audience response. using a hilarious slap-stick routine or chilling parody.

It is this tripartite structure the Catholic Mass. which continues throughout the play. the masqued goons and the family‘s flash-backs. together with the sharp dialogue. occasionally over-done that makes the play worth seeing. The introductory music on the violin and bassoon. commissioned for the show. and beautifully played. adds to the inventiveness of the piece. (Nicola Robertson)

I Till Human Voices Waite Us (Fringe) Edinburgh University. Bedlam Theatre (Venue 49). 225 9893.11 Aug—2 Sep.

.7 .40pm. £3 (£2).


It‘s hard to believe this new comedy about suburban witchcraft comes from Fringe First winner twice over— EIcanor Zeal. It‘s a commissioned work. sol can only imagine her heart wasn‘t in it. This isa mismatch of ‘The Munsters‘ and ‘Man about the House'. with the laughter left out. The situation: witches meet born again Christian. is well constructed. but comedy is avoided like the plague. Nor are we told anything about witchcraft except that it‘s not as exciting as it sounds.

Ali White salvages some pleasing acting from the midst of this muddle. The subplot is confusing. but vastly more entertaining.

. _ ‘{ thanks to some super puppets. Only when they're on stage does any real wit or malice enter the proceedings.

‘Stalin was Ionely' remarks Melissa James. I‘d have taken him out for the evening. It would have been funnier than watching this show. It's a turkey. (William Cook)

I The White Witches ol Balham (Fringe) Raptus Theatre Company. Bedlam Theatre (Venue 49). 225 9893. lIAug—2 Sept. 9. 15pm. £3 (£2.50)


When the two aspiring models in Catwalk made a first entrance wearing black gas masks and short-skirts cut up from bin-liners I thought Hull Truck were onto a good thing. Even with John Godbcr as director. however. the show proved to be no more than a mildly amusing exploration into the unromantic side ofthe fashion world. At its funniest it exposed the stupidity of walking up and down in silly clothes for a living. Most ofthe time though the play suffered from an uninspired script. This dragged especiallly in the characterisation ofTom. a young and arrogant designer whose only real talent was for pacing up and down with the line

' ‘I'm a genius‘.

Otherwise there were some good performances

from Julie Riley as Kelly.

a gauche but determined would-be model. as well as from Tatiana Strauss. playing her friend Lisa. Still. at £6 a ticket you could probably do better elsewhere. (Luke Harding)

I Catwalk (Fringe) Hull Truck Theatre Company. George Square Theatre (Venue 37). 667 3704.14 Aug—2 Sept. 10pm. £6 (£5)


When a village judge is called on to deliver justice in a crime of which he is the perpetrator. and must do so under the watchful eyes ofhis visiting

superior. he is distressed to find that his normally corrupt court has become a place where reason and truth prevail. His name is Adam and his paradise has become a hell.

In this comic reworking of Man‘s first fall. the Crew Cut Theatre Company have staged a competent and well-paced show. lacking neither in energy nor in drive. Sadly. though. that energy too often becomes relentless and overbearing as voices are raised and accusation

, and counter-accusation

merge into a cacophony of noise.

Moreover. the play is short on laughs. and— dare I say it relevance. At times I found myself wondering why it had been staged at all —the entire hour-and-three-quarters seemed to exist in a kind ofvacuum.

Yes. the play deals with the age-old problem ofthe battle between the sexes. and to a lesser extent Man's relationship with God. but if that‘s what you want to explore. then there are plenty offar better plays to choose than this interesting but hardly challenging period piece. (Matt Barrell)

I The Broken Jug (Fringe) Crew Cut Theatre Company. Celtic Lodge (Venue 6). 225 7097.13 Aug—2 Sept. 8. 15pm. £4.50 (£3.50).


Watching Neil Oram perform. one can imagine what it was like to hear Timothy Leary speak in the mid-Sixties. It‘s not that Oram propounds the tired cliches of hippydom (though phrases like ‘pride is a cosmic disease‘ do have a certain psychedelic resonance). It‘s more that the man is offering a radical philosophy which undermines other radical philosophies. and which takes no axioms for granted.

This is much more an animated lecture than a theatre show. ()ram has no script apart from two poems. and any narrative is sporadic and spontaneous. usually centring around his mad mother. his wartime childhood in Devon. or one of his ex-girlfriends.

If you‘re willing to let someome question everything you believe about how to conduct your existence. then there are few people who will do it in a more convivial and painless way than Neil

Oram. If you‘d rather hang on to your prejudices. don‘t go. (Andrew Burnet)

I Warped Tales From The Truth Pedlar (Fringe) Neil Oram. Traverse Theatre (Venue 15) 226 2633. Until 20 Aug. 2pm.£5 (£3).

FICKY srmoms

There is no glamour and no real solace for women or men who witness this devastating play about rape. There are no platitudes to heal the gaping wounds of a soiled body. a stifled vacant mind tortured by guilt or a soul that feels consumed by physical violence.

This graphic account of Q ‘girls night out‘ that goes brutally wrong. touches on the myriad themes relating to the power of ma e domination cruelty and oppression over women who cannot openly admit their passivity and are burnt down to a desperate. lonely. guilty quick.

Jane Hogarth produces a sensitive. angry. but questioning performance as the woman.

l Encouraged by Dymphna i i Venue 33)5566550. l

Calley‘s direction. the company bravely. ifat times obtusely. touch upon the concept that women must not judge a victim nor disregard her pain in order to suppress their own fears; nor should they isolate her or stifle her screams. (Claire Davidson)

I Picky Stingers (Fringe) Across The Mersey Theatre Company. Calton Studios (Venue 71) Until 19 Aug. 3.()5pm.£2.50 (£1.50).


For those who instinctively respond to an ‘Oh no you can‘t‘ with an ‘Oh yes you can'. then Close Encounters of the Green Mind isthe ozone-friendly pantomime for you. Performed with a healthy disregard for perfect delivery. Captain Environment tackles Five Foul and Fiendish Foes. in the form of Doctor Development. Trash Tramp. Lead Women. Acid Rain Dame and Aerosol Doll. and the result is a production that is not only educational but also very funny. Not to be missed. (Mike Wilson)

I Close Encounters olthe Green Mind (Fringe) Diverse Attractions. Riddles Court (Venue

11). Until 19 Aug. 10.30am

LATE ENTRIES I LOOSE ENDS Return by popular demand of Stuart Ilepburn‘s Spinning A

j Line play endearing and

; funnywithadevastating twrst. Traverse Theatre (Fringe Venue 15) 226 2633.22 Aug-2 Sept (not Mon). 10am. £6 (£3). I TERRIBLE TIMES Comic duo Phil Cornwall and Rick Stone have arrived in Edinburgh with their off-the-wall comedy. Lyceum Studio (Fringt Venue 7) 2299697. 12 Aug—2 Sept (not Suns). 10pm. £4 (£3). I CHILDREN IN NEED A reading of words by everyone from John Lennon to Robert

o Browning Brian Matthew and Pamela Matthew. Pleasancc Theatre (Fringe Venue 33) 556 6550. 21—25 Aug. 12.30pm. Free. I THE PURSUER Argentinian performer

. Roderick Cameron has

i adapted Julio Blow Up

Cortazar‘s book based on

the life of Charlie Parker.

Roderick Cameron.

Pleasancc Theatre (Fringe

21-23 Aug. 3pm. 24 Aug. 8.15pm. 25—27 Aug. 3pm. 28 Aug—2 Sept. 9.30pm. £3 (£2).

I KIT HDLLERBACH American stand-up from the star of radio. TV. alternative cabaret and now the new Batman movie.

Pleasancc Theatre (Fringe Venue 33) 5566550. 24 Aug. 10.50pm & 26 Aug. 9.20pm. £4.50(£4).

I MCGOUGH AND MCARTHY Liverpool poet Roger McGough

back with old pal Pete McCarthy of ( 'lifflmnger and living room performance fame. Assembly Rooms (Fringe Venue 3) 226 2428. 20-27 Aug. 5.45pm. £6 (£5).

I DA DA TRAINING COLLEGE FDR ZEN TEACHERS/EURO Two new plays performed by students from Chellenham about education and sexism respectively.

Marco‘s Leisure Centre (Fringe Venue 98) 229 7898. until 19 Aug. 4.15pm.£2.50(£2).

28 'I‘héUinQ— 24 August 1989