and new. I aLoon WEDDING l MACBETII John Bett takes Inspired by Lorca’s play. "'8 Vmion 01 David Glass and Fusion Shakespeare's ‘scomsh' create a modem and PM '0 "'8 outstandino dynamic work, '11“; place setting at lnchcolm Island in is to Lorca \vhat West Side "'0 50'"). Story is to Romeo and Demarco Gallery Juliet’. Enthusiasm and Production. lnchcolm energy abound. lsland/Demarco Gallery Fusion. Theatre workshop (Fringe venue 22) 557 7898. (Fringe venue 20) 226 5425. 14-17. 20-22 Mo 7-3011!" 14-19 Aug. 3pm. £2.50 (Ferry leaves 7pm irom

(£1.50). : South Oueensierry). £15.

I WHEN FIVE YEARS PASS A British premiere ol Lorca's surreal masterpiece. played in the round with precision and haunting passion. Music from the Royal Academy. dance from Ballet Rambert. National Student Youth Theatre. Assembly Rooms (Fringe venue 3) 226 2428. 13 Aug-2 Sept. 6.15pm. £4 (£3).


Nicola Robertson picks this week’s top versions of classic plays. Below top theatre. old

I MARAT/SADE Overshadowed by Peter Brook‘slilm. the play is deemed unapproachable. butthe company manage both the brilliant text and the play's dramaturgy well. See it.

Edinburgh University Theatre. Bedlam Theatre (Fringe Venue 49) 225 9873.11-25 Aug 7.05pm. £3 (£2).

Madrid’s Golden Stage

David Johnston, recently returned from Madrid where he met with Adolfo Marsilliach, Spain’s foremost theatre director, speaks to Nicola Robertson about the work of Madrid’s Compania Nacional de Teatro Clasico.

Calderon. Lope. Tirso de Molina, the three great playwrights of the Spanish Golden Age, whose work. neglected in Spain during the Franco years. is being re-examined by companies like Teatro Clasico in Madrid. Formed under the auspices of Adolfo Marsilliach. who is. according to David Johnston ‘the driving force behind the resurgence ofclassical Spanish theatre; I think in English terms we‘d see him as a blend of Michael Redgrave and Peter Brook.‘ the Teatro Clasico in Marsilliach‘s opinion ‘must bridge the gap in

the audience‘s knowledge of its own culture. The Spanish public totally lost contact with its greatest theatre. and until we have remedied this we will only continue with our policy of doing the Spanish classics. after that perhaps we can think about Shakespeare. Moliere or Schiller.’

The two plays Teatro Clasico bring to Edinburgh are La Celestina and EIAIcaIde De Zalamea (The Mayor of Zalamea). La Celestina. like David Lindsay‘s Arte Satyre of The Thrie Estaits. written at about the same time. at the end of the medieval period. was originally a ten-hour spectacle. neither drama nor prose. but coming from a Chaucerian tradition. which was cut to three hours and ‘dramatic form imposed upon the action‘. Gonzalo Ballester writes of the play, ‘two conceptions of love battled during the Middle Ages. on one hand. love regularised by the law. on the other. free love. with its greatest expression in adultery Celestina is artistically a perfect figure. impressive in her misery and her

diabolic greatness.‘

ElAlcade De Zalamea by Calderon is a tale. like Hamlet for an English speaker, that every Spaniard understands. David Johnston explains ‘the action centres around the deeply rooted Spanish notion ofpundonor. which means a point of honour; the obsessive concern with appearances and reputation'. and Marsilliach continues ‘this whole question of honour has been our historical reality for centuries.

Spaniards have been victims of this code and still

are to a certain extent. This country has been Calderonian for centuries.‘

The challenge of performing such plays for the Spanish company is greater than it might seem. Only three years old. Teatro Clasico has had to pick up the pieces left by Franco‘s disregard for 2 Spanish classical theatre. ‘Franco didn‘t so much ' stop classical theatre‘. says Johnston.‘but there was no state money for theatre at all. Secondly. writers and directors at the time tended to see the 1 theatre as a focus ofcultural resistance so that most of the writing and creative energies within the theatre on the intellectual side went into opposing Franco.‘ The break with the past has meant that actors in Spain are not trained to speak classical verse. ‘lt‘s as ifwe hadn‘t been performing Shakespeare. Marlowe or Jonson for forty years.‘ adds Johnston. and one of things i Marsilliach has tried to do is set up a ‘school for classical actors in Madrid to enable them to deal

with speaking verse.‘

The richness of the writing in the plays. which have been adapted or ‘touched up‘ for modern audiences. and the masterly direction of Adolfo Marsilliach. will make Teatro (‘lasico‘s visit to Edinburgh an invigorating event. I La Celestina (Festival) Compania Nacional de Teatro Clasico. Lyceum Theatre. 22. 23 Aug

7.30pm. £4.5()—£8.

I El Alcalde De Zalamea (Festival). Compania Nacional de Teatro Clasico. Lyceum Theatre. 25. 26 Aug 7.30pm. £4.5()—£8.


‘The National Youth Musical Theatre‘s production ofThe Caucasian Chalk Circle has the ingredients to enthrall an audience— spectacle. movement. ensemble singing together with a story that grips and challenges the spectator‘ so we are told. llmmmmm. Japanese masks. Russian peasants. a Weimar jazz bandin Maoist uniform. a Chinese cheng player. cockney accents. lots of gloss and a partridge in a pear tree. An inter-Continental

of Zi Lan Liao and pithy performances oforon Calmonson and Tracey Mitchell did raise the standard of the piece above the general confusion and smaltzification. lfGilbcrt and Sullivan is your cup of tea. this might be the saccharine. But. as Cicero was wont to remark ‘De

Brecthfast. Gone isthe gustibus

prologue. the play within non-disputandum est‘ aplay and all the political (Colin Teevan)

and social relevance I The Caucasian Chalk fundamental to Brecthian Circle (Fringe). The

National Youth Musical Theatre. George Square

theatre. This production is to Brecht what Andrew

Lloyd Webber is to Theatre (Venue 37) 667 Wagner. though. at times. 3704. until 26 Aug. 7pm. the brilliant cheng playing £4 (£2.50).

32 The List 18 24 August 1989


The difference in quality between these two short productions throws into sharp focus the problems with plays of this ilk. The second is far superior to the first. both as a play and as an all-round production. Competent acting. a cracking pace and good timing make for a solid though by no means spectacular rendition of a well-crafted play. Strindberg‘s acerbic wit comes alive and the subtle plot succeeds. Despite using more or less the same cast the first play is a great disappointment. Emotionally and dramatically clumsy. the play has little ofthe crispness so essential for Strindberg. Where the actors should be most sensitive. they become

mannered. sometimes painful. so the treatment of subject looses credibility. adding up to an amateur production from a company which goes on to prove itself capable of much better things. (Jo Roe)

I Mother Love and

First Warning (Fringe) Fine Line Theatre. Arter Theatre (Venue 101). 557 1785.14—26 Aug. 4pm. £3.50 (£3).


‘Welcome to our chamber oflies‘ smiles Paul Connolly‘s Lambert Le Roux. who makes

Michael Douglas‘ Gordon

Gekko look like Lamb Chop. llacksand hackettes be warned. the ‘Big'l‘hree‘. with a cash-flow like Niagara Falls. are using Britain's ‘dailies‘ as a kendo arena.

Hare and Brenton‘s Pravda. played for the delectation of press and punter alike. by a strong east from the Oxford Theatre Group. is a piss-take of Fleet Street which gets closer to the knuckle each time it is revived.

it is a pity the show goes on so late and goes on so long. The production is fairly bland with no risky reinterpretation. but it is

solid. and occasionally hilarious. The overworked and underpaid journalists. biting their nailsin anticipation of the sack.

are convincing. except for

Dominic Hill‘s disastrous attempt at a Scots accent. it also underlines the

problems less well funded 3 Fringe companies face f whenthey are limitedin

the space and props they

have access to.

Rupert Murdoch would do well to see this production while he is in Edinburgh to present the Mc‘l‘aggart Lecture on ‘Freedom in Broadcasting. (Nicola Robertson)


Theatre Group. Overseas llouse (Venue 19). 225 5105.1(iAug—2 Sep. 10.30pm. £3.50 (£3).


Peter Weiss‘ play is set in a lunatic asylum. where the Marquis De Sade