I JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOUR OREAMCOA‘i. Oh )oyl What a lucky nation we are! Those dynamic kids lavish us with the 21 st anniversary production.
National Youth Music Theatre. Neriot Hall (Fringe Venue 26) 667 3704. Until 23 Aug (not Suns) 2.30pm & 7.30pm.19 a 23 Aug. 4.30pm. £4.50 (£3.50).
Mike Wilson and Ross Parsons cover the top circuses and musicals. Below —singing,
dancing and death
I ACROPOLIS NOW More ol the same wit and received wisdom on from two Gringlish (Greek/English) girls.
Donna and Kebab. Assembly Rooms (Fringe Venue 3) 226 2428. Until 2 Sept. Midnight. £5 (£4).
I MARCH OF THE FALSETTOS Satire ol the insecurities of wealthy New Yorkers.
Brown International Theatre Group. Calton Studios (Fringe Venue 71) 556 7066. Until 26 Aug 9.25pm. £4.
This acclaimed student theatre company are back at The Bedlam with a new musical play based on John Gay‘s classic. The Beggar‘s Opera. The original has been altered by Alex Roberts to accommodate a more central role for the mysterious beggar and a tougher ending. as well as eight original songs by Chris Hoban which range from traditional ballads to doo-wop to blues. The music is the highpoint of this entertainment — the songs are excellent and the acapella harmonies are especially well done. The other literal highpoint is more baffling— the Peachum family and Mr. Lockitt are perched on enormous stilts. larger than life and occasionally precarious. adding an element ofdanger to the whole enterprise. This lends a certain baroque charm — notably when Polly attempts a solo ballet. Inventive. witty. and well-designed with an exuberant cast. this is a show which maintains EUTC‘s high standards.(Lily MacGillivray) I Nickel Opera (Fringe) Edinburgh University Theatre Company. Bedlam Theatre (Venue 49). 225 9893, until 26 Aug (not Suns). 4.50pm. £3 (£2).
GLAD RAG DOLLS
One of the peculiarities of the Fringe is that you can end up seeing a sleazy Soho cabaret at four o'clock in the afternoon.
i The Playhouse Studio is
suitably laid out with tables and comfy chairs. but the polite Tannoy request for punters not to smoke sort of gives the
game away. Time nearly knows no bounds at this
time of year. but not quite.
I think Robideez would like it iftime never did know any bounds. That way it might be less obvious that the characters in Glad-Rag Dolls — a black drag queen who wants to play Hamlet. a misunderstood prostitute. and an insecure transexual — have been seen once or twice before in the tired old backstage musical genre.
Why they thought it necessary to revive them is not at all clear. but ifyou can excuse the flimsy plot and glad-rag cliches. there is an enjoyable and well-chosen score of jazz-blues standards (Cole Porter. Duke Ellington. Bessie Smith). plus a few histrionic originals. all given gutsy and raunchy interpretations. (Mark Fisher)
’ I Glad-Rag Oolls (Fringe)
Robideez. Playhouse Studio (Venue 59). 557 3807. until 3 Sept (not 20). 4pm. £3.50 (£2.50).
Whilst accepting that most circus troupes have an immediate appeal because there are romantic notions which underpin their communal existence. Archaos suggest something just a bit more democratic. perhaps a working anarchy. When this translates itself into mayhem in the circus ring. a diversity of spectacle
taking place simultaneously. then you are transported. sometimes with your heart in your mouth. into an all-embracing experience.
If rumours are correct. and the show has been softened for the Fringe. the absence of Chainsaws and one or two other dangerous implements does not detract significantly. As it is. most of the quieter moments— particularly the juggling— had their own beauty and as a contrast to the heavy metal. the motorbike stunts. the lorry which acts as a stage for a Roman orgy of sorts. the fork-lift truck used in a trapeze act. the explosions. and the driving groove of the funky musical accompaniment. they were often very welcome.
Perhaps there were one or two patchy moments as well. but by the end ofthe performance all one wanted to do was emulate their rough and ready craziness.
Maybe the show should carry a Government health warning. (Mike Wilson)
I Archaos (Fringe) Leith Links (Venue 121) UntilZ Sept. 8.30pm. £8 (£4). Mats 19. 20. 26. 27 Aug. 3pm.
MARCH OF THE FALSETTOS
In the words of composer and playwright William Finn. this musical is ‘about being scared to death of
love‘. Marvin. a wealthy member of New York‘s Jewish community. trades the security of his wife (‘She’s a good woman'). son and matching accessories for a chance to play ‘the game‘. which in Marvin‘s case involves the adoption of a young black stud as a live-in lover. ‘The game’ however. is not all that it appeared from the vantage point of domestic security. and, as Marvin‘s family reassembles without him. he finds himself increasingly at odds with both himself and the world.
‘March of the Falsettos‘ is a thought-provoking and often hilarious musical. exposing the camp and sarcastic self-image of wealthy New York as little more than a disguise for deep-rooted paranoias and insecurities. Strong performances all round. combined with a suitably neurotic musical score. should guarantee that this production will be remembered as one ofthe highlights of this year's Fringe. (Philip Kingsley) I See Hitlist for venue details.
Credo. the retiring King of a future-perfect society, has to choose a successor— Rock or Hard Place. Unfortunately. the Crystal source ofhis power is pinched the night before by one or the other. Act two gives chase and. best ofall. temptation.
This new musical by talented Scarisbrick author Anne Dalton was performed with evident enjoyment by the community group despite first night sound problems in an unsuitable venue. A four piece band and cast of eighteen highlight the voices of Helen Lavin. Ted Roberts. and Julia Graham. Over twenty new songs and some surprisingly good material awaits music buffs at
Busters. (Wes Shrum)
I Credo's Crystal (Fringe) Credo Theatre Company. Buster Brown‘s (Venue 60), 226 4224. until 26 Aug. 5.30pm. £3.50 (£2.50)
OK Chorale are six cute crooners whose show. Diamonds Acappella. provides a pleasant eighty minutes of music. laughs and all round family entertainment.
Their songs range from fairly standard renditions of Every Breath You Take. Something and Wade in the Water. through Gospel and doo wop. and out the other side to satirical. rewritten versions ofJe Ne Regrette Rien and Don't Worry Be Happy. This last, which focuses on the pollution of the environment. urging us in the chorus ‘Don‘t worry be happy‘. is certainly the best ofthe satires. which are on the whole mild. and verge at times on the selfsatisfied.
That said. OK Chorale are skilful and polished in both arrangement and performance. They are a versatile group of singers. who. if unlikely to set your night alight with excitement. are sure to provide a pleasant enough evening in the company of their very ﬂexible mouths. (Matt Barrell)
I Diamonds Acappella (Fringe) OK Chorale. Marco‘s Leisure Centre (Venue 98). 229 7898. until 26 Aug, 8pm, £350
STOP LAUGHING THIS IS SERIOUS
The fallability of performing circus tricks was exposed sometimes deliberately. sometimes by accident. in an exhilarating though not always polished ‘Stop Laughing This is Serious' by Ra Ra Zoo. Fortunately. where concentration was
needed. errors were mercifully absent. though one wonders how any performer can face upto the obvious danger of a trapeze act moments after having just dropped some juggling clubs.
But to be unduly critical would be churlish. Most of the acts were executed to a very high standard. all were complex in their content. and anyway. the show was infused throughout with a sense of the bizarre. Predetermined mistakes and a sometimes decadent musical accompaniment provided a circus equivalent to a Jacques Tati film. Though there were one or two elegant moments. most ofthe show was given over to the comic. crazy and captivating.
This is the sort of production which tends to provoke a sense of envy. a desire to learn the most basic ofskills so that you can be a hit at parties. If you can accept an element of the unpredictable and marvel at dexterity. then Ra Ra Zoo's new production is definitely worth a visit. (Mike Wilson)
I Stop Laughing This is Serious (Fringe) Ra Ra Zoo. Assembly Rooms (Venue 3). 2262428. ll—20Aug(not 14). 6.30pm. 22—26 Aug. 1pm. £5 (£4).
The List 18 — 24 August 1989 35