The delicious double bill at the Lyceum Studio. The Magic Theatre and Patter Merchants. two plays written by John Clifford and Liz Lochhead respectively. derived from Cervantes and Moliere. are satirical and extremely
two plays together in one production is that unless they both shine. one is going to take centre stage. Liz Lochhead's Patter Merchants is tough. colourful and clever. Revitalising the satire and
i show. Berkoff‘s East. seen here two years ago. Director and actress Debbie lsitt. who also wrote this and their previous show Gangsters, wears her inﬂuences on her sleeve in Punch And Judy. a stylised case history of wife-beating. whose debt to the Fringe's most-performed playwright verges on plagiarism. The murder-planning speech, for example, is straight from Decadence.
There’s no denying lsitt‘s large theatrical
(a cane. symbolically enough). evocative use of music and terse dialogue that seldom misses the mark. the play works best on the physical level. Though lsitt's performance is strong. it is almost overshadowed by that of Mark Kilmurry. an actor of outstanding precision and energy. He effortlessly embodies all the strutting pride. brooding viciousness and
wit which sparkled in the courtly. fashion-conscious salons of Moliere's France. Glasgow. ‘city of culture‘. becomes the unlikely setting for the jubilant drubbing ofan easily recognisable jet-set. yuppy. trendy - middle-class. who it seems are determined to rule the city in 1990.
Like a slap in the face if you‘re caught in Liz's patter— List reviewer‘s amongst other ‘Scotch‘ hacks are mercilessly laughed at — the satire works in a society (and speaks volumes about that society) where one class has congealed into an immediately familiar lump with boundaries as stark as Arthur's Seat.
John Clifford's play seems. by contrast. strangely naive. A small Spanish town with its rather simplistic hierarchical set-up becomes a metaphor for political decay in Britain. The performers from Winged Horse Touring Productions are not as confident with this short interlude. as they are with the second play. in which Jimmy ('hisholm's oily Kenneth (‘arnoustie and Michael Mackenzie‘s Peter the Painter steal the
wheedling weakness of Punch. which trap poor. sensitive Judy in their destructive relationship.
But although the play strikes an accurate blow against the
male-dominated mores of
society, it fails to say anything truly thought-provoking or original. It is simple. spirited and imaginative staging that make this show worth seeing. (Andrew Burnet)
I Punch And Judy—The Real Story (Fringe) Snarling Beasties. Tic Toe
at Marco‘s (Venue 98) 229
7898. until ZSept. 4.30pm. £4 (£3.50).
— ANIGHT our
This is a good idea which does not quite work— although the show does make a valiant attempt to deal with the vitally important problem of homelessness.
The drama revolves around Michael. a drunken down-and-out. A cast of characters from yuppies to punks. played by two actors. pass. share or steal his home in a fringe theatre stage doorway.
show. (Nicola Robertson) I Professional Pretenders (Fringe) Winged Horse
Gary Coakley struggles i _‘»- I“ .- . ‘
talent. With only one prop f
l with some of his many changes of character. In particular his punk from ‘The North‘ has an accent
. which seems to start in
Northern Ireland. moves
to Northern England and
ends up North of lntclligiblc.
Tracy Smith has two of the best cameos asa discharged mental patient searching for ‘The Community' she was promised. and in the unlikely role ofa streetwise Sally Army Captain.
Michael, played by Derek Hay, sounds disturbingly like Craig Ferguson which is perhaps appropriate for his wry dialogue. And therein lies the central contradiction of the play: how do you portray the squalor and boredom of homelessness in a dramatic and. by definition, entertaining way? This attempt ultimately fails to square that circle. (Nick Clayton) I A Night Out (Fringe) Clyde Unity Theatre, Crown Theatre (Venue 53) 667 7655, 10 Aug-2 Sept, 8.30pm. £3.75 (£2.50).
‘I think therefore I am? ls this proofenough we exist'." and other questions are the inspiration for this ‘experimental theatre‘ piece. As we enter. the show has already begun and the difficulty ofthe giraffe taking a shower is being considered. which leads neatly into is the sea blue? Who has no opinion? Love'.’ Romance? Shopping“? Sex? Entertainment? Though both the script and the direction is at times interesting. these subjects are treated with
quite passionless repetition of passages and gestures. The point ofthe experimentation that the company are performing must be to lead us intoa timeless arena ofstream of conciousness where movement is stiff and limited. but it failed to engage me. Physical theatre is a chance to disregard barriers between drama and dance. script and body work, potentially unleashing charges of energy and emotion on stage. It is disheartening to find such flat and cynical theatre that only distances and cuts off the audience. (Andrew Williamson)
I OED (Fringe) Aesthetics on Stage Calton Studios (Venue 71) 556 7066. until 2 Sept (not Mons). 5.45pm. £3.50 (£2.50).
RECOLLECTIONS OF A FURTIVE NUDIST
Ken Campbell‘s recollections would be worthwhile. nudist or no. Clad in an office-supplied fishing vest. fingers kneading stories from the brain, Mr Campbell‘s llford illuminations make the Traverse studio the best place for your bum one night this August—
” unless you can lure him to
your campfire. The show is extremely funny. but it is not standup comedy: you are swept down the river Lea by a continuous stream ofideas. digressions. and amusements rather than having your leash yanked by the punchlines. lfthe story ends. the next one begins too quickly for you to notice. We learn how to vanish. what to do with the fur on your fishing jacket. and. ws. when to follow the voice that tells you to take ‘em off. Storytelling is not dead by a long shot: Ken Campbell and Neil ()ran. in the earlier slot at the Traverse. will prove it to you. (Wes Shrum)
I Recollections of a Furtive Nudist (Fringe) Ken Campbell. Traverse (Venue 15)2262633. 15 Aug—2 Sept. 9.30pm. £5 (£3).
WHAT IS SEIZED
And like many children. she watches her parents‘ marriage fall apart.
It is a story you‘ve heard many times before. but the strength of Polly Teale‘s writing and Mason's performance lies in their able and sensitive recreation of the young girl's perspective on the events: her spine-tingling thrill at watching her father make jokes in I rehearsal; her love of - having her mother sing I herto sleep; her distress at I discovering her father's weaknesses.
Mason tells the tale with gentle ﬂuidity — a concise. perceptive. delicately paced and emotionally true performance. (Mark Fisher)
I What is Seized (Fringe) Gilded Balloon (Venue 38) 226 215] . until 2 Sept. 6.30pm. £4 (£3).
KNEEES AND 3 TOES
Knees and Toes might just as well have been called Theatre Workshop. as the devised show resembles a theatrical warm-up more than it does a performance.
With bizarre illogic the ' cast juggles with an interesting variety of unlikely historical figures including the Scarlet Pimpernel. King Lear. James Bond and Jaws. and as soon as it gets bored with one. moves on to another. A couple of puzzling quotations in the ' programme throw little light on any overall meaning to the sequence. The result allows the actors to exercise their skills in improvisation. Special mention has to go to a superbly energetic performance by Max Jones who hurls himself into a hundred cameo parts with gritty comic gusto. whether playing the Pimpernel or waltzing with a wooden cupboard. (James Penn)
I Knees And Toes (Fringe) Oxford College Players. Festival Club (Venue 36)
Brzeska. the Polish bohemian who was an intimate of sculptor Henri
‘ (iaudier. She was 39 and
he 18 when they met in 1910. and Sophie was a mother figure for Henri (who abandoned her for Nina Hamnett) until his death in I915 in the First World War. From Sophie's diaries and other unpublished material. Ms
'l‘onkin has created a
remarkable show using
; dance. original music. and
projections of ( iaudier cartoons. She has captured brilliantly the character of this strange woman - bitter. sarcastic. angry and proud. but also humorous. There are
some fine comments on the nature of men and
women and wicked parodies of berselfand others. An intriguing show with a stunning performance from the very talented Ms'l‘onkin. (Lily Mac(iillivray)
I Sisik ( Fringe) Louise Tonkin. ('eltic Lodge (Venue 6). 225 7097. until 2 Sept (not 20. 27). 12.45pm. £3.5()(£2.5l)).
1 OLD HIPPIES
()pening on a stretch of highway between Arizona
and California. a yuppie
brakes his Porsche to avoid hitting a wandering hippie. What follows isa strange dance between two characters touched by the Sixties' experience. one frozen in time and the other late for the next business meeting. Dan Smith is very convincing as Sky. the laid back man. but Darrell Kunitomi has difficulty making the transitions demanded by the yuppie part. There were ﬂashes of insight and echoes of the past before
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