I TORCHLIGHT AND LASERBEAMS From Dublin. a staging of the acclaimed writings of Christy Nolan, brain-damged at birth and with little control over his own movements. Hellotrope Productions. Leith Theatre (international Festival). 31 Aug—3 Sept. 7.30pm; 2 Sept. 2.30pm. £2.50—£8.

Mark Fisher takes a final look at the best on the Fringe and Festival. Reviews below and overleaf.

I GOING ON Back-stage

' Broadway comedy with line performances by this American group. Royal Scots Club (Fringe Venue 57) 557 5091. Until 2 Sept2pm. £3.75 (£2.75).


; dares you to see Pete McCarthy's hilarious new ( comedy. Grand Theatre oi Lemmings. Marco's Leisure : Centre (Fringe Venue 98) 229 7898. until 2 Sept. 8pm. £4 (£3).


Jules Fieffer has a habit of leading his audience up the garden path and leaving them in the shed. Carnal Knowledge is no exception.

We start out with two naive young men Sandy and Jonathan. Both have their first sexual encounters with the same woman Susan. Indeed the first halfgraduates into a gentle farce. The second also starts out unremarkably as we meet up with our two likely lads fifteen years later. Sandy is now unhappily married to Susan whilst Jonathan is chasing a never ending string ofBarbie dolls.

However what wouldn‘t seem out of place as a TV sitcom suddenly and dramatically develops into something more reminiscent ofGenet‘s The Maids. Feiffer has crafted a subtle and witty comment on male sexual aspirations. lfonly his wit had been matched by the production. On the whole it is well acted (particularly Courtland Cox and Stephen Engle as the likely lads). but it needs more invention and thought to avoid presenting what Feiffer is actually indicting. (Paul Pinson).

I Carnal Knowledge (Fringe) Festival Theatre USC— USA (Venue 102). 31 Aug only. 7pm. £3/£2.

E5, 68

A climber swings suddenly from above the wall over the heads ofthe audience. followed shortly by the resounding harmonics of ten young women who then transform themselves into a Reliant Robin fora change of tyres. These tactics are turned around a simple competition between the girls and two male climbers to make it up Footless Crow. a climb whose difficulty rating is given by the title. Cragrats presents painless


instructional theatre and excellent entertainment a la Disney. If you only have time for one climbing lesson these three weeks. this show will do nicely. A 15-piece. 25ft wall has been reassembled from the first British indoor competitions. Be sure to stay afterwards for a play on the wall. (Wes Shrum) I E5. 68 (Fringe) Cragrats. Gracemount Leisure Centre (Venue 93). 658 1940. until ZSept. 1pm & 8pm. £3 (£1 .50).


This musical marked Sondheim‘s debut as a writer of both lyrics and music. The plot is derived loosely from the Roman comedies of Plautus. A slave attempts to win his freedom by procuring a beautiful girl for his master. though she is already contracted to marry a famous warrior. This performance by Rio l-londo College‘s California Repertory Theatre is splendid. even with recorded music. Though the movie version with Zero Mostel sets the standard. far better to see it at Abbotsford Hall with curvaceous courtesans and Roman soldiers capering about the audience. The show is worth it just to witnessthe lovely l’hilia (Kristine Seeley). obviously brain-dead since birth. tell the elderly Sencx (James

L. Martin). ‘You can have

my heart . . .but notmy heart.‘The reasons for the Empire‘s collapse go

deeper than we imagined. (Wes Shrum)

I A Funny Thing Happened 0n the Way to the Forum (Fringe) American Actors Alliance. Abbotsford Hall (Venue 84). 447 1122. 31 Aug. 10pm.£4 (£3).


Edward Albee is as virulent and confrontational as everin this the European premiere of the play about the man who grew an extra arm.

Set in the context ofa lecture. we are invited to hear the life-story of‘The Man’. told by himself. linergetic. vivid. comic and impassioned in his speech. he takes us through his personal experiences as ‘a freak' who became ‘the eighth wonder of the world‘. He presents us with the phoneyness. the rampant egotism. the crassness and the mercenary nature of fame and riches. under the skin of the American Dream.

From the start the audience plays an important. albeit largely passive. part in the play. 'I‘wo besuitcd actors urge us from the stage to find our seats quickly as we enter the theatre and during the ‘celebrity's‘ lecture. are frequently firing questions at individuals in the audience. to ensure our complete attention. linhanced by occasional flashbacks where situations from his life are briefly enacted. an amusing slide show and a brilliant performance by Edward Fernandez. this is a powerful critique of American society. and essential viewing for fans of ‘Who's Afraid of Virginia \Voolf'. (Robert Alstcad)

I The Man Who Had Three Arms (Fringe) Southside International. (Venue 82). em 7365. until 2 Sept. 9.45pm. £4 (£3).


One of the youngest casts on the Fringe gets to grips with a highly topical play whose relevance was dramatically focused by the Cleveland affair. This is the second NST Drama Festival award winner from teacher-playwright. Richard Cameron. The play opens with Michael Mahoney. the middle child of a close-knit family of five. joyfully anticipating his 17th birthday. llis childlike innocence and the happiness of the entire family is abruptly destroyed when the two youngest children are taken into care as suspected victims of abuse. Michael is accused and the repercussions

ofauthoritarian ' intervention.emphasised

, precipitate an inevitable

j tragedy.

The Moon '3 The Madonna is part ofa treasured prayer verse which punctuatcs in poignant counterpoint the desperate recourses

forced upon the family if

they are to survive

; together. A dramatisation of the tragic consequences

by the stark set and wistful monologues. this is a brave and admirable production with fine performances. notably David Newborn in the central role as Michael. (Lily MacGillivray)

I The Moon's The Madonna (Fringe) National Student Theatre Company. Tic Toe at Marco‘s. Marco's Leisure Centre (Venue 98). 229 7898. until 2 Sept (not 29). 4.35pm. £3.50 (£2.50)

HOOLIGANS Visually appealing and capably performed. Hooligans is nonetheless a somewhat ambiguous analysis of a subculture which baffles Secretaries of State. Miniatures of Sport and other self—appointed pundits.

1t falters because the final acts of hooliganism do not square with the articulate rationalisations. the growing political awareness and the straightforwardly mischievous behaviour which has gone before.

Notwithstanding the raw energy which ensures the show's success as a piece of theatre. I Hooligans says little about

the justifications. no matter how unpalatable or nihilistic they might be. which motivate many of those sorts of people. (Mike Wilson)

I Hooligans (Fringe) Tic Toe Theatre Company. Tic Toc at Marco‘s (Venue 98). 229 7898. until 2 Sept. £4.50 (£4).


Norrison gives himselfthc task of transforming a New York cabbie into a presentable son-in-law of a billionaire. 1n the space of a single hour 1 larry Foot is turned into a standard Prince Charming modern style. He is kitted out in the finest suits. his wife getsan expensive wedding ring to show off. he drops his membership of the Socialist Party and replaces it with that ofthe golfclub. becomes an adopted son ofthe Countess San Marino-Schattenburg and a Consul General. This all calls for a breakneck speed. much runningin and out by the numerous office personnel and meticulous campaigning by the minor Napoleon. Norrison. Meanwhile the love interest quietly goes onto a back-burner: Sylvia continues to love her honest Harry even though he is quite unrecognisable in form and attitudes. It is this romantic element which does not stand the time travelling so well. and occasionally jars against sharply up-to-date attitudes. (Tinch Minter)

14'l‘he List 1— 14 September 1989