a sticky end and by then I wasn’t sorry to see them go. (Jon Webster)

I HamletUninspired (Fringe) 88 Theatre Company. Richard Demarco Gallery (Venue 22) until 2 Sept. 7pm. £3.50(£2.50).


In a darkened attic-theatre. heavy with the smell of musk and joss-sticks. Nirmala performs five pieces in the most ancient ofthc classical Indian dance styles. Baratha Natyam. Traditionally. this solo dance form contains 108 basic movements which are embellished and choreographed into a narrative form.

Nirmala brings her own inventiveness to the performance. whilst remaining minutely faithful to tradition. The movements are both absolutely precise and expressiver relaxed. with each finger and turn ofthc foot following strict choreography. There can be few dance forms which command such power through facial expression and controlled eye

pieces incorporates Rasa. the nine basic emotions.

which are deftly brought alive through mime and symbolic gesture. Complicated rhythms in

the music are accompanied by bold footstamping and beautifully curved arm mOvements one can see how the Rajasthani gypsies influenced Flamenco making this a proud yet ironical dance form. It is a shame this wonderful performance was accompanied by recorded rather than live music. (Jo Roe)

Paduka. The Divine Feet (Fringe) [)ance-Theate of India. Ilill Street Theatre (Venue 41). 225 729-1. until 2 Sept. 12.30pm & 3.45pm. £4 (£3.50).


tragedy is a rather flat

reading of an unremarkable play. Delivered in a curiously anaesthetised Glaswegian presumably so as not to disturb Iinglish audiences

ll'omen has moments of wit. but as often as not lacks any dramatieor linguistic vigour.

You can tell a play is shaky when the audience doesn't know w hen to clap at the end. And this despite an emotional build-up in the second half that begins to give some focus to a previously inconsequential play. Tales of wartime romance are ten-a-penny and


John Burgess' production of Sharman MacDonald's World \N’ar Two romantic

MacDonald gives us little

insight to justify her

choice ofsubject matter. It isn't a disaster. but it‘s

; little more than a

diversion and it really isn't

worthyofthe credibility

awarded to it by being in the International Festival.


the Fringe. (Mark Fisher)

1 I When We Were Women

2 (Festival) Royal National Theatre Studio. St Bride's Centre. until 2 Sept. 7.30pm; 2 Sept. 2.30pm. 1.19-5.50.


3 I could have forgiven the shoddy set. I might even

i have turned a blind eye to the unimaginative

direction. But when a

f company promising a ‘striking performance' delivers just the opposite. I stop being generous.


too much - When We Were


Karel Capek‘s creative vision of a world taken over by robots. written in 1921 . is sadly patronised by a company who obviously thought it wildly amusing to flufftheir lines and miss their cues in a weak parody of Capek's play. Nic Rauh'scorpsing on stage due to an ill-fitting wigis unforgivable and reduces the show to the standard of middle-school drama.

The transformation of the robots. Ilelena and Primus. played by Sara Stockbridge and Ross Brown. into Adam and live -- the former in flesh-tone briefs and the latter without was coarse and gratuitous. Ifthese were the ‘exciting visuals“ promised by the press release. then shame on The Shadow Syndicate. The occasional mis-timed spurt of dry ice did little to add to the group's reputation for

technological prowess. No company. whatever their name. has the right to reduce theatre to what seems to be a cast in-joke and still expect the audience to pay £4 for the privilege. Avoid. (Victoria Smith). I R.U.R. (Fringe)The Shadow Syndicate. Celtic Lodge (Venue 6) 225 7097. until 2 Sept. 10. 15pm. £4 (£3).


Presumably the Company wanted to save on their Fringe entry fees by advertisingthis as one play and then presenting us with a double bill when we get into the theatre. Anyway it doesn‘t really matter as both were as inconsequential and uninspiring as each other - I won't bore you with the


details. I‘ve got one question though: why waste all that time. effort. energy (and money for that matter) on straight. conventional renderings of two dated plays? Compared to the inventiveness and originality on offer at the rest ofthe Fringe. this pales. (Paul Pinson)

I Midnight Feast/London Calling (Fringe) Slippery Dog Theatre Company. Celtic Lodge (Venue 6). 225 7097. until 2 Sept. midnight.£2(£1.5()).


These four aspiring professionals perform a carefully considered piece which they have choreographed themselves in conjunction with a musician who has composed a continuous and imaginative live accompaniment on the cello and synthesizer. Simply clad in blue dungarees the four perform a committed and unpretentious piece. successful partly because the dancers do not attempt moves beyond their capabalities. Having said that. the dancing is ofa solid quality and one very graceful dancer particularly stands out. Making inventive use of four chairs the piece is otherwise unspectaeular in its choreography. though the gentle tone is rather moving at times. Although very much an amateur performance. this is intelligent and sensitave dance ofa different league from most other performances in its bracket. (Jo Roe)

I Collisions (Fringe) Snatch Theatre Co-op. Calton Studios (Venue 71). 556 7066. until 2 Sept. 11.15pm. £2(£1 ).


Appropriately Chris Ballance‘s new play about Edinburgh's most celebrated partners in crime. Burke and Hare. is being performed at the Gilded Balloon in the very heart ofthc Cowgate. where they perpetrated most of their grisly crimes. Ballance gives us an imaginative insight into the men behind the legend. Men who believed they had found ‘a way of earning a respectable living in a Protestant country.‘ liare's wife Margaret (portrayed with power and guts by the formidable Jacqui Prentice) becomes a figure of Lady Macbeth proportions as she goads. cajoles and finally bullies

Burke to partner her husband in their new career. However Burke‘s initial reticence never completely disappears and eventually proves to be their downfall. Ballance displays great perception and imagination as the tale of murder unfolds to its inevitable conclusion. Supported by an excellent cast (including impressive performances byJohn Ilay and Ian Cusick) and solid direction. we are presented with an entertaining and strong examination of two men who were as much victims of their times as any of their corpses. (Paul Pinson) I Water 01 Lite (Fringe) Actual/Strathclyde Theatre Group. Gilded Balloon Theatre (Venue 38). 2262151. until ZSept. 1.15pm. £4.50(£2.50).


This is an excellent new show made up ofeight separate pieces exploring deception in a variety of different relationships. The deception is perpetrated by language and always seems to result in physical and psychological pain. This pain shocks us and gives the show its force.

‘The Picnic‘ shows couples becoming desperate and insecure in social situationsthey cannot relate to. ‘The Party'. which endsthe show is a neat and often funny parody of improvisation as a couple

swap roles but still fail to gain insight into their problems. ‘An Evening Out“ turns into a nightmare for a woman who wanted some fun. This is a kick in the guts superbly played by Tiffany Murray.

This wasan example of Fringe Theatre at its best and slickest combining powerful sharp drama and high-class acting. I highly recommend it. (Jon Webster)

I A Language ol Lies

(Fringe) Westfield Theatre Company. Canongate Ilall (Venue 5) 10pm. until Sept 2.£3.5() (£2.50)


Whilst all the shows with a Green message might deserve a measure of uncritical praise merely because oftheir good intentions. Les Bubb‘s production does not require any such charity. It stands on its own merits as good. provocative theatre. If‘Ecocide‘ can get a Fringe First.this deserves a small statue in a relatively conspicuous setting.

This is not a show where you need a box of Kleenex i to wipe away sentimental tears. Not a cuddly white seal pup in sight. Yet it has the capacity to motivate as effectively as any other production with similar politics. Hard-hitting. inventive and clever. an imaginative use ofmime

and the exceptional use of audio technology make cogent statements about the rape of the world.

In many respects. Les Bubb is less blatant than the competition. but in most instances he provides a more telling commentary. (Mike Wilson)

IAnother Fine Mess (Fringe) Les Bubb. Theatre Workshop (Venue 20). 226 5425. 21 Aug—2 Sept. 3pm. £4 (£2.50).


A one-man show relating I the experiences of Rudyard Kipling in India is not your run of the mill Fringe fare. This is hardly radical or adventurous theatre; similarly it is not

The List 1— 14 September 198917