-Caryl Churchill‘s scathing attack on Empire Britain and its legacy of sexual politics — add some ant-gender casting. and proceed to strangle it slowly to death. Scratch Theatre‘s production was somnolent. shambolic. and acted with all the vigour of a dead rodent. Churchill‘s glittering script was delivered in a ﬂat monotone. the wit entirely lost. and endless lengthy scene changes punctuated the fussy action to little effect save that of alienating an already restive audience. This is the sort of production that shouldn't chance an interval — half the audience bolted out into the night. ‘That was the worst thing lever slept through'. quipped one punter as he joined the exodus. ‘evcn the cast are leaving'. (Lily MacGillivray)
I Cloud 9 (Fringe) Scratch Theatre Company. Hill
SINK THE BELGHANO
The T.A.C. Theatre Company‘s production of $01k the Belgrano is an enjoyable. ifobviously amateur. show. Though not the best of Berkoff‘s works. It has been staged with a vigottr and a humour which does the company credit. Occasional lapses into childishness are compensated for by some good acting and the thoughtful. inventive direction which guarantees the audience‘s attention throughout. (Matt Barrell)
I Sink The Belgrano (Fringe) T.A.C. Theatre Company.Thc Artcr Theatre (Venue 101). 557 1785. until ZScpt. 12.40pm. £3 (£2).
_ THE HARD MAN
This gritty play by Tom McGrath and Jimmy Boyle relates the history of a violent criminal raised on thieving. fighting. and slashing faces in the Glasgow Gorbles while kids his age were at school.
Pat O‘Kane makes a powerful performance as the proud and arrogant Johnny Byrne.the hard man himself. otherwise known as the ‘animal' or the ‘lunatic'. As a potent and challenging play. this is well worth seeing. (Robert Alstead)
I The Hard Man (Fringe) Old St Pauls Church
(Venue 45) 557 5684. until
25cpt7.30pm. £3.75 (£2.75)
Bulgakov hobbies onto the stage and introduces his play about Moliere. the French playwright who wrote masterpieces ofsatirical wit under the
inconsistant patronage of
Louis XIV. Alex Smith‘s Bulgakov draws parallels between the Sun King and Joe Stalin in the opening minutes ofthe play and Cambridge Exile‘s production looks set to take off.
Unfortunately. the initial direction is deceptive. The company look under-rehearsed and half-hearted about the play. Why. when mostof the performers are clearly good actors. the audience had to endure garbled lines. often mumbled to the floor or back-wall. and lazy staging. wasthe question on the lips of those who walked out.
Individually the actors seemed to cope. but as a group they lacked tension and pace. which is a pity as the play. had it notbeen marred by a lack-lustre approach. is self-reflexive and has at its core an important and relevant message about theatre and its relation to society. (Nicola Robertson)
I Moll." (I‘ringe) (‘ambrldge Exile 'i'heatrc. (‘haplaincy (‘entre (Venue 23) 0. 15pm. £3.50 (£3).
THE DIVINE CIRCUS
For once. a real piece of taut. alive. thought-provoking musical drama hitsthe Festival courtesy of Jutland Opera‘s production of Per Norgard's The Divine Circus. Based on Adolf Wolfli‘s Woyzcck-like semi-autobiographical text. it deals with Elliot's timelessthemes ofBirth. Copulation and Death in the context ofthe two principle periodsof Wolfli’s life: those spent inside and outside the confines ofa mental hospital. Rich in imagery
Wolﬂi borrows from Ted
Hughes. Shakespeare and Nietzsche and the heavily
symbolic. surrealist nature ofthe text is mirrored on stage superbly well. An utterly convincing cast too. from Karl Antz as Wolfli to the chorus of wonderfully choreographed ‘screwers'. However it was Norgard‘s masterly and intricate score which was most remarkable. Six percussion players. led by the stunning Gert Mortenscn. on a vast gamelan-based array of instruments. synthesizer and cello provided a compulsive sound world. part Stockhausen. part soft sixties rock. which kept me for one mesmerised all evening. (Stephen Strugnell)
THE LOVE FOR THREE ORANGES
Ten out often for Richards Jones‘ brilliant production which kept a rapt audience well and truely rivited throughout the entire evening. The wickedly funny introduction on the use of scratch ‘n‘ sniff cards set the tone and after that it was just one long visual treat. Memorable amongst the many production delights were the man eating alligators and the clever play with stage perspective: four sets (it"l'rttffaltlluos. (‘larissas and Leanders. each smaller than the last. whizzing back and forth across the stage. Inspired performances by the principals included Andrew Shore's Leander an obscquious. sloth-like prime minister. Patricia Payne‘s gloriously glam-rock princess and Richard Angas' meat-gorged. blood-stained cook with a penchant for pretty ribbon. A visual (and eve aromatic) treat but not unfortunately an overall aural delight. David
Lloyd-Jones and the English Northern Philharmonic gave a less than enthusiastic account of Prokofiev’s rather insubstantial score. (Stephen Strugnell)
As a last minute substitute
for the cancelled Dwarf
Pussy. this American
company are staging Georg Buchner’s tragic drama. Woyzcck. From a new translation by W. Martin which has been
adapted and directed by
his brother John Wills Martin (from the celebrated Mark Tabor Forum in Los Angeles). with original music by
I LouisJohn Durra. this is
an interesting and still evolving piece. Emphasis lies on the attrition of Woyzcck‘s son Karl (imaginatively played here by Pete Dinklage. a dwarf) and the violence levelled at Marie. his mother (another good performance from Julia Prud'homme). ()n a minimalist set. with only wolf-motifhangings. this production is eerie. inventive and. at times. moving— particularly in the scenes between Marie and her son. Elsewhere less successful. this is nevertheless worth checking out for anyone interested in a novel theatrical approach to a classic text. (I.in MacGillivray)
I American Woyzsck (Fringe) White (‘row Productions. Ilarry Youngerllall (Venue 13). until 2 Sept. 1 i . 15am. £2.5(l(£2). Also daily matinee (3pm) Richard Demarco Gallery (Venue 22) until 2 Sept.
This predominantly dance oriented piece attempts to shed light on images ofself and sexuality. with particular reference to the plight of post-feminist man. The Company attempt to combine words and movement with mixed success. The stereotypes employed would be more effective ifthcy were placed in an illuminating context. unfortunately the Company never quite fulfill the potential they undoubtedly have. Perhaps less contrived. clichéd dialogue would aid what at times is inventive choreography. Nevertheless a promising and confident debut for this young company. (Paul Pinson)
I Unreasonabaio Demands (Fringe) Walk The Dog Physical Theatre. Greyfriars Kirk Ilouse (Venue 28). 225 3626. until 2 Sept. 1pm.
N0 SONG OF AN INGENUE
‘Ducking for apples. Change one letter and it‘s the story ofmy life'. It's understandable that the pessimistic and razor sharp wit of Dorothy Parker should be well to the fore in this sparkling new American show celebrating her life and times. Her characteris neatly established at the start as she waits impatiently for a lover‘s telephone call. Then. three marvellous Dorothys appear to launch us into her Roaring Twenties' circle.
Parker's writing (especially her poetry) has not stood the test oftime nearly as well as her wisecracks. possibly because it is much bleaker. This is not at all a bleak show, although the blackness that underpinned her humour is shown. and there‘s not long between laughs. If you don't know of Parker. and especially if you do. go and see this lively little piece of biography. (Jon Webster)
I No Song at an Ingsnus (Fringe) MZM Productions. Moray Ilouse Union (Venue itiii) until 1 Sept.4 15pm. £3.75 (£2).
If you think a group sing-alongis impossible in the lofty expanses of the Assembly Rooms Music Hall. you hayen't yet cxperienced'l'he Fabulous Singlettes.
This Australian beehivcd trio charm a doting audience with their slick interpretations of ()(is' classics from Motown to the Rolling Stones.
Naomi. Alison and Lisa intersperse their numbers with cabaret turns. The funniest is an improvised version of Blind Date with three male victims plucked from the front row. They provide the girls with the perfect foil for their wit which is peppered with just enough smutto spice upa performance that might
otherwise have been too sweet. (\‘ictoria Smith). I The Fabulous Singlettes (Fringe) Assembly Rooms (\"enue 3) 226 2428. until 2 Sept. 11.45pm. £6(£5).
A SLIGHT INACCURACY 0F AIM
Based on an old Russian fable about revolution.
this new show is a wildly funny satirical journey about a man who gains power by selling arms to a rotten assortment of warmongers.
I A Slight lnaccuracy of Alm Floating Bubble Theatre Co 8; Welsh College of Music and Drama (Fringe) Harry Younger l Iall (Venue 13) until Sept 2. 6pm. £2 (£1.50).
‘Don't expect explanations— Don't worry. watch the show. its real.‘
The trouble with ‘lndepcndant Free Theatre‘ is that it is almost impossible to make a generally acceptable critical comment. There is no yardstick against which to measure RAMM. They employ a variety ofmedia: electronic noises. movement and slide projections. but these combine to form completely abstract sounds and images.
As with most ‘pcrformancc art'. the success of the piece dependsuponthc audience‘s ability to interpret the imagery as a metaphor for something recognisable within their own lives. In this particular case. the suggestion was that modern civilization resembles life inside a beehive. Well. that sounds plausible enough. but is that the analogy you always wanted to draw but didn't know it'.’ Such considerations are completely subjective. and I am not qualifiedto comment. You pays your money and you takes your choice. (Philip Kingsley) IApls (Fringe) Ramm. Calton Studies.(Venue 71). 556 7066. until Sept2 9.30pm £3.50 (£3).
24 The List 1- 14 September 1989