Last year‘s no-holds- barred Punch andludy earned them an Independent A ward and a place on the Perrier Pick of the Fringe. The Snarling Beasties also like to explore challenging subjects.

‘Jessica is intelligent and attractive. She is married. yet lonely and childless. But Jessica‘s main problem is that she‘s a man.‘ says lsitt who writes. directs and performs. ‘The darker side of life is often ignored and misunderstood. that‘s why it interests us. It‘s fun turning taboo subjects on their head and tackling people‘s misconceptions.‘ After hearing a first-hand account. she began research into ‘the enigma hidden behind three doors in every street.‘

The result is a moving. black comedy about the relationship between a transvestite and his wife as he struggles to become accepted. (Konrad Manning)

I Femme Fatale (Fringe) Snarling Beasties. Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428. ll Aug—l Sept (not Mons). 4pm. £5.50 (£4.50).


When ex stand-up comedian John Dowie sat down to piece together material from the prolific worksofs‘ci-li guru Philip K. Dick. the script for his new stand-up show took on a life of its own. ‘lt'sa script for a performance l‘m giving. but [don't know who wrote it. I didn‘t write it. because none of the words are mine. but neither did Philip K. Dick. because all his words are jumbled up.' says a slightly bewildered Dowie.

No longer a stand-up comic (for reasons which he is giving in hisother

show. Why [stopped being a stand up comedian). he still uses the comedian‘s set as a framework to compact selected ideas from Dick‘s ‘dense. multi-viewpoint writings‘ into a show that is ‘very nice. very simple and very clear.‘

After an encouraging preview where the audience listened in intense silence to the show. he is still not sure how this experimental work will be received by Fringe audiences. ‘But‘. he proclaims. ‘that‘s what Edinburgh should be for! Trying new shows. new ideas. and things that nobody‘s done before. and seeing if they‘re any good or not.‘ (Robert Alstead)

I Take Them to the Garden (Fringe). The Pleasance (Venue 71) 556 6550. 11—25 Aug. 8pm. £5 (£4.25).


Alan Leigh has delved further back in literary history to Rabelais‘s 16th century France forthc source ofhis new play. which he sums up as ‘An extremely bawdy. filthy. excremental. entertaining. joyous satire‘.

‘lt‘s like all the dirty bits of Gulliver's Travels without the depressing ending‘. he continues. ‘Because Rabclais was quite an optimist. and believed in the power of friendship. drink. and food. it has a very positive theme go out and get drunk and have a drink to Rabclais w hile you‘re at it.‘

Renowned for the physicality of their theatre. Leigh believes he and the other halfofthe cast. David Ford. will surpass themselves in terms of energy and debauchery in this year‘s performance. ‘Wc have great fun with it. We have pregnanciesand giants. lots of food and lots of drink. lots of dirty stories. satire on politicians. and satire on the Pope and men of religion'. he enthuses.

(Robert Alstead)

I Gargantua and Pantagruel (Fringe) Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550.10—24 Aug. 7pm. £5.50 (£4.50).

N0 nmtssrou/ RULE43

Perhaps unsurprisingly there are a numberof


theatre/NEW PLAYS

I _ I

Dublin-born Ben Keaton made the lront cover of The List in 1986 when he appeared with a large suitcase and an outsized stulled rat. These days he’s graduated to dogs and a style that owes as much to story-telling as it does his background in stand-up comedy. Directed by Robert Llewellyn who appeared in Onan with John McKay last


l Fisher) i

37 late of the patron saint of lootwear, Sf Pedimus of the Comfortable Sandal, whose double life of greed, treachery and seduction undermine his reputation for basic loot care. (Mark

Prophet Bites Dog (Fringe) Ben Keaton, The Gilded Balloon (Venue 38) 226 2151, 10Aug-l Sept, 3pm, £4.50

Fringe, Prophet Bites Dog tells the At) (23.50).

Prison dramas 3‘ this Smith. that the story | acquaintance of the year‘s Fringe. Both Rule develops. reclusive Larkin. pays 43 and N0 Remmionv 2* Refusing to highlight tribute to the poet‘s

tough psychological thriller which premiers in Edinburgh. choose to deal with the experiences of lifers through a combination of comedy and intense drama. Although No Remission is centred around three hard-core criminals seeking refuge together in the aftermath of a riot. both plays were written before the lid blew on the prison system.

Rule 43. by Kevin Fegan. one-time writer in residence at Stocken prison. is based around the real-life experiences of recidivist Anthony Alexandrovitz.

The play deals with the psychological crisis that affects many long-term prisoners some time into their sentence. During this period many choose the option of solitary confinement in order to get their heads together. It is around the experience of one such man. John

either the deprivation of prison life or the specific .offence of its protagonist. Rule 43 is touring thirteen prisons as well as more conventional venues. Credit should be given

to the fact that both productions are the results of direct contact with the prison world the characterization in No Remission evolved from detailed consultation with forensic psychiatrists and anonymous prison officers. (David Mackenzie)

I No Remission (Fringe) Lucky Porcupine. Theatre Workshop (Venue 20) 226 5425.13 Aug—l Sept.£5 (£3.50).

I Rule 43(Fringe) Cracked Actors. Chaplaincy (.‘entre. (Venue 23)13—26 Aug. £4.50 (£3.50).


Hull Truck return to the Fringe this year with a new play about the late poet Philip Larkin. written by Hull dramatist and prolific screen writer. Alan Plater. "The play is about four very different people of humble origins and the way they are affected by Larkin‘s poems‘. says director John Godber.

Plater. who was more than a nodding

humorous and sad vision oflifc. The script incorporates some of Larkin‘s best-known poems (mainly from The Whitsun Weddings and High Windows). indulges Larkin‘s and Plater‘s love oflazz. and features an appearance by the poet. who. typically modest. ‘comes back from the dead and is surprised by all the interest in his poems‘.

(iodbcr feels the play. which has ‘lessofthe rugby-playing element in it‘. is popular in itsappeal ‘although Larkin lived in the ivory tower of the l lull L'niversity library. his poetry strikes a chord with

ordinary people.‘ (Robert

Alstead) I Sweet Sorrow ( Fringe)

Assembly Rooms ( \"enue I 3).?26 2428. lilAug—l

Sept (not Suns). 3.45pm. £6.50 (£5).


After three years on the road performing in highly-rated productions of Steven Berkoff's Decadence and (free/s. (ieorge Dillon filled iii a couple of years by teaching linglish as a foreign language. 'livciy day.‘ he says. 'I was doing five world premieres.

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desperately under- rehearsed and basically make 'em laugh! That gave me the confidence to get back to the theatre on a one-man basis.‘

In contrast to the pressured world of education. it‘s less of a big deal for Dillon to mount two stage premieres of work by Steven Berkoff and Glasgow poet Robert Sproat. as well as a new version of a Dostoevsky story. all in the one evening. None ofthe pieces was originally intended for the stage . but Dillon. who was assistant director on Berkoff‘s Salome. brought them together because ofa common sense ofthe dramatic.

All three shows are to do with the power of imagination to utterly change somebody‘s life in the fau of the apathy ofothers. The Berkoffcharacter bursts through to a plateau of despair. The Sproat character turns it back on the audience. And the Dostoevsky reaches this enlightenment and sends the audience out walking on air.‘ (Mark Fisher) I Stunning The Punters (And Other Stories) (Fringe) Vital Theatre. Marco‘s Leisure Centre (Venue 98) 22‘) 8830. 11 Aug-l Sept (not l9Aug). 6pm. £4.50 (£3.50).


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