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Not events you’d associate with a dull evening’s entertainment, yet the door image oi German theatre persists. Steve Gooch, who has adapted Frank Wedekind's Lulu Plays (Earth Spirit and Pandora’s Box) tor pertormance by Red Shitt Theatre Company, has spent nearly two decades trying to communicate the true spirit at writers like Wedekind, Kroetz, Brecht and Fassbinder to English-speaking audiences.

‘I think there is still a prejudice against German theatre,’ he says, ‘as wooden, sttu and all that. I think the main problem has been that translators have tended to be academic, and the actors struggle to bring lite to something which is actually quite wooden on the page. In tact these are quite tunny plays; and since we had to

get it all down to two hours, some at the more ponderous bits had to go anyway.‘

Heavily censored on its first appearance at the turn of the century, Lulu is in part an expose of the talse sexual mores ot the time. ‘lt’s very much set in that world of Victorian hypocrisy,’ says Gooch, ’but the play is more widely resonant. There’s a curious paradox about all the characters: they say they want one thing, and it transpires they want another. There’s this constant kind of distorting mirrorthat people are seeing each other in, and they’re never quite on top of what they’re trying to do. He was writing at the same time as Freud, and the seamy underbelly ot the unconscious is never tar away.’

For Red Shitt’s tounding director Jonathan Holloway, this will be the second Wedekind production in Edinburgh. In 1987, he directed Red Shltt Youth Theatre in Spring Awakening, a paintul yet humorous indictment of moral hypocrisy. Though there are common themes, they are shaped rather ditterently, as Gooch explains. ‘Whereas you might call Spring Awakening a sort of clothes line, with separate items hanging on it, this is a more cyclical piece. The drama that untolds is much more integral.’ (Andrew Burnet)

Lulu (Fringe) Bed Shitt Theatre Company, The Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550, 13 Aug—1 Sept (not 20, 28 Aug). 6pm, £6.50 (£5.50).

Double shandy


Stephen Oxley returns to Edinburgh this year with the second, and concluding, part of his acclaimed adaptation ot Sterne‘s hilarious novel, The Lite and , Opinions ot Tristram Shandy. Pan Two Gentleman— makes sense by itselt or you can see it with the first instalment- Homunculus which was received with glowing commendations both at last year’s Fringe and when it played in London.

In Part Two, Tristram, captivating and inluriating, master at digression, continues spinning the yarn at his family's eccentricities. This includes the ’tour 01 France’, Tristram's inadvertant circumcision by a sash window and—his ‘choicest morsel’ ot a tale, Uncle Toby’s romantic skirmishes

with Widow Wadman. Oxley, with his celebratory passion tor Sterne’s genius, wishes to depict

, not onlythe humour butthe poignancy

ot the masterpiece. He points outthe change in tone at the last part at the adaptation: ’Part One is exuberant and

; lite-loving. Part Two (the portion at the 1 novel written in Sterne’s dying years)

though still tun, has a darker side. it speaks at the tragedy at death’. The play also retlects a teasing, selt-reterential element in the author's character, as stage and audience realities are merged.

The theatre is an ideal medium for this most conversational of novels, and Oxley regards his adaptation as the ‘play that Sterne never wrote’. But he attributes much of its inspiration and success to an inability to resist the ‘strong, elegant voice olTristram', and stresses, with a true Shandeism, the importance of director Brian Croucher’s ’excellent nose tor drama'. (Charlie Llewellyn)

Tristram Shandy Part One/Part Two (Fringe) Stephen Oxley, Hill Street Theatre (Venue 41) 225 7294, 12 Aug—1 Sept, 9.15pm/10.45pm, £4.50 (£3.50)



Inevitany Dr Faustus is back at the Fringe this year. this time very dramatically cut from 4 hours to 1 hour 2(lminutes and with a cast ofonly two: Chris Seunthorpe plays Faustus and Richard Spaul everyone else, including the seven deadly sins.

Last year Cambridge Experimental Theatre had Charlie Chaplin and two clowns playing King Lear very successfully with only a plank of wood supported by two step ladders for a set. This year their production is set in Dr Faustus‘s study and his books are used as props throughout, first stacked neatly in piles and then flung around the stage as the full horror of l IeIl manifests itselfon stage. According to the company‘s administrator. Brigid Zengeni. the effect on the audience can be quite devastating. 'The other day, funnily enough. we actually had two people faint, one from the heat. I think. But really. it is quite horrific. 'I'IieSeven Deadly Sins part is funny and the audience laughs. then it suddenly turns horribly wrong.~ (Miranda France)

I Dr Faustus (Fringe) Cambridge Experimental Theatre. Marco's Leisure Centre (Venue 98) 22‘) 8830.13 Aug--1 Sept. 3.15pm.£5 (£4).


Agamemnon sacrifices his daughter to the gods in return for a safe passage to Troy and pays a bloody price for it when he gets home to his lumingwife ('lytaemnestra. It‘s typical Greek tragedy . {01.1"} sex. violence and plenty of gore. Iixperts tell iisthat these plays are still relevant to us today and. as if to prove the point. ‘up-dated' \ersiuns of Aescliylus. Iiuripides and Sophocles turn up every year at the Fringe. Who's complaining'.’ Iiveryone likes a bit ofgore.

K lyieniriesira 's‘ Bairns is not a modernised play but a new one. w ritten by Bill Dun!op and based on Aeschy IUs‘ ()resieia. More to the point. it is written in Lowland Scots. What Dunlop is tzying to do. explains Thom ()wen. a member of the company. is to emphasise

the vitality of a language whose use some people find to be pedantic. Although people might initially be shocked. they should get to grips with the dialect soon.

I Klytemnestra's Balms ' (Fringe) Common Force, Diverse Attractions (Venue l I)225 896l . until I 1 Aug. 6pm. £2.50

(£1 .50); Theatre West End (Venue 126) 13—18 Aug. 8pm, £3 (£2)


In the mid 19th century. when Nikolai Gogol was in the process of losing his marbles, the size ofone‘s nose was the subjectof many a joke in Russia. IIimselfweIl endowed in this department. Gogol developed an almost religious obsession with it. which certainly inspired his well-known short story. ‘Ile was very proud of his big nose,‘ says Vicky Featherstone. who is directing an adaptation of The Nose. ‘What the story asks is how does someone feel when they lose their nose. But you don't know whether it‘s real or not. Gogol‘s style is imprecise about the division between reality and fantasy.‘

To suggest a dream-like state, the play will be performed in pyjamas. with a cast ofthree and much doubling of roles. Since the short story‘s satire is aimed mainly at contemporary Russia. Chris IIurford's adaptation transfers the action to Westminster in 1990. The central character is now a politician who attends the Ilousesof Parliament without his essential laciai feature. and is thus forced


which surrounds him.

In this. he is equivalent to lllestakov. the main character in The (io vernmen! Inspector. probably (iogol‘s best-known work. a satire on every mediocrity its author could detect in

Russian society. This. too.

will be given an airing on the Fringe. Also on otter is an adaptation of (iogol's earlier story. Diary ()fA Madman. in which a minor civil serv ant adopts the view that he is heir to the Spanish throne. If it's rational behaviour you‘re after. don't go. (Andrew Burnet)

IThe NosetFringe) Cambridge LMl’. St Johns ("liurch (Venue 126).].1 25Augtnot l‘l Aug).4.2llpiii.£3(£2 Sill

I The Government

Inspector (Fringe) Almost


Company. Cireyfriars Kirk House (Venue 28). 225 3626. 13—25 Aug (not 19 Aug). 1().ll5ain.£3(£2).

I Diary Of A Madman

(Fringe) The Splinter Group. Hillside Gallery (Venue 88). 556 6440. I4. l6. l8. ISept,3.15pm.£3.5()





Judging by their programme cum

manifesto. the Ab ()vo

Theatre Company is pretty serious about

theatre. "The company

policy is to introduce

British audiences to works

of highly reputable

authors from abroad'. says Australian lawyer turned actress director.

(irace (iedeon.

Set in St I’etersburg in the I8-llls and adapted from Dostoevsky's Notes

from Underground. Underground Man

concerns itself with the

distorted world of a member of the

bourgeoisie who takes out his disaffection on a young prostitute. Directed by

the Bristol ()Id Vic‘s Rudi

Shelly. an ‘agile and

virtuoso wizard'. and starring Doctor Who's sidekick. Sophie Aldred. the production promises

to ‘bring to life the

eruellest and darkest

pages‘ of I)ostoevsky's

original work. Deathwatch. Jean

(icnet's first play. deals

with the quest for

‘complete “being” in an existential sense‘. Based around the meeting of three people in a prison cell. (ienet explores the paradoxical values of this closed community. In a ‘world where moral vices become metaphysical virtues'. it would seem that the more hideous the crime. the more heroic the

criminal. (David Mackenzie) I A Cry From the

Depth/Deathwatch ( Fringe)

Ah ( )H) Theatre Company. IlillStreet

Theatre (Venue 4| ) 225 7294. l2 Aug lSeptinot 2ll.-\ug). 7.30pm 6.05pm.



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