Mimes the word
Over the past ten years mime has grown in stature, now considered part of that loosely defined genre, physical theatre. Illustrious figures like Steven Berkoft have elevated its status by introducing it to high-brow theatre, displacing the image of figures in black body suits walking on the spot. This yearthe fringe hosts a number of mime artists including John Mowat who appears at the Theatre Workshop. ‘Before, people used to think “mime- that‘s that French bloke with the white lace, Marcel Marceau. Nah, ldon‘t like him," says Mowat. ‘No-one would have said I don’t like Oliviertherelore I don’t like acting or I don't like Mozart or Sting therefore I don’t like music.’ Now mime has its own section in the fringe programme.
Better known for his solo work and a stint with Nola Rae, Mowat has joined forces with Chris Cresswell and Bob Clayton for the Edinburgh Festival. Devised through improvisation ‘Yours Eventually' looks at the macabre world of funeral director Mortice Clay. ‘It starts out in the 30s. Business is not very good. Just when things are getting realy bad the First World War comes along and he makes a killing,’ puns Mowat. Of course the tale doesn’t end there. Mortice goes on to become a wealthy entrepreneur in death, obsessed with keeping himself alive. Like Walt Disney he decides to have his body preserved cryogenetically.
‘Language is not my lorte,’ admits Mowat. ‘I think I gravitated towards mime initially because I like dealing with things visually. I was a sculptor
before getting involved in this business. Words can get in the way. If you put words and action in a piece you find thatone thing will want to dominate. lnvariably words.’
Like most mimes, Mowatwould count humouras a main ingredient in his work. ‘I don’t set outto be funny though,’ he insists. ‘I set out essentiallyto tell a story. I've got a sense of humour and that seems to creep in. lthink it you try to be funny you invariably aren‘t. The classic example is the old circus clown who tries so hard, chucking the custard pies, putting on the silly make-up. Even the little kiddies don’t laugh.’ (Jo Roe) Yours Eventually (Fringe) John Mowat And The London Theatre Of Clay, Theatre Workshop (Venue 20) 225 7942,16—25 Aug, 2.45pm, £3.50 (£2.50).
Having gone down a storm in Ireland, The Mapapa Acrobats, all on theirlirst visit out of Kenya, are savouring the first fruits of success, before hitting the Edinburgh Festival. They were discovered by arts administrator Glenyis Henderson while she was on holiday in Kenya. ‘There is no real theatre circuit there, so basically they perform in tourist hotels. That's where I saw them and I just thought they were absolutely stunning.’ On a subsequent visit, Henderson checked out other companies to ensure she was backing the best she could find. With free flights from Kenyan Airways and sponsoring from a lite-enhancing elixir, the idea became a reality. Several months later the seven acrobats and four musicians were shivering in London airport.
‘I remember the twelve that came off
looking very shell-shocked. Now they've got all the gear on, hip-hopped up to the nines. They were down the clubs and everything. I really did think I
was going to have to mummy them all
the way but actually it is quite the
opposite. They are like ducks to water.‘
As well as acrobatic skipping, block
. building and leaping through hoops,
the Mapapas are famous in Kenya for their balancing acts, in which theylorm the most bizarre and spectacular
human pyramids. ‘They'll play a
number and then stop and have everybody on the stage. Then they say, “And now we will have the acrobats back” — and people just leave. They have such huge power in their hands. It‘s amazing considering they have never played a theatre belore.’ (Jo Roe) The Mapapa Acrobats (Fringe) Assembly Rooms (Venue3) 226 2468,
KOREAN CLASSICAL MUSIC AND
The annual theme ofthe official festival rarely impinges much on the overall programme. and this time the theme is reduced to a ‘twoyear focus'. The Korean (‘lassical Music and Dance Institute bring their show to Edinburgh as part of this focus on the culture of the Pacific rim.
The institute has a longer history than most other cultural establishments in the world. stretching back over a thousand years. Traditionally the institute conccrned itselfwith dance and music of the court. rather than ofthe people. Knowledge was passed from teacher to pupil. a system that helped preserve the traditions during World War Two. when the Japanese annexation of Korea severelyctirtailed activities. ()nly sixteen Koreans who knew the complex traditions were left when the country was liberated - but this was enough to continue the tradition.
The institute now practises more spontaneous and wild folk dance alongside the ancient court style. The Korcan's promise to bring to the festival both the ‘rigidly controlled passion' of the court and the uninhibited emotion of the peasants. The only common element between the two styles is the musical instruments. ()tiite different from the Japanese and ( ~hinese traditionsot music and dance. the Koreans say check out those distinctive triple rhythmic patterns. (I’ly freeman)
5 I Korean Classical Music
And Dance Company
Royal .\ltiseum Of Scotland. 235 5756.13- 14
Aug.’.‘.3tlpm. H.-\ug. 3prn.£(».
('ircus Burlesque is an explosion of colour, sound. movement and masks with a slow ftisc The opening is long. delayed by a minuet of mirrors on legs. but once things get going. .‘l/l(‘t’ carries tis. legs akimbo. intothc cra/y worldol
performers hardly stay still fora moment. tumbling. juggling and flying through the air. magnifying the magical elementsofthc Alice stories. From the gigantic Jabberwocky which tries to chomp through all who crossits path. tothe maniacal (‘heshire (‘at whose grin shadows Alice on her travels across the chessboard. the strange characters of \N'onderland conspire to help or hinder Alice in her dream of becoming Queen.
There are some clever
ideas - the (‘heshirc ('at's -
slowly disappearing grin. the Duchess and her unorthodox cookery class and the spectacular game ofﬂying croquet. Some scenes could be shorter and a little less frantic. but
i the overall impression is
one ofenergy’. excitement
Live music. although a little loud for my one-year-old companion. complemented lyrical. aerial acts and dreadful
~ Jabberwocky alike. The March flare and Mad
I latter have a fine double act and Dante Agostini.
j head gardener. deserves a
mention for his expert control of such an unruly
If you want a theatrical.
animal-free. lamilyshow : with skillsthat makeyour ‘ hairstandonend.try
Burlesque. ((‘athy Kicr) I Alice (Fringe) (‘ircus
s Burlesque BigTopXI’he
Meadows (Venue 116)
j 0860826829. If» IH. 26 Aug—2 Sept.7pm. 17.18. ZoAug. 1-2 Sept. 3pm.}.‘(i
FLYING KARAMAZOV KARAMAZOV
’ To be a good juggler you
hay c to be obsessiy e about it. You have tobcthekind of person w ho w ill pick up
an orange. and instead of eating ll decide to chuck ll
around the room for a
while first. This may not win you many friends. but it might get you hall way to being a Karama/oy Brother Thcothcr hallol
the journey entails reading joke books and the complete works of Dostoevsky.Theirquips - come as much from literature as from the gory potential ofthe sciniitars and swords they regularly juggle with. and puns vie with tricks for the audienccs's attention. You have to be on the ball to pick them all tip.
The Brothers' last show was slick. professional Las Vegas material. They juggled glass balls. they used the floor and they used their bodies. I’attering their way through daring tricks they silently demonstrated their skill and choreography. They've since expanded their repertoire to include musical juggling and technological wizardry. In one act Ivan playsan electronically rigged synthesiser-suit by slapping y arious partsof his body. and in another Smerdy akov strikes
_ danglingelectronic ' shoulderpadsashe
The Brothers are almost self-consciously wacky. Sam Williams (Smerdyakov) wanted to be a w crewolt when he
T grew tip. and Timothy
l-‘tirst tl-‘yodor ) claims to be studying sign language so he can ‘speak as silently off-stage as he speaks (iii-slagc.' I think Idctccl checks bulging with wise-cracking tongues. but a failed werewolfand
an interesting combination. and together with a thirtysomething ( lyan) who looks forward to growing up. and a fisherman ( Dmitrilw hose favourite car is a boat. the Karama/ov Brothers promise juggling with a difference. (Cathy Kicr) I Flying Karamazov Brothers ( International liestival) Royal Lyceum Theatre. 335 5‘56. If» l-‘s' Aug. 37. Zh‘Aug. lli.3tlpm.1118.30.29 Aug. 2.30pm.
£3.5(l-Lfi.5ll; St Brides Centre. 235 57%. Ill» 21
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the plane in rathertattered clothes, 12 Aug—1 Sept, 11.30am, 25(24). l
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