I THE HOME SERVICE Comic view oi a serious subject as writer and director Anthony Davidson presents his iollow up to Screamers. Family leuds in Sussex at Christmas. See Review.

Assembly Rooms (Fringe Venue 3) 225 4282, until 1 Sept (not 20, 27), 1.30pm, £0.50 (£5).

I THIRTY SOMEHOW It’s the in thing lorstand-up comics to try their hand at theatre right now and the lorrnula pays oil iorJulie Balloo, Maria Callous and Jenny Eclair. Three women are horrid to each other. See Review.

The Gilded Balloon (Fringe Venue 38) 225 2151 , until 1 Sept, 5pm, £4.50 (£3.50). I WORDS FROM THE WORLD'S END Prize-winning author Richard Steadman-Jones takes a look at the mythology surrounding Alexanderthe Great. See Review.

Dxlord Theatre Group (Fringe) Overseas liouse (Venue 19) 225 5105, until 1 Sept, 3.30pm. £3.50 (£2.50).

I HOME HOME Jenny Landreth lollows up her tribute to Roller-mania with a two-hander about a couple who leave Birmingham tor the bright lights oi London. Should be touching and iunny. Waggledagger Theatre Company (Fringe) Paradox at the Wee Red Dar(Venue 73) 20 Aug-1 Sept. 4.30pm, £3.50 (£3).

’8 I DEPRAVITY Edinburgh’s pioneering lunchtime theatre company aims to lollow the success at last year's Red King Rising with the second play by comlc script writer Grant Morrison. See cartoon Feature. Oxygen Rouse (Fringe) The Netherbow (venue 30) 556 9579, mm Sept. 11.30pm. £4.50 (£3).


theatre/new PLAYS

Get Iippy

‘lt occured to us that there are no history plays about women,’ says Sue Ryding, one halfof comedy duo Lip Service, ‘and that Mrs Thatcher in a way is a Plantagenet career woman.’ These two disparate ideas teamed with a desire to lampoon modern styles of acting gave rise to Margaret [II Parts Two and Three, 3 previously undiscovered Shakespearean drama which might have been written by Jonson or Bacon or maybe even two women from Manchester. The 14th century tale of a warrior queen from St Helens who is met by a rising toll of unemployment figures, bears

striking similarities to the present day. ‘She decides to invade a small island in the Atlantic.‘ explains Ryding, ‘and eventually goes mad, thinking she’s two people and calling herself‘we’.‘

On tour since February stopping briefly at Mayfest - Margaret 11] has gone through a continual updating process to keep abreast of current events. But Ryding, a veteran ofthe stand-up comedy world, points out

that like last year’s Withering Looks, this is not a satirical revue. but a formally structured comic play. ‘We made a conscious decision to move away from cabaret,’ she says, ‘because we found it quite limiting standing up behind a microphone there’s a limit to the kind of material you can do. If you have your own slot and people are investing in coming to see you, you can push the barriers a bit further.’

The show’s director is Noreen Kershaw who played the original Shirley Valentine at the Liverpool

Everyman and is known to millions as Cathy in Brookside. ‘She‘s fantastic,‘ enthuses Ryding. ‘She really does have a very good sense of comedy and she's also got quite a surreal eye. She’ll say, what would happen ifyou shouted that line? You think it‘d sound absolutely ridiculous, but for some reason it‘s incredibly funny. She has a real eye for that kind ofthing.‘ (Mark Fisher) I Margaret lll, Parts Two and Three (Fringe) Lip Service, Marco‘s Leisure Centre (Venue 98) 229 8830. 20 Aug—1 Sept. 7.45pm, £5 (£4).

anam— Glad rags

The Grassmarket Project is perhaps the most remarkable entry in this year's Fringe Programme. it has olten been argued that the involvement ol the people oi Edinburgh in the event lor which their city is most renowned, is depressineg little. ‘Glad’, directed by Jeremy Weller, is not only about the lives ot those who experience their city at its least hospitable, but is largely devised and periormed by them.

‘We want to break down the inditterence between ‘them' and ‘us’,’ explains Terry, a dapper 70 year-old who lives in a dormitory similarto that in which the play is set. ‘We want to bring home to people that there are people who are right out, but given halt a chance they could elevate themselves into more comlortable circumstances.’

Les, who has given up alcohol since becoming involved in the project, stunned me with his vehemence. ‘How would you like to light ior your spot on the concrete floor? You’ve got to watch who you sleep next to or you get lleas, lice, pissed on, shit on, do you understand . . . 7 It degrades you. And so you start drinking away your giro. You get dragged down, pulled into a trap.’

ills outrage is tempered by a note oi realism. ‘Let’s lace it, llyou’re an alcoholic, until you decide to kick the

booze there’s only so much they can


Terry’s prognostication is even more iatallstic. ‘You will always get some people who are more capable than others,’ he says. ‘Do you think every child is born exactly the same as every other? This situation, lam airaid to say, my dear, is inevitable. It does not really matter what happens to us in the long run, what is important is the morality ot the thing.’

The play is structured around the story oi Jesse, a rather simple girl who is abused by one at the central characters, and the advent at a theatre director who wants to work with the men. Within this lramework, the men react spontaneously to express both tile in their own community and their attitude to the rest oi society.

Terry gets one thing straight trom the start. ‘I am not being torced to say things. Jeremy (Weller, the director)

writes things down as you say them and prompts you; he makes suggestions. I like this ireedom, but it is a grim moment when you draw a blank!’

The idea oi when one is or is not

- acting, the line. it there is one.

between periormance and reality, is something which preoccupies Weller. ‘The play is interesting,’ he says, ‘because the men are both being theatrical and talking about their own expedence)

‘I need a iew drinks beiore I can lace going onto the streets begging —the patter and all,’ one man tells me. Perhaps he would need a iew drinks beiore lacing the play’s audience? ‘No, that’s me then, on stage lam saying what I want to say.’

But does Weller ever question his motives ior instigating this project? ’l just want to explore the myths that surround these people’s lives and aiiect people’s perception at them. Some oi the men are stereotypical, but lots oi them aren’t; lots have heightened experience— like Terry, his ilights oi iancy are beyond the ken oi most people. The lact is they have got nothing; they want nothing but a meal, a drink, a tag; so they have got a very basic and strong sense at value. They have tremendous grace, and can teach us the value at humility. As Terry said to me once, ‘The weak must be mixed with the strong, because it is the strong who have brought the world to the edge at ruin.’ (Catherine Fellows)

Glad (Fringe) The Grassmarket Project, The Grassmarket Mission (Venue 21 ), 20 Aug—1 Sept (not Sun), 7.30pm, £3.50 (£3).

The List 17— 23 August 199015