place amongst the actors waiting lor
( the train, participating in the action like
l witnesses. But don'tlret, no RADA
Conceived originally as a training exercise for the New York City Police Department, ‘The Edge' exploits the taut atmosphere oi a New York subway plattorm. A young woman threatens to commit suicide on the electric track and all that stands between her and that track is the skill at the cop responsible lor ‘the talkdown.‘
The intense emotional involvement oi all concerned in the original training prompted Edinburgh's American Connexion to develop the exercise into a play through improvisation, basing ‘The Edge’ on a true incident in New York.
The stage becomes the subway platform and the audience take their
experience is required! Describing
1 American Connexion as ‘real life
theatre', co-director Donna Orlando wants the audience ‘to be as close as possible to the scenario without actually having to do or say anything.‘
Their second production, ‘Table tor
Two’ is in a similar, it somewhat lighter vein. The scene is a restaurant and the action ‘the overheard sparks of an explosive relationship at breaking point’. True to the concept ol audience involvement, the audience installs itsell in an actual restaurant, the Singapore Sling in the Lawnmarket, and stutls itself with prawns and beancurd as the unhappy pair light it out over lunch. Sure to produce a delicious irisson ot voyeurism!
The ‘Connexion' oi American Connexion has been a powertul bridging oi the Atlantic with plays from Britain and America pertormed by a mixed cast ol American and British actors. The company has been praised tor the strength of their naturalistic acting and emotional conviction and leatures the acting, writing and directing talents ol Americans Donna Orlando and Gregg Ward. (Gillian K. Ferguson)
The Edge (Fringe) American Connexion, Diverse Attractions (Venue 11) 225 8961, 20-25 Aug, 2.10pm, £2.50(£2).
Table lorTwo, Singapore Sling, Lawnmarket, 20—24, 27-31 Aug, 3pm, £2.50 (£2), £9 (£8) (includes lunch).
[23311131— Dead beat
Dragging 115 plaster masks around a , stage might seem a bit too much like hard work, but that's the whole point, according to Angus Reid. Talking of his ' Speakeasy company’s new show, The . Trouble With the Dead, Reid says, ‘It is extremelytough, physically, but it enacts the effort involved in the
process being explored.’
Incorporating an original score by Gregg Corbett, the play dramatises the struggle to confront and re-order memories following loss. ‘Itoriginated ' in my own experience,’ says Reid, ‘But Ihope the patterns ittinds are i universal. Everyone has to cope with griel and come to terms with the past, individually and collectively.’ j
Reid is also presenting How To Kill, a ; 1989 Fringe Firstwinner, which ' examines the lite, work and death of Second World War poet Keith Douglas. As well as the common theme of memory, there are technical similarities between the two plays in the use at physical objects to expand ; the language and action. How To Kill , employs Alrtix models to evoke the
experience 01 battle, while in the new
show a variety 01 objects embody the
process and ettects ot remembering. The new play draws on East European
theatrical tyles, Reid having spent three months in Poland earlier this year. ‘lt’s more European in approach- although I see it as very much rooted in a Scottish context,’ he says. ‘l’m trying
with these techniques to stretch the
; limits of what can be depicted on stage. I want to create a kind at interior
. portrait- a picture of what’s inside the
mind.‘ (Sue Wilson)
’ The Trouble With The Dead (Fringe)
Speakeasy Theatre Company, Richard Demarco Theatre (Venue 22) 557 0707, 20—25 Aug, 7.45pm, £5 (£4).
How To Kill, venue as above, 13—18 Aug, 2.15pm. £4 (£3).
THE TALE OF BEATRIX POTTER
On a stage just big enough to move a few steps from desk to table. using only monologue and the dimming oflights. Rohan McCullough captures her listeners straight away and holds on until all present feel privileged to have such personal insight into the life of Beatrix Potter. McCullough brings the audience. with great care, from Potter‘s childhood discovery of the world of paint and words to her final days and long deserved happiness at her farm in the Lake District. Subtle breaks from Victorian reserve. both joyous and sad, land with great force. Stage lights seem to come straight from within her when she recites her stories. Darkness is the only comfort in her moments of hurt. There is little gloss in the small studio theatre but The Tale of Beatrix Potter shines. (Richard Conte) I The Tale ot Beatrix Potter (Fringe) The Gilded Balloon Theatre and Studio. 233 Cowgate (Venue 38) 226 2151. until 18ept.12.30pm.£4(£3).
PROPHET BITES DOG
The trouble with most black comedy. is that it is dark at the expense ofthe humour. Prophet Bites Dog. however. which is unquestionably jet black, is at the same time. very funny.
It is a one man show, written and performed by 1986 Perrier award winner Ben Keaton and is directed by Robert Llewellyn who brought Onan to the Fringe last year.
Set in Heaven. Keaton delivers a monologue reflecting upon his life as a genuinely good person on a quest for canonisation. explaining how, because of a bizarre and untimely demise. Pedimus, the illegitimate son ofa Roman slave was instead chosen for the honour.
A complex web of intrigue emerges as the story of this character, who becomes the patron saint of footwear, unfolds, and one cannot help but expect a character called ’lurkalot‘ to appear at any minute. Finishing on an ironic note, it is certainly worth seeing. (Paul Maverick)
l Prophet Bites Dog (Fringe) Ben Keaton, The Gilded Balloon (Venue 38) 2262151 , until 1 Sept. 3pm, £4.50 (£3.50)
LORD ARTHUR SAVILE’S CRIME
A prettin staged. competently acted. if slightly ponderous adaptation of Oscar Wilde's short story, Lord Arthur Savile's Crime does everything it‘s expected to do.
Elderly aunts, difficult mother-in-laws, discreet butlers and unexploded bombs combine for a storyline that is comfortably predictable and solidly witty.
’Allo 'A110 and John Cleese fans will both enjoy the German anarchist. though Wilde devotees may be disappointed in their search for more serious decadence.
A good. undemanding show but a bit long. (Harriet Swain)
I Lord Arthur Savile’s
i Crime(Fringc)St r Stephen's Hall. foot of
Howe Street (Venue 74) ll Aug—1 Sept (not Sun). 7.45pm.£3.50(£2.50).
— WHATAWAY TO GO
Having both survived recent spells in intensive care. actor Russell Hunter and writer W. Gordon Smith are well qualified to create a comedy about death. They take the line that since death is the only certain fact in life. you
might as well have fun with it.
With great relish, Hunter examines our many hang-ups about death, touching on near-death experiences, cryogenics, grasping relatives, seances, religion, funerals and more. He demonstrates his custom-built cofﬁn, complete with drinks cabinet, oxygen supply and radio link to the police station (just in case) and ponders such questions as: Why are there no fat undertakers? Why are spirit messages always so banal? What should you wear to your own funeral? What does eternity mean?
Professional that he is, Hunter gives a relaxed. polished and thoroughly enjoyable performance,
_ so that a comedy about
death becomes a vigorous celebration oflife. (Sue Wilson)
I WhatAWay To Go (Fringe) Cacciatore Fabbro, Stockbridge House (Venue 102) 552 6829, until 1 Sept. 7.30pm. £5.
_ ANYWAY. . . !
‘Anyway' is what you say to put a stop to rambling on. When going off on a tangent you can let it slip more than intended. Nigel Higgs ofthe Inside Leg Theatre Company studies this tendency through six one man scenes, ranging from childhood let-downs to the reality of the grave. Ofthe six different
individual experiences, none are as comforting as the Frank Sinatra ballads piped in between scenes. All scenes are dark in tone, and all let slip a truth or two for those who can stay alert enough to catch them. (Richard Conte) lAnyway. . . 1(Fringe) The Festival Club (Venue 36) 220 0539, 11-25 Aug, 6. 10 pm. £3.75 (£3).
The List 17 — 23 August 199017