The first ten minutes take place in darkness: somebody shuffles about the stage then suddenly gets shot. Apparently this is a dream. because when the lights go up the same man gets out ofbed and fumblineg dresses. makes tea. switches on the radio. The radio plays a seriesof tunes which recall past incidents. variously involving his brutish parents. a loutish school friend and a gormless girlfriend; these are rc-enacted as he remembers them.
These tunes are the only sound in the play. apart from the occasional gunshot. continual adenoidal snuffling and a muted. menacing electronic pulse whenever the radio is switched off. Mimed in a style reminiscent of those infuriatingly clumsy circus clowns. it concerns an unappealing adolescent who listens to the radio. remembers things and occasionally has paranoid nightmares.
As a study of unattractive adolescent ineptitude it's all very well: the trouble is it leaves you feeling the same way as unattractive. inept adolescents do: irritated and eager toget away. (Sue Wilson)
I Radio Man(l<‘ringe) National Student Theatre Company. (‘luny Church Hall (Venue 54) 4470015. until 18 Aug 2.35pm and 7.45pm. £3 (£2).
THE COMICAL TRAGICAL HISTORY OF EDMUND KEAN
()ne-man shows always run the risk of being self-indulgent. When the performer. Peter Mould. has also written it and chosen as his subject a personal interest the risk is a little high. When that subject concerns an actor talking about an actor. using the voices ofother actors it becomes foolhardy.
The story of lidmund Kean. leading
Shakespearian tragedian of the early 19th century. told through the imagined words ofeontcmporarics‘. demands an acting range and presence which his 20th century admirerjust doesn‘t possess.
To quote from the play. it is. ‘such stuff as dreams are made of' — the odd good anecdote but not that interesting for everyone else. (Harriet Swain)
I The Comical Tragical History of Edmund Kean (Fringe) St Columba‘s by the Castle (Venue 4) 220 0541 . until 25 Aug(not Sun). 12.20pm.£3.75 (£3).
Halli well '3 Hell recounts the last stages ofthc destructive relationship between Joe Orton and Kenneth Ilalliwcll. Written by 21 year—old Roddy McDevitt for fellow students. the play has humour. tragedy. subtlety and depth. with an inspired Ortonesquc final twist. McDevitt is certainly someone to look out for in the future.
The fine acting ofJohn Fairfoul as the attractive but selfish Orton and the neat character portrayals of Adrienne O'Brien complement Thomas Phillips' splendid performance as the tense. self-obsessed and enamoured Ilalliwell.
For Orton-lovers. see the story from a different angle. For lovers ofgood plays. see this. (Melissa Nathan)
I Halliwell's Hell (Fringe) lidinburgh University Theatre. Bedlam Theatre
(Venue 49) 225 9893. until
25 Aug(not Sun). 4. 15pm. £3.50 (£2.50).
An over-fussy script mars an otherwise competent production of Afterpiece at the Festival Club. a new Restoration-styled play serving as an allegory on the power ofmyth to tantalisc and delude.
The myth is one David
When I last spoke to writer and cabbie David Hines he was still bubbling with excitement in anticipation of his one-woman play being staged in Edinburgh. Only a year later after a
successful Fringe run and lurther performances in London’s Etcetera Theatre, Bondage, a serious play about prostitution, has been signed up by Ken Russell as the basis for his next lilm project.
Apparently Russell saw the play last
November and only six weeks ago contracts were signed with his Calllomian-based production company, giving the go ahead for a three-mllllon-dollar movie. The play is back in Edinburgh —see it now before it goes through umpteen re-writes tor the big screen. (Mark Fisher)
Bondage (Fringe) The Parlr Bench Theatre Company, Chaplaincy Centre Upstairs (Venue 23) until 1 Sept, noon,
Garrick whose stage career has been immortalised by his hotch-potch disciples gathered above the Drury Lane theatre. Here they live out their make-believe lives. the focus ofwhich isthe gin-pickled Paul who sees himselfas the natural successor to Garrick. Ironically the analogy is not so far mistaken. and when Paul declares himselfto be a ‘pretender‘ it is clearly a commentary on them all. including the real Garrick who is revealed as just another victim of his own myth. Afterpiece requires concentration. but lovers of Restoration will be repaid by two fine central performances and some worthy social comment not often found in this genre. (Aaron Hicklin) I Alterpiece (Fringe). Oxford College Players. Festival Club (Venue 36) 2200539. until Aug 25. 5. 15pm; Aug 26—1 Sept. 8.30pm. £3.50 (£3).
INTERVIEW ‘lnterview‘ feels as if it has been knocked together in a week. The cast aren‘t helped by a low-budget. all-white set. for the most part garishly lit. Nor can they have been greatly inspired by J. Van ltallie‘s lack-lustre script. which places stereotyped characters in mildly amusing. rarely convincing situations. The performers fail to rescue the piece by a tolerable degree of pace or concentration. though
the audience is occasionally distracted by lighting changes. half-hearted acrobatics and inexplicable bursts of ‘confrontational theatre‘. The result is visually uninteresting and numbingly mediocre. (Tom Johnstone)
I Interview (Fringe) Lovely Plays Promotion Concern. Hill Street Theatre. 19 Hill Street (Venue 41) 225 7294. 12—18 Aug. 2. 15pm. £2 (£1.50).
A study of religion and superstition.
J abberwock‘s ﬁve medical students from St Bartholomew‘s. London. demonstrate the interesting new cures for infectious diseases on offer in today‘s NHS hospitals.
Set in a medieval community. the poor old cuddly J abberwock is hacked to death, the victim of nasty-wasty blind prejudice and irrational fear. The play catalogues the endless wrongs perpetrated in ignorance, as illness. tragedy and disaster affect day to day existence in the bad 01‘ days.
Morning After Productions’ offering is corny. stilted and one-dimensional. but has redeeming moments. This includes inventive use of Greek half-masks to swell the cast, and a great cameo for the Spanish Inquisition. At least it‘s not another awful medics revue. (Adrian Searle)
IJabborwoclr (Fringe) The Festival Club (Venue 36) 220 0539. until 18 Aug, 12.30pm; 20—25 Aug, 10.30pm. £3.50(£3).
_ KING LEARED
Josh Lacey’s King Leared for The Cambridge Mummers is a strange play but then Shakespeare‘s was pretty odd too.
Taking the Bard's story as their base three highly skilled actors examine themes of power. fraternal jealousy and madness as they have never quite been seen before.
The Mummers have developed a high reputation for innovative drama. continued here with a show that is imaginatively directed and often very funny.
A must for Lear lovers and highly rewarding for every brave theatre-goer. (Harriet Swain)
I King Leared (Fringe) Overseas House. 100 Princes Street (Venue 19; 22551()126.96.36.199.18, 20. 23. 25. 27. 30Aug.1 Sept. 1.30pm.£2.50 (£1.50).
In a short. powerful. often very funny monologue, Deborah O’Neil examines the pressures and constraints on women which lead to loss of identity or madness. Becoming by turns mother. daughter. narrator and earth/sea
goddess-ﬁgure. she first evokes the gutsy strength and humour of women workers in a fish factory. with its earthy sounds and smells. gradually weaving in strange. magical images from myth and fairytale. Exploring the division between sanity and insanity. O‘Neil suggests that madness in women is actually a rational response to alienation from their physical selves and the crushing of individual identity by convention. Although occasionally (perhaps intentionally) the meaning of words or actions is obscure. this is challenging and entertaining drama. (Sue
I Femalady (Fringe) Dog-Ruff Theatre Company. Riﬂe Lodge (Venue 101) 557 1785. until 18 Aug. 7.05pm. £3 (£1.50).
A powerful. hilarious and very black tragi-comedy with strong performances from its cast and co-writersJenny Eclair. Julie BaIIoo and Maria Callous. Thirty Somehow is a definatc must.
It revolves around the lives ofthree women. who. as teenagers. won a school competition to go to Norway. Lost for three weeks when their plane crashed. they emerged as sole survivors. when an avalancc revealed their whereabouts and they returned home to rocket to fame as ‘The Bono Babies‘. with a hit single entitled ‘Avalanche‘.
Now all in theirthirties and following successful careers. they are once more destined for fame together. though not quite asthcy imagine . . .
Combining in perfect proportions the dark and the humorous. the play leaps between tragedy and hilarity with extreme grace and includesa couple of twists. that for once. 1 did not see coming.
Very tight. it deservedly enjoys a great reception from the audience. Don‘t miss it! (Paul Maverick)
I Thirty Somehow (Fringe) Video Women. The Gilded Balloon (Venue 38).2262151.unitl ISept. £4.50(£3.5()).
The List 17— 23 August 199021