SEE HOW THEY RUN
A slick production containing all the traditional elements of farce to provoke shrieks of laughter or cringes of embarrassment. depending on your attitude towards comedy of mistaken identity and trouserless vicars.
The company breezes through the script with sharpness and ﬂuidity. maintaining a pace and control which harnesses their clear enthusiasm. The cast‘s cohesion expertly smooths over the more creaky mechanisms ofthe plot. Charlyn Wessel is particularly arresting as the vampish vicar’s wife. bringing a seductive charm to the role which rescues it from the farcical stereotype.
Reservations can only be laid at the door ofthe genre itself. which stands out garisth at the Fringe as theatre at its most regressive. However. the audience tonight shrieked more than they groaned. so ifnaughty maids and drunken vicars are your bag. The Makars await to delight you. (Mark Willis) I See How They Run (Fringe). The Makars. Murryfield Church Hall (Venue 104) until 25 Aug. 7.45pm. £3.50 (£2.50).
Writers Dickenson and Sidhu have distilled the Oedipus myth through a 20th century filter. drawing from their respective ethnic backgrounds to create a rich tapestry of multi-cultural language. Retaining the classical choral form. the play pursues the power of language to create myth. unite societies and alienate the individual whose voice doesn‘t fit. Visually. Oedipus is bright and inventive. The chorus’s make-up and dress brings the production a vivid sense of physical theatre. The company works tightly together. moving from chorus to personified roles with smooth versitility. welcoming then ultimately rejecting Andy Lamberty's doomed king as he swaggers and staggers towards destruction. Experimental theatre at its best, Oedipus is a bold. intelligent, visually exciting success. (Mark
I Oedipus (Fringe).The Chaplaincy Centre (venue 23) until 25 Aug. 2pm. £3.50 (£2.50).
It is a well-known fact that quality on the fringe is highly variable. It can happen that a play you make a point of seeing turns out to be about as meritorious as Jeremy Beadle performing Hamlet.
Occasionally the i opposite happens and you chance upon a production which surpasses expectations in every . respect. This was the case with the Oxford Theatre Group's highly intelligent rendering of Peter Shaffer's Equus. replacing the originally planned Late Night Thriller.
Shaffer's classic exposition on religious fundamentalism in a materialist age was endowed with a powerful interpretation from a superb cast and innovative
staging. offeringthe audience a production that is shattering in its emotional intensity. Tension in the auditorium grows as the strange interplay between the psychiatrist Martin Dysart and his patient Alan Strang develops into a compulsive quest to understand their sufferings.
In the final analysis the play compels one to question not only the way in which religion operates. but also to examine more closely our very concept of worship. In Thatcher‘s Britain this question is more pressing than ever. (Aaron Hicklin)
I Equus (Fringe) Oxford Theatre Group. Overseas Ilouse (Venue 19) 16.20. 22. 23. 29 Aug and 1 Sept. 11.30pm; 17—19 Aug. 24—27 Aug. 1am. £4.50. (£3).
IIIIIIIIIIIIl PEER GYNT
After a somewhat slow start. I found I was much taken by the appearance of the trolls. Woolly and hairy and raggedy with great face masks they swarmed and gambolled on the stage. quite superior to anything on ‘Dr.Who'. (Gillian K. Ferguson)
I Peer Gynt (Fringe) Cygnet Training Theatre. The Netherbow (Venue30) 556 9579, 17. 21.23. 25. 27. 29.31Aug. 6.30pm. £4(£3).
With oodles oi awards already under their communal belt, the National Student Theatre Company look set to make their marlr this year with what they describe as a ‘very mlnimallstic’ production of Moliere's The Hypochondriac. The set Is a black box, the costumes black and white Ieotards and the cast- all recently graduated as irom Leicester Polytechnic- double up as actors and pieces at iumiture.
Tim Fountain describes the show as ‘very last, very pacey, very iunny and
7pm, £5 (£4).
Intenser physical'. He also agrees that minimalism and iarce are unusual bedmates. ‘Once you get rid ol flats and doors and scoundrels running around, it does change quite a lot. But it’s still quite farcical, lsuppose.’ (Miranda
The Hypochondrlac (Fringe) National Student Theatre Company, Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428, until 18 Aug, 2pm, Aug 23, Aug 25-1 Sept,
THE TRUE STORY OF TOM JONES
Don‘t be fooled by the opening burst of ‘It‘s Not Unusual‘ —- this is Fielding‘s rake. not the Wrexham crooner.
But Roustabout‘s zestful one-man adaptation of the classic novel is enriched by unnerving. and very funny. infusions of contemporary reality - witness Tom‘s indignation at being confused with the tight-trousered one. Their unsettling interpretation dramatises Jones as a self-deceiving manipulator of his own ‘True Story‘.
Jones‘s story is enacted by Tim Richardson. who zips from scene to scene. role to role. mood to mood. with dazzling
energy and break-neck pace; and whose engaging charisma excuses some uncomfortable vocal shortcomings. Well worth a visit. (Tom Johnstone)
I The True Story oiTom Jones- Lusty Led to Gracious Gentleman (Fringe) Roustabout Theatre. Overseas House (Venue 19) 225 5105. until ISept, 11am. £3.50 (£2.50).
KLYTEM- NESTRA’S BAIRNS
To quote the Common Force, Klyremnesrras Baims is a Greek tragedy adapted for the Scots tongue; presenting such themes familiar to all as adultery, vengeance. religion. superstition and the consequences of one’s own actions.
The consequence ofthis particular production. however. is inaccessability to a very deep subject. in both the writing and the oratorically-orientated direction.
Common Force is one of many Theatre Companies in Scotland trying to cut the umbilical chord which binds them to the embryonic stages of Fringe theatre. but this play does not quite come close enough to
establishing their name on the list of future promise. Ifyou‘ve a taste for Greek style. see this and decide for yourself. (Robert Cavanah)
I Klytemneslra's Baims (Fringe) Theatre West End (Venue 126) 13—18 Aug. 8pm. £3 (£2).
’9 THE NOSE
Chris Hurford‘s clever adaptation of Gogol‘s short story sets it in the world of Yuppiedom and Westminster politics. Stephen Heave. dripping with answer phones. is the big-nosed tycoon who fixes deals faster than his subordinate. Simon Humble. can eat a bowl of cornflakes. It all goes disastrously wrong. however, when Heave seems to lose his nose. his dream girl and his business flair and Humble stops living up to his Smart acting and
imaginative direction make for a crazy but
hugely enjoyable forty minutes. (Harriet Swain) I The N080 (Fringe) Theatre West End, St John‘s Church (Venue 126) until 25 Aug (not Sun 19). 4.20pm. £3 (£2.50)
Everybody loves Lulu: she captivates every man - and woman — she meets with her infuriating. moronic childishness and uninhibited sexuality. Plucked from the circus by the Svengali-like Dr Schon. by the time she is 23. dead husbands and countless broken hearts lie in her wake; yet she herselfis the greatest victim ofthe femme fatale role society forces her to play.
Cambridge Mummers’ adaptation of Wedekind's Weimar tragi-comedies is gripping and inventive: a strong cast manages to give intelligently rounded characterisations despite the doubling of roles. especially Simon Adams. who seems to be bidding for the title of man ofa hundred voices. Aimee Shalan in the title role is sufficiently sickeningly coy. but doesn‘t quite captufe the enigmatic mystery of Lulu as Louise Brooks did in the seminal film version. Thought-provoking and disturbing. a worthy production. (Andrea Baxter)
I Lulu (Fringe) Overseas House (Venue 19) 225 5105. until 31 Aug. 1.30pm. £4 (£3).
The ‘tales that profess breeding. saintlincss. and honour' are undoubtedly at another venue. Jonathan Salway directs the bawdy Chaucer. sort of the first medical revue. ifyou like. Ageless is apt for this new Kent troupe. taking seriously the notion that the set of tales is told by people on a journey. who fight and love. Colin Hill's perfect Miller is complemented by a disgusting Reeve and a too-young Wife. These stories are cleverly propped. but they top Chaucer (if possible) in flatulence. The faithful should buy their pardons before the show. They'll need one by the end ofthe Fringe. (Wes Shrum) I Canterbury Tales (Fringe) Ageless Theatre. Roxy (Venue 27) 556 6869. 13—26 Aug-1.25pm. £4 (£3.50).
The List 17- 23 August 1990 43