WHY IS JOHN LENNON WEARING A SKIRT?
This is less a play. more an extended comic monologue divided into two halves. In the first part Claire Dowie acts out a life from early adolescence to womanhood. examining the frustrations ofgrowing up in a world without female heroes. in which a woman’s duty is to shut up and to keep her place. After the interval the piece is transformed into a humorous polemic for an unorthodox feminism. one suited to an adult tom boy. Working her way through a complete wardrobe in the process. Dowie performs the show with wit and sympathy.
I came to this performance blind. knowing nothing of what to expect. From an initial sense of mild irritation. l was won over by the actress. her talent and her humanity. (Matthew Barrell)
I Why Is John Lennon Wearing A Skirt? (Fringe) Traverse Theatre (Venue 15) 226 2633.14 Aug—l Sept. 10.15pm.£5.50 (£3.50).
An astonishingly detailed and comic portrait of the effects of the market economy on seemingly insular suburban lives. The fine ensemble cast scrutinise. with microscopic precision. the slow burning tragedy of contemporary British society with all the
18 The List 24 ~- 30 August 1990
intensity of King Lear.
Devised from improvisational work and developed into scenes which weave the wide range of characters — from schoolgirl to a retired father— into a seamless narrative that has the fluidity of an episode of Brookside. This piece. however. has considerably more to offer than a soap opera on stage. its style is firmly rooted in theatrical values. with more than a nod to Mike Leigh's creative process.
Awash with delicate and casually poetic observations on ordinary life. the play argues that when it comes to dealing with emotions the British stiffuppcr lip is still quivering. This is also an absorbing. poignant and vivid production that draws much humour and subtlety from a modern
I saw a dress rehearsal. but I feel that the cast are battling with an unhelpful script. They are required to swing from high drama to glibness with a speed which undermines the former. and makes the latter seem not funny so much as wholly unconvincing. All this expressed in language that is painfully trite at times.
The play does not do justice to the worthy cause it embraces. (Catherine Fellows)
I Fan’s False ‘False Face' Society (Fringe) Alabaster Penguin Mystery Theatre. Bonnington Resource Centre (Venue 48) 555 0961 . until 28 Aug. 5pm. £3.50(£l .50).
AFTER THE REVELATION
Ursa Minor combine choreographed routines with dialogues of free association to present a ‘Petit Prince‘-style disquisition on the deadening effect of‘the little box mentality". The opening dance sequences are quite compelling. but are overruled in terms of expressiveness by the ‘profound' utterances which follow. As you watch the enlightened
society in which principles
cost. and individualism stands astride over community spirit. Outstanding. (Michael Balfour)
I Market Forces (Fringe) Wits End Community Theatre. Diverse Attractions. Riddles (‘ourt (Venue II). 225 8961 . until 25 Aug. 5.20pm. £3 (£2)
FAN’S FALSE ‘FALSE FACE’ SOCIETY
This play isa thriller which attempts to explode some ofthe misconceptions that hamper disabled people. and to give an authentic voice to their experience. The company is active in its support ofthe organisation Performers
‘escapologist‘ watering hi fruit-bearing rubber plant. it is hard notto think how clever Beckett is.
The message of this pla in no way justifies its form. In fact. the surreal touches merely seem superimposed on a hackneyed reading of contemporary life. (Catherine Fellows) IAtterthe Revelation (Fringe) Ursa Minor. Richard Demarco Gallei (Venue 22) 557 0707. um 25 Aug. 2.15pm.£3.50 (£2.50).
._ ‘ A disturbed boy. an angt and a potent toffee are tl catalysts for this ‘Who‘s Afraid of Virginia Woolf‘."-style exhumatit drama: a married couple
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are caught in a perpetual bitter farce by the dark secret at the bottom of their relationship.
As it plunges from the ridiculous surface of life to its profound. interior dramas. the play continually oscillates between high fantasy and cynical realism. The conscious explosion of generic boundaries produces some wonderful comic effects: as conventional means of expression are subverted in surprising ways. one becomes aware of the arbitrariness ofa conventional perception of normality.
Excellently witty dialogue. convincing characterisations and consistently impressive performances combine to make this a compelling piece of theatre. However. engagement with the play's mercurial action makes it very difficult to achieve any perspective. or to see it cohering to produce some kind ofoverall significance. One expectation that probably needs to be satisfied. (Catherine Fellows)
I Lickerish (Fringe) National Student Theatre Company. The Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428. until 25 Aug. 2pm. £5 (£4).
The Glasgow of 1990 seems an appropriate setting for the Second Coming of Christ. as occurs in Robert Lindsay Wilson‘s challenging new play.
A situation that could easily become hackneyed and mawkish is thoughtfully explored and acted with conviction. within a naturalistic framework which. at its best. reminds me of Albee's Zoo Story.
The central figure is Christ's doorman: this ambiguous and enigmatic figure begins by mocking a painter's egotism. and
‘then endures the relentless bitterness ofa drunken shop-steward and a young woman's claim that she is carrying His child.
Sometimes genuinely moving. even for this atheist reviewer. this is compelling. ifsometimes static. theatre. (Tom Johnstone)
I The Return (Fringe) Glasgow Arts Centre. Harry Younger Hall. Lochend Close. (‘anongate (Venue 13) 20—25 Aug. noon. £2.50
This is a play that not only moves you but opens your eyes. Acted with passion and utter conviction. it uses factual material to create the atmosphere of Armley prison in Leeds. Gary. an old timer. describes the cell. 8ft by 12ft. which he shares with two teenagers on remand. ‘It can get a bit nastyin here.‘ he says. ‘but it‘s still home. This is where we eat. sleep. piss. wank and occasionally bugger.‘ The play is rife with frustration and anger. Alan wakes to find his best mate has hung himself from the iron bed frame. Gavin rages against the cramped. noisy conditions. Their new cell mate stands facingthe audience. fists clenched. shouting "I'hey‘ll never break me. Never.‘ (Rod lsaacs) I Armley (Fringe) Kaos Culture. Hill Street Theatre (Venue 41 ) 225 7294. until 25 Aug. 11.00am. £3.50 (£2.50)
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TABLE FOR TWO
Performing a play in a restaurant is a novel concept. Providing the audience with a three course meal to enjoy as the drama unfolds. is a much appreciated bonus. ‘Steven‘ and ‘Jennifer‘ join us in the dining room. and proceed to drag each other through emotional torture. as their relationship implodes in a highly convincing fashion. Hence. the audience do not watch the performance so much as overhear it. The result creates a nice sense of guilty voyeurism; one's impulse to look away politely is over-ridden by
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the gossipy compulsion to eveasdrop on a personal conversation.
An original idea.and with a little less spice in the noodles. it would be perfect. (Mark Willis) I Table ForTwo (Fringe) Singapore Sling Restaurant (Venue S9) 226 8961 . until 31 Aug. 3pm. £9(£8) includes lunch.
MARGARET Ill, PARTS TWO AND THREE
Margaret 1]] is several sandwiches short ofa picnic. In fact she hears a striking resemblance to our own revered Prime Minister. Having gained the throne by dubious means. namely knifing KingJamcs. she sets about reducing the unemployment figuresby waging war on a non-existent island in the middle of the Atlantic. Finding it absent. she returns to invade Southport.
This two-woman show is a hilarious and refreshing romp through Shakespeare's little-known epic. It‘s wild. wacky and wonderful. And it had the audience in stitches. (Rod lssacs) I Margaret 111, Parts Two and Three (Fringe) Lip Service. Marco's Leisure (‘cntrc (Venue 98) 229
8830. until 1 Sept.
7.45pm. £5 (£4).