F E S'Tl V A L _

theatre/new PLAYS


There is something chilling about the way Gary the Thief wallows in beingthe extreme opportunist. ‘You are all monkeys. you are all cattle.‘ he bellows. confronting the audience before him in resplendent nakedness. But whether he smiles and smiles and strangles babies in a calculating bid to earn himself notoriety or whether contemptuoust exploitingothers to further his own glory. the enthralling portrayal of Gary the Thie is frighteningly real.

The show is a bold move by the Wilde Players. Although audiences may struggle with the language. they will be unable to deny the hard-hitting naked physicality. The messianic Gary the Upright. the ' metamorphosis of Gary the Thief. sums it up at the end: ‘I admit the probability that nothing entered in. but refined imperceptible redefinitionsoccurred. which at a later date. may seem significant.‘ Demanding. but extremely potent theatre. (Robert Alstead)

I Garythe Thief/GaryThe Upright (Fringe). Demarco Gallery (Venue 22) 5570707. until 25 Aug (Not 19 Aug). 3.30pm.£4 (£3).


This is an extraordinary tribute to the human spirit. For seven years until the Hungarian uprising in 1956. Edith Bone spent seven years of solitary confinement in communist prisons. The set is simple, the story immense. At the time of

her’arrest Edith was 60 years old and endured the most harrowing conditions, refusing to plead guilty to a charge of espionage. With one thin blanket in the depths of the Hungarian winter and no shoes. water ran down the walls of her cell and froze. She wrote poems in her own blood. For six months she was kept in total darkness. To survive. she made imaginary journeys across Europe. pacing her cell. Sensitively and painstakingly researched, the play is filled with moments of extreme wit and psychological savagery. June Broughton is utterly convincing as the indomitable Edith. With dramatised incidents and narration she holds the attention from start to finish in a wonderfully sustained and moving performance. (Gillian K. Ferguson) I Route: to Freedom (Fringe) Strines Theatre. Canongate Theatre (Venue 5) 556 3147. until 1 Sept (Not Sundays), 4.15pm, £4.50 (£3.50).


1 pleaded guilty to the charge: Aggravated

Cynicism of Fringe

Shows. What scum like me need is the old short. sharp shock treatment. The Dorm provided it. In a breakneck display of physical theatre. five talented young actors burst on to the stage and drag the audience offinto the realms of youth custody. There. the petty struggles to find a place in the pecking order take on a life or death significance.

As the show hurtles towards its inevitable conclusion. the barrack-room monotony is cleverly picked out in short. sharp blocks. For anyone suffering Fringe fatigue. the energy. imagination and timing involved in this show make it a perfect tonic. It‘s the only language we understand.

(Ross Parsons)

IThe Donn (Fringe) Mandela Theatre Company. Marco‘s Leisure Centre (Venue 98) 229 8830. until 25 Aug. 1.45pm. £3.50 (£2.50).


Two women actors. a heap of percussion

instruments. two penny whistles and Sam Shepard‘s monologues combine to create raw. painful theatre of shattering intensity. The violence and danger of love. its welter of agonising contradictions. are distilled into taut. staccato rhythms of voices and bodies. with not a word or movement out of place.

Chopped dialogue. facial and physical contortion. grotesque parodies of lovers‘ words and postures signal the inevitable failure of communication. the conflicting desire to expose and protect the self. ln Tongues fragmented. half-articulated longings. fears. endearments build an astonishing crescendo of rage and desire. This show defies description: go and see it. (Sue Wilson) I Savage/Love and Tongues (Fringe) Old St Paul's Church Hall (Venue 45) 557 9422. until 25 Aug. 2. 15pm. £2.50 (£2).


Sometimes it all works: the play. the players, the space. This was one such sometime the six young actors take David Mowat’s complex drama about suppression and subversion. and give it to the audience with intelligent passion.

The play is about a group of actors during the 1640s. who present a dramatisation of an event that happened to them. earlier in the decade. when theatre was all but banned in England. Mowat is not precise about historical time. demonstrating that censorship is everywhere even alive and kicking in Britain today. The Guise is intense and provoking— do not miss it. (Fly Freeman)

I The Guise (Fringe) Arts Threshold, Richard Demarco Gallery (Venue 22) 557 0707 . until 25 Aug. 9pm. £4 (£3).


This youthful company has devised a witty and penetrating modern parable of the corruptability of money. Their script buzzes with innovative ideas. painting a paranoid. menacing. monochrome picture of contemporary society revolving around image. life-style and finance.

Equally imaginative is the dramatic technique adopted. The cast pursues the standing audience around the fioorarea in an eighteen-part promenade performance. comprising snatches of mime. dance and role-playing. The set pieces resemble photographic compositions and flow together smoothly as the pictorial biography unfolds.

The central character. Alex, a 90s chameleon struggling to evolve faster than an ever-changing world. is portrayed by Nia Dryhurst with rich versatility and striking intensity.

Loose Change is a challenging, disturbing. but ultimately positive refraction of the false colours of advertising and ‘life-style‘ magazines. (Mark Willis)

I Loose Change (Fringe) Roped Jaw Ent. Viewforth Centre. (Venue 44) 229 9000. until 25 Aug. 8.30pm.£3 (£2.50).


A simple but effective

account of the pains and

pleasures of early motherhood. this

one-woman show

poignantly reveals how

chance events can permanently alter a life.

In a performance which is both funny and touching. Ceri Jones plays a woman recounting the ordinary events and accidents of her life. Passive. even fatalistic. about what happens to her. she nevertheless retains an endearineg childlike enthusiasm. delighting in the mundane details of her new-found responsibility.

An unexpected twist in the tail reveals how events and circumstances can conspire so that a single . decisive. yet unwilled act suddenly transforms commonplace contentedness into personal disaster. Small but perfectly formed theatre. (Sue Wilson)

I O Minus (Fringe) Questor‘s Theatre. Old St Paul's Church and Hall (Venue 45) 557 9422. until 25 Aug. 11pm. £2 (£1 .50).


A nightcap ofchampagne. sleeping pills. and a domestic argument is enough to set a newly successful choreographer on a whirlwind dream from childhood to the present. Adam is visited through the night by his dead parents and past acquaintances ranging from first lust to drill sergeant.

The four-person cast of the Rose Theatre Company create a crowd of characters. changing accents almost as often as costumes. Most ofthe dialogue has punch. though at times one suspects that it is past the father‘s bedtime. Although his dream is sufficient to sort out his past and readdress his present. Adam must not be too disappointed to wake up. (Richard Conte) I Ballet Hooligans (Fringe) Chaplaincy Centre Upstairs. Bristol Square (Venue 23) until 25 Aug. 4pm. £5 (£4).


Although the law is now abolished. this remainsa powerful and highly significant piece of South African dissident writing.

St Andrews University Mermaids' interpretation of Athol Fugard's

excellent play is an impressive and assured performance that merits attention. Katherine Palmers-Needham and Robert Maida successfully chart the crushing moral destructiveness of South African law on a mixed relationship. But more than being anti-apartheid rhetoric. the script examines with microscopic detail a crumbling affair, turned sour by deceit and outside pressures.

Although inexperienced. the cast cope manfully with the complex intricacies of this psychological masterpiece. One of the pleasant supn'ses of this year‘s Fringe and definitely unmissable. (Adrian Searle)

I Statement: Alteren Arrest Under the Immorallty Act (Fringe) St Andrews University Mermaids. ,College of Art (Venue 73) until 25 Aug (not Sun). 1.50pm. £3.50 (£2.50).


Moving. poetic and well acted. this play is the true story of a white woman who becomes a political prisoner in South Africa. Structured as a series of recollections while on the train home at the end of her sentence. it studies the way she deals with her confinement. She escapes into a fantasy world through the improvised construction of human figurines out of the waxed paper in which her food is wrapped. Recalling dolls from childhood. it is the vehicle through which much ofJen‘s emotional charge is delivered. The metaphor recurs throughout the narrative as a link-a-day paper chain. an intelligent device to show the passing oftime. Humorous but never lighthearted. this accomplished one-person show utilises a simple set and is good drama. (David Mackenzie)

IJen (Fringe) Wild Rose. Springwell House (Venue 32) 337 l97l . every other day until 31 Aug.2.30pm. £3.50 (£2.50).

The List 24 - 30 August I990 21