GARGANTUA AND PANTAGRUEL
The bare-stage-and- boxful-of-props resourcefulness ofthis Fringe First-winning duo is a fitting medium for Rabelais‘s extravagant grossness and scatological satire — a bottle ofsalad cream squirted on the stage represents bird‘s droppings. for example. The group's brief ‘right-on‘ response to the work’s appalling misogyny— ‘Rabelais: you sexist bastard‘ — seemsa pitifully feeble response to this gaping ﬂaw in such a Leviathan of the comic imagination. Nevertheless. a glorious evening's filth. with Rabelais‘s bombastic irreverence enhanced by the duo‘s throwaway mastery oftiming. I strongly suggest that you get pleasantly steamboats. and roll into the last night ofthis Fringe hit. (Tom Johnstone) I Gargantua and Pantogruel (Fringe) The Lords ofMisrule. Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550, until 24 Aug(not 23). 7pm. £5 (£3).
With action restricted by the puppet theatre format, and vocals muted by the open-air acoustics. this comes across as a fairly amiable, family adaptation of Jarry‘s savage satire; but skilful use of ‘living marionettes‘ allows this Hull University-based group to create the grotesque Punch and Judy world of the ‘Ubu‘ plays. without losing the actor‘s range of facial expressions.
Dan Smith makes of Pa Ubu a likeable and hilariously conscienceless dictator, while Chris Megson‘s Ma Ubu is strikingly well-spoken — not at all the shrieking slut you might expect from Jarry’s text. It is her rigorous morning workouts with Pa that
prompt his notorious opening invocation to faecal matter. A highly inventive and enjoyable adaptation. (Tom Johnstone)
I Ubu! (Fringe) Z and the Green Candles. Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550. 24—27 Aug, 3.15pm & 6.45pm. £2 (£1).
A RESPECTABLE WEDDING
Performers of an excellent East at last year's Fringe.
the lloxton Firm have not
quite managed to match that exuberance and skill for their staging of Brecht's little-known satire of stuffy
middle-class society. Most
of the action takes place
around the dinner-table. ; focusingon conversationalinanities
and the tensions ofsuch awkward relationships— perhaps they did not give themselves the space. However, the company effortlessly locate a Kafkaesque mood as the furniture — the pride and joy of the bridegroom and no doubt symbolic of the social group itself—
. gradually begins to fall
apart. After a nervous start the company held
itselftogether well, and handledthe demands of the text with assurance.
Special mention to Russell Gold as the ambiguous and put-upon bridegroom. It‘s good to see the less well-known pieces get an airing. and especially with this amount of competence. (Andrew Pulver)
l IARespectable Wedding
(Fringe) Hoxton Firm, Greyfriars Kirk House (Venue 28) 225 3626. 13 Aug—1 Sept. 5.45pm, £4 (£3).
Marlowe‘s original Renaissance text is stripped bare of superﬂuities and left asa haunting. atmospheric study of psychological torture. The two-man company reaches boldly into fathomed depths of
s i l l
The Reduced Shakespeare Company started out lile nine years ago as a street act in San Francisco. Now they pride themselves on being the only Shakespeare company around to periorm the Bard’s entire output in an hour and a hall. But there’s nothing irreverent about this lot-they were all members of highly reputable companies before iorming the NSC and they have only ever had one
unfavourable reaction to their show. ‘A woman said she wanted her money back because it wasn't real Shakespeare,’ explains Adam Long. ‘She said there wasn’t even any rhyming in it’. (Miranda France)
The Complete Works 0i William Shakespeare (Abridged) (Fringe) The Reduced Shakespeare Company, Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550, until 1 Sept (not28 Aug). 4pm, £5.50 (£4.50).
constant stream of ingenious props to produce a splendid show suitable for all. Don‘t be put off by the fact that the audience is expected to sit on the ﬂoor and sometimes to take part in the play. If you go you will not be disappointed. (Mungo Bovey)
I Three Men In A Boat (Fringe) Performance Theatre Co. (‘alton (‘entre (Venue 119)661 9121 until 1 Sept (not Sundays) 8pm. £4 (£3 & £2)
THE HYPO- CHDNDRIAC
lfwhat makes a play great is its ability to be interpreted and reinterpreted across the centuries. then it‘s easy to understand why Moliere‘s
Chris Sculthorpe conveys Faustus‘s intellectual conceit with the perfect degree of pathos. whilst Richard Spaul dazzles as Mephistophilis and a multitude of metaphysical spirits. His portrayal of the Seven Deadly Sins proves both hilarious and harrowing as he taunts Faustus. peppering him with the books which wash across the stage; the sea of knowledge in which the scholar has drowned.
The Cambridge Experimental Theatre continues to challenge with innovative . provocative and above all entertainingtheatre. (Mark Willis)
I Dr Fauslus (Fringe) Cambridge Experimental Theatre. Marco‘s Leisure Centre (Venue 98) 229 8830, until 1 Sept,
3. 15pm, £5 (£4).
NINE TIMES NINE.
What is great tragedy? If you're looking for an answer. don‘t look here. But ifyou‘re familiar with Macbeth you might appreciate some ofthe exciting. and unexpected. interpretationsofthis rendition of the original text. There is little ofthe tragic nobility in a skinhead with thick eye-liner and less pathos in Lady Macbeth‘s stripey stockings and bright red hair. but there‘s plenty of fear. dread and suspicion in Macbeth's kingdom. Because the play
self-mocks the tragic genre (Macbeth reads the
dagger speech from an audition card. for example). as well as looking for tragic intensity at the end. the play doesn‘t gel. Perhaps a little too ambitious for a young company to pull off. but it holds promise. (Robert Alstead)
I Nine Times Nine Playhouse (Venue 59) 557 3807. 23.25 Aug. 8pm. £3.5(l(£2.5(l).
Master raconteur and genius of digression, Tristram Shandy arrives in Edinburgh. Steven Oxley‘s performance is spell-binding and he enjoys a charming familiarity with the audience as he divulges. with a gentlemanly bawdincss, the continuing misadventures ofthe Shandy family.
Although Oxley and director Brian Croucher have artfully constructed each part to stand independently. it is certainly better to see them together. Part Two deserves equal attention, so if you‘re feeling somewhat slothful it may be better to save this for another night.
While Part One is
knockabout farce and verbal crossplay have so tenaciously stood the test oftime. Like ‘The Miser',
entirely ebullient, Part Two, is troubled by its blend of exuberance and solemnity. Tristram. (as the plot of ‘The
was Sterne) is plagued by l llypochrondriac‘ revolves illness and approaching 3 around the pathetically deathly/10mm“ 0f ; obsessive parent intent on seriousness make it a little dismmng thc '(WC'Sthk fragmentary— awrinkle Child‘s amorous
which Oxley is sure toiron l intentions- Familiar
out with his subject matter. but, in the
perceptiveness to bands of a master. given audience reaction. endless dramatic (Charlie LLewellyn) POSSibilitics.
I Tristram Shandy Part The National Student One/Part Two Hill Street Theatre Company prove
this by condensing the play and stripping it down to its barest essentials—six actors and a floorspace. Uniformly dressed in black. with the exception of Alex Lowe as Argan in operating-gown-white. the company rely heavily on elastic facial expressions to portray character and on corporeal contortion to provide the missing stage props: an extended arm becomes a swinging door; at the bend ofa knee. Argan is proffered a chair.
Verbal and physical acrobatics converge in a fast. febrile performance ofa play brimming with comic potential -
Theatre, (Venue 41 ). 225 7294, until 1 Sept.9. 15pm & 10.45pm. £4.5()(£3.5()) (£7/£5 both shows)
THREE MEN IN A BDAT
This is a charming evocation ofJerome K. Jerome's book which re-creates not just the comic chapters and madcap japes. but also some of the more picturesque episodes of the famous journey. Actors Rob Ballard. Adrian Davies-Jordan and Patrick Bramwells work tirelessly with a
I ’ o . ' 'i' ’1. f .111: I',’ t ‘1
The List 24 3” August 199037