potential that the NSTC have located and quantiﬁed brilliantly. (Fiona Shepherd)
I The Hypoehondriac (Fringe) National Student Theatre Company, The Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550. 23, 25 Aug-l Sept, 7pm, £5(£4). Also at Cluny Church Hall (Venue 54) 447 0015, 25. 27 Aug—1 Sept. 2.25pm. £3.50 (£2.50).
GHOSTS AND OLD GOLD
Don‘t be put off by the title or location, but escape the heady throngs of central Edinburgh and relax with this undemanding yet highly enjoyable comedy. Leitheatre employs somehow familiar characters to present a feast of Scottish humour. The local company is refreshingly unpretentious and comfortable with this comic farce — using old and tested devices but using them extremely well.
The play charts the fluctuating affairs and fortunes of the MacLeod family, and includes the irresistible, traditional tales of 18th century Scot‘: struggles and intrigues. The highlight has to be John McColl‘s hilarious performance as Ned Ballantyne. the play‘s devious but endearing rogue. (Charlie Llewellyn)
I Ghost: and Old Gold (Fringe). Leitheatre. St Serf’s Hall, (Venue 83). 13 Aug—l Sept. 7.30. £3.50.
_ SPEED THE PLOW
A production would have to be truly dire for this play to fail to be entertaining. given the quality of David Mamet's script. The story of two Hollywood producers whose race to secure a blockbuster ﬁlm deal is thrown off course by a naively idealistic secretary (or is she?), it scathingly
‘. ../ JILL... .
exposes the philistinism and self-serving hypocrisy of the movie industry. Taking the archetypal story of a man whose encounter with ‘higher' values makes him question his single-minded materialism, Mamet adds layers of uncertainty and deceit. depicting a world of ulterior motives where nothing is reliable. Morley Theatre Group’s version is competent enough. although the tone is unvarying. the timing occasionally shaky. and the ironic complexities underplayed. On the whole, however, a workmanlike ifunexciting production. (Sue Wilson) I Speed-The-Plow (Fringe) Morley Theatre Group. Celtic Lodge (Venue 6) 225 7097. until 25 Aug (alternate days). 10.30am. £4 (£3).
THE RECRUITING OFFICER
lf Restoration Comedy is good for anything. it‘s good for overacting. lt'sa ham‘s paradise. full of comic stereotypes. nudge-wink asides and exaggerated flourishes. By neglecting to fully realise the inherent theatrical potential ofthe genre. the Edinburgh Graduate Theatre Group turn in astraight Recruiting Officer when they could have given a gloriously loopy performance.
Their problem seems to be a crisis ofconfidence. Many of the cast appear wary oftheir pantomime roles. unable to ﬂesh out their larger-than-life characters— Brian Neill‘s delightfully O'IT Captain Brazen being an amusing exception. Clumsy delivery means that Farquhar‘s subtler witticisms are occasionally veiled by the struggling accents ofa thick rustic brogue. while Chris Thornton‘s stilted intonation dips and peaks irritably, confounding the swaggerofthe rake-hero
3 ‘ \
That said. there are enough fine performances to balance out the disappointments. and the sheer flamboyance ofthe play carries it through in the end. (Fiona Shepherd) I The Recruiting Ollicer (Fringe) Edinburgh Graduate Theatre Group. Adam House Theatre (Venue 34) 225 3744. until 25 Aug (not Sun). 7.30pm. £4 (£2).
LOVE OF DON PERLIMPLIN/ SNOW WHITE
Guignol et Cie are a London-based co-operative comprising actors cum puppetcers cum musicians cum general all-rounders. Jacks of all trades. but unfortunately masters of
Their shows are an entertaining 35-minute puppet version of Lorca's Love of Don Perlimplin. and Sophia Kingshill‘s bewilderineg indulgent Snow White and the Seven Deadly Sins — three of which are surely the poor direction. lack of character objectives and weak script.
The ideas behind the play are commendable enough. but the production is predictably one-dimensional. apart from two or three stronger performances. See it for the musical accompaniment and puppet show. (Robert Cavanah)
I Love of Don Perlimplin/
g SnowWhite and lheSeven Deadly Sins Guignol et Cie (Fringe) Buster Browns
g (Venue 60) 226 4224. until
1 Sept (not Fri).8.15pm. £4(£3).
An inventive blend ofthe modern and the classical. this is an exuberant reworking of Aristophanes‘ play about women in ancient Greece uniting in a sex strike to end the interminable wars which have plagued their country and taken away their menfolk.
Outsize foam-rubber breasts and phalluses recall the Greeks' use of larger-than-Iife body masks; gender-bending. slapstick and farce combine with messages from oracles and invocations to classical gods. Bawdy jokes and double entendres abound in a hilariously earthy
script. and the play isa light-hearted reminder of the usually invisible power women hold over men. Although occasionally scrappy in execution. this is fast-moving. vigorous entertainment. A thoroughly enjoyable way to spend a lunchtime. (Sue Wilson)
I Lysistrata (Fringe) Out To Play Theatre Company. Greyfriars Kirk House (Venue 28) 225 3626. until 1 Sept. 12.30pm (26 Aug. 2.30pm) £3.50 (£3).
Voltairc‘s classic picaresquc yarn is transformed into a vivid six-handed narrative which milks the text for every laugh available. The bright cast render the convoluted tale warmly accessible. firing out the dialogue with machine gun speed and precision. making good use of slapstick. farce and comic role-playing. and only occasionally missing their target.
Refreshingly. traditional costume is employed; the temptation to set the story in Chicago in the 20s or some such gimmick is thankfully resisted.
Candide is a brisk. entertaining and remarkably faithful delight. (Mark Willis)
I Candide (Fringe) Beset Theatre Co. Paradox at the Wee Red Bar (Venue 73) 229 1003. until 25 Aug,12.45pm,£3.5() (£2.50).
CARNAL, BLOODY AND UNNATURAL ACTS
Court fops like Osric, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are cut from this tribal version of ‘Hamlet‘, which dispenses with any hint ofa
buffoon-like Polonius. In this production. he‘s a sinister, almost psychopathic figure.
Claudius is a strutting Leader ofthe Pack. with no apologies for his corrupt regime: he fairly rubs Hamlet‘s nose in it by snogging ostentatiously with an all too willing Gertrude. However. the consequences ofllamlet‘s spiritual cat-and-mouse tactics are all the more moving for that. After Polonius‘s death. Gertrude reports Hamlet‘s griefat his deed. with a bitter cmphasrs that shamcs the now timorous King.
Ophelia‘s fatal alienation is frighteningly dramatised by a nightmarish scene in which she is persecuted by demonic clowns. Arresting ideas such as this cut through the crap that still clings to so much Shakespearian staging. A darkly thought-provoking production. (Tom Johnstone)
I Camel, Bloody and Unnatural Acts (Fringe) The Custard Factory Theatre Co, Edinburgh Playhouse & Studio (Venue 59) 557 3807. 24 Aug. 8pm. £3.50(£2.5()).
DIARY OF A MADMAN
The figure who entersthe gallery full of Lewis
f Carrollillustrations could be mistaken for the Mad
Hatter. But his mud-encrusted boots undercut the obsessive snobbery of Paul Morel‘s Poprishchin in this one-man adaptation of Gogol's classic tale. Paul Morel. who plays the stammering Carroll with such understated pathos in The Splinter Group‘s other Fringe offering, here shows himself to be a master of manic caricature. The pale. blue eyes which enhance his Carroll's lonely diffidence, here become darting barometers of encroaching madness.
Paradoxically. when utter delusion overtakes Poprishchin and he declares himself King of Spain. Morel‘s hysterical virtuosity is calmed to monarchal self-assurance. Slowly. unblinkingly. he crowns himselfwith his Mad llatter‘s hat. a dramatic image at once chilling. comic and poetic. Highly recommended. (Tom Johnstone)
I Diary of a Madman (Fringe) The Splinter Group, 6 Hillside Street (Venue 88) 556 5440.23. 25. 28. 30 Aug. 1 Sept. 3.15pm.£3.5()(£2.50).
BLUE REMEMBERED HILLS
With adults playing children and a reference to death in the first line. this is clearly no ordinary play about childhood. Instead Dennis Potter’s black comedy incisivcly
debunks rosy notions of . childish innocence; these children are earthy.
bloodthirsty creatures who have fallen from any grace they may have
In a death-pervaded wartime world. they look for ways to pass a day of the school holidays. They ﬁnd a squirrel and kill it. play mothers and fathers— no happy families but an ugly argument re-cnactcd: when bored they cruelly tease a boy who stammers. or another whose father is missing in
The use of adult actors. who all give effective and convincing performances. obscures the divisions between childhood and adulthood. emphasising our common mortality. brought savagely home by the tragic conclusion. A compelling. darkly disturbing show. (Sue Wilson)
I Blue Remembered Hills (Fringe) Western Union. Marco‘s Leisure Centre (Venue 98) 229 8830. until 25 Aug. 6.30pm.£3.75 (£3).
38 The List 24— 30 August 1990