- This Show dCSCrVCS a Struggling in Ihc “dc Lodge. Broughton Street I The Mersey Theatre ' but never explored , bigger venuc- (Robert (which were apparently so (Venue 101 ) 557 1785. (Venue 101) 557 1785. I sufficiently to cavanah) «' good that 59mm” ""hc until 1 Sept.9. 10pm. I until 25 Aug. 11.05pm.£4 I complement the poems . I The "0|" 39'9" "Y , ! audience pinched two of £3.51) (£2.50). P (£2) & Chaplaincy Centre ' forcefully. A virtuous I BfOIthDI9$(Fr1ngC)TldC 1 them). This pmdUCtion Upstairs(Venue 23)27 performance.but resting I Theatre company. emphasises the spiritual _ . Aug—1 Sept, 2pm, £4 i too firmly on visceral Playhouse Smdiol (Venue Side Oflhc Palmer 35 it I (£2.50). I assault and therefore


i 59). 13 Aug-1 Sept. (not " Suns).9.40pm.£4(£3.50).

interacts with his personal relationships. For me. its virtue is that he appears sane and reasonable

missing the potential for pathos. It succeedsin

making one want to read more of Ratushinskaya.


throughout his illness. which is surely the Plug your ears fogthe company‘s primary aim. gunshot. (WesS rum) The strength of (Mark Willis) THERAPIST/HEAD IASlale 0fBelntl(Fringcl Coleridge's poem of I Ratnbowlce(Fringc). 5 Inner State Productions‘. ' fantasy and sexual Hill Street Theatre.

Chris ( )ram saves her best till last: her portrayal ofan inner city primary school headmistress Head is real provocative theatre. This play is about honesty and not letting sleeping illusions lie. She makes us laugh. shiver. and think.

St Columba‘s(Venue4) 2200541. l0Aug—l Sept. 4.15pm.£4(£3).


With the proliferation of

liberation comes from its power to fire the imagination. This production flattens the evocative verse into stilted drama. employing predictable Gothic imagery. and pompous. overblown rhetoric.

This amusing play looks at London. that big plughole in the South-East. and how a few folk from Birmingham adapt and react to it. The two actors portray four main characters: a couple on a romantic weekend in the

(Venuc41). 225 7294, until 1 Sept. 6. 10pm.£3 (£2.50).


This double bill by a new Leicester company

Big Smoke. and two others who have gone to live there. All four. and a few folk besides. are brilliantly played by William George and Katherine England. Focusing mainly on the two who live in London. the play explores reasons for choosing to leave and having to leave; the idea of home and. you know Home Home real home. Intelligent and punchy. this play really hits . .cr . . . home. (Fly Freeman) I Home Home (Fringe) Waggledagger. Paradox at the Wee Red Bar (Venue 73) 229 1003. until 1 Sept. 4.30pm. £3.50 (£3).

The 'l'hcrupt'st. which I

precedes it. is a little less angry. more gently amusing. It analyses an analyst and her own relationship with her analyst which can get a little introspective. She is. perhaps. the modern equivalent of a storyteller. in that she takes her audience todifferent places just with her own words —< no happy endings though. (Fly Freeman)

I The Therapist and Head (Fringe) Chris ()ram.

Celtic Lodge (Venue 6)

225 7097. until 31 Aug.



Martin is about to hang for

murder. Sally comes to visit him in prison. In the hour before Martin dies. he and his sister will take a long walk together down the lane ofobsessive. incestuous memories that create their past. Australian actors Rhonda Wilson and Lindzee Smith have achieved considerable international acclaim for

their past work. and in this

show they bring to life a relationship ofsuch intensity that Norman

Bates and his mother look

like casual neighbours. Despite the

uncomfortable venue. one

can enjoy a performance subtle enough for television yet powerful enough to captivate alive audience.

The cold. sparse set. complemented by emotionless lighting. leaves the onus firmly on the two actors to create a task fulfilled admirably.

l 1 E I


James Marsh and Stephen Bradley have taken the Van (jogh vogue a step further with 'cinthea‘. applying strong photographic images and sweeping original music to the traditional Fringe one-hander. The images are convincing and moving. particularly the scenes of Van (iogh

20 The List 3] August 13 September 1000

AIDS plays spreading almost as fast as the virus itself. it comes as a relief to find one free of preachingand oversimplistic stereotypes. ()f the two main male characters in Pleasant Vices. it is Simon. the heterosexual who contracts AIDS and Craig. his homosexual friend who nurses him. The rest of the play tackles some of the lessobvious AIDS-related issues. such as Craig's dependence on his sick friend. Stuart Nurse plays the part to perfection. resisting the pitfalls of beingoverly campor sentimental. In many respects this is a male-bonding story. with the female roles slightly underdrawn.

Factually. Pleasant Vices has obviously entailed a lot ofresearch. but the medical termsand information are never allowed to obscure the dramatic tension. A moving. frightening and v cry down to earth play. (Tom Lappin)

I Pleasant Vices ( Fringe) The Attick Theatre Touring Company. Rifle

combines satire with good rhyming fun. The Ultimate Performance of a pretentious avant-garde director (played with mad verve by Michael Bridgeland). seeks vengeance on the critics who have damned his career. The pure aestheticism which ‘mirrors the incomprehensibility of the universe’ while avowing abstract meanings is firmly refuted.

Gary Drabwell's Fist of the Dragonfly entertains capitally. Since rap is abundant at the Fringe this year. it is worth knowing that his Kung Fu version is the best. (Wes Shrum)

I Asking For It (Fringe) This Way Up. Greyfriar‘s Kirk Ilouse (Venue 28) 225 3626. 13 Aug—l Sept. 4pm. £3.50 (£2.50).


The rise and fall ofJimmy Jazz provides a fitting epitaph to the entrepreneurial eighties. When Jimmy is chosen to receive a Devil-given power to make dreams come true he falls into the trap of turning it to his own advantage. After his comic climb to the top collapses. he melts in with the dispossessed until being tragically exposed. I {is story is set against the major events ofthe decade depicted by fascinating choreography and a contemporary soundtrack. Changeinspeak have a powerful. visual style utilising hilarious caricatures and poetry. Theatre at its most entertaining from an energetic young company. (Konrad Manning) I Jlmmy Jazz (Fringe) Changeinspeak. Across

leading the rich poetry into a sensory cul-de-sac.

The companion piece. Bill Ilopkinson's Songof Olwen. offers a bleak perspective of the choices facing a woman as she becomes aware of her growing sexuality. The dialogue staggers from the page like a rambling. psycho-analytical word-association game. mixing ill-conceived metaphorical imagery. and delivered by the

actors with humourlcss f self-importance.The

language is brutal and unredeemed by sensitivity. falling into the rut ofthinking that obscurity will do in the

; place of profundity. lfyou see contemporary society

as ‘a nuclear landscape of suicide-proofwindows‘ then book now. lfyou have a sense of humour. steer clear. (Mark Willis) I Christabel/Song of Gluten

I (Fringe) Salford

University Theatre Company. V'iewforth Centre (Venue 44) 229 9000. until 1 Sept. 5pm.£-l (£3).

RAINBOW ICE Irina Ratushinskaya is a recently released Soviet dissident. interned for writing of her yearning for freedom from social repression. Rainbow Ice seeks to present her work through recital and physical interpretation. Clare Potts‘s delivery is aggressive and confrontational. She spits out the verse as though trying to exorcise the anger of a whole nation. where it might be more potent to employ understated delivery to convey the natural grace and lyricism of the poetry. The physical sequences are tortured and emotive.


‘r ‘1. ' x

, gt

Ilardly noticed. tucked away with single digit audiences. there are performances duringthe Fringe that leave the punters stunned and reassure you that there is talent out there and it does surface at Edinburgh’s Festival. .S'wal/mving is a Very Private Thing is one such show.

Prue Bessett is the sole actress in a play that has used up to six women to portray the personalities of an emotionallv battered and institutionalised woman. Bassett rips into her audience. She brings tension up and down like flapping a sheet. She gives such a detailed account of her past and the internal struggle she now faces that one sees her as not insane but rather normal. given her circumstances.

Scenes are heightened through the use ofa piercing violin score. Rationed lighting changes and bare stage give sharp focus to the performance. All elements work asone and give the feeling that this year's Festival is richer for the Nightingale Company having made the trip from Austrailia. (Richard Contc)

I Swallowing is a Very Private Thlng (Fringe)

Edinburgh Playhouse and I