This show has all the comic potential of a manic lonesco farce. A newly married couple can't work out the sex of their child so they plump for the name Daisy. Later. having survived a nightmarish nanny. a trip under the wheels of a bus and fourteen years ofwearing dresses. Daisy finds himself with one or two problems.

It could be a comment on the grotesquc selfishness ofsome parents. It could be just a zany romp. But for all the cast's energetic efforts. nothing can overcome tired dialogue. a limp and directionless plot and poorly drawn characters. If. as the Fringe programme announces. Christopher Durang is America‘s funniest playwright. then both my parents are bananas. (Rod lsaacs)

I Baby with the Bathwater (Fringe) The Royal Scots (‘lub(Venue 57) 557 5091 23. 28 Aug. 1 Sept8pm; .26. 29 Aug. l0pm. £3.95 (£2.95).


Appearances can be deceptive. until of course the pretence beginsto falter. thus renderingour rendered a classic play

F E S T l V A L _ theatre/nouND-up

formalities a farce; farce being the appropriate word for Brecht‘s sagacious play. A Respeetable Wedding.

In turns both comical and sinister. the lloxton Firm deftly strip bare the veneer of their characters. to reveal the unhappiness beneath them. Bythe close of the play the action which begins as gentile table chatter. mounting rapidly into a malicious war of words. has left the characters nursing their battered egos. We. of course. know from experience that the lesson is never learnt.

My own expectations. after seeing the company's excellent production of Berkoff‘s [fast last year. were never fully realised. and I left with the impression that the chaos had not been pronounced

enough. Nevertheless. it's still worth seeing. (Aaron


I A Respectable Wedding (Fringe). Greyfriars Kirk House (Venue 28). 225 3628. until 1 Sept. 5.45pm. £4 (£3).

WOYZEK Bulmershe Revival‘s Woyzek would only rate as an average production. were it not for the fact that it is all performed in simultaneous sign language. an undertaking which must be applauded. Whilst I was impressed by the inspired introduction. in which a

showman stands amongst

his clockwork toys in reality the characters of the play I found myself increasingly frustrated with the interpretation of the script. which left me

more sympathetic towards

the murdered Marie than Woyzek himself.

Some compensation. however. in the enjoyable performances of Anthony Rabin as Woyzek and

Jonathan Churchill as the

showman. Their expert


accessrble to an audience all too often ignored. (Aaron llicklin)

I WOYZek (Fringe) Bulmershe Revival. Randolph Studio (Venue 55) 24. 26. 28. 31 Aug. 8pm. £3 (£2).


It sounded promising— a show bringing together the fools from several Shakespeare plays to create ‘the ultimate cabaret line-up‘, it fails to work for various reasons. A basic problem. with it being a one-man show. is that all the different fools appear much the same. More generally. Shakespeare‘s comedy is ill-suited to stand-up techniques; the humour usually depends on context. arising from contrast or comic misunderstanding. Here taken out of that context. many of the speeches

make little sense. any

laughs depending on gestures or facial expressions.

In any case. Shakespeare's fools aren‘t only about comedy. and the deeper complexities in many ofthe selected passages. although unacknowledged. sit uneasily with the show‘s alternative comedy approach. There are funny moments. particularly those involving a live duck. but on the whole trying to combine Shakespeare and cabaret seems to bring out the worst in both. (Sue Wilson)

I Shakespeare's Fools (Fringe) Park Bench Theatre Company. Chaplaincy Centre Upstairs (Venue 23) until 1 Sept. 9pm. £3.50 (£2.50).

THE BEOBUG Alarmist Theatre Company attempt to update Mayakovsky's 1928 social satire. have a few digs at perestroika. and almost get away with it. For a while you are swept along by the exuberance of the cast enough to forgive them the corny jokes. The plot essentially concerns a black marketeer and social climber keen to embrace the capitalist way. He accidentally gets frozen and resurrected fifty years later to find a Federal Europe devoted to the creed that everyone

should be free to consume.

lfthe message is a little crude. with hit and miss cracks about Kurt Waldheim and Saddam Hussein. the actingis more appealing. Ultimately. though. you are left with the feeling that the play is tooslight. too obvious and rather overlong. (Tom Lappin) IThe Bedhug (Fringe) Alarmist Theatre. Bedlam Theatre (Venue 49) 225 9893. until 1 Sept (not Sun). 2. 15pm. £4.50 (£3.50).


Successful farce depends on the maintenance of precision and control beneath apparent chaos. as exemplified bythe frenetic pace and tight plotting of Fo‘s best-known work. Borderline‘s production. using an effective new Glaswegian translation. mostly stays just on the right side of slapstick. although it occasionally goes irritatingly over the top. carried away perhaps by the unqualified appreciation of a large audience.

The debate within the play as to whether it is justifiable to defy an unjust law is as relevant today as ever. and the production brings out the theme of spirited working-class resistance to oppression clearly without being heavy-handed. apart from an unfortunate lapse into pedagogy in the last scene. The interjection of superfluous extra jokes is a mistake (they‘re not A even very good jokes). but on the whole this is a slick and polished show. full of manic energy and i thoroughlyentertaining. (Sue Wilson)

I Can't Pay? Won't Pay! (Fringe) Moray House Theatre (Venue 6| ) until 1 Sept (not Sun). 7.30pm (also 2.30pm Wed and Sat). £5.50(£4.50).

TABLE MANNEBS An amusing play and a happy. competent cast make this an enjoyable I rendition of Ayckbourn's farce.

Some of the one-liners are delivered with l badly-hidden smirks and l the cast seem rather touch-shy but somehow this doesn‘t detract from thefun.

Justine Maitland

maintains her Penelope Keith impersonation throughout with some nice results and Phil Cairns‘ limp and patheticTom becomes increasingly endearing.

And as for Ayckbourn. he constantly throws up gems when you least expect them in this tale of a frustrated and selfish petit-bourgeois crowd.

Do not go expecting complex character studies or a profound interpretation of the play‘s message. and you will enjoy it as much as the cast do. (Melissa Nathan). I Table Manners( Fringe) Felsted Theatre Company. Celtic Lodge (Venue 6) 225 7097. until 1 Sept (not 26 Aug).


In this faithful adaptation of’liolkicn's famous trilogy. Rob lnglis

succeedsinbringingtolife '

much ofthe books' complex mythological world with many ofits characters. lnglis appears on stage dressed in elfish boots. his portly frame buttoned into a tunic. Like an ancient hard he begins to recount in deep. mellifluoustones the epic

story of the hobbit Frodo‘s journey to destroy the evil ring.

The stage is virtually



bare and the lighting basic. but Inglis is a masterful story teller. switching from one character to another with convincing ease. and capable of conveying dramatic scenes merely through the pace and excitement of his narration. Huge kingdoms and worlds appear before us in a little room. Tolkien fans should love it. for others it isa way in. (Robert Alstead) I Lord of the Rings (Fringe) Marco's l .eisure ('entre ( Venue 98) 229 8830. until 1 Sept. 4.15pm. £4 (£3.50).


This ghost is a poor unfortunate soul. trapped in purgatory. with only musical memories to keep him company. He articulates his fears. yearnings and torments. in a stream ofangst—ridden consciousness. through the writingsofl’orter. Carmichael. (iershwin e! (1/.

This is a performance dedicated to the music of the 40s and 50s. actively concerned with its preservation as a live medium. And with the minimum of visual stimulation. the lone pianist retains all his power to move the audience

In the age of ad agency nostalgia it is refreshing to experience a genuine concern for the survival. in its original form. ofone of the great creative styles ofthe 20th century. (ireat lunchtime therapy tool (Adrian Searle)

I The Ghost of Joe Seppi (Fringe) The Netherbow, 43 l ligh St (Venue 30) 556 9579. 13 Aug-~l Sept (not Sun). 1pm. £3(£2.50).

The List 31 August;ifiSeptember 199023