A piano. a blind man. a neurotic woman. three men with facial tics and a bewigged dead-ringer for Beethoven are the elements which comprise this play. It is an absurdist work. one of those which leaves the audience wondering if it is for them to make sense of the nonsense. or just to smile and accept it.

Actors potter around the stage. lie on the piano. fight clownishly and occasionallyspeak. ‘l.et‘s drink vinegar.‘ one says. or ‘I believe in everything just to be a little taller". There is some fine singing and a clever send-upof pettifogging philosophy. the kind that allowed Stalin to emerge and prosper. For this is a Lithuanian group with a point to make.

And though we might now think absurdist drama a rather hackneyed form one more likely to charm than to shock r- this play employs it to worthwhile and interesting effect. (Matthew Barrell)

I Ten 8le Cia (Fringe) St (‘olumba's By The (‘astle (Venue 4) 220054l . until 1 Sept. 12.30pm.£4(£3).

WILL ounsr

American stand-up Will Durst paces the stage like acaged tiger. Ilishumour is very topical. ranging from domestic targets like the unholy Republican triumvirate (Reagan. Bush. Quayle) to Noriega and Gorby.

After a curious visit to his family in Wisconsin which goes to the edge and starts resembling a string of Gary Larson cartoons. Durst returns to his favourite subjects. ‘death. destruction and betrayal'. He zaps ecology. the drug war. free elections.

In his long-awaited return.

religions and a lot more.

Durst is a one man Spitting Image Show but with much greater consistency. liven though a few jokes fail for cultural or cerebral reasons. he

kept the audience in almost continuous laughter for an hour. a feat nobody else in the Festival to my knowledge everachieved. lfyou want to see the best. see Durst. (Kerry Napuk)

IWilI Dursl(tfs,\) (Fringe). Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428. 10pm. until 1 Sept. £5.50(£4.50).



This is a piece of experimental theatre which aims to examine sexuality from the perspective of those reaching adulthood. The young actors deal with their script confidently and competently. their voices strong. their movements sensuous. But it isobviously written by those who have had sexual experiences. not those yet todisCover. This causes the actors' youth to limit their interpretation of otherwise interestingly portrayed subjects. There is some

F E S T I V A L _ theatre/nouuo-up

intelligent choreography. although restrained by the girls‘ unnecessarily slinky outfits. and some glimmersoftalent. but unfortunately this is not fully used by the script.

A pleasant way to be inspired to ponder. but not in itselftouching. (Melissa Nathan)

I Many a Slip Twixt Cap and Dick ( Fringe) The Big Red Balloon Theatre Company. Hill Street Theatre (Venue 4| ) 225 7294. until 1 Sept. 4.15pm. £2.50(£I .50).


A ('zech mime duo present eight sketches that aim to be ‘grotesque' reflections of ‘everyday struggles of men and women‘. -

It‘s hard not tobe charmed by the wholesomeness of the comic twosome. it's just a pity that they need to develop their mimetic skills more. and deserve some sharper material. (Michael Balfour)

I Fragments (Fringe) (‘razy Mime. Richard Demarco (iallery (Venue 22) 557 0707. until 1 Sep. 6pm. £4 (£3).


Two plays take a slice out of Liverpool. (}r¢"\‘1)(1'\'A! (irey 's ( ‘ufe finds three young men wasting away in a dingy cafe. ()ne looks to better his lot through street crime. one can not be asked. and one says he‘ll only be happy when he is dead; only a slight exaggeration. The scene may drag in places but so presumably does life in Liverpool for the going nowheres. Drag itselfis one of the strong pointsof the (‘hameleon Company. The three female roles

played by men are the funniest and most believable.

Party Time has the funniest moments and the hardest time gettingto them. When Carl finds that the girl he has managed to pull away from the party is actually a man he panics. How to escape a party without being noticed? Cue high heels and make-up. (Richard Conte)

I This Can't Be Love (Fringe) Across the Mersey Theatre. Rifle Lodge (Venue 101 ) 557 1785. until 1 Sept.

1 1. 10pm. £3.50 (£2.50).


It started off as a promising idea: to take the Beatles‘ story and examine the basis ofthe band's cultural impact.

Unfortunately FMBM's production flounders between an almost embarrassing worship of the Beatles and an attempt to offer ideas. albeit weak ones. for their phenomenal success. A tendency to concentrate on the band's schooldays. and whisk through their careers. does not help either.

Perhaps the company‘s greatest error is to assume that the Beatles were not merely symbols of the ‘enlightened‘ 60s. but the actual catalyst. They would have done better to examine the band as part ofan emerging trend much bigger than themselves. As it is. you come away feeling that the actors' energies have been squandered by playing out the same cliches they so fervently dismiss. (Aaron Hicklin)

I llThere WasAIime (Fringe). Rifle Lodge (Venue 101)5571785. until I Sept.7. 10pm. £3.90 (£2.50).


In a series ofmonologues. three working-class Lincolnshire girls unravel their most painful and secret feelings about growing up in the shadow ofa brutish Iout. As each of the girls recounts her years of youth and adolescence. the play oscillates between a precious family ideal and the brutal and uncouth world of the invisible

villain. Royce Bolan.

For most ofthe play the girls do not meet. but by linking their three separate stories laterally through characters. incidents and imagery. writer-director Richard Cameron develops his subject in an absorbing and moving way. The play is full ofpowerful. real life illustrations of the conflict between the worlds of experience and innocence. The final turn in the plot istimed perfectly. with an amusing twist to bring reliefto a play taut with emotion. An excellent production. (Robert Alstead)

I Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down (Fringe) Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428. until 1 Sept. 2pm. £5 (£4).


The immediate connection between John Lee Hooker and St. John of the Cross may not be obvious but one is Blues and the other is Revelations - and we are led from one to the other by some superb dance. The ex-Rambert School Dancers start with the blues lovely fluid dancing. pulling expression out ofsuch songs as The Thrille Gone. In a later section. the performers move to. and speak. the verse of TS. Elliot‘s Murder in the Cathedral. creating forms as powerful as those images. The last dance. performed by the leader and introducer of Moving Visions. crowns this riveting show. (Fly Freeman) I Blues and Revelations (Fringe) Moving Visions. Theatre Workshop (Venue 20) 226 5425. until I Sept. l2.30pm.£4 (£3.50)


The five-strong Slickers provide an hour-and-a- quarter-long comic romp. Although some ofthe thigh-slapping humour falls flat. their zany youthfulness is very refreshing.

John Fairfoul is clearly the most outstanding. but is relied on so heavily that at times he is overstretched. He begins as a ham RKO radio show host. takes off Sean Connery superbly and narrates an outrageous adventure with Mister

Tickle. In song he is equally amusing bemoaning the demise of Frank Bough.

You could do worse with your two quid than let The Slickers warm up your laughing gear. (Konrad Manning)

I Mrs Vicker's City Slickers (Fringe) McEwan‘s Specials. Adam House (Venue 34) 225 3744. until 1 Sept. 7pm. £2 (£1 .50).


Paul Nimmo's first play attempts to expose some of the hypocrites currently ridingon the green bandwagon. If there is a serious message being put across however. it is conveniently hidden behind what appears to be a romantic comedy.

Nimmo plays Arthur Brown who in the mid-70s attempts unsuccessfully to get a fledgling environmental movement offthe ground. He enlists the helpofJane whofalls in love with him. Arthur though. is only in love with himself and his ill-fated tea and buns outfit.

Two talented performers. Funny but harmless. (Konrad Manning)

I The Brown Conversion (Fringe) Broken Seal Theatre (‘o. (‘cltic Lodge (Venue b) 225 7097. until 1 Sept. 8. 15pm. £3.50 (£2).



Acted with a fierce intensity that is both poignant and moving. Ian McEwan's one-man play transfers from London for what promises to be a sell out run. It explores the consciousness of a man kept for seventeen years in kindergarten dependency by a doting mother. unable to feed himselfor even tospcak and suddenly thrust out into the world. Astonishing vocal expressiveness and physical control helps re-enact a life almost too painful to watch. What lingers at the end is an unnerving sense that we have something ofthe cupboard man in all of Us. (Rod Isaacs) I Conversations witha Cupboard Man (Fringe) The Almighty Stork. Blue ()yster ('lub(\"enue 86). until 1 Sept. 2pm.£3.50 (£2.50).

The List 31 August l3 September 190025