it’s good to see that Heathcote Williams is back this year, and still playing stoutly to the concerned Eco-Fringe goer. First there were Whale Nation and Falling ForA Dolphin - epic poems with guaranteed Greenpeace appeal. Now we have Autogeddon, a dire warning on the stranglehold which the automobile has on the human psyche and the liiebreath oi the planet.
Autogeddon will be periormed by Boy Hutchins, who won a Fringe First lor his rendition oi Falling ForA Dolphin. He remembers that the lirst time he met
Williams in 1982 they talked about cars ' and their impact on the environment. ‘Ali oi us are victims, either directly or
indirectly, oi the motor car,’ he says,
adding that, when he recently moved
j from London to Brighton, he was not so 3 much drawn by the sea, as driven away ‘ by the constant noise oi tralilc.
Listening to short sections oi the
, poem, which cascades image alter j image, it is hard not to write it oil as
another litany oi the world’s woes. ‘l am sure lots ol studious people stroke their beards over that kind oi literary argument,’ Hutchins ripostes, ‘I don’t care. This poem is tremendously
5 evocative, and throws up very strong
images. Whether they rhyme or not, or are in the correct metre, really does not concern me.’
Unlike his television version oi Whale Nation, Hutchins will be perionning Autogeddon on a bare stage. To do anything else would destroy the scale oi the piece, he says. ‘We try to let the imagination oi the listener conjure up the images.’ Given the scale oi the trailic problem in Edinburgh over the iestival, that shouldn’t be a problem. (Thom Dibdin) Autogeddon (Fringe) Boy Hutchins, Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 220 4349, 10-31 Aug (not Tue), 3.30pm, £6.50/E7.50 (Es/£6).
So many plays indulge themselves in stagnant retellings ol growing up and lirst love that it is relreshing to lind a company using this outline to tackle real social problems in a contemporary urban environment. Clyde Unity's latest play, Love Among The Juveniles, lollows the lives oi two iriends who are both in their mid-20s. Alisa is in love with a black Alrican actor who was only in the country ior two weeks, whereas ior Finn, distance is more social than literal, as he embarks on his first gay relationship.
‘I think all love aliairs are dillicult,’ admits writer/directorJohn Binnie, ‘but with those two there are more speciiic dilliculties. For instance, I’m really tired ol depictions at gay characters who hate themselves. Can you think oi any cases where two young men are happy, healthy and just have a very sweet love allair?’
it is worth noting that the lirst serious attempt to deal with inter-racial love on
the Scottish stage appeared in The Gorbais Story, periormed in the late 1940s by Glasgow’s Unity Theatre. This working-class company’s commitment to producing plays that would touch the majority ol the Scottish people on an emotional and political level is very much the model to which Clyde Unity aspire. To achieve this, the company will balance a two-week run at Glasgow's Citizens’ Theatre with an exhaustive tour oi the outer schemes oi Scotland’s cities.
32 The List 9— 15 August 1991
‘I think the true worth oi a play is seen it it can work in those two environments,’ Binnie says. ‘A lot at
the time in the community centres,
their attitudes towards homosexuality might be a bit doubttul, or maybe they’ve never met an openly gay man who is happy to be that way. it you can do a workshop, combined with the play, where you speak about repression and persecution and the taking away at your civil rights, then that is much betterthan preaching to a converted audience in a studio venue.’ (Alan Morrison)
Love Among The Juveniles (Fringe) Clyde Unity, Theatre Workshop (Venue 20) 226 5425, 9, 12, 14, 16, 19, 21, 23 Aug, 5.30pm, £4.50 (£3.50).
' v V THEATRE
Dog, claims Dave Cohen, author of Smouldering Globules of Love and Perrier nominee, ‘is about the coming ofthe millennium, the new Messiah and a packet of fruitgums.‘
Ifthat were not enough, Cohen also promises that the play will reveal the Third Secret Of Fatima— secrets one and two being the rise of Communism and World War Two respectively, number three too dreadful even to tell.
Performing with fellow stand-up Sheila Hyde, Cohen is one of an increasing number of comedians moving into full length drama. He feels the transition is a natural one, bringing the potential and skills ofboth sides together and breaking new ground. rather than producing merely extended sketches.
In Globules Cohen addressed the issue of photo love stories; in Dog, it is the presentation of cults he hopes will be original and exciting— something eminently fringey at a time when more and more comics are appearing with less to say and fewer ways to say it.
Cohen will be appearing with the Comedy Store and says the future has more plays in it. So that Third Secret can‘t be too bad. (Stephen Chester)
I Dog (Fringe) Dave Cohen and Sheila Hyde. The Gilded Balloon Theatre (Venue 36) 226 2151. 9-31aug, 5.15pm. £5 (£4).
V THEATRE LAHBINS SAHIB
The Festival is a time for firsts, and therefore an auspicious moment for Akademeia, the first all-Indian company to perform in Edinburgh. to bring their production of Gurcharan Das‘ play Lahrins Sahib t0 the Fringe. The play, which has already met with considerable approval in
Atheatres across India. tells
the story of Sir Henry Lawrence. the first British resident at Lahore after the Anglo-Sikh war. Lawrence (or Lahrins) is regarded with some affection by Indian people for his understanding and attachment to the country in which he lived. and its culture and traditions:
characteristics which set
him apart from other Raj ofﬁcials. He even spoke ﬂuent Punjabi.
But Lahrins Sahib depicts the transformation of Lawrence. as a friend and defender of Punjab. to a man who eventually insists that his loyalty to the Crown must take precedence, partly symbolist by his acceptance of the Kohinoor. a spectacular Indian diamond now encrusted in the Queen‘s
Inevitably. the play also has something to say about Anglo-Indian cooperation and the legacy of colonialism. ’Sometimes people in India have a feeling that the British really tried to subvert India and that they did a lot of harm and damage.‘ explains producer Rumi Palsetia. ‘This play works as a bridge. and what comes out in the end is thatthe Indians and the British worked together a lot of the time. Just because the British moved out and the Indian ﬂag went up. it doesn't mean that it‘s the end of the relationship- people in India still talk about ’our Queen'. (Miranda France)
I Lahrins Sahib (Fringe) Akademeia Repertory Theatre. Paradox (Venue 73) 229 1003, 11—17 Aug. 4.10pm; 19—31 Aug. 6.10pm.£5.40(£4.50).
'Avnor The Eccentric
v COMEDY '
: AVNER THE ECCENTRIC
! Slapsticking his way
across the Atlantic and a
l cultural divide that has sunk many a comic, Avner the Eccentric (as in American — ‘offthe wall. wacky") is in Edinburgh to test-chuckle Fringe audiences before deciding ifhc is on firm enough ground for the TV specials.
LeCoq trained, Avner appears as the deﬁnitive cross-over artist. his silent one-man show defying ‘the barriers oflanguage‘. Part of a rising tide of purely physical
- entertainers(something , to do with 1992. perhaps?) ‘ he offers a combination of
Jerry Lewis routines. pickpocketing, acrobatics and magic. A successful Broadway run engendered a plethora of critical paradoxes— ‘serious funny stuff‘ etc. suggesting why his show appeals equally to ‘the thinking adult and the exacting child.‘
As diverse as his audience. the harlequin of New Vaudeville has combined roles in Beckett and Shakespeare with
' teaching(at the
Expressive Therapies Institute) and film work.
starring as the holy man in The Jewel of The Nile. He also claims to have been arrested for defying the laws of gravity — I'd take that one with a pinch of face paint. (Stephen Chester) I Avner The Eccentric (Fringe) Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550. 10—31 Aug (not Thurs).
Mon—Thurs. £6.50 (£5) Fri—Sun.