Rimbaud spent a Season in hell and returned with a couple of poems. Julie Balloo has appeared in most of the Australian soaps and has returned with Soap Crazy. The story of a Soap queen‘s arrival at a Bates-style motel provides a humorous and penetrating study of that bizarre world inhabited by Kylie look-a-likes and Kylie devotees. Balloo herself has a starring role. Escaping from Prisoner Cell Block H by moving first into stand-up comedy and then Britain, Balloo has managed to combine a commitment to well-structured drama with the incisive wit of the comic. She penned and starred in last year’s Fringe success Thirty Somehow, which received rave reviews and has subsequently been filmed by Channel Four. It is shortly to be given an off-off Broadway run. Clay is another Balloo piece, the story of a woman on the verge of semi-nervous breakdown, whose therapeutic course in clay modelling turns sour when the head she sculpts becomes rather more life-like than desired. A cleverly staged comedy-chiller centred on the sinister and abusive head, it won the London New Play Award. (Stephen Chester) I Soap Crazy (Fringe) Julie Balloo, Gilded Balloon Theatre (Venue 38) 226 2151 , 25—31 Aug, 7pm, £5 (£4). I Clay (Fringe) Incidental Theatre, Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550, 9—25 Aug (not Mon 12), 8pm, £6 (£5) Mon—Thurs, £6.75 (£5.75) Fri-Sun.



In contrast to the usual throng of stand-up comics, the Assembly Rooms also plays host to stand-ups of a different kind. Poethon '91 is billed as ‘the biggest

,Dance College

poetry event ofthe . decade‘. Over 144 participants are set to take part in a 24-hour. non-stop memorised poetry recital all over Edinburgh starting with the biggest and best ofthem atthe Assembly Rooms. Scottish stalwarts Norman MacCaig. Sorley Maclcan and Liz Lochhead are appearing as well as more reclusive poets like Wendy Cope and Douglas Dunn. As everyone participating must recite from memory, there will no doubt be a certain air ofexcitement in the audience as they wait to see who will be the first to fluff their lines. Will Craig Raine’s ‘A Martian sends a Postcard Home' turn into A Martian Sends a Telegram? Will Wendy Cope dry up in the middle ofthe ‘River Girl”? The tension will be relieved by members of the Royal Ballet School and Leeds

performing classical Greek dance to poetry and by music from Wolfstone and Mhairi Grealis in between recitations. (Frances Cornford)

I Poethon '91 Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 220 4349.10 Aug. 6.30pm. £8 (£6).


KIROV OPERA Not only is the great Bolshoi Opera of Moscow appearing at the Festival this year (amazingly for the second year running). but the Kirov Opera from Leningrad is given more or less a week in residence. focusing on the music of Moussorgsky. Forming a Moussorgsky festival within the Festival. they open on Sat 10 Aug with Khovanshchina at the Playhouse. Set in the time of Peter the Great. its five acts involve all 350 members of the Kirov. whether singers. dancers. instrumentalists or technicians. On a lesser scale is the short one-act


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Directing in smaller Moscow theatres in the 60s, Zakharov iound that having several productions banned by the authorities Ironically endeared him to the theatre establishment and he was appointed director at the Lenkom in 1973. Despite being bestowed with state awards and titles and holding political oiilce, Zakharov still likes to court controversy, recently committing party sacrilege by suggesting that Lenin be ‘moved out at the mausoleum

and decently buried'.

Labyrinthine bureaucracy is also the


As the international theatre iestlval baton passes once more lrom London's LIFT to Edinburgh, the depth and strength at talent in Russian theatre becomes ever more evident. Alter Vassillev and Luyblmov in previous years and Lev Dodin’s success with the Maly Theatre oi Leningrad in London last month, it’s now the turn oi Mark Zakharov and the Lenin Komosol

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locus ol the Lenkom's Festival production, Alexander Ostrovsky’s late 19th-century satirical comedy, Too Clever By Hall. Following the changing iortunes oi a get-rich-qulck young writer who sells out to both bourgeois oiilcialdom and gullible democratic reiormers, it reads on the page as a rather banal comedy ol manners. But with the help at a gllted cast and a monumental set oi mum-layered crystal chandeliers, Zakharov has translormed it into a pointed contemporary satire at a society living

by cynicism, deceit, theit, aggression

and alcohol, as the walls (literally) collapse around them.

Hailed by the Russian press as both hilarious and a ‘bitter medicine, an ammonia to get sober, so as not to be run over by the wheels oi history’, Too Clever By Hall should provide both an entertaining and a chastening opening to three weeks at cultural gluttony. (Simon Bayly)

Too Clever By Hall (International Festival) Lenkom Theatre at Moscow,

Empire Theatre, 225 5756, 11-14 Aug,

7.30pm, £5.50—210.

comic opera, The

Marriage. taken from the comedy by Gogol. and given only one performance at the St Bride‘s Centre. Although these are the

only two operas to be fully

staged. there are concert performances ofscenes from Sorochlnsky Fair. Salammbo and a full concert version of Moussorgky‘s greatest opera, Boris Godunov. in a production which is shared with the Royal Opera House Covent Garden. All three are at the Usher Hall and. like the theatre productions. will be sung in Russian. The concerts also

feature orchestral works including the rarely heard Gorchakov arrangement of Pictures at an Exhibition. Finally. the Kirov‘s week also includes a chamber music programme entitled If Schubert Read Pravda at the Queen‘s llall (Mon 12. 11am) and alate-night

at St Giles‘ of Russian Church Music (Wed 14, 10.30pm). (Carol Main) I Khovanshchina (International Festival) Kirov Opera of Leningrad. Playhouse. 225 5756. Sat l0 and Mon 12Aug, 7pm.£6—£33.50. IThe Marriage (International Festival) Kirov Opera of Leningrad. St Bride‘s Centre. 225 5756. Wed 14 Aug. 7pm. £l()/£12.

I Sorochlnsky Fair (International Festival) Kirov Opera of Leningrad. Usher Hall. 225 5756, Tue 13 Aug. 8pm. £7—£16.90.

I Salammbo (International Festival) Kirov Opera of Leningrad, Usher Hall. 225 5756, Thurs 15Aug, 8pm. £7—£16.90.

I Boris Godunov (International Festival) Kirov Opera of Leningrad, Usher Hall. 225 5756. Fri 16 Aug.

‘. 8pm.£7.50—£18.50.




As you might expect in a comedy about Europe‘s greatest lover. the dramatic action revolves around Casanova's large bed in the Chateau Dux. Predictably, bearing in mind the limitations of theatre, he doesn’t get the chance to prove himselfin the sack. ‘He gets lots of people into bed, but he‘s always interrupted before he can do anything,’ reveals directorlohn Murtagh, ‘but there’s lots of foreplay.‘ However, Casanova‘s image is somewhat tarnished here, with him being portrayed as an arch manipulator, conning an extremely rich and gullible ‘grand dame‘

out of her fortune.

This black comedy of manners is in fact a play within a play, adding to the air of duplicity. ‘The writer . takes the part of Casanova wouldn‘t we all, given half a chance and of course gets carried away with it all, and becomes Casanova,‘ explains Murtagh. ‘The basis of the piece is greed material greed and sexual greed, and the spiritual emptiness that‘s a direct product of that kind of life. I suppose there's a direct parallel with the greed of the 805: sex is currency and is used as such all the time.‘ (Robert Alstead)

I Casanova, True Conlesslons oi e Cebellst (and other lies) (Fringe) Moray House Theatre (Venue 61) 13—31 Aug (not Sun 18. 25) 7.30pm; 17, 21, 24, 28, 31 Aug. 2.30pm, £6.50 (£5).




Inspired by a Germaine Greer look-alike who once lent him a copy of The Female Eanuch, Robert Llewellyn lived through the sexual revolution with his eyes wide open. This year he delivers a lecture that will have readers of the Guardian’s women‘s page squirming in their seats. ‘There will be lots of absurdly simple answers to incredibly complex questions about relations between men and women,’ he warns. Dressed in ‘smart,

intellectual, casual wear, all of which is borrowed' and armed with cogent lecture notes and a slide projector. Llewellyn puts gender politics into sharp focus. Declaring himself to be ‘particularly pleased with the slides', he is convinced that the awesome array of sexual graphs, tables and flow charts will win everyone - including bewildered Japanese tourists to his way ofthinking.

Not surprisingly, he doesn’t manage always to keep a straight face. ‘Often things just happen or people do things,’ he says suggestively. ‘Sometimes even before the question-and-answer session starts.’ (Carl Honore)

I The Reconstructed lleert (Fringe) Robert Llewellyn, Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 220 4349,10—24 Aug, 6pm, £7/6 (£6/5).

“The List 9- 15 August 1991