V MUSIC TAM WHITE
Tam White‘s distinctive blues growl can be heard in two splendid musical settings over the Festival. With his regular London-based band he plays one night at the Queen‘s Hall.
Tam is especially looking forward to that gig. and has a busy spell over the next month. ‘Ronnie Scott is openinga new club in Birmingham.‘ he says. ‘and we‘ll be playing there next month when our new ‘Live‘ album is released. We recorded it last year at Ronnie Scott‘s in London and mixed it in the club‘s upstairs studio. That was fun. Another group was playing that night. so I‘ve yet to hear our own album without another bass pattern coming through
‘We‘ll be back for a week in September at London Ronnie‘s. but this year the band has been mainly concentrating on another album. a studio recording. which won‘t be released till the end of the year. I‘ll also be playing the Acoustic Music Centre in more ofa folk blues band. with Fraser
Spiers‘ great harmonica. and guitar and percussion. It‘s all blues. just with a different feel. lf 1 could afford it, it would be great to incorporate the small sound into the big one. which has an electric blues sound for the 90$. more Basic than Status Quo.‘ (Norman Chalmers) I Tarn White Sings (Fringe) Acoustic Music Centre (Venue 25) 220 2462,9—10Aug,7.30pm. £5 (£4); Queen‘s Hall (Venue 72) 6682019. 30 Aug, 11pm, £7.50.
v ‘ / \.-C
MED EA: SEX WAR Anyone who saw Volcano Theatre last year will know they’re not kidding when they describe their new show as ‘a ferocious. bloodsweating. sex-war ritual‘. Their high-impact confrontational style is
intended to smash through the ‘fourth wall‘ between
actors and audience. ‘So much ofthe theatre around at the moment is just like watching television.‘ says company member Andrew Jones. ‘We want to try and communicate with people in a much more vital way.‘
Like V. the new show is derived from a text by poet Tony Harrison. ‘The main thing that attracted us to it was the feminist aspect.‘ explains Paul Davies. another company member. ‘Medea is portrayed as this terrible infanticidal woman. but when Harrison went back to original sources he discovered that she was depicted as a loving mother of fourteen children. who were murdered by the Corinthians. lt'san example of the patriarchal rewording of texts. where the truth gets completely distorted.‘
Given free rein with the script. Volcano chose to interweave it with the 60s anarcho-feminist SCUM manifesto. ‘We wanted to focus on the breakdown of the play. the disintegration of the text.‘ explains Paul Davies. ‘The SCUM thing is all about society disintegrating as a result of patriarchy. It‘s a wonderful polemic. beautifully written. funny. harsh and lyrical. But the show isn‘t a tub-thumping thing: a sense of celebration‘s very important to our work. so I hope people will get that feeling from it as well.‘ (Sue Wilson)
I Medea: Sex War (Fringe) Volcano Theatre. Theatre Workshop (Venue 20) 226 5425.12—17 Aug. 7.30pm;
THE MINSTREL AND THE SHIRRA
There may be the beginnings of a tradition afoot at the Festival. In 1989 Hogg: The Shepherd Justified graduated from the biennial Borders- Festival to Edinburgh and this year The Minstrel and The Shirra makes the same leap.
The Minstrel and The Shirra (that‘s sheriffto you) is a one-man play about Walter Scott. set at the time of his financial crisis in 1825 when the collapse of a business with which he was involved threatened him with bankruptcy. The play examines how he comes to terms with this, and with other, personal. crises.
The version on show in Edinburgh will differ
THE POOR MOUTH/
Both these plays trade on the fact that much at Irish literature is written to be read aloud. The Poor Mouth is an adaptation of a Flann O’Brien book and Plurabelles Is a medley of excerpts from the works at James Joyce.
Early this century, Celtic revivalists ghosted romantic first-person accounts of the poverty and hardship that were staples in the life of the Irish peasantry. In the 1940s, O’Brien wrote an I uproarious parody of that peasant literature. As a play, The Poor Mouth has been running in ireland and Britain non-stop since its successful debut in
Dublin in 1989.
What makes the production so iunny, according to director Ronan Smith, is ‘the ridiculously satirical description of how UNBELIEVABLY miserablelile was in Gaeldom.’ If anything the play is more tongue-in- cheek than the book.
irreverent spirit as the book
‘We approach the book with the same I
approaches its send-up,’ he says.
A solo performance, Plurabelles is : anything but one-dimensional. Female characters from all over James Joyce’s oeuvre are cobbled together into a single being. Actress Maggie Shevlin calls heran ’Everywoman’
Even if you haven’t read a word oi Joyce, the play, according to Shevlin, is worth seeing just lor the ‘beauty oi the language and the wonderful humanity that comes across’. If you’ve I read any Joyce the echoes are hard to l
Gerard Lee in The Poor Mcuth
miss: the only alterations to the original texts are in the swapping of ‘l' for ‘she’ and ‘me’ lor ‘her’. ‘Apart lrorn a single line the whole i play is Joyce, word for word,’ says Shevlin. And that one line, she insists, . tits in very smoothly. (Carl Honoré)
j The Poor Mouth (Fringe) Priory
i Productions, Pieasance (Venue 33)
l 556 6550, 7-31 Aug (not 11, 27) 6pm, j £5.50/£6(£4/£4.50).
: Plurabelles(Fringe) Pukka Productions, The Arc (Venue 45) 557 9422,12-17 Aug, 7.15pm, £6 (£4).
substantially to that seen in the Borders two years ago when it ran to over two hours. Writer Allan Massie has restructured the play so that the action takes place in one
afternoon rather than with
a twenty year gap between the two halves, and has cut the running time to an hour and twenty minutes. However. the central concerns— with the Borders (there is a singer on stage performing Border ballads) and with Scott’s dual role as romantic man oflaw—
remain the same. (Frances f
I The Minstrel and the Shirra (Festival). Physicians Hall Theatre 225 5756, 12—15 Aug, 3pm; 13, 14 Aug,7.30pm, £6.50.
WE CALL IT CHASEEEED!
‘Just being Jewish wasn‘t hard enough. so I had to make it even harder,‘ says erstwhile List contributor. Paul Maverick. AKA MC Rebbe. the inventor of Kosher House music. the
perfect solution for the clubber with a
humour. ‘lt‘s a mixture of Yiddish. Hasidic and Jewish influences with dance.‘ he explains.
Combining parodies of Madonna. Prince. MC Hammer. Vanilla Ice and even Fiddler on the Roof (a 15-minute dance mix no less). with character sketches drawn from the MC Rebbe family. the act is a bizarre cross-over of music and comedy. ‘This is a cabaret venue.‘ says Maverick, ‘but I‘ve got a feeling that as things progress. the table and chairs might disappear and it‘ll turn intoa disco-oriented thing.
‘l‘m probably one ofthe few people in living memory to get a good review from TheJewish Chronicle which is quite a surprise,‘ he continues. going on to sum up the concerns of his material. ‘The gist ofit is food. guilt. paranoia and food.‘ (Mark Fisher)
I We Call ltChaseeeedl (Fringe) MC Rebbe. Paradox at the Wee Red Bar (Venue 73) 229 1003 11—31 Aug. 7pm. £4.50 (£3.50).
l VTHEATRE % sc'f-dcprccatingscnscof ETENNESSEE '
Without cash sponsorship it‘s a make-or-break Fringe for the National Student Theatre Company. although the odds on its surviv\al have undoubtedly been improved by the commissioningof Richard Cameron‘s Tennessee Rose.
Winner of last year‘s Independent Theatre Award with Can ‘I Stand Up For Falling Down. his latest work again concentrates on a female protagonist.
‘1 just tind it easyto write female roles.‘ says the three-times winner of the Sunday Times Playwrighting Award. ‘l
don‘t know why.‘ The eponymous heroine
I becomes obsessed with A
Street Car Named Desire after her only trip to the theatre. ‘This is the only art she‘s been exposed to. the only play she can relate to. and the effect on her is massive.‘
Returning to Scunthorpe and a job at Tesco. Rose‘s own
. v MUSICAL
relationships become shaped in the disrupting mirror ofTennessee Williams‘s creations. and so the tensions ofa life creating art and art distorting life are explored in ‘tragi-comic‘ terms. Concerned with. ‘identity and pretence'. the play‘s form parallels that of A Streetcar Named Desire. although Cameron is keen to stress that no knowledge of Williams is required. and promises ‘a bit of country music in there too.‘ (Stephen Chester) I Tennessee Rose (Fringe) NSTC. Cluny Church Hall (Venue 54) 452 9620. 9—31 Aug (Not Suns). 7.50pm. £4 (£3).
ONCE UPON A WAR
Set in Second World War Jersey. a cast ofsixty 10—19-year-olds re-enact the years of the German occupation. Researched and written on commission by Denise Coffey. with music by 24-year-old composer Richard Taylor. the musical focuses on the plight of a mother and her 11. 12 and 14-year-old children. ‘Basically for five pretty grim years she had a tougher battle to fight than her husband who was out at the wars.‘ explains co-director JeremyJamesTaylor. Richard Taylor‘s score incorporates ‘rich musical styles. from the genuine patriotism ofJersey songs to the pastiche ofmusic hall review numbers.‘ using lots of choral and ensemble numbers to highlight the shared experience ofthe war years on the island. ‘lt‘sa big. fabulously strong choral show with a lot of singing for everybody. It really goes through the whole gamut.‘ says Jeremy James Taylor. And. he is keen to stress. it‘s a show for all ages: ‘We always suffer a problem that people tend to think that because we‘re a youth company we do shows for kids. but nothing could be further from the truth: some of the stuff we‘ve done, not this one. is distinctly unsuitable for children. but we do shows which are about them andtherefore have to be performed by them.‘ (Robert Alstead) I Once Upon AWar (Festival ) National Youth Nimie'l'lieatre. ('hureh llill 'l‘healre (Venue 46) («$3704. 13— l7. 19.20 Aug. 7,30pm. l-l. lb. 17. 31 i .-\ug. 2.31 ipm: (ieorge Square Theatre ( Venue 37) (Th-l 37f”. 22".:3 Aug. 7pm (3pm 33 Aug). £518.
The List 9— 15 August 199139