Life and soul
Bruce Myers shares the distinctive | characteristics of a Peter Brook actor. His manner is assured, placid and responsive; beneath a large forehead, his eyes are alert and welcoming, while his wide mouth looks set to break into an even I broader grin at any moment. ‘A good theatre group is a colourful theatre group,‘ says Brook, and Myers ably fits the bill amid the cosmopolitan mix of the International Centre ofTheatre Research.
‘The more I work with Brook,’ Myers has said, ‘the more I see what can be achieved through calmness than through dynamism.‘
Myers was last seen in Scotland playing Krishna in Brook’s Mahabharata, the nine-hour Indian epic which revitalised Glasgow‘s Tramway in 1988. He missed the company’s most recent visit to Glasgow last year with La Tempéte because of illness, which was a great shame; I saw the production in Paris in which he played the part of Trinculo with the under-played sense of timing of a born stand-up comedian.
He's been working with Brook since the mid-60$, but A Dybukk For Two People is an extra-curricular piece which he has been performing to great acclaim since the 1980 Avignon Festival, including a run in London in 1986. Condensed into a two-hander from a five-act play
written in 1914 by Anski, a revolutionary Russian Jew, A Dybukk For Two People is about a woman who is possessed by the soul of her dead lover. In Jewish culture. a Dybukk is a restless soul who moves between the worlds of the living and the dead. and the play was originally inspired by the Yiddish folk stories of pre-war Russia which Anski collected.
Performing in Edinburgh with Corrine Jaber, Bruce Myers runs through a dazzling array of characters with the minimum of costume changes. Hailed on its last British appearance as being both heart-warming and harrowing.
amusing and eerie, the piece manages to connect with a modern audience, Jew and gentile alike, despite being firmly rooted in ancient tradition. ‘The Dybukk operates both as religious parable and psychological treatise,‘ wrote Nicholas de Jongh in the Guardian. ‘What ensues is an enthralling depiction of a mind riven by grief and an account of the defensive methods the mind takes to deal with such an emotion.’ (Mark Fisher)
I A Dybbuk For Two People (Fringe) Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 220 4349, 9—31 Aug(not 13, 20, 27). 8pm, £7.50/£8.5() (£5.5()/£6.50) .,
; Skinner his 3 teeth ;
Nudge, nudge, wink, wink, Frank Skinner's new TV comedy show will be called Packet OIThree. Titter, tltter. Never was a title more inappropriately coy, Ior Frank Skinner's stage act does not pull any punches (as anyone who saw him outshine Steve Coogan last year will know). There are Irequent sharp intakes oi breath among the audience beiore It realises that what Skinner is saying Is actually very, very : Iunny while also being virtually taboo. ‘It is a problem with me,’ admits Frank. ‘l otten have to sharply intake myseli, having just said something. I don't know what It Is, I mean there’s something within me that makes me come out with these things. I'm not totally approving at It mysell. It’s one man’s battle against obscenity; the obscenity oi himseii. People come up
to me and say “I liked the act, but there
was this one joke . . and the joke will have been out oi the blue, something I'd just said on the night and then it’s held against me months later. That’s a bit harsh.’
It Is indeed Frank, but then so are all oi your put-downs to those unwise enough to try to heckle. Once again, Skinner ieels that sometimes his razor-sharp tongue can get out oi control. ‘Some at it is just completely
oil the top at my head. The stuii ior the audience really could be anything, it just depends on who's there and what they’re wearing and what they say. I’m sure the show will be changing Irom day to day.
‘As Ior putting down hecklers, I don't really know how I do it. When I Iirst started, when I was shit, I was crap at it - probably because I had very little to delend. I think that it comes lrom being a very nasty school kid. I was horrible. I was a bit scrawny and got popular with all the big kids by going around and Insulting all oi the other kids. That’s
probably where I got all my practice
Skinner claims that the prospect 01 a
5 tightly scripted show would bore him to , death, so now, ‘I just piss about and i make stuII up,’ he says. ‘And I just cut
chunks out. It’s like those Asian records that get played on the radio.
1 They tend not to have endings and you
just hear the DJ take a pair oi scissors to them. That’s how my act usually ends.’ (Philip Parr)
Frank Skinner (Fringe), The Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550, 941 Aug (not 13,29), 9pm, £6/26.50(£5/£5.50).
Alan Morrison takes In
some entertainment In that ‘eiter dinner but beiore lest orders' time slot.
as ~ , i‘ I Archaos More Mad Max than Billy Smart, the surreal French circus troupe are back with a new explosive mix of acrobatics, loud music and bizarre visuals. August in Edinburgh wouldn't be complete without them. BX -91 .' Beau C omme La Guerre (Festival) Archaos, Leith Links, 225 5756, 10 Aug—1 Sept (not Mons), 8.30pm (3pm matinee Sat and Sun), [10 (ill/£4).
I Dick Gaughan A politically committed singe r/songwriter whose mixture of traditional and self-penned songs has an appeal that extends beyond folk music circles. And the anecdotes between numbers are often just as entertaining. Dick Gaughan (Fringe) Queen's Hall (Venue 72) 6682019, 15Aug, 8pm, £6 (£3).
I That Swing Thong Nights of hot music, soft ballads and, above all, ‘lurve‘ in an amazing tented setting. Craig MeMurdo delivers smooth vocals with tongue ﬁrmly in cheek, backed by talented musicians and helped along by the Jiving Lindy Hoppers.
TheJive Cafe in the Tentof Dreams (Fringe) Craig McMurdo in ThalSwing Thang.
Assembly/ Wildcat, The Meadows (Venue 116) 220 4349, 9-31 Aug (not Mon 19), 8pm, £7 ([6).
I Sean Hughes The man who put a bit of ﬁzz back into the Perrier Award reverts to more traditional stand-up methods and shares with us his views on '
dodgy uncles, failed romances and bedsit blues. Tour de force, as a reviewer would say.
I Shouldn 't Be Telling You This, But. . . (Fringe) Sean Hughes, Gilded Balloon (Venue 38) 226 2151, 9—20Aug, 9pm, £5 (£4).
33355 seize 5' €35. 9 :9
The List9- 15 August 1991 43