LIFE SUPPORT The hospital as a place where life and death meet. and unpredictable forces are let loose. is the theme ofthis play. Four sketches depict four different situations inside the hospital walls from the man who goes to extraordinary lengths to procure himselfa hospital bed to the woman in a coma who speaks to the audience from her unconscious state.

The company makes imaginative use ofits props. movement and mime to augment the dialogue. The sketches are too slight to really engage the audience however. and what could be an interesting enquiry into the state ofillness seems over before it has properly begun. (Frances Cornford)

I Life Support (Fringe) La Compagnie du Parti-Pris. Hill Street Theatre (Venue 4 l ) 225 729-1. until 24Aug(not l7. l8). 2.30pm. £3 (£2.50).


And now for something distinctly strange. Jonathan Kay improvises a modern version of a Shakespearean-ty pe 'w ise fool“. he is the imaginary friend we had in childhood. the urge to impulsive silliness we usually suppress. lle disturbs and disconccrts his audience. constantly threateningtocross the line between stage and seats. asking for people's names. weaving details about them into his performance. lt‘s shrewdly judged; he cncroaches far enough to unsettle. reminding us how deeply inhibited and conformist most of its are. but deluscs the tension with his weirdly laneilul brand ol humour. lt’san interesting. challenging mixture; not evcryone’s cupol tea some people evidently wanted to be left alone and entertained but genuinely original and thimight-provoking. (Sue Wilson)


IJonathan Kay(Fringc) Acrossthe Mersey Theatre. South Bridge Centre (Venue 123)557 9659. until 24 Aug(not Sun 18). l.l()pm.£5 (£3.50).


Last in a trilogy of plays that reflect on memory and death. Moon-calfalso takes inspiration from Kantor and The Tempest and the relationship between Prospero and Ariel. At least that's what author Angus Reid says in the programme. In practice it is one ofthose impenetrable pieces of theatre whose raison d'erre is obfuscated by weighty symbolism and dramatic theory.

Two men walk around tied to each other by rope and carrying a ladder. The elder is on the verge of death and the balance of power shifts between the two as he waxes and wanes. He is the moon and the younger man is the calf. They explore opposites of life/death. illusion/reality. order/chaos with the aid of aforesaid ladder and several dozen umbrellas. l have seen pieces of theatre which have been as obscure in meaning as this. but have still been intensely moving. Unfortunately this wasn‘t one of them. (Frances (‘ornford)

I Moon-call(t‘-‘ringc) Angus Reid. Richard Demarco Gallery (Venue 22) 557 ()707. until 22 Aug. lpm. £3.5li(£2.5()).



In this dramatic

adaptation ofJuvenal's

Sixth satiie on Roman Women there's little to fault in ('raig(‘rosbie's performance. But the character he plays. l’ctronius()‘Worsthornc. is not a comfortable man to be with. The sartorial elegance and

sophistication jars with his

vitriolic misogynism as he ptits his case against takinga wife. Asif mentally ticking off items on a shopping list. he runs through the gamut of womanhood from the well-heeled (‘less a wile than a neighbour‘) to the chaste pauper.

An intelligent script. Which. dare I say it.docs penetrate types of womanhood with wicked satire. but who wantslo see a bitter and twisted

mysogynist rant on stage'.’ I

28'l'he List “3- 22 August 1991




A Black Mime Theatre Women’s Troop production, which sounds right-on enough to make Germaine Greer feel guilty. The show itself though, resists the temptation to point accusing indexes. The three performers (two black, one Asian, all female) play all the parts psychotic son and father combo, simpering girlfriend, film director, ice-cream seller etc, with considerable energy and enthusiasm. The aim is to show the sexist,

exploitative and plain ridiculous nature of your average American shoot-em-up movie. In the end, the female lead decides that she isn‘t going to take any more of this macho shit and makes a stand. A happy conclusion. But did we really need it spelt out that Rocky is a joke or that the film industry exploits its female stars? There‘s too much

. shouting too. (Philip Parr)

Total Rethink (Fringe) Black Mime Theatre Company, The Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550, until 31 Aug (not 19, 27), 1pm. SIS/£5.50 (SB/£3.50).

(Robert Alsteatl) I Sexpots ofAncientRome (Fringe). Thatcher's Blue

i ()titfit. Hill Street Theatre

(Venue 41). until 24 Aug (not Sun l8). l.l(lpm. Bun ( £3).


Serial killeis may \\ell be the media's llayoui ol the month. but fascination

“till the psychology ol the

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._ 9.1% f ‘25 75‘s



lsurten \\ liose infamous eyploits made the from pagesol (iei man

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lliispoweitul and liteiate play is “c” acted by the tliiee pet loimers. btit slightly let down by sterile staging.indstyliscd diyeisionstliat add littlein tlieniselyesotliei than .itltllligsoltte much-neededcomic ieliel ll posestjuestions of a killei'smotiyesantl upbringingina well-sti iictitted manner. but attemptstotic tliisin \\ llll the iise ol \a/ism detract from the Intensity til the L'c‘llll ttl \tll‘lc‘sl matter All it] all. .in eycclleiit play . but more stifled lot liltlltl l.-\latl \lotltsonl

INormalzthe Dusseldorf Rippelll-iingcl l’syeliopalliiaSe\u.i|is. l’leasancc l Venue 33). 55h (L551). until .‘~l .-\ug t not l.\'. 22l.2pm. £4 H.511

it: In L3).




Taking the historical characters of Burke and flare. infamous Scottish bodysnatchers. and repackaging it as a 1990s tale. ArchesTheatrc (‘ompany capitalise on some neat political satire a la private health care. They avoid becoming over-polemieal. however. thus maintaininga quick-fire slapstick pace. Despite a thin audience and numerous technical problems. the cast made

g the most ofthe rock

I |

numbers which every so often erupted on stage and sometimes in the auditorium. A little rough at the edges perhaps. but no doubt a symptom of first-night nerves which will have been soothed by the warm reaction ofthe audience. (Aaron Hicklin)

I The Return of Burke and flare (Fringe). Gilded Balloon Theatre (Venue 38). 2262l51.until31 Aug(not Mons). 1.15pm. £5 (£4).



ldon't know whether Robert Goodalc. who performsthisone-man Wodehouse adaptation. had been on the razzle the night before. but something was badly wrong somewhere. L'mpteen lines were fluffed or forgotten. and the timing was completely to pot. Nevertheless. (ioodale struggled gamely on. and his skill at multiple characterisation (he plays Wooster. Jeeves. and assorted friends. aunts and enemies) was discernible. This. together with the quality ofthe original material (much ofthe script was a fairly direct lift) say ed him from complete disaster. It's not a new production. and has previously been well received. so perhaps it was just a particularly severe off-day. (Sue Wilson)

I The Code of the Woosters (Fringc)The Dream Tent. Assembly at the Meadows. 22” 43-19. 9—31 Aug (not Weds). 1.30pm. to ( £5).



The beautiful people generally appear at the Fringe. They certainly do in Le (jrandes Meaulnes where the major prerequisite for getting into the cast seems to be stunning good looks. Not to take any credit from them. the majority also act solidly. The problem is that this production does nothing whatsoever to dent one's prejudice against youth theatre groups. The play is ‘adapted from the novel‘ (French ofcoursc). the direction is stylised and dated and there is a line or two for every member of the cast. When you add the fact that the storyline is slightly less interesting than that ofaThomas llardy novella. in spite of