Such is the Kosh's reputation for physical.

i risk-takingdance.that inevitably you find yourselfsittingon the edge of your seat. waiting for something breath-taking to happen. This is the wrong attitude for Dinner Dance, where the choreography is clever. cunning even. but not spectacular.

The set looks fantastic: at brightly coloured fitted kitchen— home at different moments to three different couples with typical relationship problems— and as each couple acts out a particular scenario. the other dancers use themselves as props. lifting the couple into the air. or manipulating their movements to give an exaggerated significance to their words. The whole thing is very skilful. neither dance nor theatre. but somewhere in between.

The second part ofthe show seems not to fulfill its promise: the dancers come on stage wearing harnesses which hint at mid~air acrobatics. but are in fact simply used by the dancers as a way of securing each other during certain movements. The modern minimalist music and repetitive sequences are certainly mesmerising. and. from a technical point of view the choreography is impressive but. I expected something a bit more dramatic. (Miranda France).

I DInnerDance (Fringe) The Kosh. Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 220 4349.16—24(not 19). 3.15pm. £7—£8 (£5.50—£6.50)



Billie Holiday uficinudos will not be disappointed by Suzanne Bonnar‘s deft and emotive

interpretation of the legend. With asinging voice that is at once sultry. child-like and quirky. combined with : straight-forward honest acting. Bonnar gets under : an audience's skin as sharply as the needles her character was addicted to. No holds are barred. Billie was victimised and humiliated. We feel ashamed on behalfof audiences past. those w ho perpetrated the stigma ot


Jump to it

The Mapapa Acrobats are back. Critics were unanimous in 1990 that what they saw was humanly impossible. Matano Ismail, a member at the group, admlts what they do Is ‘very dangerous and

extremely exciting’.

The seven of them, together with tour at Mandingo, the African benga beat band, will come to us fresh irom their ilrst festival In Tokyo. Jointly known as The Harambee tour from Mombasa, Kenya, they are all men - toll of lite and the dancing rhythm - and they present a show for all the family that has to be

seen to be believed.

Just like our own street dancers, the acrobats have taught themselves the physical Ieats of their art. Using a combination of traditional gymnastic training (somersaults, rope skipping and climbing) together with Chinese Chi Gung and other martial arts practice at two hours per day, they are supremely lit and lithe. They met at

secondary school and started the group from there. Aged 21-26, each with up to ten years experience, the Mapapa Acrobats are known world-wide for their daring and non-stop boogie.

Matano ismail described tor me

some of their acts: there’s the Kandabeli - a pyramid oi four people with Matano balanced on top and llicklng oil in his illght back to the floor, and then there's the most death deiying Luna Pack- a still taller pyramid with 1 six people underneath and Matano 3 perched near the ceiling. They also i indulge In limbo, where the rod is some 1 six Inches oil the ioor, and tumbling oi the highest speeds and neatest accuracy. (Tamsin Grainger) Mapapa Acrobats and the Band Mandingo— Kenya (Fringe), Assembly/Wildcat at the Meadows (Venue 116) 220 4349, 9—17 Aug, 5.45pm, £6.50 (£5).

her being a ‘nigger'. and also smug in the recognition of the errors

of their ways. And yet she '

singsto us like a fallen angel. woozily and sublimely.

The life vs as ugly but it

gave birth to great beauty.

[Cover The ll’ulerfrom manages to convey both within its documentary-style limitations. (Roberta Mock)

I I CovertheWatertront (Fringe) Gilded Balloon (Venue 66) 226215l.until 1‘) Aug. 4pm. £4.50 (£3.50).



Two years ago. the Traverse shell-shocked audiences with Hanging The President. an intense and uncompromising

34 The List 16- 22 August 1991

study ofsexuality and racism among prisoners on death row in South Africa. In the same hot and claustrophobic studio space. The Struggle ofthe Dogs and the Black picks up similarthemes. as three whites. one black and an errant dog are exposed to the loneliness of a West African construction site.

The limitation ofthe piece held together by compelling. ifuneven

performances— is that playwright Bernard -Marie Koltes fails to make clear his intentions. lie is trying to say something much richer than the idea that colonialism is unpleasant. but that rather obvious sentiment is the clearest

message that comes

across. There's a lot to absorb and mull over on route. but it's difficult to digest. (Mark Fisher)

I The Struggle oi the Dogs and the Black(Fringc) Traverse Theatre (Venue I5) 226 2633. until 18 and 27—31 Aug. 4pm: 20—25

Aug. noon.£7(£-I).


This is the sort ofquirky curiosity that keeps the Fringe interesting. Essentially a one-joke play. it is nonetheless an endearingtwo-hander about a pair of bachelors

whose obsessive daily routine is threatened by the shady activities ofa third off-stage flat-mate. Murder becomes an option in this. the most innocuous ofthe current crop of psycho-killer plays.

Ben Miller and Martin Jones work tightly together. darting through Ol Parker‘s silly. but amusing script. which manages to surprise just as you think it‘s becoming

i predictable. It‘s not

essential viewing. but a pleasant way to spend 40 minutes. (Mark Fisher)

: I Killers (Fringe) Last

Best Chance. Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550. until 31 Aug (not 27), 5. 15pm. £3/£3.50 (£2. £2.50).


Caroline goes to a seaside town to cope with her unwanted pregnancy. Having befriended fast-talking Stella. she is visited by a motherly pal and a lesbian chum. All the players are there fora free-for-all discussion about female sexuality and responsibility. and what saves it from beinga hoary old replay ofan Oprah Winfrey show is the all-woman cast.

They serve up the clever

one-liners.the sorrowand the frustration with such conviction and relish that

the audience bounces

back and forth between

raucous laughter and quiet reflection. Well wortha look. (Carl llonoré)

IWhale Muslc(Fringe) Cambridge Mummers. Over-seas House (Venue l9)225 5105.various dates until Aug. 3pm.£3 (£2.50).



A misleading title really. because there's nothing

I perverse about the

characters which David

Mamet has created. They all fit quite neatly into any cynic‘s stereotypes for 70s (or indeed 905) man and woman. There's a man-hating career woman. a naive. love-struck romantic. a loutish. boastful (probably virginal) misogynist and his gullible and impressionable side-kick.

The romantic and the side-kick get together. fall in love, argue. fall out of love. swear a lot and return to their respective

l i

opposite-sex-despisers all in the space of an hour and a half. But Mamet‘s and the company's great skill is such that. while none of the characters are sympathetic. and while w e are always laughing at them rather than with them. we are. nonetheless. always laughing. (Philip Parr)

I Sexual Perversity In


Theatre Company. Gilded Balloon (Venue 38) 2262151.until31 Aug (not Mons). 3.15pm.£5 (£3).



A man and a woman stand on stage reciting the essay ‘La Gioconda‘ by the 19th century aesthetician Walter Pater. The man first turns the woman into an object. then ties her up. threatens her. beats her. kills her. undresses her— well bare flesh and battery always pull in the crowds— and then feels her breasts. sucks her nipples, licks her buttocks. all the time reciting from ‘La Gioconda'.

All this sex and violence is working up tothe ludicrous assertion that Epicureanism turns you intoa serial killer. Oh deary me. didn‘t they has e this discussion in the 1880s? And here we are a hundred years later and a show that regards art as morally bad for you can still find it's way intothat bastion of experimentalism. the Demarco Gallery. Meanwhile. Pater has been a deplorable influence on such serial killers as James Joyce and Virginia Woolf.

The only thingthat makes the performance at all interesting. blatantly exploited though it is. is - the luminescent beauty of Pater's prose. I recommend that you forgo thistiresome playand instead invest in a copy of Pater's “The Renaissance' (Penguin Classics. £3.95) available from all good bookshops. (Frances Cornford)

I La Gloconda (Fringe) n Open Stage. Richard DcmarcoGallery(Venue 22)5570707.until24Aug

(not Sun).4.45pm,£4 l (£3). J