PATRICK’S DAY The backlash starts here. Fine comics Sean llughes
be. but this. their first collaborative play. is a needlessly shoddy piece of work. Hughes just about got away with this rambling narrative style in last year's .4 One Night Stand. but with tw o of them on the stage. the lack of pace and tight direction is simply irritating. There's no shortage of good jokes in this downbeat tale of two Irish bar-men alone in l.ondon and dreaming of Boston. but it could be so much funnier if invested with the tight timing which makes both good stand-up and good theatre work. Neither performer is a very accomplished actor. although each has charm. but it's asking too much of an audience to accept such a sloppy standard of theatrical presentation. (Mark Fisher) I Patrick's Day (Fringe) Sean Hughes and ()wen O‘Neill. (iilded Ballon (Venue 38) 2262151 . until 24 Aug. 7pm. £5 (£3.50).
ORPHEUS SINGING Orpheus Whrngeing more like. What an uncharismatie bunch they are. Writer director/bass player Andy Reid has clearly put so much effort into this musical update of the Orpheus myth — ifonly a little more time had been spent on the standard of the acting. (‘rispin Dexter's Riordan (Orpheus) grimaces at the carnival. he grimaces at his piano. he grimaces in the underworld and he grimaces in the hospital. Then the chorus appears for some half-hearted singing and sub-Kids Front Fume dancing. and the whole thing rattles along with all the lest of a wet lettuce. The music is accomplished. ifshort on
42 The List lfi—ZZ August 1991
memorable tunes. but the piece is too ambitious for itsown good. It's so earnest. it's almost comically bad. (Mark fisher)
I Orpheus Singing (Fringe) linglish Music Theatre. South Side ")1
(Venue HZ ) 667 7305. until humour that goes down so
17 Aug. 7.30pm. £4 (£3.50).
V FOLK ' l HARPISTS
Iiive ladies of the harp vie for attention ov er the next week at the Acoustic Music ( 'cntrc. 'l‘his central multi-vcnue with food and bars operates from late morning
throughtoearly morning. servingmusictosuit most
.\lairc .\'i (‘hathasaigh is a tremendously accomplished harpist in the Irish tradition. and gives a wonderful solo account of the older Irish airs. also enjoying play ing the harp in a modern folk style with her talented guitarist partner.
Silcas and Savourna Stevenson are the most y isible ofScotland's current crop of clarsach players or harpists. The former. a duo. enjoy ably mix the old and the new. in song and instrumental
l them in new clothes for
quite some tiruc. eh boy s'.’ Selling out hasn't
; preventedthem selling
out at the Assembly
Rooms.however.andthc hall was packed with their
fans. mostly local. to see a slick performance full of that peculiar brand ofar'ch
well in Scotland. 'I heir show is a little more tired than w hen I saw them last. but I doubt ifanything I say w ill make much
difference. The Victor and
Barry bandwagon will go truudling on. (I’ranecs
I In The Scud ( l’ringe) Victor and Barry. Assembly Rooms ( Venue
on the electro harp. while
: herow'n rhythmic and somewhat jazzy
compositions for her state-of-the-art acotrstic instrument
(‘ariadian l.oreena McKennitt brings a touch of theatre and New Age romanticism in her band featuring cello.
and exotic percussion. (Norman Chalmers)
I Acoustic Music Centre (Venue 25) 32(l24fi3. Sileas If) Aug. 7.30pm; Maire Ni Chathasaigh and Chris Newman. 22 Aug. 7.3llpm; Loreena McKennift 2t) and II Aug. 7.3npm; Savourna Stevenson. 1)) Aug. 7.30pm.
IN THE SCUD
Victor and Barry. the queens of the Kelvinsidc am dram society return with another evening of anecdotes. songs and general carnpery . This year the show 's called In The Send. as they say in their song. ‘starkcrs. naked. nnddy . buff"
(iﬁllpm. £7.50 LS5“ (5.5” £0.50).
ARE THERE TIGERS IN THE CONGO?
'l‘wo w riters commissioned to write a
piece about A IDS sit in a
room and attempt to tackle the issue.
\Vith two actors the calibre of Simon Doriald and [co \Vringcr ( \\ ho can turn smokingand drinking coffee into
funny that. I would have thought that all the dosh l-orbcs Massou and Alan ('ummmg made from those privatisation ads would be enough to keep I
enthralling drama) this is a play which can uevergo
too far wrong. despite the
intrinsic w eakness of a script which asks tlsto accept the emotional commitrneut ins estcd by the writers intotheir role-playinggamcsasa motor for the drama.
Despite the mid didactictism. the seeptrc of AIDS is harrowiugly invoked as the writers struggle toward ‘a more personal approacli'. and the occasional much-needed comic moment is mixed with httrststit pow et'lul lyricism.
But the accomplished stagingand acting cannot oy ercome the flaws of the text. “hen the writers decide to write about themser es(this play being the product ) you tend to wish they 'd
thought of something else.
IAre There Tigersln The Congo? ( I-‘ringe ) 'l'rav crse 'l'heatr‘e ( 'o. 'l‘ray crse 'l‘heatrc (Venue l5 ) 320 2633 until lS‘Aug.
DICING WITH DEATH
Belligerent refusal to gel the ingredients of Agatha Christie. cookery and am-dram. contributes to the belly laughs in a show
V THEATRE UBU ROI/MACBETH
Jarry's Ubu Roi seems to exert a compelling fascination on companies from eastern and central Europe: it's not hard to understand why. Underneath the manic, schoolboyish surface admired by later absurdist writers lies a subtle and penetrating parable on the use and abuse of political power. The National Theatre of Craiova from Romania, following in the footsteps of the Kalona Jozsef Theatre Company in their staging of this bizarre work, have transformed the rise and fall of the gross King Ubu from a Dadaist fairytale to a potent metaphor of post-war Europe. A telling act foreshadowing the play, written, in 1888, apparently as a satire by Jarry’s schoolteacher, follows the adventures of Ubu, who becomes king of Poland after a bloody ‘coup‘, and is driven out by a Russian invasion into the bear-infested wilds of Lithuania.
Not content with Ubu alone however, Craiova’s director Sylviu Purcarete has chosen to reshape the narrative to include fragments of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, as performed in the king's honour. The link between the two plays is self-evident in their presentations of tyranny and violence: Purcarete notes that ‘there is a demented tyrannical
couple at the centre of both — I see Jarry's play as a reflection in relief of Shakespeare‘s, like the negative of a photograph.‘ The yoking together of the
' two pieces will provide a startling and _ instructive contrast, and as to the
obvious relevance to Romania‘s political climate, Purcarete stresses: ‘l
did not intend to prove some terrible
philosophy. . . Ubu Rex is a liturgy to ugliness, a cathedral of ugliness, ratherthan a protest.‘
Inevitably though, in the aftermath of Ceauscescu, the moral and political
significance will be very much in the
foreground. Emerging now from the
long years of dictatorship and
censorship, Romanian theatre is set to flourish on the world stage. If the standard set by the Comedy Theatre of Bucharest at this year’s London
International Festival ofTheatre is
; anything to go by, there is a wealth of
undiscovered, underexplored theatrical genius waiting to be liberated. Their production of A MidsummerNight’s Dream was the
jewel in LlFT’s crown. A sparkling,
deeply witty meditation on the art of
i manipulation. With consciousnesses
1 honed by decades of tribulation, theirs is an abject lesson for the West in the
‘ potential of theatre. (Andrew Pulver)
Ubu Roi/Macbeth (Festival) National
, Theatre of Craiova, Empire Theatre, 16,18—20 Aug, various times,
which reinstates one‘s beliefin publicity blurbs. There can be nothing more bonding than smoked salmon pate cooked on stage then passed around the audience. and when it comes to ambience this is gas mark 5 for 80 minutes. Risen by charm and the obvious fun that ('opstick and (‘awlcy are having (Delia Smiths of comedy. these) Dicing with Death is one of the finest comic achievements since chocolate Belgiquc was invented (and their dips
get changed‘. Anyone who doesn't like this has no palate for humour or life. Well scrummy. (Stephen Chester) I Diclng With Death (Fringe) Copstick and (Tawley.l’leasance (Venue 33) 556 1513. until 3lAug(not2l).27).opm. £5/£5.5()(£4/£4.5ll).
V THEATRE I
. TD HELL WITH : THE KEEPER 0F 1 THE LIGHT
and imaginative exploration v- through mime and voice » of the talesofa lighthouse keeper's life. from the early beginnings to the end ola way oflil'e with the comingof automation .‘vlitchell portrays themesof isolation and dispossession. ol'storms. wind. rain and sea. and both her performance and the extraordinary structure are without criticism. I Iowever, as a viewer it is hard to respond to this ghostly play which leavcsyou
were tremendous too). The future of theatre and comedy is here. in rich eooking smells and the ad libs— ‘l'll just fill you inon the plot while he's away to
A seventeen-loot hiin set
built from discarded
railway sleepers forms the core of this production. The performance by Sue Mitchell. is an historical
interested. but deprived of an emotional cortnection or empathy. (Michael Ballot”)
I To Hell With The Keeper DfThe Light(l5ringc)