Dual duel

Last year’s production oi Prokoiiev’s The Duenna by the Bolshoi Opera ol Moscow remains in the memory for its sparkle, lightness and originality. The company’s return this year, with Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin and Christmas Eve by Rimslry-Korsakov, is

eagerly awaited.

Onegin, Tchaikovsky's passionate romantic opera alter Pushkin‘s poem, is a brand new production, brought to Edinburgh alter its opening at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, and yet to be seen in Moscow. It is the company’s iirst new production oi Eugene Onegin in almost 50 years. Telling at a love which can never be, death by duel plus a couple oi grand early 19th-century balls and some of Tchaikovsky's most exquisite i orchestral and vocal writing, Onegin is ; a gripping blend of drama and music. 1 its two perlormances at the Playhouse l will be sung in Russian with English


Similarly, the second opera which i the Bolshoi brings to Edinburgh, will also be sung in its original language. 1 While Onegin may beiamiliarenough to audiences, Rimsky-Korsakov’s :



Christmas Eve is much less well-known. A master oi orchestration and an enthusiast tor mythological and iantastic subjects, Bimsky-Korsakov takes one oi Gogol's Ukranian folk tales as his inspiration. Both operas are designed by Valery Levenihal and conducted by Alexander Lazarev. (Carol Main)

Eugene Onegin (International Festival) Bolshoi Opera, The Playhouse, 225 5756, 21-22 Aug, 7pm, 26-23350. Christmas Eve (International Festival) Bolshoi Opera, The Playhouse, 225 5756, 24—25 Aug, 7pm, Eli—£33.50.




Transcending, as well as tickling. many a taste-bud, La Gran Scena shows off its mischievous opera parts to an admiring audience wallowing in vaudeville campness and a thousand innuendos. A cabaret opera, performed in drag and rich in parody. that is also a tribute built on adoration to the Diva. The comedy is very much ofthe same variety throughout ‘she’s like a virgin, but not exactly‘ the show, however, also provides a sub-conscious indoctrination (for the uninitiated) into the world of opera starlets. Furthermore, the serious, expressive standard of the music allows the company to poke fun at the

poke they do) while l making a statement of g strength underneath their ' costumes. Subversive slapstick fun.

accompanied by quality musicianship. (Michael Balfour)

l La Gran Scena Opera Company (Fringe) Assembly Rooms (Venue 3), 2204349. until 31 Aug. 6pm. £7/£8 (£5.5()/£6.S()). l


I There sa lot of pointingin i

' this needlessly

experimental Los Angelcs production. The performer (her name is wisely absent from any publicity) pointsat the men in the audience when she babbles about rape. at the women when she complains about

' menstruation and at

couples when she gibbers about relationships. She has little to say. so she bends herselfdouble. pulls faces and wraps herselfin masking tape to make it seem as though she has.

I imagine California does this to people. The backingtapetothisseries . of monologues is made up [ of the insane preaching of I Americanreactionaries. | They are transparently 3 insane. it is not ‘satirical social commentry' to let us ?

only the dubious pleasure of watching someone indulgently stick tape to herself. (Mark Fisher) lAmericanTaiIS(i-‘ringc) (‘actus Prick. Richard Demarco Gallery (Venue '22) 557 (1707. (3pm. £4 (£2.50).



Last year‘s Independent Theatre Award winners return with another Richard Cameron play. this time about a girl who fills in the gaps in her life with a Tennessee Williams obsession. Rose hasa boring job at Tesco and a strained family life. Her escape from the ennui of Scunthorpe is A Streetcar Named Desire. which she uses as a template for her own life when she moves in with the loutish Tom— Stanley to her Stella.

As the relationship deteriorates. Rose identifies more and more with Blanche Dubois and it is no longer clear whether she controls her fantasy or whether it controls her.

This is a complex play. done full justice by an . excellent cast and an especially impassioned performance from Joanne Wootton in the central role. but though a good

much in the IlullTruck mould to be really innovative. (Frances Cornford)

I Tennessee Bose (Fringe) NSTC. Cluny 2 (Venue 54) 452 9620. until 31 Aug (not Suns). 7.50pm. £4 (£3).



In this spooflecture. complete with slides. statistics and a book on sale at the end. Robert Llewellyn appears as a pyschosexual councillor to tell us about the genesis of the reconstructed man. Think of man as an old house. he says. as he goes through the ways of dealing with blame. guilt and testosterone that can turn a gloomy Victorian brownstone into an airy des res.

Now this is fine as far as it goes. and it enables l.|ewelyn to get in some good sideswipes about what a becr-swilling bastard ‘normal’ man is while sending up ‘caring' man at the same time. but it is essentially one joke and Llewelyn has trouble stretching it out for 45 minutes. let alone the advertised hour and a quarter.

1 know reconstructed man doesn‘t like to goon about himself. but surely he could manage longer than this. (Frances (‘ornford)

l The Bebonstructed Heart (Fringe) Robert Llewellyn. Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 220 4349. until 24 Aug. 6pm. £61’£7(£5/£6).


BORED GAMES Any pretence this production has to meaning evaporates as soon as the actors start awarding themselves marks for recitals from King Lear and the quality oftheir German accents.

More workshop than play. it deals with an internecine family reunion at which a peer's progeny murder each other to acquire their dead father‘s magiCaIIy endowed tailcoat.

riotoust amusing in parts by peppc ring Shakespearian blank verse with contemporary expletives. A magnificent simulated sex scene to piano accompaniment suggests that a better pun than Bored Games might have been Bawd Games. (James Penn)

I Bored GameS(Fringc) Red Ilerring Company. Calton Centre (Venue ll9)6619121Aug.until 24 (not Suns) 6. 15pm. £4 (£3.50).



Successfully adapted for the stage from a Defoe novel. this piearcsquc tale of a woman whoring her way up the socio-economic ladder at great cost to herselfand others is told with a fluency and panache which is a delight to watch.

Unfortunately. the morality and economies which underpin the play are now so alien that many of the over-long speeches are nothing more than a collection of archaisms. although it is a credit to the company that we remain enthralled with Roxana's fate until the end.

Time consumingand tiresome scene changes slow the pace on what is otherwise a well designed and excellently performed piece which mixes comedy. brutality and tragedy with aplomb. (Stephen Chester)

I Roxana (Fringe) The Johnson Family. Chaplaincy Centre (Venue 23) 5565184. until 25 Aug (not 18).6pm. £4.50 (£3).


Just as the language of JamesJoyce meanders luxuriously across the page. Maggie Shevlin‘s voice weaves its colourful path through this evocation ofJoyce‘s ‘textual Woman‘. The words barely graze us before being replaced by new. equally seductive syllables. A soft Irish drawl provides us with a composite ofJoycean wives/daughters/mothers/ lovers. only broken by the coarse (surprisingly Belfast) accent of gossipy washerwomen. Plurabelles is a lyrical show, certainly not intended for those disinclined toward listening. Ms Shevlin‘s

aware of Joyce's subtlety and humour. Her monologue flows and swells with Paul Sheehan's script. providing a marvellous aural experience for those attentive enough to appreciate it. (Roberta Mock)

I Plurabelles (Fringe). Pooka Productions. The Arc (Venue 45) 557 9422. to 17 Aug. 7.15pm.£6 (£4).


Perching on a rickety stepladder, a scratching, scuttling dormouse of an old lady. in a blue, stained dress. sews a large all-purpose blanket for the poor (toilet rolls, undies, and packets of mashed potatoes). Ave Maria (Linda Kerr Scott) has a fetish for fantasies and absurd domestic rituals cocooning herself in her lonely world, fretting how to fill the day. This pathetic ‘901b spinster' warns us that perhaps she‘s not altogether harmless. And so it proves as, during the course of a Sunday afternoon, an increasingly grotesque nature is exposed, ‘a black and dangerous angel riddled with injuries ofthe past'. This faultless performance captures the very soul of the loneliness and boredom of the character, expressing the depth of her desperation with acute comic insight. Featuring a performance of the highest quality and physical dexterity, the show is a piercing and frequently hilarious theatrical journey of astonishing completeness and depth. (Michael Balfour) I AVG Marlo (Fringe) Theatre De Complicité, Assembly Rooms (Venue 3). 220 4349. until 31 Aug. 7.45 pm, £6.50/£7.50

pomposityofopera(and hearthem.We aregiven l night atthetheatre,too ltmanagestobe deliveryjsmasrcrful‘ (£5/£6).

The List 16- 22 August l99l 45