But not as big a bastard as the sad inadequate responsible for writing this shamefully inept mish-mash of inconsequential dialogue. crass plot and numbingly tedious 'humour‘. Surely there’s enough misery in the world without subjecting us tothis?

It's a feeble farce seton Christmas Eve in the telephone help-line office. A stream ofinadcquates (transvestites. pregnant teenagers. Lithuanians with Spanish accents and psychopathic Santa Clauses) tramp in and out delivering lines ofa rarefied level ofstupidity. The only element of interest is wondering which members ofthc audience will have the nerve to walk right across the stage and through the cast to the exit. It's actually quite difficult to find a show completely devoid ofthc faintest glimmer of wit. talent or intelligence. This is that show. (Tom Lappin) Santa Claus Is A Bastard (Fringe) Fly Away Theatre Company. Festival Club (Venue 36) 6502395. 11—31 Aug. 6.15pm.£4.50(£3.50).



Revealing and deeply disturbing. Operation Grapple raises a number of pertinent questions about the Christmas Island H-bomb tests; questions which should haunt those responsible for the operation. but which clearly do not. Through fairly simple

2 staging devices—awidow recordingherthoughts

into a dictaphone. letters written home and some

I penetrating sound recordings. Profundis

Theatre Company delves

? intothe sordiddetails 2 surroundingthe


! explosions to create a

powerful and moving documentary drama. Counterposing eye-witness accounts and statistics with the innocent and emotive interaction between soldier Kenny and his wife Margaret. Operation Grapple underscores the callous irresponsibility of the militaryestablishment against the naive trustof the young men called to national service. (Aaron Hicklin) l Operation Grapple Profundis Theatre Company. Edinburgh Playhouse Studio (Venue 59). 5560-161 . until 31 Aug. 7.30pm. £5 (£4).



Revolving around the ancient story ofthc forbidden love between

. Daphnis and Chloe. this is

the type of show which

could put you off

reviewing for life. The

' company often

‘communicate' its ideas in

| amixtureoflanguagc (though not English).

expressionistic tableaux. mime. Latvian primal

j screams (an experience which is beyond

description) and. well. lewd ritualistic behaviour (a woman masturbating on the fleece of a lamb).

Described in the programme as ‘aiming on to spheres above the

assertorious problems of

an individual'. I‘d prefer to call it div ine disaster. Happy is the punter who

escapes this show.


(Michael Balfour)

I A Game With Billy Goat Songs (Fringe) E.T.S.. Richard Demarco Gallery (Venue 22). 5570707. until 24 Aug (not 18). 7.30pm. £4 (£3).


Kwamanzi is a delightfully absorbing movement piece from acompany which educates while it entertains. Theatre For Africa respect and rejoice in the animals of Southern Africa which they portray. There is nothing cute about their animated mime; indeed. some sections ofthe performance are. like nature. quite brutal and frightening. The

i :

majestic marshall eagle. a noble and graceful giraffe. and a surprisingly terrifying leopard mating ritual. A production which

' is joyful. clever and full of

humour. (Roberta Mock) I Kwamanzl (Fringe). Theatre for Africa.The Nethcrbow(Venue 30) 5569579. 26.28. 30 Aug.6pm.£6 (£5).


behaviour of bush animals

has obviously been meticulously researched and scrutinised. leading to

the creation of a gloriously


‘You're not from the newspaper are you'." A finger iabs accusingly at the audience. Booth (David Beeler). 19th-century tragedian and brother ofLincoln's assassin. pulls out a skull and starts dressing for ‘Hamlet'. risking relaunching his career after the press smear campaign.

Beeler manifests finely tuned charisma throughout this neurotic confessional. which is at once poignant and delicately comic. (Undressing behind his screen. he bobs like a coy Jack-in-the-Box.)This production. reversing that image ofthc skull. breathes startling life into Victoriana and ‘Best of the Bard' soliloquies (potentially risky material). (Kate Bassett) I Booth (Fringe) Paradox Productions. Hill Street Theatre. (Venue 41).225 7294.19-31Aug.6.10pm. £5 (£4).


Volcano are four years old and they have nerve. They‘re still raw. like an open wound. but with tight direction (Janek Alexander) and powerful choreography (Nigel Charnock) they are growing in sophistication.

Medea: Sex Waris by Tony Harrison. with chunks from Valerie Solanis‘ SCUM Manifesto. lt‘s challenging. raunchy. and ludicrous in parts. and it sustains its 90 minutes despite the company's youth.



Ros Clarke, founder of Theatre Workshop, returns after a 25-year absence with Big New in The Vision Of


The US group attracted Clarke’s ' attention through its arresting visual = style and high energy performances.



Big Nazo began performing its

i improvisational, audience interactive

throughoutthe USA.

Further descriptions are useless- as

: Clarke claims, ‘Big Nazo cannot be ; explained, they have to be seen.’ - (Stephen Chester) 5

l i theatre on the streets, going on to tours i i i

Us"!!! We 8'18 loam Willie's 30d maSkS ' The Vision Of Nostrildamus (Fringe)

It delivers a tragl-comic, cabaret-style freak show which blends comedy, dance and music to ‘mlnd-blowing'


1 Big Nazo, Theatre Workshop (Venue 20) 226 5425, 19-31 Aug, 7.45pm, £5 ,

There's one performance that has to be mentioned—Fern Smith is stunning— beautiful range ofvoice. exemplary concentration. and her stage presence is captivating. Definitely worth catching. (Tamsin Grainger)

l Medea: Sex War (Fringe) Volcano Theatre.Theatrc Workshop(Venue 20) 226 5425. until 17 Aug. 7.30pm. l9—31Aug(not Sun 25). 11pm.£5(£4).



‘Shalom. motherfuckers!‘ is the greeting from MC

i i F


Rebbe. the Fringc's first Orthodox Jewish rap artist. w ho proceeds. via his unique “Kosher House' style. to give usa whistle-stop tour around Jewish culture. language.


food and neuroses. The ' undoubted show-stopper : is‘lt'smyForeskinandl‘ll Cry If 1 Want To'. but , there'splentyelsetolaugh at. and the closing Madonna send-up. complete with basque and suspenders. is impressively vulgar ifwell overstretched. There's a lot of potential here-at the momentit‘sdistinctly i ragged around the edges. the obvious laughs milked at the expense ofsubtlety. but with polish this could be a class act. (Sue Wilson)

I We Call ltCheseeeedl (Fringe) MC Rebbe. Paradox at the Wee Rcd Bar(Venuc 73) 229 1003. until 31 Aug. 7pm.£4 (£3.50).

46 The List 16- 22 August 1991