()nce again. the Iidinburgh Fringe gives puppetry the opportunity to emerge from the quagmire ofchildren's shows and summer seasons to which it has been relegated in Britain. After Phillipe (ienty's seriously adult puppetry last year (and again this year). 1991‘s Fringe plays host to Teatr Banialuka and its production. Solitude.

The company is from Bielsko-Biala iii the sotith of Poland and Solitude is based on the writingsof one of that country's literary heroes. Bruno Schulz. The author wrote in a similar style to. and on similar topics as. Franz Kafka. before being murdered by the Nazis during the Second World War. .S‘oli'tude’s central figure. and the only one with a speaking role. sits on a chair at a table while hallucinogenic visionsof his past and future swoop by.

It isthe rest ofthe company (puppeteers is an inadequate description) who by donning masks. manipulating puppets or simply propelling everyday objects around the central figure. create a grotesque vision by appearingand disappearing into the

artificial gloom created by

an imaginative set. Soliiude's surreal imagery is directed by Francois Lazaro who has his own puppet company in Paris and is guesting with Teatr Banialuka. (Philip Parr) I Solitude (Fringe) Teatr Banialuka. The Traverse Theatre (Venue 15) 226 2b33.13—31Aug(not Mons). ll).15pm.£8(£4).



Forget ‘make 'em laugh‘. Etcctera know how to get a Fringe hit ‘make 'em ponder‘. Six grey-suited. bespectacled figures appear on stage and over the ensuing 80 minutes indulge in tightly


choreographed dance routines (though never breaking into a sweat). comedy routines (though never uttering a word) and musical routines (though never playinga recognisable tune).

For the most part. the

; audience sat in a bemused trance. possiny amazed .‘ that they had paid six quid

for this. but more likely because they had never

seen the like before. And

that is what makes

Fteetera Incorporated essential Fringe viewing.


stand-up. or how moving the theatre. the majority ofshows will be forgotten in six months time. But once you've seen this group. every commuter and every briefcase will stir a memory. (Philip Parr)

I Etcetera Incorporated (Fringe) I'itcetera. The Assembly Rooms (\"enue 3) 2204349. until 31 Aug (not 21). 27). 1 1.45pm.

£6 £7 (£516).




Ilow long before Lily

Savage becomes Dame I.in Savage Housewife Superstar? She has the


characteristics. the flair for a cutting put-down and

the speed of thought ofa

Dame [Edna and. above

all. she is a hilarious ,

; amusing by having Frank

stand-up comedian. In a set made especially

Clarke and the Blimde I'TS! crew contributing to the Scouse banter from the audience. and by Savage attempting a fire-eating

routine and settingthe j

describingthe Queen's mantelpiece.

alarms off. she proves herselfa champion of spontaneity. She views the world as if from a Skelmersdale semi. whether she‘s pilfering goods from Argos or

I'd recommended this set whole-heartedly. if only it wasn‘t for the tedious contribution ofa pub act called Catriona and the Boy. who outstay their welcome by at least three songs and four over-long introductions. (Mark Fisher)

I The Live Experience- Lily Savage (Fringe) Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 2204349. until 31 Aug. midnight. lib/£7 (£5116).


v COMEDY I MR PP ' Tim Tyler is responsible forthe creation of Mr PP. an anal retentive English l


The Everyman figure of a lowly governmentclerk wanders meekly throughthistale oi his questiora decent coat to keep out the Russian winter. Saving a near-impossible sum of moneyihrough absurdly extreme sacrifices. he finally buys his dream-coat. onlyto lose it again and be swallowed in a huge. heartless bureaucracy as he tries to get it back. Using a new adaptation from Gogol. this vigorous and inventive production


explores the themes of social injustice. the unequal contest between individual and ‘system‘. and the ways ‘little‘ people create some sense of purpose in a thankless existence. Wit and

wisdom. bleakness and black humour. are shaken together in a largely successful and satislying cocktail.

(Sue Wilson)

FESTIVAL ( . , \-

The Overcoat (Fringe) Tottering Bipeds. Richard Demarco Gallery (Venue 22) 557 0707. unti124 Aug (not

Sun18). 10.30pm. £5.50(£4.50).

eccentric who is no more interestingor real than any of the nerds with whom we are all familiar in the office (excuse me." - (id) or the street.

And this enormously irritating persona pointedly fails to link tip a series of disparate magic and juggling tricks which have subsequently to he padded out by musical interludes to reach a full 51) minutes. Ten minutes would stun you 5llleaves you feeling cheated.

The tricks are impressive (balancing three eggs on a chopstick on a chin and juggling three ping pong balls from a mouth) but they indicate long periods spent practicing in a bedroom rather than arty strokesof comic genius.

There's more to an act than making plosivc ‘P' sounds and sq uclching everytime another tired prop is brought on. (Stephen (‘hester)

I Mr PP(Fringe) Pleasance ( \"enue 33) 556 65.50. until 31 Aug(not 15.22.29). 1 lpm.£5.5t) it) (£45015).



Iley. why stop with a time travelling First World War soldier'.’ Why not chuck in throw-away lines about doing unmentionable things over pictures of (iloria IIunniford. make

. pylonsinto a romantic vision on a par with

rainbowsover Niagara and include a spot of

transvesticism‘.’ Arthur Smith. whose

stand-up routines rely

largely on insults and swift put-downs to hecklers. has shown that his writing can encompass all of the

above and more. Perhaps more importantly. he is also not afraid to forget the comedy to make a poignant statement. lhis could be the beginning of a beautiful career. (Philip Parr)

I Trench Kiss r l‘ringc) Incidental Theatre. The Pleasance (Venue 33 ) 55o 6551). until 25 Aug. 8.1(lpin.£b.25 £6.75 (£5.25 £5.75).



You could tell the medical students in the audience. they were rolling in the aisles at all the tokes. lltc rest of iis were inodei atcly ainuscd. .-\ siicccsstiil doctor in this case eainsa wad. plays a lot of golf and is defined for usasa white. male. patronising. middle—class wanker.

With a bundlcol brisk patter. Jiist the respectable amount of audience participation and repetitive fumbling ol props. budding doctors loll} and Philip iiindow 11 the list of old school tie cliclicsaiid ass-licking stereotypesthrouin which it liiL‘tltL‘ \lioillil pass It) llClllC\L' success. lliey .lti’ neitherasdaiigcioiis iioi as challenging as they try to be: the chief consultant at St liaitlioloinew 's would hay e had a laugh. \Vitty though they are. these lyyolook lll'sL‘ becoming very successful doctors (lhom Dibdin) IHow To BecomeA Successful Doctor In 59 ManIeSlI-iingciStitick ()ll ittitl l)lL‘. llie Pleasance(Venue 33155!‘ b.5511. 5' .35 .-\iigtiiot 15. 22.21). I 1.3llpiii. Ll 5" t 5 IL“ 1.5 51H




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