A traditional puppet show for younger children. Mixing marionettes and rod/shadow puppets. the manipulators attain a strong degree of magical illusion creating accessible and funny characters which the children relate to quickly.

But at times the material is needlessly unoriginal (the inclusion of that old stand-by The Laughing Policeman). Furthermore. the pre-recorded voices and soundtrack. while giving the show polish. seriously detract from the sense ofa ‘live‘ show, and inhibit the free flow of response and interaction in which children delight. (Michael Balfour)

I Pips And Panda In Circus-land (Fringe) Purves Puppets. St James Church (Venue 81). 0899 20521.until31Aug(not Sun), 11am,£3 (£2.50).


Terrific children‘s fun about a gormless drip who becomes a superhero via several close encounters with mythical beasts from Ancient Greece. There is a storybook set that turns its page with each new adventure, as Theseus. the pitiful hero, journeys on his way, accidently conquering Big Foot. the Cudgel Man, the Pinebendcr, and the (really very sweet) child-munching Minotaur. The characters are engaging as well as distinctive. The unassuming, underplayed delivery ofthe performances generate genuine charm and humour and the rhyming script is playfully witty. In a market of diverse qualities and standards, this show is one of the best children's productions on the Fringe. (Michael Balfour) I One 0i Our Monstersis Mything (Fringe) Freefall Monster Company. Celtic Lodge (Venue 6) 225 7097.until 31 Aug. 1 lam. £3.50 (£2.50).


Each morning he plays a

Taro Shanghai is a Japanese TV star.

cramming-school teacher on a popular soap. He’s also director of his own company— set up because he wanted to see how much he could communicate without words. He has become disenchanted with commercialism and is seeking an aesthetic, but dellnltely not inaccessible, art-experience. Using traditional mime, robotics, breakdance, and goodness knows what else, A Nightmare tor Charles Darwin sounds like an eclectic show with something to please everybody. It traces, in a roundabout way, the evolution at our species and the growth ageing process, but there's no story as such. According to Michael Jackson (company manager), the young and trendy In Japan do not go and see any at that Ninagawa or Kabuki stuli, they


lollow this.

This is a large company- eleven young men and women all oi them with proper jobs as they don't get paid lor perlorming. There are no grants ior these avant-gardlsts. 0n the contrary, like all actors in Japan, they have a quota of tickets to sell lortheir own shows as part of the contract.

This is not Buto dance ii the Fringe programme gave you that idea you will be seriously disappointed. It's much more lively and less serious than that. There’s a ieellng in the alrthat ltwiil be something quirky, unusual, and worth checking out. (Tamsln Gralnger) -

A Nightmare lor Charles Darwin (Fringe) Shanghai Taro Buto Koushi, Old St Paul's Church and The Arc (Venue 45) 557 9422, 26—31 Aug, 12.30pm, £4 (£3).


Under the auspices of American Festival Theatre, The Discovery Lab comprises professional and student actors assembled in the United States, rehearsed in Edinburgh and designed to explore movement and voice in improvisational theatre. Story Theatre is a collection of six tales

ranging from Aesop to the

3 Grimm Brothers.

Surprisingly, given the

intentions, the production

is tightly staged, leaving little evidence of improvisation or fresh

ideas. The acting abilities

vary from good to mediocre, and at times the performers seem distinctly uncomfortable with their own devised script. The show. however, is greatly redeemed in the last tale (The Fisherman And The Flounder). which began to

. show the potential ofthis } project. Nonetheless, I

felt the show presented uneven entertainment and

suffered from a sense of under achievement. (Michael Balfour)

I Story Theatre (Fringe) American Festival Theatre, Randolph Studio (Venue 55), 225 5366, until 31 Aug, 10am,£2.50 (£1.50).



Based on a true story, this play re-creates the last weeks in the lives ofthree men trapped in the hold of a sunken American battleship, after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbour in 1941. With minimal rations (boxes of tinned peaches and a packet of cigarettes), and enough air to survive for a few weeks, each is driven to extremes. With perfect intensity and conviction the play depicts the changing relationships between the three very different men, and the woman in each oftheir lives, left to mourn their absence.

It is both sad and life-affirming, heroic and tragic. No emotion is left

unturned, from murdering rage to pure tenderness,

as the men slowly acknowledge their fate. (Robert Alstead)

I Purple Hearts (Fringe) Moray House (Venue

108) 556 5184, 12—31 Aug (not 20, 27. 29), noon,£4 (£3).



Getting ‘bouncy when she hears the beat‘, Sheila Graham‘s casual delivery and off-duty style (‘I do tend to do a lot of

romantic love songs I

hope that‘s not a problem‘) is immediately relaxing and welcoming. Graham mixes a variety of humorous melodies ranging from Gershwin, Greenfell and Lehrer. to Sondheim and Wood. with her own inoffensive brand of ‘light‘ lunchtime cabaret. The show is an amicable. toe-tapping shoestring extravaganza that determinedly enjoys itself. (Michael Balfour) I Some Silly Slightly Satirical Songs (Fringe) Sheila Graham. Diverse Attractions(Venue ll). 225 8961 , until 24 Aug. 12.40pm. £3 (£2). ALSO30/31Aug, [0.30pm.


Not really a dilemma- Derek’s problem is merely that he can‘t get into heaven. and flatterineg giving the audience the role ofSt Peter, he attempts to argue his way in.

Sadly the play never moves beyond this initial situation. and Derek's recollections ofhis naughty past (he did the odd dirty phone call. read the Sunday Sport) do nothing to move the play on.

The abilities of Dickon Tolson, whose energy maintains the unity of the piece, are sadly wasted amid the confusing and illogical plotlessness. What exactly is his dilemma. and what is the relevance ointler‘s presence in heaven. singing Frank Sinatra numbers? God knows. (Stephen Chester)

I Derek's Dilemma (Fringe) Gut Reaction. Pilmeny Community Centre (Venue 79) 554 0953, until 31 Aug (not 26),12.10pm.£4.50(£4).


When the young audience jumped visibly at the howl of the werewolf, they were most likely shocked by the severity of the tape recorder being switched on in preparation. There is a dilemma reviewing children‘s shows: youthful imaginations tend to overlook such trivialities as appalling acting, unconvincing sets, cardboard costumes and sound effects that were evidently recorded in a kitchen after a night at the pub.

What remains is the opening ofa coffin and the implications of a hidden


burial-place. So. although

it is improbable that an eight-year-old could comprehend the concept of astral projection. the young minds seemed convinced by The Hour of the Werewolfin a manner at which adults can only marvel. (Roberta Mock) I The Hour oi the Werewolf (Fringe) Theatre West End Productions. Theatre West End (Venue 126). 23. 27. 29. 31 Aug. 12.50pm. £3 (£2.50).


The Jester Children‘s Theatre invites children to take an educational. yet entertaining journey back in time to the days oquy Fawkes. The emphasis is on fun. and the show kicks offwith the three characters guiding the audience through a crash course in l7th century etiquette.

It‘s a good job so much is done so quickly. for a few short minutes is all the time the show takes to run its course. This is the only grumble. the fact that it lasts little longer than 30 minutes. OK. so young children can be expected to have a relatively short attention span. but everyone left expecting perhaps a little more.

Fast. fun and thoroughly enjoyed by everyone less than 5ft tall. (Neil West) I Gunpowder, Treason and Flat (Fringe). Jester Children‘s Theatre. Pilmeny Community Centre (Venue 79) 554 0953. until 31 Aug(not Sun). llam.£3.50(£3).



Have you ever seriously

wondered if there is sex

after death'.’ Thus we are teasineg invited to witness the discussions of an embittered dead stand-up comic. a paranoid psychic and a neurotic writer.

The show stars Philip Martin Brown (from TV‘s The Sharp End), Andrew Barclay and Kate Gorman_ (carrying on a campaign started last year, when Mark Little attemptedto prove that life outside Neighbours isn‘t solely restricted to the manufacture of ‘well-dodgy' pop records). An unlikely cocktail of talent, but they work together well.

The show is slick and entertaining. with a clever twist in the tail to provide

22 The List 23 29 August 1991