3'76" r__ - ..-




In order to tackle universal questions with any degree of success (or humility) theatre often works best when it chooses to focus on small. easily identifiable situations. This is the criteria of Pop. by Simon Blake which explores sexual infidelity. fantasy. betrayal and obsession through six short vignettes related by theme alone. Visually. Pop strives to give expression to the music. with seductive choreography enhancing the Blues mood. Nothing looks laboured or contrived and the performances shine at times. but the theme is ove rstretched and tired by the play’s end. (Aaron Hicklin) I Pop (Fringe) Tic 'I‘oc at Marcos (Venue 98) 229 8830. until 31 Aug. 4.30pm. £4.50 (£2.50).


Nobody forgot their lines. That's the positive side of this show. now for the negative. David Ilare‘s play is a complex one: lots of scene changes. a witty script. three dimensional characters. Given a quality cast of actors and slick direction it can be enthralling. The Import Theatre Company has none ofthe talent required to make it so.

The acting is at best turgid and at worst something akin to a literature lesson in the second grade. Not one of the actors (a term used loosely) has the faintest idea of how to convey love. hate or anger. When it comes to more complex emotions. you can only wince. We also suffer from inadequate black-outs. ridiculous casting (the father looks about ten years the junior of the son) and ‘whisky‘ which suspiciously has the fizz and colour of lrn Bru. That nobody even had the foresight to flatten the soft drink sums up the whole production. (Philip Parr) I Knuckle (Fringe) Import Theatre Company. Calton Centre (Venue 119)661 9121 . 3.45pm. £3.50 (£2.50).


It is not just the Fringe which is sniffing out new venues this year. The International Festival is at it too and their first performances in the splendid main hall of


{£3215 ‘I spent my 30s doing it, my 40s organising it, this afternoon, unfortunately, I’m just going to talk about it. . .’ Michael Aspel won't go to her, so Cynthia Payne, big red book in hand, is telling her own life story to packed audiences at the Pleasance. You’ve heard most of it before: the Luncheon Vouchers, the £15 fee which included drinks, sex show, girl and poached eggs (£3 off for OAPs and half ; price forlhe impotent). Surprisingly

enough, if all seems to have been more or less as the two films dedicated to Ms Payne‘s life, Wish You Were Here and Personal Services, depict it.

She comes across as one of those heart-of-gold types and Cynthia Payne’s surburban afternoon parties for old, unloved colonels and barristers sound as innocent and sweet as

Never-Never Land (someone once decribed them as ‘Iilre a regimental dinner and dance, but without the dinner’). I even found myself beginning to agree with her arguments against our present sex laws. But ultimately, the idea of Britian’s judges and policemen slobbering over girls dressed up as nurses is rather depressing. Entertaining and intriguing as it is, there’s something voyeuristic and even a bit sad about spending the afternoon with Cynthia Payne and her memoirs, and if left me with a funny taste in my mouth. Now there’s a double entendre Madame Cyn would be proud of. (Miranda France)

Cynthia Payne At Home (Fringe) Cynthia Payne, The Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550, until 31 Aug (not 27), 4.30pm, 26.50/27 (£5/£5.50).

Edinburgh Academy are on Saturday 24 and Monday 26. Each afternoon Chinese composer'l‘an Dun's .S'ounds/zupe - receiving its British premiere gives audiences and players the

opportunity to mingle in a ‘textureofplaying. vocalisingand

movement‘. which the composer sums up as ‘a ritual of musicians.‘ Sounds/rape is written for over 70ceramic instruments. using a unique system which Tan Dun has created and developed in collaboration with the potter Ragnas Naess. Skin. wood. bamboo. metal and earth are used with the ceramics and the

instruments are played by E

blowing. striking. plucking and bowing. taking inspiration from the ancient Chinese carillons. The ensemble of six players is conducted and led by the composer himself. (Carol Main)

I Tan Dun-Soundshape (International Festival) Edinburgh Academy. 225 5756. Sat 24 and Mon 26 Aug. 3pm. £7.50.



Carnival Street. Hull. replaces Llareggub in NSTC's modern version of Under Milk Wood. lIere dreams and Ford Cortinas can soar. soft-hearted monsters can be sewn from cemetery remains and the passions of postmen maybe fulfilled. We are given a day in this magical loopy place.

With nowt but a ladder for support. the young cast hunches and struts its way to some vivid characterisation: hen-peeked Freddie. dotty Ferris. manipulative Darren. Accolades. however. must go to Bernadette Russell for her pouty seductress. Ruby Pickles. This is a cohesive ensemble piece exhibiting some of the best tendencies ofstudent drama. (Roberta Mock) I Carnival Street (Fringe) NSTC. Cluny 1 (Venue 53) 452 9620. until 31 Aug. 5.15 pm. £4 (£3).

1 i


The most obvious question raised by People Pie is ‘Who exactly is this performance piece aimed at‘." As educational theatre. it could be quite effective for a young. disaffected audience - as it mirrors the louder expressions of adolescent angst.

But to a Fringe audience. this is little more than post-punk nihilist whinging. The movement is often obscure in meaning. the dialogue barely explains the circumstances behind the scenarios of stylized violence. ‘Call This a Nation!‘ provide the musical backdrop. thrashing guitars which loudly proclaim the alienation that a weak script and uninspired choreography fail to articulate. (Roberta Mock)

I People Pie (Fringe) Time in Our Hands. Festival Club (Venue 36). until 31 Aug. 4pm.£4 (£3).



Timberlake Wertenbaker's play takes the ancient Greek myth of the sisters I’rocne and Philomele. of how Procne‘s husband. Tereus betrays one with the other and the tragic consequences. In her hands. it turns into a vigorous examination of

desire as possession and of

the powerlessness of women in the face of social conventions.

The EUTC production boasts a strong cast who handle difficult scenes. such as Philomele's rape by Tereus. with conviction. Some fine acting and themes successfully conveyed do not however wholly make up for uncertain direction which needs to utilise the talents of the cast more fully to do justice tothis intriguing play. (Frances Cornford)

I The Love ofThe Nightingale (Fringe) EUTC. The Bedlam Theatre (Venue 49) 225 9893. until 24 Aug.

4. 15pm. £4 (£3).



It‘s refreshing to see Ilull Truck bring something new to the Fringe this year. especially when it's a play not written by John Godber. And it certainly shows there are no laughs to be had in this remarkably poignant. yet ultimately gratifying tale ofbetrayed loyalties and shattered lives.

Told in the past tense. through the eyes of three of the women in hislife. the story of bully and wife-basher Royce Boland is given depth and perspective as the women's intertwining monologues create a vivid evocation of disruption and violence.

Understatcd direction works in the play‘s favour. usingonly subtle movement to switch from one monologue to another. Its lack ofaction. however. suggests that perhaps this play is better suited to radio. And at£8 a ticket at weekends. you may well prefer to wait and hope the BBC thinks likewise. (Aaron Hicklin) I Can't Stand Up for Falling Down (Hull Truck). The

Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 220 4349. until Aug3l (not 26). 4. 15pm, £7/£8 (£5.50/£6.50)


Stand-up comic Dave Cohen‘s latest venture into drama is an ambitious but confused piece that makes a few valid points and has some very funny lines. but fails to really succeed as either comedy or serious theatre.

Cohen and Sheila llyde play a couple ofoffice workers who become embroiled in a religious sect run by the never-seen Dog (the voice of Michael Redmond). There‘s plenty of opportunities to make a few trenchant points about religious cults and the sort of people who become involved. but the play only goes halfway to making them. preferring easy jokes and a dire attempt to get the audience to bark. (Tom Lappin)

I Dog (Fringe). Gilded Balloon (Venue 38). until 31 Aug (not 27). 5. 15pm. £5 (£4).



In among the international stars of the official Festival programme it is good to see outstanding young Scottish talent being offered a platform too. Through Sir Yehudi Menuhin‘s Live Music Now!. three groups play at St Andrews and St George‘s on the afternoons of 28. 29 and 30 August.

Sir Yehudi. the Festival's Ilonorary President. started his unique scheme almost 15 years ago to bring live music of very high standard into all areas of the community while also giving young professionals the opportunity to perform. First in this special Festival showcase is the Nielsen Wind Consort. formed at the RSAMD in Glasgow. Similarly. the Athenaeum Brass Quintet has its roots there too. Both groups. like clarsach duo Mary Ann Kennedy and Charlotte Petersen. who give the middle recital. now play professionally and have played to a huge variety ofaudiences ranging from royalty to remote villagers. Each concert lasts around an hour and don‘t expect too much formality. (Carol Main)

I Live Music Now! (International Festival) St Andrew‘s and St George‘s Church. 225 5756. Wed 28. Thurs 29. Fri 30 Aug.

36 The List 23 29 August 1991