SHUT UP AND DANCE!
Do not attend this show if you are shy. tired. infirm or have two left feet. For just as you're settling down to enjoy the living [.indy Iloppers‘ dazzling dance displays. you will be cajoled or coerced onto your feet and expected to learn those impossible-kioking steps yourself. I had to be nearly dragged onto the floor. but by the end I was hav ing a whale of a time. Between teach-ins. the audience‘s attempts were put effortlessly toshame as the troupe leapt exuberantly into action with routines drawn from the 30s to the 50s. To cap it all. the roeoco settingof the Dream Tent provides the perfect backdrop for a show dripping with skill. style and an infectious sense of fun. (Sue Wilson) I Shut Up and Dance! (FringeHiving Lindy Hoppers. Assemva at the Meadows. 220-1349, until 3l Aug (not Suns). 3.30pm. £5 (£4.50).
(‘all me a cynic. but 30 seconds into the Draylon‘s opening song. a banal little ditty about always makingtime for tea. Iwas thinking "Time for twee'. This five-piece a cappella satire combo looked like one of those unfunny turns that get hired by the wagon-load for Radio Four magazine programmes and daytime TV. a sort ofpost-Richard Stilgoe King‘s Singers. Which was a tad unfair. as some of the Draylons‘ material is quite barbed. especially when they let the taste slip a little. Eddie Cochran‘s classic ‘Three (‘xandhis in Ileaven' raised a grin. and the (‘huck ‘n' Di rendition of ‘Wc Don't Shag Anymore‘ was cheeky. These were the standouts in a set which mostly died a peaceful death in the afternoon. (Tom Lappin)
I Draylon Underground's Tea-Time SCOII (Fringe) Draylon Underground. Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550. 7—31 Aug(not 12.
VTHEATRE ! m
ALAS POOR DERRICK
Any play which begins ‘Police Inspector! Oh do come in'. and isn‘t .Ioe Orton. is in trouble. This is murder among the middle management classes or. for the audience. a journey to the further shores of tedium across the ocean ofthe bland on a raft ofpulp. Tragically the ac-tor-ish delivery of one woman playing three indistinguishable roles does not pr0pel the drama above a cataleptic snail's pace and rapidly kills a
Most disturbing is the one-dimensional attack on women who look for a meal ticket in the shape of an executive hubby. which is delivered with such simplistic indignation as to approach the bigoted.
Be warned; you can still drown of triteness even in the shallowest ofplays. (Stephen Chester)
I Alas Poor Derrick (Fringe) Abracadabra Theatre Co. run ended.
play whose one joke isthe
Footlights-bashing has become a
recurrent Fringe ritual ov
and I‘m afraid this review isn't going to break any moulds. But the tour performers are so goddamn pleased
with themselves that one
is unlikely to worry them overmuch.
However, while it seems
audience only go along so they can say ‘No, they‘re not as good as they were in 1957’, the other half seem to enjoy it
P enormously. There’s obviously a big market torsafe, undemanding parodies of adverts and TV
. ‘ 1‘. _-o- ‘ ‘s. \ my“,
that half the
programmes, tired jokes about vegetarianism, sketches about Oxbridge interviews and a complete absence of any politics or contemporary relevance to anything. Many Fringe groups would kill for a budget which covers glossy programmes and a custom-made soundtrack; most would undoubtedly make far better use of it. (Sue Wilson) Cambridge Underground (Fringe) Cambridge Footlights, Gilded Balloon Theatre (Venue 38), 226 2151, until 25 Aug, 5pm; 26—31 Aug 7pm, £6 (£5).
(‘ollege.Bclfast. V l employinganeffective
MAKING THE NUMBER UP
Set in rural Northern Ireland. Making the Number Up is a play which transcends the often artistically-narrowing subject of The Troubles’. Its message. in fact. is bleak and universal. centred on the isolation and limitations of poverty-stricken rural society.
Anne's mother has died. her father is an overpowering religious fanatic. her brother an alcoholic. She is driven to suicide not necessarily due to her incestuous victimisation. but the life of which this is symptomatic. This is a stunning production by students from Stranmillis
peripheral chorus and a wire mesh set which highlights Anne‘s stifling claustrophobia. (Roberta Mock)
I Making The Number Up (Fringe) NSTC. (‘lunyl (Venue 53) 452 9620. until 31 Aug. 2.45pm. £5 (£4).
THE TAMING OF THE SHREW
A late 2(lthccntury audience can be excused its overwhelming desire to hurl chairs and heckle during Kate‘s final monologue on the proper place for women in society. Do not misinterpret. This is a skilful and thoughtful production of a play based upon an appalling notion. By setting this Shrew-in 1940s Britain. director Ian Jessup highlights a period of false-hope independence for women who were provided with greater responsibility during the war years. but under male thumbs. Ilowever. this ironic interpretation. in which it is implied that a woman who is clever enough to play by the rules can reap the benefit. cannot soften the vehement misogyny of
Shakespeare‘s speeches. It is still a play about killing a wife bycurbing ‘her mad and headstrong humour'. See this fine production. if not to appreciate Bill Monk's hilarious bushy (irumio. then to become a feminist. (Roberta Mock)
I The Taming of The Shrew (Fringe) I’ilmeny (‘ommunity ('entre (Venue 79) 554 0953. until 31 Aug (not 26). 4.40pm. £4.51) (£4).
l CLOSE-UP MAGIC ‘ANDCARD
Lurking in the tiny Pasta Bar. (ierry Sadowitz (for it is he) offers up 30 minutesofdeft sleight- of—hand. baffling card- tricksand a nice line in debunkingthe naff Conventions of magic shows.
Sadowitzis damn dextrouswithadeck.and t after a while you give up trying to catch himout. and sit back and enjoy being confused. It'sa deliberately informal and casual show. with only the occasional swear word. and just one reference to French Canadians. Easy-going entertainment
with free tea thrown in. (‘an‘t be bad. (Toni Lappin)
I At Last Close-Up Magic And Card Tricks ( I-‘ringe ). l’leasance (Venue 33) 556 1513. until 25 Aug. (£5).
A CONVERSATION WITH GEORGIA O’KEEFE
When New York art entrepreneur Alfred Stieglitz first saw (ieorgia ()‘Keefe'spaintings in the I92Us. he is said to have exclaimed ‘At last ~ a woman on paperl'. ()‘chfc is still well known for her sensual still lifes. but in fact she denied that her flower studies were sexually evocative
and very much rejected the qualified description ‘woman artist'; the only adjective she would accept was ‘American’. And truly American she was. as playwright (‘onstance (‘ongdon's delightful one woman show illustrates. ()‘ Keefe. played beautifully by Nancy Cole. disctisses the constraints of art school. her relationship with the enlightened Steiglitz. (he refused to accept the snobbery ofan art world which deemed women too earthy to be ‘great artists') and her love affair with the New Mexican landscape.
The one-hour 'conversation' is llustrated with 31 slidesof()‘Keefe's work. projected onto the stage's back-drop. making it both performance and art exhibition. and (‘ole‘s sense of timing gives the production pace and warmth. Small wonder that this was one ofonly three plays across America to be selected by American Festival Theatre for funding at Iidinburgh. (Miranda France)
I A Conversation with Georgia O’Keete (Fringe) Stageworks Theatre (‘o. French Institute. (Venue 55) 225 5366. until 31 Aug. 4pm. £3 (£2).
NO TENDER VOCABULARY
Male bonding is all the rage these days. L'nlike women. men have for decades been discouraged from actively seekingall but the most superficial contact with members of their own sex. It is seen as unnecessary in an age which sees marriage as the ultimate intimate partnership. filling all emotional and physical needs. Men. says No Tender Vocabulary. fear vulnerability and the stigma of being labelled either gay or unmasculine. There is no currently employed language which deals with male friendship.
Presented as a seriesof vignettes. commentary. dance. and monologues.
.N'o Tender Vocabulary opens a discussion on , values which have been long neglected. The company of four men provides both an i anthropological lecture
and some strong theatrical moments based on minute observation. (Roberta Mock)
I No TenderVocabulary (Fringe)NST(‘.(‘luny2 (Venue 54) 452 9620. until 31 Aug. 3.35pm. £4(£3).
'I he List 23 ~ 2‘) August l‘)‘)l 37