Thomas Blackthorne and Peter Zenner bring a touch of mysticism to this year‘s Fringe; Zenner with his mind-reading and hypnotism. and Blackthorne with his unique style ofmagic.

Zenner’s attempt to

induce eighteen volunteers into a trance failed on all but four. The problem is that he doesn‘t look. or sound as you expect a hypnotist should. No pointed beard and haunting \ oice. The four successes were rushed through the usual routines. a flight. eating a lemon. and imagining various climates. At times Zenner seemed close to losing them too. Perhaps a 6.45pm slot is not conducive to good hypnotism. more likely it was the lack of atmosphere and showmanship.

Thomas Blackthorne. however. has that side ofit sewn up. A set bathed in an orange glow. a crashing classical theme and a floating skull are followed closely by Blackthorne himself. (‘ramming illusion after illusion into his hour on stage he turns water into wine and back again. swallows and regurgitates eight razor blades. and even does the odd card trick. llis finale involves a guillotine and is nerve-racking. Blackthorne breathes new life and energy into the art of the illusionist. and produces his magic with a style and confidence that made the hour speed by. (L.M. Rudden)

I PeterZenner- Mindreader and Hynotist (Fringe) Tic Toe at Marco‘s (Venue 98) 229 8830. until 31 Aug. 6.45pm. £5 (£4).

I Something Strange (Fringe) Thomas Blackthorne. Greyfriars Kirk l-louse (Venue 28) 225 3626. until 31 Aug. 7.15pm.£4.50(£3.50).



Rebels without much ofa crowd. unfortunately. which meant much ofthe good-natured banter fell a bit flat. John Moloney. who looks a bit like one of Sid the Sexist‘s mates. offered some low-key wit. punctuated by some very proficient penny-whistle and bodhran. and even summoned up the nerve to try an [an Gow gag.

Skint Video were

understandably muted. but their merry little pastiches of pOp music styles with scathineg satirical lyrics are difficult to ignore. They've been doing this for a while now. and some ofthe targets (the Happy Mondays for one) aren't really worthy ofattack. but others (Judge Pickles. John Major) are gleefully ripped to shreds. Still worth a visit. (Tom Lappin)

I Rebels with a Chord (Fringe) Skint Video and John Moloney. Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550. 7—31 Aug. 7.45pm. £5 (£4). Fri—Sun £5.50 (£4.50)


Take a Frank Zappa moustache. a pair of less than discreet shades. a voice which sounds several decades older than its owner appears to be. a Bill Broonzy-style guitar and a collection of gloriously laid-back songs. and what do you have?

Leon Redbone is what. The singer is best known in this country for the two themes he wrote to accompany Inter-City‘s award-winning propaganda job - sorry. ads which cloak the realities of overcrowded and delayed trains in

' sumptuousimagery and

Redbone‘s seductive


There is much more to the man than ‘Relax‘ and




Formed only tour years ago, the ‘Theatre of Expression’ revolves around its founder, choreographer and director Woiciech Misiuro. In Polish theatre parlance his style belongs tenuously to ‘pantomime’, roughly equivalent to Western contemporary dance; Mlsluro trained at ballet school and became a long-time member ol the

well-known I-lenryk Tomaszewski

‘Untwist‘. however typical

they are of his appeal.

3 Redbone is one of those

delightful eccentrics who have made their way through the music with no discernible hint of compromise or pandering to commercial expediency.

Instead, he has played what he wanted. an unclassifiable combination of New Orleans jazz. blues. country. gypsy. flamenco. and just about anything else you care to name, all rooted in the vaudeville and minstrel show tradition which he sees as underlying all of jazz and blues. In addition to his own shows. Redbone will also take part in theJazz

troupe with its strongly balletic base, belore setting up Theatre ol Expression in Gdynia in 1987.

Looking for a new quality of movement in performance, Misiuro has chosen pertormers without a specilic dance training; most at them are actually sportsmen and women Irom the Gdansk Academy for Physical Education, with skills ranging from karate to gymnastics. Long-haired, halt-naked and well-muscled young men are something at a novelty in Polish stages and there is more than a little of an athletic body-building Ieel to the company‘s work.

Yet the Festival production, Zun, the group‘s third to date, also shows a sophisticated incorporation of Western dance-theatre styles irom the likes of Pine Bausch and Wim Vandekeybus in the use of repetition, highly-charged movement patterns borrowed irom games and everyday life, and combinations of classical and rock

music. The title itself is an abbreviation of the Polish words for senses, leelings and passions and the collage-style performance takes as its ostensible theme the gap between nature and culture, between the world at instinct and that of socialised behavior. Eclectic, brash and sexy, the pertomance has been very popular with younger student audiences in Poland and a complete counterpoint to the other Polish contribution to the International Festival, the memorable swansong production of Taduesz Kantor's inimitable Cricot 2 company. (Simon Bayly) Zun (International Festival) Teatr Ekspresji, King’sTheatre, 225 5756, 26, 27 Aug, 7.30pm, 25-28.

Festival‘s Gala Concert at the Usher Hall (21 Aug). and who could be a more appropriate contributor to a celebration tagged ‘The Roots ofJazz and Blues"? (Joe Alexander)

I The Leon Redbone Show Beck's Spiegeltent (Edinburgh International Jazz Festival) 557 1642. 22—24 Aug. 7.30pm.

u it:


What was it like to grow up in Jersey duringthe five years ofGerman military occupation between 1940 and 1945? Denise Coffey‘s moving and entertaining musical written especially for the NYMT follows the lives ofthe children. their mothers. friends and even the Germans themselves through a time of doubt.

l l l I

trial and tragedy.

The 60-strong cast are on the whole younger than their colleagues in Guys and Dolls. but the performances are of no lesser quality. Here you will see real energy and real passion. with the children seemingly harbouring genuine sympathy for the characters they portray. And no spine is left un-shivered as Richard Taylor‘s magnificent score urges the cast from peak to peak.

There are still some teething difficulties - the plot often wavers and the German point of view is in danger of sinking beneath the rest but for emotion. energy and genuine enthusiasm, Once Upon a War is my pick ofthe Festival. (Neil West)

I Once Upon a War (Festival) National Youth Music Theatre. George Square Theatre (Venue 37) until 23 Aug. 7pmz23 Aug, 3pm, £6.50(£4).


OILLlE KEANE Young(ish) Dillie was nominated for the Perrier Award last year which either indicates a rapid

degeneration ofheractin

twelve months or the singular lack of taste ofthe

Perrier panel. lt's not that this show is offensive. or unprofessional. but simply that it is dull. Dillie goes through her routines of songs and sketches with a look of tired resignation on her

; face and afterthe firstlS

minutes (when. admittedly. there is some sharp material) barely a chuckle is raised. The one signal that there is a comedian nestling under the banality comes in the form ofa parody ofa soft-porn movie which Keane throws herself into with gusto. For the rest of the act. it's not so much plain sailing as utterly becalmed. (Philip Parr) I Citizen Keane (Fringe) Dillie Keane. The Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550. until 31 Aug.6pm. £6.50/£7 (£5.50/£6).



Those who are disappointed by Nigel Kennedy‘s cancellation on Sunday 25 can look forward to the following night‘s programme at the Usher Hall when violinist Igor Oistrakh is soloist in Shostakovich‘s Violin

40 The List 23 - 29 August 1991



Concerto No l with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.

Sixty this year. and in an entirely different class from Kennedy. lgor isthe son of David Oistrakh. for whom Shostakovich actually wrote this concerto. The orchestra is somewhat older. the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society being founded in 1840and one of the first such organisations in the world.

Under their conductor Libor Pesek. the orchestra also plays music of his native country. Czechoslovakia -- Praga Op 26 by Suk and Dvorak‘s Symphony No 8. Pesek is the latest in a long line ofdistinguishbd conductors and has. since his appointment in 1987. lifted the Liverpool Phil‘s reputation to a new high. particularly through its increased recording work. (Carol Main)

I Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (International Festival) Usher Hall. 225 5756. Mon 26. 8pm. £7—£l6.90.



The (‘omedy Store‘s offering. The Cutting Edge. is an oddity. This ensemble of five comedians works best when each takes a solo and does traditional alternative stand-up. Mark Thomas. acting as host. Richard Morton. a rare modern Geordie performer. and Pat Condell show occasional flashes of brillance. The songs by Dave (.‘ohen and Morton are funny. especially the Beach Boys. number.

Sadly. the interplay between comics falls flat. The gag-tag routine looks like MPs bobbing up and down to be recognised by the Speaker and the attempt at delayed improv took on the air ofa failed writer's workshop. Topical targets tapped are the prison service. BCCI. Frank Dunlop. South Africa. pit bulls and high court judges. Alas. the cutting edge turns out to be a dull surface. Perhaps real events are so outrageous that they defy humour‘s treatment? Or. are London accents tiring and four letter words thrown about like confetti boring too'.’ (Kerry Napuk)

I The Comedy Store's The Cutting Edge (Fringe) Gilded Ballon Theatre (Venue 38) 226 2151 . until 25 Aug, 7pm.£5.50