V THEATRE SONGS OF JERICHO
The two main problems with this story ofthe relationship between an ageing emigre bar-owner and a young female club singer are that it lacksany sense of its own raison (I'érrc and that the pace is agonisingly slow. Eventually. it becomes apparent that he sees her as a surrogate daughter. that his jealousy ofher increasing success and her obnoxious businessman lover are a variation on father-daughter. empty-nest anxieties — but so what'.’ ()ther half-buried themes include romanticism vs materialism. alienation and rootlessness. but penetrating insights are notable for their absence. and the unnecessary musical interludes are increasingly irritating. Most of the performances. particularly the central character. Benska. are strong and subtly modulated. but with this script. the company are fighting a losing battle. (Sue Wilson)
I Songs oiJericho (Fringe) Fair Exchange Productions. Chaplaincy Centre (Venue 23) 556 5184. until 31 Aug(not Suns orThurs 29). 8pm. £4.50 (£3.50).
V JAZZ CRAIG MCMURDO IN THAT SWING THANG
If handled properly. audience participation can sometimes work well. but under duress it can intimidate and irritate. By insisting on making fun of those who refused to co-operate with his pointless and childish games. Craig McMurdo was about as entertaining as a day trip to Sellafield. only less value for money. There‘s no denyingthat Craig has plenty of musical talent. but he simply does not give his audience a chance to appreciate it. And each time he introduces a new bout of audience participation. Craig loses several more of his audience. Who can blame them? With the added
Meadows (Venue 116)
v THEATR A PEASANTOF EL .
bonus of the living Lindy Hoppers. the potential is there for a sparkling set. But this is just ﬂat. (Aaron llicklin)
I Craig McMurdo in That Swing Thang (Fringe) ' Assembly/Wiildcat at the
2204349. until Aug3l.
1 You can't fault the
professionalism ofthis production. which makes excellent use of a cast aged from twelve to 33- younger ones describing
torture instruments. older ones usingimpersonations : to create an almost
the simplicity of the piece
f puts it into the same emotional response league as Sunday School
l multi-media event — but : l
plays. ; This is not criticism. just ‘
3 an indication that most I arms dealers orsupporters l of US foriegn policy are
unlikely to see the show. If they did.however.then
§ moved bytheJoblike
i manipulatedsoskilfully (particularly when his son demands‘Why won‘t you
; his rendcz-vous with the death squads) thatthey have no choice but to
best.rcdinthe faceand redin flag.(Stephen
3 IThe PeasantoiEl
' 6502395. until 24 Aug.
they could not fail to be
sufferings ofpcasant Jesus. or avoid being
talk to me?‘ shortly before
accept the genuine anger ofthe cast as its own. Political theatre at its
Company Theatre. Festival Club (Venue 36)
v CABARET '
THE FUNNY FARM
Phil Kay has the makings of a comic genius. I‘ve said as much before. But what's particularly pleasing is to see how confident — especially with a large and generous Fringe Club audience — some ofthe other members ofGlasgow‘s comedy collective have become.
Last time 1 saw John Gillick. he was making his first tentative steps into stand-up: now he‘sa fully-ﬂedged compere with a gamut of good audience asides and witty one-liners. lt‘s standard punchline stuff and still a little hesitant. but he scores those all-important review points for using a copy of The List as a prop.
THE FABULOUS TONY-A LIFE IN SHOWBIZ
A new concept in comedy, Mike Weird and Bobby Wonderful transport the audience to the Hawaiian Ballroom, Twyiord, tor a celebrity tribute exploring the lite and times oi the well known (in Belgium) cabaret star, Fabulous Tony. What results is a lot oi bickering between Mike and Bobby as they reveal their rivalry towards the hapless Tony and each other.
The show has the bones oi a good hour’s entertainment but as the story oi
three feeble iailed comics the actors have a hard time transcending their material. Seventies songs, jokey slides and some gentle audience participation make for a mildly amusing, rather than a side-splitting, hour. (Frances Corniord)
The Fabulous Tony (Fringe) Fabulous! Weird! Wonderfull, Greyiriars Kirkhouse (Venue 26) 225 3626, until 31 Aug, 8.30pm, £5 (£4).
Stewart McDonald is
also much more accomplished now he's broken away from his over-worked Letterman routine to develop an appealing stage persona with a penchant for linguistic peculiarities. It's the first time I've seen May and Fay who are bright and assured. although 1 could suggest halfa dozen more suitable songs for their vomit-inducing routine. A highly enjoyable show. (Mark Fisher) I Two Hairs Short oi a Fringe (Fringe) The Funny Farm. Fringe Club (Venue 2) 226 5257. until 31 Aug (not Thurs 29). 9.30pm. £5 (£4.50).
MEMORIES OF AMNESA
Something‘s amiss when a pyjama-clad neuro-surgeon starts referring to his mentally ill patients as ‘glorious revolutionaries'. Then when he himselfstarts
'experimenting'. by recreating the illnesses of his patients in his own head. the line between madness and sanity becomes seriously blurred. Whether it‘sthe epileptic‘s fit which makes every cell in his body feel alive or the amnesiac's freedom from memory‘s weighty associations. he finds hirnselfstrangely and deliriously happy. Chris Cox‘s solo performance manages to squeeze all the juice out of a clever and amusing script. that gently subverts conventional attitudes towards mental illnesses with acute observations of the machinations of the human mind and body. (Robert Alstead) I Memories oi Amnesia (Fringe) Traverse Theatre (Venue 15) 226 2633. until 31 Aug. 9.45pm. £7 (£4).
V THEATRE CROSSEO WIRES
Taking the populist style of a TV soap opera. with short scenes that move back and forth between three separate households. this play attempts to show how knowledge of HIV infection can upset lives. I Iowever. showing couples discussing their problems while washing the dishes or in front ofthe television only serves to reduce the dramatic potential ofthe subject. The cast fail to salvage anything out of a script. high on cringcworthy
lines. which doesn't even attempt to develop the characters beyond type. Instead we get a prolonged. and desperately flat view of ordinary life. let alone life under the shadow ofllIV. (Robert Alstead).
I Crossed Wires (Fringe) Festival Club (Venue 36) 6502395. 11—31 Aug.
8. 10pm. £4.50 (£3.50).
THE MIRROR OF THE MOON
This is cleverly written. multi-layered stuffwhich seamlessly meshes the work of Wilde — plays. poems. anectodes and trial. with scenes from contemporary gay life. The play is issue led — things haven‘t got any better— and suffers asa result. The politicisation of gay angst is made both funny and endearing. but is hardly original. and quickly lends itselfto finger wagging righteousness. creating cardboard characters mouthing humourless cliches. Meanwhile Wilde's hon mots have been regurgitated so many times before you can no longer detect the diced carrot ofcharm in them. But the pace and
diversity of the play. which includes love scenes. prison scenes. Russell llarty and the intervention ofa surreal policeman. renders such irritations and indoctrination bearable.
and represents a triumph of that oxymoronic entity. political theatre. (Stephen Chester)
I The Mirror 0i The Moon (Fringe) Profundis Theatre Co. Pilmeny Community Centre (Venue 79) 556 0461 . until 31 Aug (not 26).9.30pm. £4.50 (£4).
V TH EATR E KNIFE GAMES With its East End wide-boys. class consciousness and rhyming couplets. Knife Games makes no secret of its debt to Steven Berkoff. Not surprisingly. it‘s not as good as that. the poetry and politics lackingin sophistication. but Mania Productions tackles Gary Drabwell‘s play with gusto and spirit. keepingits simple story fresh.
The relentless rhyming can become tedious — for some reason the female character has less rhymes per line than her two male colleagues— and the themes cover well worn territory: working class violence. racism and sexism versus upper class snobbery. But the production‘s confidence overcomes these limitations to create a solid if unremarkable piece oftheatre. (Mark Fisher)
I Knife Games (Fringe) Mania Productions. Celtic Lodge (Venue 6) 225 7097. until 31 Aug(not Thurs). 8pm. £4 (£3.50).
THESE COLOURS DON’T RUN
Despite some neat touches. this short. intense piece oftheatre manages only to appropriate old ideas from better plays on the same theme. Arrii'ederci Mil/wall perhaps? ()r Hooligmis'.’ Clearly both are inﬂuences on this attempt to explore the mentality of football violence and you cannot
helpbut draw comparisons.
A high standard of acting keeps the production alive. but the boys-off-to-war football mentality theme isonly partly explored. and the attempt to make each and every line rhyme is less Berkoff than Pam Ayres. An appreciative audience. however. suggests that this is still powerfulstuff. capable ofshocking those new to its territory. (Aaron llicklin)
I These Colours Don't Run (Fringe) Bedfordshire Youth l‘heatre. Celtic Lodge ( Venue 6). 225 7097. until Aug 31 (not 25).9.3(lpm.£2.5il (£1.50).
The List 23 — 29 August 199147