A mixture of Celtic. pagan and Christian legends are interwoven to create a virtually wordless history of the Grail. with enough backlighting and dry ice to put big budget opera to shame.

A perfect synthesis of lighting. costume. set and venue (wood. beneath a vaulted wooden church roof) with a soundtrack that makes Star Wars look like a model ofrestraint. this is the most impressive production on the Fringe. suggesting a budget of several hundred thousand pounds (in fact the group receives no grant) and a well-knit team ofhugely talented technicians.

The play abounds in solidly dramatic gestures and slow motion action. which can become a little wearisome. particularly during the plague death scenes. but this is a minor quibble about what is otherwise a profoundly moving experience. (Stephen Chester)

I Loves Lies Bleeding (Fringe) Kaleidoscope Theatre. St Martin‘s Church (Venue 39) 337 9714. until 24 Aug. 8pm. £4 (£3).


wovzscx V" ,1

A tale which gets re-told with every textual revision. this time Buchner‘s unfinished story of brutality and betrayal is set in the British Zone of 1945 Berlin.

Delivered in varying degrees of American accented English by this German group. this latest version is no more comprehensible or complete than any other. and the tenuous interpretation adds nothing to a play which lives or dies on its own cynical humanistic feet.

The various staging techniques never really transcend the difficulties of using a nightclub as a venue. and there is a danger that you might not

L actually see the


Weaving together themes of desire, emotional distrust, instincts for shelter, lust and greed, this is a dance theatre experience that uses provocative and rich imagistic language to put across its ideas.

Two simple symbols recur; umbrellas - a shelter for the emotional and spiritual elements, and apples—the original temptation. The dancers employ gestural movements to signify inner feelings and outward social masks in an economical style that reveals complexities of human nature.

The music is textured and emotive, but it is the sounds of the dancers performing in silence (breathing, running, clasplng, moving) that pierces the senses and makes the show effective, taking the spectator on a dreamy journey through intensity, violence, and absurdity tinged with humourand irony. (Michael Balfour)


Collecting Gravity (Fringe) Terry Beck Troupe, Theatre Workshop (Venue 20) 225 7942, until 31 Aug (not Sun), 9.30pm, £5 (£3.50).


production while perched on your stool.

Which would be a pity because it‘s the strong performances which carry the piece to a point where you curse the fact he never left a photocopy ofthe final draft. (Stephen Chester)

I Woyzeck (Fringe) Berliner Grundtheater. Edinburgh Playhouse and Studio(Venue 59) until 30 Aug (not 25). 9pm.£3.50 (£2.50).


Eileen McCallum escapes from behind the Post Office counter of ‘Take the High Road' to play the feisty blonde protagonist in W. Gordon Smith's new play.

As Ariadne Christy. the proprietor of a secondhand clothes shop. she opens up the ragand bone shop of her heart. regaling the audience with tales of past exploits and bemoaning her future in a land ‘which produces more engineers. theologians and accountants and fewer lovers than anywhere else

on earth‘. Alan Penman as

her silent son Josh. acts as a foil to her ebullient outpourings and as accompanist for her bursts into song.

A tender and funny portrait of a sexy woman moving uncertainly into late middle age. it isa tribute to the collaborative powers of


writer. actress and director that two hours of monologue seems not a moment too long. (Frances Cornford)

I Going Fora Love Song (Fringe) Cacciatore Fabbro. Stockbridge llouse (Venue 29) 552 0829. until 31 Aug(not Suns). 8pm. £5.


‘Live from the Assembly Rooms. dead from the neck up‘ it‘s the Czechs. bouncing still on stage if not in name. Resplendent in rainbow-coloured suits. they whip through a pot-pourri of musical

styles. mainly from the 50s

and 60s. with some fast and furious folk tunes thrown in. loosely strung together with a ludicrous yarn about the five of them being unscrupulous

ex-millionairestaking refuge in Scotland from

the Australian Secret Service. As well as a manic. off‘the-wall sense

' of humour. the troupe‘s

major strength istheir musical skill. playing a wide variety of instruments— guitars. double bass. fiddles.

mandolins and didgeridoo - with effortless case. For me. the highlight has to be ‘Why Do All My Girlfriends Spontaneously Combust'." but there's something for everyone here musical cabaret doesn‘t come much better than this. (Sue Wilson)

I The Richest Men on Earth (Fringe) The Czechs. Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 2204349. until 31 Aug (not Mon 26). 9.45pm. £6.5()’£7.5() (£5.50/E650).


Ten blind people abandoned in the forest may not sound the most promising subject for a play. but this new translation of turn-of-the-century symbolist Maurice Maeterlinck's little known work brings new perspectives to the idea of theatre.

The audience has the curious sensation of eavesdropping on the anxieties and then panicof the blind as they fumble to find each other and ascertain what has happened to them. Outstanding ensemble acting by Theatre Zoo ensures that an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty is tangibly present throughout as they convey what it is. physically and metaphorically, to be blind. Compact but complex. this piece is a disturbing allegory on the human condition that due


to an excellent cast. has a powerful mystical and emotional impact on its audience. (Frances Cornford)

IThe Blind (Fringe) Theatre Zoo. Theatre Zoo (Venue 21 ). until 31 Aug (not Thurs),9.45pm. £3.50 (£3).


Candle-lit tables and a smoky bar provided the fortuitous atmosphere for this production of Kander & Webb‘s musical about love and loss under the looming swastika. Unfortunately. the young company simply couldn‘t rise to the occasion. especially not to an audience weened on Minnelli.

The performance space is tight. further limiting fairly bland choreography; the singing is almost universally weak and often out of tune. with the exception of Natalie Jones who. despite having a lovely voice. fails to convince as the spinster Fraulein Seneider. Brendan Baldwin

manages a vaguely sinister

grinning performance in the best Julian Clary tradition. but the Kit Kat Girls surrounding him are unforgivably sexless. (Roberta Mock)

I Cabaret (Fringe) Essential Music Theatre. The Venue (Venue 99). until 24 Aug. 8pm. £5 (£4).



Harlow in Essex may not be renowned as the

3 world's greatest cultural

: centre. but at The Square a former YMCA social

club. and now an entertainment facility offering music. cabaret. and a recording studio a lot ofeffort has gone into nurturing the local talent. Four of the regulars and a guest compere have travelled up north to show us what it‘s all about.

Stand-ups Phill Jupitus and John Mann both deliver strong sets. with material drawn from the former‘s observations on Essex Man good humour does travel well and the latter's experience as a bus driver. Murray Torkildsen's angry guitar and incisive lyrics leave a lasting impression; as the warm-up act. he is limited to four songs. but 1. for one. Could have listened to him all night. The real find. however. is Lorraine Bowen. almost indescribably bizarre as she dances around her

Casio keyboard on its ironing board stand. singing songs on 90's living. As a whole. it may be a bit of a lucky bag dip. but thank God somebody somewhere knows what the Fringe is supposed to be about. (Alan Morrison)

I The lee esSex Show (Fringe) Cabaret at the Square. Tic Toe at Marco‘s (Venue 98) 229 8830. until 24 Aug.

9. 15pm. £4 (£3).



With jokes about BCCI. army cut backs. karaoke and rear seat belts. Newsrevue manages to be as topical and almost as witty as Not the Nine (TC/ark News was in its day.

It is a pleasant change to see comedy based on sketches rather than improvisation. though it has to be said that some of the impersonations don‘t match the standard of the strongly written script.

Despite some laboured puns. the show manages to be consistently funny. It is particularly rich in musical gags with clever parodies ofchart-topping songs by The Clash. Cher and Queen. No doubt by the time this appears it will have caught up with Gorbachev’s demise. (James Penn)

I Newsrevue 91 (Fringe) Newsrevue. Tic Toc at Marco‘s (Venue 98) 229 8830. until 31 Aug. 8.45pm. £6 (£4).




Ah! the soundof castanets, clicking heels and swirling guitars. Nina Corti packed in the crowds at St Johns with the promise ofsultry Spanish nights and more than delivered with a potent mixture ofdance. music and song.

The music. a heady blend of guitars. saxophone and percussion with virtuoso solos on guitar created a spellbinding atmosphere that Corti interpreted into the proud movements of the dance.

After the show.

the streets were full of people trying out flamenco hand movements. vainly trying to recapture the magic they had left behind. (Frances Cornford)

I Nights in the Gardens of Spain (Fringe) Nina Corti. St John‘s Church (Venue 127). until 24 Aug. 8pm.

£5 (£4).

48 The List 23 29 August 1991