REGINA FONG. . LAST OF THE ' ROMANOFFS
Drag acts are usually easy to spot. Not somuch because of the stubble and the hairy chest but more from the lewd jokesand nauseating ﬂirtation with the audience. Regina Fong is the exception. Almost invariably. the script stays on the straight and narrow. and one almost forgets that this is exhibitionist transvestism. But exceptions do not always cause the l’t‘lCS to be rewritten. Regina may be original but she is hardly in the league of Dame Edna or Lily Savage where getting laughs is concerned. She does score with her poignancy. though. and I can think of very few comedy performers of any description (let alone drag queens) who would have the bravery to tackle Crystalnacht in theiract. Many were moved. but is this what we expected or (more importantly) wanted from this show‘.’ (Philip Parr) I Regina Fong. Last oithe Romanoiis (Fringe). Traverse Theatre (Venue 15) 226 2633. until 31 Aug (not 25—28). midnight. £8 (£4).
CHERYL-THE ROCK OPERA
John Otway plays the jilted lover singing ofhis lost love Cheryl. a drug addict. goat-shagger and (worst of all) time-share saleswoman. Attila is the cynical narrator and anoraked pervert rapper MC Trainspotter. Nice-T. The show is straight
I lacing heartfelt love songs with large doses of irony.
1 while Attila. between
‘ songs on his fiddle and his veineypinktrombone. continucstorhymelines
One oi the punk generation’s more durable talents, Tom Robinson has enjoyed a somewhat chequered career overthe years, musically and otherwise. A prominent gay rights activist during the 80s, author at the movement’s iavourite anthem, he has for some time also been a Fringe regular, enjoying Edinburgh as a chance to test out new ideas or re-run old iavourites. ‘Forthe last iew years I’ve done shows with a more adventurous lormat, playing other people’s songs,’ he says. ‘lt’s a very catholic audience, you can take more risks. But I thought this year it’d be nice to concentrate on my own stuti, things people know. It’ll basically be covering the last thirteen, iourteen years, right up to material that hasn’t been
Robinson recently drew accusations
oi betrayal irom iormer allies when he paired oil with a woman, got married and became a iather. He seems to be enjoying the role at iamily man; when I spoke to him he was enthusing about his day at the seaside with spouse, sprog and dog. But he hasn’t retired irom the tray, lately having entered the growing debate on ‘outing’, a practice he deplores. ‘I would recommend coming out to anybody as a matter at simple honesty and practicality,’ he says. ‘And the principle that we need visible people out to diminish prejudice is unquestionable, but ior me the idea at iorcing it on to people is
. highly suspect. i think you can
; encourage people by example, rather than drag them kicking and screaming into ruined lives.’ (Sue Wilson)
Round Midnight with Tom Robinson (Fringe) Tic Tue at Marco’s (Venue 96)
229 8830, 26-31 Aug, 11.45pm, £7
usually ending in a word for a venereal disease. Too loose to take itself seriously as a 'Rock ()pera'. fans of the ‘punk poet' duo will still enjoy the show for its new material. including a hard rock duet of Rolf Harris’s ’Two Little Boys‘. (Robert Alstead) I Cheryl-The RockOpera (Fringe) Atilla the Stockbroker and John Otway, Marco‘s Leisure Centre (Venue 98) 229 8830. until 31 Aug. 10.15pm.£6 (£5).
THE WONDERFUL, WONDERFUL SEXY WORLD OF THEATRE
Tony Dunham and Richard Blain take us on a whistle-stop tour of all of
Attila-Otway stuff: Otway
the major threatrical eras
l and have fun in every one. The running joke isthc
inability of thespians ever to earn a sou (and judging
i by the fact that the
audience consisted ofone reviewer and partner.
i three friends andone
54 The List 23 — 29 August 199]
genuine punter. the boys speak from bitter experience). With the exception of one scene which veers dangerously close to homophobia. the comedy is relaxed and enjoyable with ad-libs sitting easily alongside a witty script. The subtitle of the show is ‘The History ofTheatre in Seventy-three Minutes‘. They actually do it in seventy-one but that is the only example of short-change in the whole evening. (Philip Parr)
I The Wonderiul, Wonderiul Sexy World oi Theatre (Fringe) Confederacy of Fools. Chaplaincy Centre (Venue 23) no phone bookings. until 31 Aug (not Mons). l2.15am.£4 (£3).
e Steven Berkoff boasts — as
well he should — that he is the second most produced playwright on the Edinburgh Fringe. He also condemns Alan Ackybourn for his strangle-hold on British theatre. lshare his sympathies. but I can see nothing more radical or challenging about
' mounting a Berkoff
production at a time and a place where they are ten a penny. than putting on an Ackybourn at the National.
lhave nothing very much against these two productions— Greek by Theatre West and Decadence by QMW Theatre Co— but [find myselftaking a deep breath in preparation for yet another 90 minutes of glotteral Cockney crudery and then watching it play out predictably and monotonously.
lt's remarkable. in a year ofgenerally low houses. that both shows
played to packed audiences despite the late startingtime. Berkoff clearly has pulling power. but I sensed no buzz of excitement before. nor rush ofenthusiasm after in either production. Perhaps it's because neither draws out Berkoff‘s sense of humour. leaving his stark and brutal world-view untempered by human warmth. Or perhaps it's because few actors other than Berkoff himselfcan interpret these plays with the finesse and physical agility to make their punch hit home. (Mark Fisher)
I Decadence (Fringe) QMW Theatre Co. Southside 91 (Venue 82) 667 7365. until 24 Aug. 10. 15pm £2.50 (£2).
. IGreek (Fringe)Theatre West.Theatre West End
(Venue 126) until 24 Aug. 11.35pm. £3.50 (£3).
l i ;
V CABARET :
There was a sticky moment when one of Marilyn Monroe's breasts came unglued the night]
saw Ennio Marchetto.
Otherwise. the man who has made an art out of combining dressing-up
and origami was brilliant.
- Parodying his way
through a bevy ofdivas— pop and classical— Marchetto transforms himselfinto Shirley Bassey. Grace Jones.
Madonna. and all three of
the Supremes. (not to mention Elvis Presley.
: Elton John and Pavarotti)
thanks to quick changes
and ingenious paper costumes which unfold. or come apart. or are otherwise manipulated to reveal new personalities. A cartoon cut-out alive on stage. Marchetto‘s rubbery facial expressions rival Rowan Atkinson's. and his cabaret camp Simon Fanshawe's. He has to be seen to be believed. and then seen again. just to be sure. (Miranda France)
I Ennio Marchetto
(Fringe) The Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550. until 31 Aug (not 22. 29).
1 1 .3(lpm. £6.5().’£7
ANGELA DE CASTRO—THE GIFT
Angela de Castro takes her inspiration from the mimes and clowns ofthe silent movie era. Dressed like Buster Keaton or Charlie Chaplin in a cut-down dinner suit and wearing a large false nose. she brings her own brand of charm to the old routines as she juggles her presents and slicks her hair down with boot polish while waiting for her date to arrive. An on-stage accordionist provides music and comedy asthe clown soulfully pleads with her to play on.
This is physical comedy ofa gentle and endearing kind but at halfan hour it can only be called a slight entertainment. Still. if people rave over the slender talents of Ennio Marchetto. why not this whimsical mime'.’ (Frances Cornford) IThe Gift (Fringe) Angela dc Castro. The Arc (Venue 45) 557 9422. until 24 Aug. ll.3(lpm.£3 (£2.50).
V THEATRE. FALL
A writer. director and actress all share the same small ﬂat as they work on a project together. Eva. the actress. is Czechoslovakian. and in the background her home country is in revolt. providing a political parallel to the power
struggles between the three protagonists. The part of the director is not sufficiently developed but the relationship between actress and writer is finely drawn so that the sympathy of the audience wavers between the sardonic Hare and the
spirited Eva and it is not
until the end thatwe realise who has gained the moral victory.
The play may not live up to the company's grandiose claim that it is a ’microcosm of the struggle between democracyand tyranny" but it does provide a well blended mixture of tension. humourand drama that draws the political out of the personal. (Frances Cornford)
I Fall (Fringe) The Arius Aquarius Theatre Company. Hill Street Theatre (Venue 41 ) 225 7294. until24 Aug. iii.15pm.£4.5()(£3.5()).