Church Hill Theatre, Edinburgh. Until Sat 18 Jan.

South Pacilic is an occasion; a lavish musical spectacular with a cast oi 50 and more hit songs than Cliil Richard; a vintage Broadway musical iorthe twin-set and blue-rinse brigade.

The Morningside crowd were there in their hundreds, and clearly loving every minute. Passion, dangerand patriotism are set against a background at the American-Japanese hostilities in the South Pacilic. A heady mix, but alas tor a younger audience, a

dated and trite musical oi a vintage long past its sell-by date.

War is hardly the subject oi light entertainment, and by glossing their experiences with Broadway schmalz, Americans were indulging in a lorm oi historical revisionism. Unlike their succeeding generation which recalls Vietnam through such brutalising iilms as Full Metal Jacket and Apocalpyse Now, Rodgers and Hammerstein re-create the American experience in the South Pacilic with Honey Bun, Some Enchanted Evening and Happy



Edinburgh Playhouse. Until 29 February.

You've seen the adverts, now watch the show. But have you noticed that Paul Nicholas, at the end at his Til-commercial ball-juggling, says only that this is the greatest show in town? Whatever happened to the greatest show on earth? 0n seeing the performance, you understand the reluctance oi the producers to make rash claims. For not only is this larlrom being the greatest show on earth, but, with at least one glitzy panto still packing them in elsewhere in the city, it makes even the insecure publicity statements look iar-ietched.

The main problem is that the show itsell is little more than a panto. It has a good guy wandering through lite, occasionally breaking into song at the most inopportune moments, and llltting irom one scene to another in orderto keep the audience interested. But, as these are real people, you lose the magic oi panto: the ilying carpets,

the talking animals, the genies. A leeble attempt to inject some mysticism is made with the arrival oi Tom Thumb, but this cannot compensate tor the iact that a panto without magic is merely a group oi egos exercising themselves on stage.

Paul Nicholas, ol course, has a certain charm; the nicest man in showbiz except lor Cliii and all that. Yet, like-the eternal youth, he has no spark, no vitality. Maybe that is the ditierence between this show and the two previous productions which starred Jim Dale and Michael Crawiord. We sit through samey song atter samey song and Nicholas seems to be in a kind oi limbo, occasionally surveying the audience to check the numbers at bums on seats, but otherwise periorming in a vacuum. The bright spot at the evening comes at the end when the company (which, admittedly, is universally impressive) linally periorms the acrobatics which the set promises lrom the very beginning. Nicholas also joins in with a breathtaking stunt. But it’s too late to make this any more than the sixth or seventh greatest show in town. (Philip Parr)


Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh. Until 1 Feb. I've never thought oi myseli as a tan oi the iamous movie version, but I‘m surprised by how many images irom it spring to mind - an increasingly manic Cary Grant, Boris Karloti look-alike Raymond Massey or the psychotic but oddly vulnerable Peter Lorre. Whilel don’t think Ben Twist’s Royal Lyceum images will replace them, his production makes tor an entertaining evening.

Written iorthe stage in 1941, Joseph Kesselring’s play is neatly shaped and always moving. The plot, centred on two charming old ladies and what they keep in the cellar, is complicated in a reassuringly straight-iorward sort oi

way. While some oi the period

Talk. War is certainly more palatable in '

this lorm, but there is a price in portraying it as some sort at beach party.

Nevertheless, the cast displays huge amounts oi energy and commitment, which more than pays all in some oi the show-stopping scenes. Not everyone was born to sing, but Alice Dunn as Bloody Mary turns Bali-Hai’i into the highlight oi the evening, and Norma Kinnear as Nellie Forbrush is a strong lead, making easy work oi the American accent.

A less easy time is had by the back-stage crew who struggle with interminable scene changes- eighteen in all -which, true to Broadway, are grand attairs involving streets, otiices, native huts, and a beach. Yet the audience wouldn't have it any other way, and as l sneak oil as the curtain ialls on the three-hour production, the punters can barely control their applause. (Aaron Hicklin)

reierences mean little now, and there are a iew too many sell-relerential

theatre jokes (one oi the characters

being a theatre critic), it retains a zest

simply because its stagecratt is so well handled.

After a slow start, when the cast seem hardly to recognise each other orthe rather too expansive set on which they iind themselves, the comedy cogs slip into place, the pace is upped and the plot thickens. Billed as a comedy-thriller in the 403, it’s played here as iarce - eiiectively enough, but unlortunately there's no suspense. Even iiyou’ve never seen the iilm, it‘s not hard to imagine the menace exuded by Lorre and Massey preparing a nasty end iortheir trussed-up victim: here the same scene raises laughs.

Once again the Royal Lyceum has assembled a strong cast which, on the whole, works comlortably together.

2 Cavada Humphrey and Elizabeth Tyrell j play the weird sisters with increasing

j coniidence, and it’s a pleasure seeing

. an actor like Tyrell who is so relaxed on

stage, a model oi composure amid iirst

night pressures and uncertainties.

' (Ken Cockburn)

Arsenic And Old Lace

sexrst. bigotted and unpretentious


Theatre is llsted by city, then alphabetically by venue. Touring shows are listed alphabetically by title at the end at the section. Shows will be listed, provided that details reach our oltices at least ten days betore publication. Theatre Listings compiled by Mark Fisher.


Access: P = Parkirtg Facilities. PPA 2 Parkingto be Pre-Arranged. [. 2 Level Access. R = Ramped Access. S'I‘ :- Steps to negotiate.

Facilities: WC : Adapted 'l‘oilet(s). \v's _— Wheelchair Spaces. AS = Adjacent Seats. E = Induction Loop System. 0 = (iuide Dogs Allowed. R = Restaurant Accessible. B = Bar Accessible. T = Adapted Telephone.

Help: A 2 Assistance Available. AA 2 Advise Venue in Advance.


Tickets for major venues in Glasgovv are available from the Ticket Centre. Candleriggs. Mon—Sat 10.30am until (v.3llpm in person or until 9pm by phone on 041327 551l.Sundavopeningis noon—5pm. Anv Ticket Link boxoiiice can sell tickets for other vettues.


I ARCHES THEATRE Midland Street . ZZI 9736. [Aceessz P. L. Facilities: WC. WS. [3. (i. Help: A. AA]

MissJulie L'ntil Sat lb’Jan. 7.30pm. £4 (£3). Strathelvde Theatre (iroup in lbsen's classic about sex. class and morality.

I CITIZEHS' THEATRE (iorbals Street. 42‘) 0032. Box Office Mon—Sat lllilITI-(Tpl'll (10am—9pm on performance davs). Bar. [Accessz P. L. Facilities: WC. WS. TLC). R. llelp: AA]

The Snow Queen t: mil Sat 18 Jan. 7pm. £3—£7. This year's .‘vlv les Rudge panto is based on the Hans Christian Andersen tale about little (ierda vvho battles through ice and snovv to rescue her brother from the clutches olthe Snovv ()ueen. (iiles llavergal directs and Julian .‘vle( iovs'an has l'un vvith the ie} blue and vv hites iorthe design.

I CUMBERNAULD THEATRE Cumbernauld. “33n731s'HTBosOitieeMon lirt lilatn~~opiii; Sat lilani - 3pm; (v Spin pert. ] ev gs Bar Cale. [Access: I’I’A. S'I'. l-acilities: WC. “S. (i. l3. Help: A. AA] Follow! Follow! 'I‘hurs 23- Sat 25.]ati 7.45pm. {3.5” £4.75(£l fill £2.35). Nevs prolessionalcompan} l-‘oree'l‘hiee present a iootball comedv b_v llarr} (ilass. \v hose Mute/t or the [My has been vs ell received across the countrv. l'nashantedlv

TO'I‘hurs3IIJan—Sat l l‘eb. 'I‘ue4 'I‘hurso

and Sath'l'eb.'l'ue-Ihurs BSIHLISH). l-‘ri S;it£4.75(£3.25). lil_vthel)uliand ;

the runningargumentsbttbblingundertlie surface in a local pub. Li/ Carruthers

Vincent l-‘riell star in .lim ('artvv right‘s avsard-vvinningblack coined} involving

directs. See prev ievv.

I GLASGOW ARTS CENTRE I2 Washington Street. 331 4536. [Access; PPA. R. Facilities: “C. R. (i. Help: A. AA]

SWALK l 'ntil Sat lSJan. 7.3“an HUI).

A group ol unemploved people based at (ilasgovv ArtsCentre have ptit together I this collection ol sltort pla_vs. poetr_v . songs

and devised pieces based on the subjects

of love and marriage. I KINGS THEATRE Bath Street. Box

Office. Mon»~Sat noon bpnt 4 bars.

,' Phone bookings. Ticket Centre.

Candleriggs. see ’l'ickel Link deltllls ]

I above. [Accessz P. l.. Facilities: WC. R.

_. __J

The List 17— 3(lJanuary 1992 45