In the Fringe’s best tradition ot putting a modern spin on minor classics, the Cunningly Caned company’s own adaptation ol Dougal and the Blue Cat comes to Edinburgh complete with references to the rave culture. Producer Justin Le Patourel claims this Is the first theatrical outing tor the Magic Roundabout characters (the show is based on Serge Danot’s 1970 movie), but says it is tounded on more than an increased incidence ol t-shirt wearing among ravers.

‘I chose it because I saw the iilm when l was six, and it was incredibly scary,’ he says. ‘We are intending to

moderately scare our young audience as well, with lighting ettects. The whole idea at it is that your psychedelic and your political overtones are there lor those who want to see them, but we are mainly aiming the show at

children.’ Most of the Roundabout favourites

will be present, although tans of Mr Rusty and Mr Mcllendry will have to make do with the amalgamated Mr McRusty. Whether the young cast, halt oi whom are Edinburgh novices, can carry it oil remains to be seen, but they will be helped by the lact that our hero Dougal is cast completely to type: he is played by a 40-year-old council worker from Wandsworth. (Thom Dibdin) Dougal and the Blue Cat (Fringe) Cunningly Caned Theatre Company, Over-Seas House (Venue 19) 225 5105, 13-29 Aug, 1pm, £4.50 (£3).

Moving comedy

With refugees spilling out of what was once Yugoslavia, the notion ot exile is back in the spotlight. In only their third production, Austria-based Theatre YBY will tackle head-on some ot the big questions: How has the exile changed? Should he keep moving? Is there haven lrorn internal exile?

Nottalls Belau starts as Herr Heinz is expelled irom his homeland tor growing the exotic plants that are his emotional liteline. We accompany him through the border checks, the hotels, the train stations, the embassy waiting rooms. Dellberately, the play skates clear of grim, Katka-esque navel-gazing. ‘We didn’t want to treat it as a serious documentary-drama, so we decided to make it tunny, whatever happened. And it turned out to be both,’ explains Caroline Richards, the only British member of the cast.

When the play was premiered in Salzburg, there were gasps and raised

537132. .3... 14.- Hiking—ti; W2

eyebrows. Some Jews in the audience sharply disapproved; most found it a reireshing challenge. With its simple sets and its stress on physical expression, the play is a visceral, no-holds-barred plunge into the psychology at exile. According to Richards, it swings back and forth between Monty Python and high pathos. ‘People will probably find it quite shocking,’ she says. (Carl Honore)

Nottalls Belau (Fringe) Theatre YBY, Richard Demarco Gallery (Venue 22) 557 0707, 17—28 Aug (not 23), 1.30pm, £4.50 (£3.50).

' There have been bus tours



Well. somebody had to think ofit sometime.

of the Fringe and mystery van tours ofthc Fringe and now Mcrvyn Stutter has come up with a

from-your-seat cabaret '

tour ofthc Fringe. ‘For the price of a beer and a sandwich‘. Stutter will present halfa dozen different Fringe acts a day. all of whom will have a chance to shine in front

ofthe punters.

Stutter. otherwise a comedian and a veteran of many Fringes himself. j sees the show as l something of a public - service. giving theatre j groups a civilised l environment in which to perform and confused Fringe-goers a chance to see some of what's on 1 offer before they trudge

‘a topical satire within the framework ofa play.‘ So expect references to Jobcentres. fast-food outlets. opera-mania. charity concerts. Eurodisney. the Iraqi supcrgun and other more-or-Iess legitimate targets of contemporary loathing.

As for the penguin of the title . . . well. sufficeto say it would be ofmore interest toJ.R. Hartley than to Batman. (Andrew Burnet)

I The Orange Penguin (Fringe) Risk Theatre Company. The Roxy

. (Venue 27) 6508499. 15 I Aug—5 Sept (not 18.25

Aug. 1 Sept). 2pm.£4.5() (£3).


"‘ I?


off roundthc church halls M

and community centres. He is intent on showing

the Fringcin all its glory— I

good. bad and indifferent

and is hurt at the suggestion that he might i make fun ofthc acts. ‘Some people might think that I‘ve brought them along to take the pissout ofthcm . . .1t‘s not New Faces and I‘m not Tony Hatch. It would be a total and utter disaster to be judgemental.‘ I Seen Anything Good? ' (Fringe) Pleasance . (Venue 33) 556 6550. 14—31Aug(not 16.23). 1pm. £3 (£2).



Billed as ‘()Irver Twist with a twist for the 90s”. The ()range Penguin has ‘transmogrificd a long way from that‘. according to its author. John Random. It is. however. the story of an innocent‘s adventures among the lower and upper echelons of London society. even if Sykes‘s gang have become windscreen-washers. the philanthropic rich folks have moved to the top of (‘anary Wharf tower. and the ingenuous central character is a mink farmer from Scotland.

Put simply. The ()range Penguin is ‘a satire on contemporary London life‘. written by Random specifically for the cast of five. with whom he also collaborates in the guise of Newsrevue.‘1t'sthc pursuit of Newsrevue by other means,‘ he explains.


Patois Theatre Company. formed by two American

: drama graduates. Amy

Finegan and Louisa Spicer. is aiming high with its first production. The Voice of the Sea. A cast of nine will perform Finegan's adaptation of turn-of—thc-century American novel The A wakening. But the creative team is not prepared simply to orchestrate the activities of a large cast. but will also have an elaborate lighting design. original music and. health and safety officers permitting. even smells inside the theatre. to recreate the steamy atmosphere ofa New Orleans summer.

‘1 don‘t want it to bejust a polite period piecc.‘ explains Finegan. ‘Wc hope that you‘ll just be surrounded by this whole experience of the senses. We‘re almost manipulating the audience. but not quite.

‘The play is set in 1899. It‘s very light and summery. and yet there's this sense ofthc oppressiveness. not just of the heat. but also ofthc culture and the rules ofthc society. The central character is a woman who breaks out of her conventional existence

and tries to find out who

she really is. In that way , it‘s very universal it i should express for everyone vague. almost unknown. desires ofwhat there is beyond the life that we live.‘ (Philip Parr) I The Voice ot the Sea (Fringe) Patois Theatre. = Demarco Gallery (Venue 22) 557 0707. 17 Aug—5 Sept. 2.55pm. £5 (£4).


i i.



1 Like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. the queen bitch of New York‘s literary and social elite is indeed no longer with us. Yet her barbed spirit lives on. preserved in her sometimes second-rate poetry, her always exquisite put-downs and

j her apparently boundless

, appeal to modern playwrights. Her latest stage ; incarnation hails not from Manchester. not Manhattan. and is a collaboration between actress Jane Hollowood and writer Marvin Close. currently on his second stint with Granada Television‘s Coronation Street. Close defends his re-working of much- dramatised material. saying. ‘1 think the majority ofother shows have been very factual about her. whereas my play is a fictional night in her life it‘s a very impressionistic view of her.‘

Among the subjects of his other plays. Close lists public figures like The Goons, pioneer socialist-feminist Ellen Wilkinson. and Oliver Hardy. ‘Everybody seems to have a fairly fixed understanding of what these very. very public personas are about,‘ he says, ‘and it’s very interesting trying to find out what is beneath that perceived image.‘ (Andrew Burnet)

I Dorothy Parker’s Dead (Fringe) Jane Hollowood. Gilded Balloon Theatre (Venue 38) 2262151. 14 Aug—5 Sept. 1.30pm. £5 (£4).