V THEATRE SCENIC FLIGHTS
Try this. A Bexhill bank manager‘s widow escapes from a mound of sand (where she was left at the end of a previous play) wearing a surgical collar, and sets off around the world, her geographical travels running parallel to ‘a journey through her menopause, her ageing process.’ Sounds like a bundle oflaughs? That‘s exactly what it is. according to Cindy Oswin, writer-performer of the black comedy Scenic Flights, which picks I up where Beckett‘s Happy Days left off.
Oswin wrote the piece partly as a response, both practical and creative, to her own circumstances. ‘There are fewer and fewer parts for actresses my age; you’re disregarded more and more until you‘re 80, when suddenly you‘re in demand again. So i just got 'on and wrote my own play; I‘m menopausal myself, and it does in some ways chart my journey through it — despite Germaine Greer's book, there‘s still very little written on the subject.‘
Though Oswin picks up on some of Beckett‘s themes— ‘Winnie talks about being buried a lot, and the collar is like a mound she carries around
' with her‘ — she offers a more optimistic conclusion. ‘Without giving too much away. she ends up at Ayer’s Rock — another huge mound! — where she experiences a kind of revelation, or transformation. It‘s about coming to terms with ageing, really.‘ (Sue Wilson)
I Scenic Flights (Fringe) Paines Plough, Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550, 13 Aug—5 Sept (not 18,27, 1), 9.30pm, £5.50 (£4.50).
Thirty years after her death, the ghost of Marilyn Monroe remains a potent enough force to
He also, however, has a penchant for balancing everything lrom a miniature violin to a double bass on his nose,
: tumbling to the ﬂoor as his stool
collapses and playing the piano with
1 several dltterent parts at his anatomy. ; ‘l was warned when I started doing the comedy routine that people wouldn't take me seriously as a musician any more,’ admits Zeidwig,,‘but it really
hasn’t worked like that. It it’s a straight concert, people don’t go along expecting you to tall oil the stool.’ But in the Edinburgh Fringe, they most certainly do, and Zeidwig obliges.
As you can see, Mitchell Zeidwig is a serious musician. A regular on the US classical music circuit for several years, in 1991 Zeidwig even played at the White House in a straight musical
(Tommy as all twelve men in Twelve Angry Men?) and incorporated some Cooperesque failed magic
‘ tricks to illustrate the
outlook that informed his ‘ act. ‘Absurd isthe word
. that kept on coming up in
‘ ‘ 5 connection withTommy,‘
; says Murtagh. ‘This is
absurdist theatre . . .
, Tommy reminds me very
much of a character in
‘ E. Beckett.He belongs
Mitchell Zeidwig (Fringe), The Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550, 12 Aug-45 Sept (not 18, 27), 8.15pm, £6.50 (£5.50).
generate a steady stream ; of books. documentaries
. enough. too. in the case of
at the mystery surrounding the events of 2—3 August 1962. Potent
‘ two men — Robert Slatzer.
who claims to have been married brieﬂy to Monroe. and Milo Speriglio, the private eye enlisted to help in Slatzer‘s search for the truth — to have become an obsession.
That obsession is now
. the subject of a play.
Slatzer's Bouquet (Slatzer has flowers delivered regularly to Monroe‘s grave), in which the evidence — of foul play, Mafia involvement and
governmentcover-up— ' uncoveredby the twomen
is revealed, some of it for
i the first time. lnthethrce '- yearsplaywrightleff
Merrifield spent researching the piece, he became increasingly
Speriglio‘s case. ‘I wanted
to find out if these guys
were genuine.‘ he says. ‘And the incredible thing
I was, they were. Whether
the play contains the
‘ ‘truth‘ or not I can‘t say.
but it‘s an interesting game to look to see where
the edges of truth are.‘ For
director Ken Campbell.
the story‘s appeal is perhaps more straightforward. ‘I‘m just in love with mysteries,‘ he says. ‘My job, as I see it, is
g to pass on to an audience
the disquieting. yet exciting, tickle I get from them.‘ (Sue Wilson)
I Slatzer’s Bouquet (Fringe) Ab Ovo Theatre. Hill Street Theatre (Venue 41) 225 7294,16 Aug—5 Sept (not Tue),
| 9.15pm,£7.50 (£6.50).
and newsprint. all probing ‘
Harry Hill is 27. balding and overworked. He can
do little about the first
two, but the last is all his own fault — not only has he elected to perform in the Comedy Zone revue for a second year, he is also bringing Flies, his solo effort, to Edinburgh as well.
‘I like the word because it has so many different meanings,‘ says Hill. ‘Basically, the show involves me and my
I 3 adopted son, who‘s three convinced by Slatzer‘s and ‘
years old; we‘re doingit together because ofthe
; very poor creche facilities in Edinburgh.‘
This will not be merely
yourrun-of-the-mill, ; tangential,father/ ‘ adopted-soncombo.
however. ‘We‘ve got an item on how to improve your personal appearance, particularly
' got Barbara Dickson, she
sings “January, February“, and we‘re particularly pleased to have her with us because
she‘s such an old pro. And
there‘s a holiday film of me and Alan, my son , and his mother. It explains the tragic circumstances of her death - she is killed in a car crash on the film.
ile‘sonly three so I‘m hoping that he won‘t remember any of it when he gets older. I‘m hoping that I‘m not makinga huge mistake.‘ Probably not, but possibly Mr Hill is indulgingin a huge amount of leg-pulling. (Philip Parr)
I Flies (Fringe) Harry Hill. Festival Club (Venue 36) 650 2395. 15—29 Aug. 8.30pm. £4 (£3).
WAITING FOR TOMMY
‘Tommy very often did the start of his act from the dressing room, so the audience would be sitting there waiting and Tom would be in there with his feet up talking offstage for ten minutes. That‘s why we called it Waiting for Tommy,‘ explains directorJohn Murtagh. The Tommy in question is the comedian Tommy Cooper (fez hat. died on stage) now the subject ofa play by David Cosgrove for Borderline Theatre.
Murtagh finds Cooper a fascinating character. as absurd in real life as he was on stage. During his research, talking to the likes of Norman Wisdom and Tom O‘Connor, he turned up countless tales of Cooper hiding in the wardrobe to spook visitors with his disembodied voice or ordering sixteen meals in a restaurant but eating none ofthem.
The play aims to celebrate Cooper‘s unique view of life without ‘graverobbing‘ his routines. Cosgrove has written new material in the style of Cooper
firmly in that genre.‘ (Frances Cornford)
(Fringe) Borderline Theatre, Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550, 15 Aug—5 Sept (not 18.27.] Sept), 9pm, £6 (£5).
THE ELECTRONIC OARKAGE
Alan Francis is the kind of brooding comedian who sounds like his grandmother has just died. The winner oflast year‘s ‘So You Think You‘re Funny‘ competition, and well established on the London comedy circuit. he has written (along with Deer McLean) a concept. revue show. Whatever that is. ‘I didn't want to come up and do just another stand-up comedy show.' says Francis. lugubriously. ‘I wanted to do something a bit different. It's really a sketch show. but it hasa theme that runs through it.‘
That theme explores the misuse of technology in the 20th century. ‘Modern science isn't being used to make lives easier.‘ purports Francis. ‘lt‘s still being used to keep people in the dark.‘
The story follows Kevin Bradshaw. born into the idealism of the 60s and the optimism of an era. But as he grows up the future is not so rosy. ‘The emphasis is on comedy. following stages of Kevin‘s life in the ster of a ﬂy-on-thc-wall documentary ofhis life. In the 70s we find him in the job market. embroiled in interviews. training schemes and discovering sex. Kevin then decides to go on the Enterprise Allowance Scheme as an urban superhero — he‘s obviously a bit deluded — he believes he‘s Captain Universe.‘
The show uses the character as a springboard to encompass diverse comic commentary and revue material. not
‘ necessarily related to
Kevin, but connected to the main theme of
' technological abuse. ‘Did
Alexander Graham Bell
I really envisage the 0898
scam when he invented the telephone? Oh Watson! I can hear you! I must have a wank!‘ (Michael Balfour)
I The Electronic Darkage (Fringe) Darkage Productions, The Roxy (Venue 27) 650 8499, 13—29 Aug (not 16. 23). 9.15pm. £4.5()(£3).
GRIMM-THE TELLING OF THE
Billed as ‘an invitation to murder, mutilation. cannabalism. infanticide and incest‘. this play sounds like Edinburgh‘s answer to the video nasty. In fact , says director and creator of the piece Toby Gough. it is a ‘fusion of international folklore and primitive ritual.‘
Set in the early 19th century, the play follows the Brothers Grimm as they travel around Germany collecting folktalcs. In the background, Napoleon‘s rise and fall provides a parallel to the pattern of success and failure so often described in folklore. Most important, however. are the tales themselves. Gough employs African and Indonesian drummers, masks. costumes and acrobatics to emphasise the universality ofthe stories, creating a spectacle he hopes will appeal to everyone.
Ritual and psyche. history and industrialisation. biography and myth. How can Gough hope to encompass all these themes in an hour and a half? ‘I don‘t know what the rest ofit‘ll be like,‘ he says. ‘but with six musicians, eleven actors. a smoke machine, a trapeze and all the backdrops, it will look brilliant.‘ (Frances Cornford)
I Grimm—The Telling ot the Tale: (Fringe) EUTC. Bedlam Theatre (Venue 49) 225 9893, 17-29 Aug (not 23), 8.15pm,£4.50 (£3.50).
44 The List 14 — 20 August 1992