Every morning Fringe ‘cvent should be as enchanting as this hour-and-a-quarter in the company of Scottish storytellers. More invigorating than even a cup of coffee and a fry-up, the magic woven by the human voice can only restore faith in the day ahead. The spirit of the ceilidh provokes the sort of camaraderie which forces you unconsciously to smile at pe0ple in the streets whom you’ve never met before. Storytelling is a neglected living art, supplanted over the years by the quill, the radio, the television. Although different storytellers will be spreading tales in this slot throughout the Festival, if they are all as skilful as Alison Millen and Peter McNeil, who performed early in the week, there will certainly be plenty of spell~binding accounts of little people, giants and ghosts in store. (Roberta Mock) I Scottish Traditional Storytellers (Fringe) The Netherbow (Venue 30) 556 9579, until 5 Sept (not Suns), 10.45am, £3.50 (£2.50).



From encounters while travelling in New York and Nicaragua, Sarah Cathcart weaves together the stories of three women - an American nun, an ex-US Army officer and a Nicaraguan mother. Cathcart’s own persona is portrayed as a gauche, phrase book-thumbing tourist. Through her eyes we begin to perceive and understand the different characters, what makes them tick, why circumstances have changed them, their sorrows and their fears. Employing disciplined physical and voice work , with a minimum of support from props, set or music, Cathcart creates a variety of environments and people in a combination of naturalistic narrative and more symbolic imagery. A balanced and intriguing performance. (Michael Balfour) I Walking On Sticks (Fringe) Sarah Cathcart,


In a new production by award-winning


story.‘ (Michael Balfour)

writer Bill Dunlop (Klytemnestra’s '2 I" Balms), Second-Skin presents a play based on the lite and times of Grace O’Maily, Chieftain Princess of Connaught turned pirate, and her Intriguing confrontation with

‘As soon as we mention the word

I pirate, we’re in trouble, because

' people immediately think at Peter Pan or Erroll Flynn,’ warns Dunlap. ‘I've by no means ditched history, but the ' records of Grace’s lite were recorded second or third-hand, so I’ve had to discover the mind of the character through her actions. This is a political saga - and one with a contemporary impact— but It’s also a very human

Crimes of Adversity (Fringe) Second Skin, Richard Demarco Theatre (Venue 22) 557 0707, until 29 Aug (not 23), noon, £4.50 (£3.50).

Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428, until 5 Sept (not 25, 1) noon,£6/£7, (£7/£6).


Forget the Alka-Seltzer

and try the memoirs of

, Colonel Enderby Lathe

(retired) instead. Not that

the Colonel would have

any sympathy with

v whingeing whippersnappers who‘ve

I been lounging about in

bars all night. There was a time back in India when . .

And so, Roger Booth‘s

i colonel takes us on a tour

5 of the colonies, recounts

. the several Imperial wars

'5 he has taken part in, and

1 gives us his first

impression of Hitler, back

. in ‘34: ‘A good man to

! have in the jungle.’

l Admittedly the whole

! idea is indebted to

I Ripping Yams and as a

performer there are

I moments when Booth

| patently lacks confidence,

; but as a writer he has

i created a vivid portrait of

! an endearing old homicidal bigot. Spiffing stuff for groggy chaps. (Stephen Chester) I How To Be Always Well or Letters From The Seafront (Fringe) The London

. Theatre Company, The

_ Roxy (Venue 27) 650

' 8499, untilS Sept, noon,

! £5 (£4).

v THEATRE lmewoaxs

5 Theatre des Bicyclettcs promises to provide outdoor shows to please


all the family and it succeeds. With accumulated skills of juggling. dancing unicycling and mime. these experienced entertainers perform a range of delightful sequences from simulated battles to diving. head-first. into the sea from a great height.

The risky art of involving the audience was well demonstrated when Michael - an enthusiastic volunteer— almost stole the show. lie hummed Yellow Submarine on the kazoo and bobbed up and down with a balloon disguised as a fish part ofthe fire-juggling underwater stunt! It is a shame that there isn‘t a chance fora

- child to participate. but

don‘t let that put you off. (Tamsin Grainger)

I The Works (Fringe) Theatre des Bicyclettcs. Wireworks Playground (Venue 1), until 28 Aug. 11am and 3pm, £1 .50(£1).



An entertaining mixture

- of mystery, magic and 3 banana skin comedy.

involving a greedy jewel thiefout to nab Mariothe

. Magician‘s diamonds.

The show is slick and

polished and never misses

a chance to involve and include the children in the action. In fact two young

detectives got so excited

that they sprang offtheir seats and did a few spectacular rugby tackles in an attempt to apprehend the thief. There‘s a rumour the two are planning to do their own show next Fringe.

Unplanned scenes apart, the magic is impressive as Mario turns bubbles into jewels, and special comic praise goes to Detective Who’s Clouseau-like antics. Recommended. (Michael Balfour)

I Mario's Magnificent Marvels (Fringe) Magic Carpet, Southside (Venue 82) 667 7365, until 29 Aug, 12.25pm.£3.50(£3).


Clearly adapted from a street show, and yet restricted by the confines ofa small stage, the Flying Chesty Coffs hike from routine to routine with general audience approval.

Utterly plotless and wholeheartedly fooling around with pranks, gags and audience participation, the (‘offs are hardy entertainers, sensitive enough to deal with shy children, adventurous enough to deal with extrovert Welshmen.

With well constructed comedy material, tried and tested visual gags, and a talent for adlibs- the two urban clowns deliver a show which is suitable for all tastes and ages. (Michael Balfour)

I Flying Chesty Colts (Fringe) Flying Chesty Coffs, Hill Street Theatre (Venue 41) 225 7294, until 5 Sept (not 23) 11.10am. £2.50 (£1 .50).



Through astonishing physical control and minutely observed characterisation. Sandra

: Duncanilluminatesthe

l stories of five women drawn from the novels of

, MargaretLaurence.The

literary source is adapted

' with sensitiveintclligence, and evocative music is an

added enhancement. But it‘s Duncan's beautifully

restrained performance that makes the show so

hard to fault.

She draws the audience in and conjures up sharp images of life in a small town. a world shaped by sadness, loss and regret. Poignant and humorous.

warmth. subtlety and depth. An accomplished performance of the highest standard. (Michael Balfour)

I Persona (Fringe) Sandra Duncan, Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550, until 5 Sept (not 23, 1) noon, £5 (£4).


is .2"

My throat was hoarse, my

arms were tired and I had narrowly missed reeeivin g a custard pie in my face.

It‘s impossible not to participate in this show. The audience is primed to react to particular words with either a hearty Boo or a vigorous arm wave, or to shout out ‘the Alan family have got it’ and point to an embarrassed mother timidly holding up an outsized prop.

All the antics are fed into a Roger McGough story about Emerson versus a gormless gang of Stinkers intent on mischief.

Subjected to water-pistol attacks and low-flying foam, the adults were probably cursing the day Tiswas was taken off the air at least they could switch that off. But the kids loved every minute. (Michael Balfour)

I The Great Smile Robbery (Fringe) Custard Factory, Theatre West End (Venue 126) 20—22 Aug. 31—5 Sept, 11pm; 24—29 Aug, 1pm, £4.50 (£3).



In her sketches of women

dealing with the daily trials of motherhood, wedlock, weight problems and similar womanly trials, Flip Webster has a range of props, guises and ready facial expressions. But although the

execution of her material

is good, the material itself

is mixed.

Perhaps it’s the fact that the same kind of Sharon


and Tracyotypes of the show populate so many TV sitcoms that these character-sketches are not as funny as intended. And the act is strewn with weak sexual innuendoes— funny names like Ivor Biggin. It‘s not all bad. Sketches like the mucky baby eating on a high chair are quite amusing, and although not comical, the

; battle-weary housewife is

sure to find more than a

grain of truth in characters - like Webster‘s distraught

_ . mother. (RobertAlstead) the portraits resonate wrth '

I Flipside (Fringe) Flip

Webster, Gilded Balloon (Venue 38) 2262151,until

5 Sept (not Weds), noon,



Cross-cultural romance is a hard one tocrack. especially when you‘re employing cross-cultural dramatic techniques— from French mime to Chinese opera to stage it.

Devised by its cast, Bonni Chan Lai (‘hu and Sean Curran, this is the tale of Big Al fae Muirhoose, who arrives in llong Kong in a dodgy suit and an optimistic frame of mind, ready to make his fortune. In his rented apartment. he meetsand falls for a squatter Moi Moi - young, innocent and brimming with shrilljoie de vivre.

Naturally, the course of true love fails to run smooth and with his loved one growing ever more unstable and his material aspirations thwarted the Scots lad is forced to risk everything. Engaging and stylish, with a downbeat but moving ending. this is a brooding. surprising journey into despair, leavened by skilful performances and splashes of humour. (Andrew Burnet)

I Melting Wings (Fringe) Theatre du Pif, Richard Demarco Theatre (Venue 22) 557 0707. until 29 Aug (not 23 Aug), noon, £4.50 (£3.50).

18 The List 21 27 August 1992