BREEZE. Lion around
Stephen Chester begins the afternoon by talking to Stephen Greenhorn about sex and swear-words.
A cliché may be defined as a phrase which is tired and old, but it isn’t until the fifteenth Fringe writer/director interview that you realise just how exhausted the superannuated can become.
As soon as they get onto, ‘it‘s a very accessible piece‘ the tape recorder is usually being slammed into the forehead with enough force to erase the inevitable. ‘but we don‘t make it too easy for the audience. We like to be a little bit controversial.‘
West Lothian-based playwright Stephen Greenhorn is not one of those who contribute to cranial damage. ‘Don‘t bring your granny,‘ he responds to the question of accessibility. ‘Unless she‘s a keen avant-garde theatre-going granny.’
So the show‘s a multi-media spectacle of song and dance. which creates a unique portrait of urban sexuality. right? No.
‘lt‘s about a man in a wheelchair
and a prostitute in a hotel room. Fifty minutes of the two of them. It covers things like power and control. It‘s about the sorts of situation where people create illusions about themselves.‘
So it‘s one man‘s struggle to overcome etc, etc, sex, Olympic glory? No.
‘It was a chance to work with characters who were slightly darker and a bit nastier than characters I‘ve worked with before. It wasn‘t a commission for any specific theatre. so I didn‘t have to worry about the audience not liking this nasty play with lots of swear-words and offending the Saga coach-tours party.’
The cliche-free Greenhorn is to have his work performed at that blandness exclusion zone on the Lawnmarket, Diverse Attractions. It‘s a venue which lives up to its name by staging a vast number of shows, many from groups based in Edinburgh and Lothian. It provides a unique opportunity for groups like
Killing The Cat to actually get on a stage in their home city when most are being occupied by Sarf London comedians. And they used to fight wars over things like that.
At the end ofthe interview the tape recorder is intact and no one’s said ‘check it out’ in the last twenty minutes. I’m tempted to ask, just to make sure, whether Greenhorn isn’t articulating the stories of those usually denied a voice on stage. But no. ‘Because someone’s in a wheelchair they don’t have to be nice,’ says Greenhorn. ‘He’s just a horrible person who happens to be disabled.‘ (Stephen Chester)
I The Lion’s Mouth (Fringe) Killing The Cat, Diverse Attractions (Venue 11) 225 8961, 24—29 Aug, 1pm, £3.50 (£1 .50).
VTHEATRE . New man In
The crisis of the New Man (and boy, do they deserve it), has been rocognised and exploited by car manufacturers for decades. Simplified, the problem is this: no matter how new it is, there’s always something newer. And it's behen
Or, as Pamela Carter, chief babe and writer of King’s Players’ latest fringe flirtation would have it, ‘the deconstruction of feminine iconography has led to a depressing jumble of debris.’
And this, in turn, poses a further problem: the minefield of sexual politics is a dangerous place, but when you can’t understand what the hell the chicks are talking about it’s lethal.
Despite the obscurity oi all this Political Correctness, her play begins with a situation familiar to all full-blooded young lads. Smashed out of his skull, the hero recovers consciousness on the floor of a bar. The rest of the play is composed of a ‘Chaucerlan’ - now there was a man who liked a good bit of smut- dream vision, of the sort usually inspired by alcohol abuse and short-term brain damage.
The two barmaids who our pre-blooterd hero has been ogling also feature in his dream (another situation familiarto all full-blooded young lads) and set out, according to Carter, ‘to
repair his sexually impaired lmagination,’ using live music, poetry and dance.
Now personally, I can’t see what’s wrong with ‘the saintly angel and the tlfillating temptress' he imagines. And I think, deep down, Pam agrees with me, because she says, ‘they find they enjoy their roles a little too much and begin to question the concept of their own self-image.’
And when she says, ‘the reason he's never found the woman of his dreams is because he has a completely false construct of reality,’ we all know what his real problem is, eh lads? Not enough lager. (Stephen Chester)
New Man In Progress (Fringe) King’s Players, Theatre Zoo (Venue 21) 225 7995,23,25,27,29,31Aug,2,4 Sept, 2.30pm, £3.50 (£3).
Andrew Bumet swallows down a swift pie 'n’ pint before highlighting the after-lunch top five.
I Madame Mao’s Memories From Singapore, a performance- art-influenced monologue re-examining the life of hated Gang of Four member Jiang Qing. Madame Mao ’5 Memories (Fringe) Theatreworks, Traverse (Venue 15) 2281404, until 5 Sept (not Mons), 1.30pm (times vary after 23 Aug), £7. I Tattoo D’Clock Poetry Show Fringe veteran John Hegley — he of the manic stares and four-eyes jokes — is back. Ifyou haven’t seen him, do. Tattoo O’Clock Poetry Show (Fringe) John Hegley, Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428, until 28 Aug, 2pm, £6.50/£7 (£5/£6). I Dreams/Screams 2 All punches pulled in these ever-generating impressionistic tales of life eternal and modern. Every show is hot off the presses. Dreams/Screams 2 (Fringe) Sore Throats Theatre, Theatre Zoo (Venue 21) 225 7995, until 5 Sept (not 30Aug), 2.10pm, £4 (£3). I Dorothy Parker’s Dead From Manchester, a one-woman show by Coronation Street writer Marvin Close: an intimate look at the woman behind the mask. Dorothy Parker’s Dead (Fringe) Jane H0110 wood, Gilded Balloon (Venue38) 226 215/, until5 Sept. 1.30pm, £5 (£4). I Notfalls Belau Directed by two members ofTheatre de Complicite, Austria‘s Theatre YBY present a physical comedy about the nature of exile. Highly pertinent to Eastern Europe today. Notfalls Belau (Fringe) Theatre YB Y. Richard Demarco Gallery (Venue 22) 5570707. until 28 A ug (not23), 1.30pm, £4.50 (£3.50).
The List 21 — 27 August 1992 23