THE THREE M’S AND ME
The largest walk-out came when Sue Kelly Christie said ‘At this point 1 like to get a black man out ofthe audience for a song about the new South Africa.‘ Personally I felt she‘d been pushing it with the Jewish and Irish jokes a few minutes earlier. Jokes is an optimistic term. There is nothing funny in heracL
That this lack of talent and this depth ofstupidity exists outside the world of The Stuge‘s ‘thank-you for a wonderful season‘ adverts comes as a deep shock to me. Christie is the sort of Sun City artiste who comedian Gail Tuesday rips the piss out of so brilliantly. Tuesday makes it funny; in the flabby ﬂesh it‘s obscene.
To think that l have wasted vitriol on shows that were merely awful. (Stephen Chester) I The Three M's and Me (Fringe) Sue Kelly Christie. Hill Street Theatre (Venue 41) 225 7294. until 5 Sept. 1.05pm. £4.50 (£3.50).
IN BED WITH MAE WEST
Billed as a ‘more than one woman show‘. this musical biography of a long-detonated blonde bombshell is. in fact. the first one-person play I‘ve seen in which the need for other actors is so acutely felt.
Glasgow-born Moira Paterson gives a perfectly adequate impersonation. and her renditions of Mac West‘s songs are splendidly sung and presented. though her microphone technique leaves something to be desired.
But the script by Steven Whinnery and Jim McNulty. which links the songs. contains far too much one-sided dialogue (allowing Paterson only a brief spell of role-play. as Mae‘s mother. Mrs West). and beyond a vague chronological scheme.
lacks any dramatic structure. It also contains too much pointless and
l glaringly unspontaneous
1 interaction withthe
l Against such odds.she
f can hardly be heldto
_ simply isn'tactress
enough to compensate for
: (Andrew Burnet)
I In Bed With Mae West (Fringe) Magnificent Obsession Productions. Gilded Balloon (Venue 38) 226 2151 . until 5 Sept. 1pm. £5 (£4).
In times ofecological and economic crisis. a bit of recycling might seem healthy. but when the company concerned is among the most inventive on the Fringe. it's a disappointment. Trestle Theatre Company‘s reputation was largely founded on this series of three serio-comic vignettes about power games at different stages of growing up. but they‘ve since moved on to better things.
I cannot fault the four performers. who acquit themselves extremely well, quickly establishing complex (and funny) conﬂicts. entirely without the use of voice or face. their heads concealed by a variety of expressive masks.
But the last scene is more than a decade out of date. and the dramatic structure (despite a poignant ending. with Johnny Rotten hollering out ‘no future for you') is flaccid compared to Trestle‘s later. more subtle work. such as Top Storey and the excellent Ties That Bind. Worth seeing nonetheless. (Andrew Burnet)
I Hanging Around (Fringe) Trestle Theatre Company. Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550. until 5 Sept (not 16, 23 Aug. 1 Sept). 2pm. £6 (£4).
THE PEOPLE WHO COULD FLY
Taking folktales from Iceland. Finland. Ireland and South America. the Shoestring Players. a
company, present a story-book of bright theatrical imagery. The slick ensemble work from the ten performers creates vivid caricatures and imaginative worlds. which can include the four
elements. enchanted woods. talking ﬂowers.
ships— the list is endless.
They employ very
5 simple mime techniques.
that are nonetheless used with such precision and charm that the stories spring to life and sparkle
with inventive humour
and fun. An hour of perfectly judged theatre
for all the family.
I The People Who Could Fly (Fringe) Shoestring Players. Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550. until 31 Aug (not 23) 2pm.£4 (£3).
THE LOVE OF SEVEN DOLLS
The laughter of a friend is a wonderful thing. particularly when the rest ofthe audience don‘t know the cast from Adam and are wallowing in despair from buying a ticket for the show.
Stumbling into a travelling theatre troupe. Mouche. an ex-stripper. gets caught up between the worlds of puppet fantasy and human desires. A power struggle ensues between the retiring Peyrot and the bestial Baloote. who both love her and want her.
So far. so interesting. But the first lesson ofany production is finding performers who can at least better Pinnochio with woodworm in the acting stakes. Paul Gallico‘s rich and imaginative story has been blandly adapted. and the direction is unfocused and
lacking in dramatic
punctuation. (Michael Balfour)
I The Love of Seven Dolls (Fringe) Accented Images, Edinburgh Playhouse and Studio (Venue 59) 557 2590, until 5 Sept. l.15pm.£5.50 (£3.50).
V THEATRE '
DREAMS/ SCREAMS 2
Tumbling words. The typewriter reigns over Sore Throats Theatre. It prods the performers, who in turn caress all that it issues. This is theatre back to the basics; intelligent, poetic theatre which forces attention. Vincent O‘Connell asks the audience for a title of a short play at the beginning of the performance. He then retires to a cubby hole in the Theatre Zoo cafe and writes said play. leaving a group of three actors to perform pieces generated earlier in the same way. O‘Connell
Company. Southside '92 (Venue 82) 667 7365. until 5 Sept (not 23. 26 Aug. 2
i . THE MEN’S i EWOMB '
l l V THEATRE
! Sept). lpm.£3.50(£3).
After the show. the cast apologised to the audience. and he replied that it was okay. he‘d wanted to see Angels Still Falling anyway.
‘Yeah. sorry about that too.‘ they responded, ‘but we‘ve replaced it with this one.‘
Their embarrassment was clear enough on the stage, which they tried to
i leave as quickly as
possible by saying their
lines as fast as possible. I
. ‘ don’t think they liked the
, lines either, as they
doesnot take the easyway u.
out; what he teases from the audience’s usually light-hearted suggestions is often harrowing material of astounding quality. He writes about what is important: rape, poverty, the failure of communication, concentration camps. This is a brave experiment which succeeds through the talent of a strong company. (Roberta Mock)
I Dreams/Screams 2 (Fringe) Sore Throats Theatre, Theatre Zoo (Venue 21) 225 7995, until 5 Sept (not 30 Aug).
2. 10pm. £4 (£3).
This is recommended viewing for academics everywhere. Patrick is an English lecturer obsessed with Shakespeare‘s early works and the play is based around a brilliant parody ofan academic lecture. complete with hiccoughs. parentheses and feeble little jokes. Interwoven with this is the tragi-comic story of Patrick's marriage. his wife's infidelities and the upset of his own small. ordered universe.
Philip Wolffis outstanding as Patrick. able to suggest the age and demeanour ofthe academic just by his petulant expression and the way he wears his moleskin trousers. while Sarah Thomas as his needy wife and Oliver Timms as her young lover are also excellent. The Eng Lit emphasis is rather laboured. and may annoy the uninitiated, but incisive comedy and fine acting make this a pleasure to watch. (Frances Cornford)
I Denied Crown: (Fringe) Exacting Theatre
‘ hackneyed scripting.
spare. more stylised
What would happen ifa man became pregnant? Among other things. he would receive £1 million
from the estate of Charles Chaplin, as decreed by the man himselfin 1926. Takingthis astheir starting point. the Artts Company — recent graduates of a theatre and television training college in North Yorkshire — have devised a show on the theme of male pregnancy.
With a large. international cast of varying ability. they present a slightly surreal tale. centring on Albert Wills‘ pregnancy. and on a radio phone-in about genetic engineering. which warps offinto disturbing hallucinations for its psychic presenter.
The Men '5 Womb is
simply. with inventive design. and there are moments ofinspired— even thought-provoking— comedy. but most ofthe best opportunities are wasted. through
inexperienced acting and unimaginative lighting. With a production this
writing and more confidence from the actors are needed to carry it off. (Andrew Burnet)
I The Men's Womb (Fringe)The Artts Company. Pleasance (Venue 33) 5566550. run ended. I.15pm.£4(£3).
mumbled them whenever
possible. The play, about two genetic scientists trying to
-' 3 create the perfect woman, took two days to write. .j That they laboured so
long comes as a surprise.
This company has taken
the small step between the sublime and the ridiculous
and have achieved, : doubtless by some whim
of God, comic gold. Their show is sublimely awful yet possesses an abysmal brilliance which is
' uniquelyfunny. Reeommended.because to be this bad takes talent.
(Stephen Chester) I Plastic People (Fringe)
' Universityof Huddersﬁeld,The Mad
Abbot (Venue 84) 447
. 8811.until22 Aug,£3.50
DIARY OF A PROVINCIAL LADY
As one who has no
: interest in provincial ladies of the pre-war
years. lam happy to say that Gwyneth Powell‘s portrayal is more than satisfying. Snobbish neighbours, the vicar‘s
wife, boorish husbands.
non-servile servants and lisping childhood friends are the panoply of characters she portrays. A diaretical report does
3 not usually make for ; watchable drama. and an ' Englishwoman
encapsulated by her social status and financial worries is not my idea of
impoverishment. but Ms
Powell‘s talents allow her to carry it offsplendidly. (Wes Shrum)
I Diary of a Provincial Lady Gwyneth Powell. Chaplaincy Centre (Venue 23) until 30Aug. 1. 15pm. £4.50(£3.50).
The List 21 — 27 August 1992 27