' Chinese State
A good circus should leave you gobsmacked at the seeming impossibility of the leats you’ve witnessed, and this one does that with balls on. Not satistied with doing one trick at a time, the pertormers combine three or tour simultaneously. How about a woman on a live-loot unicycle, balancing on a large ball, using one tool to throw three bowls at once and
land them all on her head? This and umpteen other stunning displays ol acrobatic prowess, strength, agility and gravity-detying contortion combine with spectacular traditional costumes, ceremonial grace, some wonderlul clowning and the rare treat 01 hearing Chinese music played live. A splendid show, though the ethics oi paying to see a Chinese state-sponsored company are perhaps open to question. (Sue Wilson)
Chinese State Circus (Fringe) Assembly at the Meadows (Venue 116) 229 9281, until 6 Sept, 7.15pm; 22, 23, 26, 29, 30 Aug, 2, 5, 6 Septalso 2.30pm, £8I£10(£6/£8).
Festival FM would kill tor a soundtrack like the one Cinnabar has come up with lor its dance-theatre retelling ol the Testament ol Salome. It's a caretully selected compilation ol middle-Eastern and North Atrican traditional music that ushers in an unusually exotic Biblical atmosphere to the Traverse's second studio space. From vigorous, compulsive rhythms to lilting mood pieces, the music has been chosen with an attention to detail that typities this mature and accomplished production, be it in the subtlety 01 Ace McCarron's lighting or the control of Deirdra Morris’s pertormance.
Morris shares the stage with Arabic
dance specialist Wendy Buonaventura; the lormer narrating, the latter illustrating with a varied series at informal, sensuous dances, now leading with the hips, now the linger tips, now the shoulders, now the points 01 hertoes. But the purpose at the dance is more than simply to re-create the Old Testament mood, which it does lrom the moment Buonaventura appears ghost-like from behind a gauze curtain to her lrenzied, exotic dancing at the play's close. More centrally, it exists to put a speciiically lemale perspective on the male-centred religions which denied all but the most formal creative expression to women. Through dance, the play seems to argue, women can achieve treedom.
From barren desert to Herod's opulent palace to the morally-corrupted temple, Revelations creates stage pictures with ettortless restraint; the directors, Susannah York and Penny Cherns, pulling the audience magnetically into the story. It the occasional dance outstays its welcome and the drama doen’t stretch you very lar emotionally, the production is too well-rounded, too rich in ideas, too fresh in vision tor it to be anything other than a rare and intimate Fringe treat. (Mark Fisher)
Revelations -The Testament of Salome (Fringe) Cinnabar, Traverse Theatre (Venue 15) 228 1404, until 5
Sept, various times, 27.
THEATRE LIVING av numerns
The Fringe just wouldn‘t be the Fringe ifit weren't for shows like this. A simple hour-long monologue. rich in idiosyncratic charm and sharp on observational detail. Living by ,N’umhers is a comic, somewhat unsettling. study ofonc woman's obsession with order. symmetry and time-keeping.
Ifthe theme is stretched in places. the production remains a delight thanks to the precision ofthe performance by author Louise Jones. the continual surprises in Kevin Dawson‘s direction and repeatedly unexpected leaps in linguistic logic. As with all the best comedy. it wouldn't be so funny ifit wasn‘t so true.
All this and an old theme tune from Vision 0n. Well worth a look. (Mark Fisher)
I Living by Numbers (Fringe) Springboard. Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550. until 23 Aug. 7.30pm. £5.50(£4.50). Also Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428. 27 and 31 Aug—5 Sept. noon. £6 (£5).
ANTHONY MORGAN — STANDS ALONE
Apt title that. forthere was a sum total oftwo critics, five Scandinavians. one Australian looking lost. a couple of Fife lassics determined not to laugh at anything and several members ofthe Dream Tent staff to accompany Mr Morgan on his Saturday night show. Why? Why do Jack Dee and Henry Normal sell out with their nonsense and Anthony Morgan. a comedian with infinitely more charm and originality. have to hear his voice echoing around a
Probably because he’s Australian and unknown over here. But he won‘t be i for long ifhis heartfelt . reminiscences on everything from the peculiar charm of Aussie Rules football to his attempts to give up smoking receive any sort
ofaudience. Do him. and
; yourself. a favour and
take a risk with your six quid. he deserves better than this. (Philip Parr)
l Anthony Morgan - Stands 3 Alone (Fringe) Assembly
in the Meadows (Venue 116) 2299281 . until 5 Sept (not 25. 1). 6pm. £6 (£5).
v CABARET f
7 JOHN SHUTTLE- WORTH’S GUIDE = TO STARDOM
You've got to laugh really. ~
although the joke is so I thinand dryit‘s positively arid. Graham Fellows is
John Shuttleworth: your genuine closet genius on the Yamaha organ
i (speciality: prepared tone number 97) and closely
associated with the likesol Kajagoogoo and Paul Young by virtue of the fact he‘s been sending them
T demos for years.
And aren't those songs
fabby'.’ There‘s ‘l’igcons in
Flight' and ‘l‘m Up and Down Like a Bride‘s Nightie'. Fellows used to beJilted John. but he doesn‘t perform any material from that glorious bedsit repertoire. Yeah! Yeah! It's not fair. (Thom Dibdin).
IJohn Shuttleworth’s Guide To Stardom (Fringe) Graham Fellows. The Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550. until 5 Sept (not 27). 7.05pm. £5 (£4).
V THEATRE. '
THE DEVIL AND BILLY MARKHAM
Stephen Frost bursts through the saloon doors in stetson. long coat and outrageous boots. takes a swig ofJack Daniels and for 50 minutesor so regales us with the tale of a gambling man with a difference. Billy
Markham rolls dice with the devil. shoots pool with God. roasts on a spit in Hell for a while and still gets to shag every barmaid in Nashville.
Writer Shel Silverstein‘s bawdy moral monologue is a kind of Country and Western Canterbury Tale, and Frost does full justice to the delicious lines. playing Billy. Satan and God in sharp succession. The whole thing is in verse. which may sound naff. but the ingenious rhymes only add to the comedy. Sublime stuff. (Tom Lappin)
I The Devil And Billy Markham (Fringe) Stephen Frost.The Gilded Balloon (Venue 38) 226 2151 . until 5 Sept. 6pm. £6 (£5).
V THEATRE MAD
DirectorJeremy Weller has the disarming habit of incorporating the criticisms of his real-life-on—stage theatre in the show itself. lflsay that this third and final instalment in his (irassmarket Project trilogy is exploitative. voyeuristic and not especially theatrical. l'm not saying anythingthat isn‘t brought up by one or other of the actors during the performance. This doesn‘t make it any less true. but it does take the wind out of my sails.
As with last year‘s Had. this performance — play would be too strong a word — is a hit-and-miss affair. moments of brutal energy exploding out of interminable scenes of self-examination. as a ten-strong cast of people with experience ofmental illness re-enact the audition for a play called Mad. All very self-referential. all very angst-ridden and ultimately. all rather pointless. (Mark Fisher) I Mad (Fringe) Grassmarket Project. Leith Theatre (NOT as listed in Fringe Programme) tickets Fringe Box Ofﬁce orone hour before performance. until 29Aug (not Sun). 7.3(lpm.£7 (£5).
5m. Lisi'zi — 27 August 1992