- TEA A I
Will the real Marilyn Monroe conspiracy theory please stand up? There are plenty to choose from and Slatzer's Bouquet picks a few ofthe least outrageous- versions official. Mafia and Bobby Kennedy. Bobby‘s love child. the Slatzer wedding and more - for a quick tour of the death legends. Cramming so much in could make for lecture tedium. but the play's comfy structure allows tangents to be explored and rejected when they become too extreme. Having invited the audience to take advantage of the plentiful photo-opportunities. a posse of photographers snap away at professional Monroe lookalike Pauline Bailey. Bailey speaks for Marilyn. while the photographers, lead by playwright Jeff Merrifield. expound and debate the theories during the costume changes. No questions are answered. but it‘s informed stuffand a must for lovers of Monroe. conspiracy or necrophilia. (Thom Dibdin) I Slatzer's Bouquet (Fringe) Playback Theatre. Hill Street Theatre (Venue 4l)225 7294. until 5 Sept (not 25. 1). 9. 15pm. £7.50 (£6.50)
V THEATRE SCENIC FLIGHTS
Cindy Oswin‘s brilliant one-woman play is a menopausal journey of self-discovery, and one that starts up where Samuel Beckett‘s Happy Days left off. The protagonist‘s neck has been put out ofjoint when her husband. burying her in the sand on a second honeymoon. collapsed and died on top of her. Now a burgeoning interest in her tutor. and the Indian mysticism he teaches, has her heading for India and change (in more ways than one. as her hot ﬂushes and Germaine Greer testify). Beckett would be proud
of the bizarre ﬂight attendant who starts off bringing Oswin her aeroplane lunch and ends up wordlessly accompanying her through every experience, providing props and sound effects. Scenic Flights goes well beyond Shirley Valentine-style humour to razor-sharp wit and some profound philosophising. It is particularly satisfying to know that this marvellous actress is an even better playwright. The whole is a quiet revelation. well worth a Fringe First. (Miranda France) I Scenic Flights (Fringe) Paines Plough. Pleasance (Venue 33) 566 6550, until 5 Sept (not 27, l ) 9.30pm, £5.50 (£4.50).
VCABARET ‘ I -1 ‘
It‘s a rare and courageous comedian who jettisons the safety-net of scripted material and casts him/herself adrift on the open waters of off-the-cuff invention. but such is Eddie Izzard‘s chosen course. and such is the fertility ofhis imagination that it works. His wide-eyed. rambling. unrufﬂed style is perfectly suited to the gentle, labyrinthine surrealism of his material. which on this occasion included musings on the burden of double chins. how royal fanfares came to be invented, the attention span ofgnats. sex in clammy weather, whether dinosaurs spoke Latin and the pitfalls of running for buses in ﬂip-ﬂops. Another night, the bill of fare will probably be entirely different, but you can bet on it being equally good. I Eddie lzzard (Fringe) Gilded Balloon Theatre (Venue 38) 226 2151, until 5 Sept (not Tues). 8pm, £6.50 (£5).
LIVE AND HARMLESS
If you have a hangover, if you've suffered too much loud music, if you‘re just about all Fringed-out,
LETTERS I DIDN’T SEND
Jane Hotchiils is a kind of Wild West Garrison Keillor ior feminists, acting out a monologue at her family’s history on a Californian ranch against a backdrop of slides taken by her mother.
A simple and powerful piece, disturbingly and knowingly evocative of a time and place when racism and sexism were rampant. (Thom Dibdln) Tearsheets: Letters I Didn’t Send Home (Fringe) Joan Hotchiiis, Chaplaincy Centre (Venue 23) 650 8201 , until 5 Sept (not 23, 30) 8.30pm, £4 (£3).
then Michael Redmond could be the stand-up for you. Soft-spoken, down-beat and with the saddest moustache in Edinburgh, Redmond explains that being happy is not his cup of tea. Maybe not, but he’s a dab hand at keeping an audience amused.
The woman next to me, who slept through most of the set (no problem, it‘s that sort of show). found his routine on insomnia particularly amusing. but had she been awake for the rest - everything from a pole-vaulting Mother Theresa to camouflaged hamsters on Arthur's Seat - she‘d have had a ﬁne time.
No need to rush there right away, but if you drift by. you'll be gently and consistently entertained. Harmless but not humourless.
I Michael Redmond - Live and Nannies: (Fringe) Michael Redmond, Gilded Balloon (Venue 38) 226 2151 , until 5 Sept (not Mons), 9pm, £5 (£4).
KEPLER If the Edinburgh-based Fifth Estate are to live up
to their admirable artistic policy, of ‘seeking out and presenting new plays of signiﬁcant literary merit'. they need to pay
considerably more attention to basics. Their world-premiere production of Robert Forrest’s drama about 17th century astronomer Johannes Kepler contains much to admire. but is sabotaged by an overall air of muddle and major weaknesses in the play itself. Perhaps the central problems are Andrew Byatt’s uncertain. muted performance in the title role and the script‘s structural and directional disintegration in the second half. It‘s a shame; the dangerous power of ideas in the political and religious climate of the 17th century is potentially a tremendous dramatic subject, but one which is far from fully realised here. (Sue Wilson)
I Kepler (Fringe). Fifth Estate, The Netherbow (Venue 30) 556 9579. until
5 Sept (not Suns). 8.30pm, £6 (£4.50).
THE ELECTRONIC DARK AGE
Alan Francis, last year‘s So You Think You ’re Funny? winner, Alison Newman of the Pussy Posse and two other comics have got together to form the rather mysteriously named Electronic Dark Age. From the Fringe programme their show sounds like some rather dubious avant-garde multi-media production. In fact it is conventional cabaret revue.
The sketches cover familiar territory — the embarrassment of a ﬁrst date, the nerd and his adventures at the dole ofﬁce/job interview, the man obsessed with TV jinglcs. The sketches are all well thought out and well acted. the parody of Play Your Cards Right being especially funny.
However the whole thing seems slightly dated. You might well see send-ups of Bruce Forsyth or stereotyped Northerners on Hale and Pace, and the sketch about a 16-year-old signing on ignores the fact that this can‘t be done any more. Amusing it may be. but at the cutting edge of comedy it ain‘t. (Frances Cornford)
I The Electronic Dark Age (Fringe), The Roxy (Venue 27) 650 8499, until 29 Aug (not Sun),
9. 15pm. £4.50 (£3).
V THEATRE COUPLES
Unabashed admission: 1 am a Hunter/Smith virgin and so cannot tell you how much of this is new. Russell Hunter and Una McLean, present a rash of mildly tawdry marriage jokes you’ve already heard, love poetry (reworked Rabbie and improv with McGonagall), enkilting lessons for sassenachs, and a charming take on I George Burns and Gracie Allen. An older Scots audience ﬁnds all this very funny and, to be sure, it is. My only objection is tothe all-too-frequent and predictable presence of John Knox and Mary 008 at regular intervals. Must be that time again. (Wes Shrum)
I Couples (Fringe) Cacciatore Fabbro. Stockbridge House (Venue 29) until 5 Sept (not 23, 30) 8pm, £5.
The List 21 — 27 August 1992 47