Stephen Shank's St John is one of those wild-eyed religious tanatics you’d cross streets to avoid. Rummaging through rubbish bins, John can visualise Armageddon and he will dodge trattic, dictate tire-and-brimstone letters to disinterested editors and resort to cold-calling to spread the gloom.
It is a stunning pertormance, illuminating the liturgy, symbolism and hallucinations ot the Book of Revelation. Using the Jerusalem Bible as its sole text, Revelation eerily takes on a hypnotising momentum reminiscent of Beckett’s canon: the repetitive insistence of Not I, the
longing ol Godot, the hope ol Happy Days, the apocalypse ot Endgame. It’s
i all here: the terror and the wonder.
Staged by Belgian director Cor Stedelinck, Revelation is physical, imagistic theatre rooted in the iamiliar. The cups ol angels are chamberpots tilled with phlegm, snot and urine. The crown ol thorns is a rubber tube sprouting syringes. Ascension is a white bicycle and the freedom ol helium-tilled balloons. It is in this panorama of urban rubble that Stedelinck's saint linds inspiration.
While the production teeters on the edge ot overkill by numbing the audience with its sustained visual attack, Shank’s energy is seemingly inexhaustible in this very physical pertormance. His John is a homeless tramp who stalks the streets, searching for solace. Like Gogo and Didi, he has a penchant for music hall and like many evangelical ministers, there is more than a hint of the seductive entertainer
~ in his make-up. WhetherJohn was a
lunatic or a showman, his revelations remain frighteningly prophetic. (Roberta Mock)
Revelation (Fringe) Trapeze, Trafalgar Hall (Venue 63) 554 0290, until 29 Aug, 8.15pm, £4 (£3).
v CABARET “
The Comedy Store Players
You’ve got to hand it to these guys, they're rather good at this improvisation lark. The vogue lor ott-the-cutt comedy may be past its peak, but it has given the rest of the cabaret scene a much-needed jolt, the discovery that thinking on your teet can produce at least as many pricelessly tunny moments as the most caretully scripted acts. It doesn’t always work, of course, but when it does it really hits the spot. The CSP are the oldest hands in the business at this particular game and it shows in their extraordinary ability to second-guess each other, the gobsmacking speed at their reactions,
mannerism switches and inventive powers. The routine was iamiliar to anyone who has watched Whose Line Is It Anyway— asking the audience for film styles, literary and musical genres,
locations, occupations, physical positions, mixing and matching them in a variety ot quick-change game formats.
Perhaps it's constantly performing in tront at each other that keeps them on thelrtoes; certainly those sitting out at the side during a particular routine were laughing and applauding almost as otten as the audience, and it you can still surprise your long-time companions in the comedy game, you must be doing something right. (Sue Wilson)
The Comedy Store Players (Fringe) Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428, until 28 Aug, 9pm, £7.50/EB.50 (2550/2660).
lfthere's one thing One Yellow Rabbit are good at. it‘s getting an audience thinking ‘mmm. this is impressive. wonder what the i iell‘sgoingon.‘ within ten minutes ofthe house lights fading. They're good at a lot of other things too. such as mixing dancing. live music and non-naturalistic dialogue. while avoiding the pretentious onanism so often associated with such a fusion.
They‘re pretty successful at getting the laughs too, once you‘ve realised that this is post-modern stuffand that the man singing along to Queen has his tongue firmly in his cheek (and sometimes someone else‘s too — this is also erotic stuff).
The production extracts a huge. collective ‘wow!’ from an audience utterly engrossed by challenging storytelling. Cough up the seven quid and blister your hands during the curtain call. (Stephen Chester)
I Serpent Kills (Fringe) One Yellow Rabbit. Traverse Theatre (Venue 15) 228 1404. until 5 Sept (not Mons), 9pm. £7.
V THEATRE BLUE ANGELS
roof-raising renditions of Aretha Franklin and Tina
Turnercometowardsthe end of a brilliant musical 3 history of the blues, from
the slave plantations.
where the matriarchal V religion Voodoo was
banned and ‘Voodoo
Mothers‘ replaced by
‘Blues Mothers‘ to Franklin and Lennox‘s Sisters are Doing it for Themselves. Of course Raven‘s tribute is to the
: female singers ofthe :7 blues, but she makes the i very good point that blues
and soul were always female domains anyway: women were recording
blues for two years before mom got in on the act.
So we are treated toa
: witty.sometimes hilarious
profile of the mothers of soul — Alberta Hunter
5 who started off singing to
gangsters in the whore houses of Capone‘s Chicago. Ma Rayner who called herself ‘Ma‘ to encourage respect in her audience, and started a fashion and. of course, icons like Simone. Fitzgerald and Holiday. lnevitably, in a performance that covers so many women and styles, Raven's own vocal chords don't always match the ones she is extolling, but she is a fantastic singer and raconteur all the same. And boy is her humour sharp. (Miranda France)
I Blue Angels (Fringe) Plastique. Assembly at
the Meadows (Venue 116) 229 9281 , until 5 Sept. 8pm, £6.50.
V THEATRE THE CLEARING
Thesps will be thesps, frolicking and posing at beauty spots and imposing monuments at any available opportunity. American Connexion has undoubtedly chosen the most inspired venue on , the Fringe. high above Edinburgh‘s chimneys in 3 the shadow of the 3 Aeropolis’s floodlit ( pillars. You would be hard ' pressed to find a more I appropriate setting for a Greek myth north of, well. Athens. As it is, however. the company could have possibly used g its natural resources to an i even greater extent in this ' retelling of the Oedipus i myth. Breaths were held when a blind man wandered into our midst and made himselfcomfortable in a space clearly intended for performers. This is when the layers began to accumulate, since he was not simply another unticketed tourist who stumbled upon the production. He was an actor, forced by other actors playing actors to : play a part in a story that i turned out to be his own. The Clearing is a production which hints at unlimited potential. 3 While Sean Kavanagh was I utterly believable as the i blind George Ridley, the i
majority of the large cast playing ‘waeky’
l performers ironically seemed uncomfortable in
i their roles. Clever, but not
‘ convincing. (Roberta
i I The Clearing (Fringe)
i Acropolis. Calton Hill (Venue 26), until 5 Sept (not 30 Aug), 8pm,£4.50
( (£3.50). ~
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The List 28 August — 10 September 1992 39