Death, Food and Women

Grace Hodge proves that the 9am—1pm slot has more to it than just puppets and pantos.

‘They‘re salivating by the end‘ is not the predictable response to a show about bereavement and the traditional roles of women. Nor would you expect it to provide probably the only instance of OdourDrama on the Fringe this year. But going to see Field Day Enterprises‘ play provides both your actual victuals and food for thought.

Four women attend Jack‘s funeral. then return to the house of his bereaved daughter to prepare a meal. There. as they bake and cook. they talk: about grieving. about their lives as women differentiated by class and age. ‘The audience is eavesdropping on their preparations.‘ explains playwn'ght Julie Day. ‘In some ways. this play is super- realistic: it‘s in actual time. the food preparation is for real.‘

The show includes some audience participation (dread concept). but this being the 90s. the demands are ‘non- threatening‘. As the moumers. the audience are given black arm-bands. but when finally invited to eat the meal. reactions are hardly ones of funereal gloom. Day has noticed that her show helps to 'free up‘ conversation. ‘People talk to one another. share their stories. They have their own agendas. it’s like a


This heady mix of death. food and women may sound like an opportunity for some off-the-cuff cultural fudging. but Day’s inspiration was far removed from bookish theory. As part of her job in a community home. Day helped make the meals. ‘I looked around and thought. Geez, this is theatre!’ Frustrated by the lack of good roles for actresses. Day siezed the opportunity. improvising with the other performers until they were satisfied.

Coming to the Fringe from their home

3‘- Andhere'sonelbakedezlier....lulienay lnvitesyoutollghtrefreshments

territory of Melbourne (where the show sold out) has meant prop problems for the company. They are currently hunting Edinburgh’s junk shops for a 505 round-shouldered fridge and a functioning period oven. ‘1 need to rehearse the baking.‘ says Day. Does she do requests? Make mine a scone. I Come Back for light Refreshments after the Service (Fringe) Field Day Enterprises. Australia. St Paul’s and St George‘s. York Place (Venue ll4) 556 1202. 16—30 Aug (not Suns), l2.45pm. £5 (£4).

Train drain

Playing anally retentive virgins and spotty people: .lamie Holmes hasn’t

had much luck on the old acting front

in his career. The pinnacle was his first role out of acting school: Adrian Mole. flow he has sunk to the low of Bus Gasgoine: Trainspotter. Oh dear. ‘it was a friend of mine who wrote it,’ says Holmes. ‘lle met somebody called Gus Basgoine in a youth hostel and he vowed one day to immortalise him.’

At 11, Bus has left school and punches numbers'into a computer. lie can’t make up his mind whether that’s an interesting job, but says it is satisfying. His mother wanted to take him to a psychiatrist because he bunked off kindergarten to watch trains, his father grows leeks. Spotting is his religion - he suffered a conversion to the brotherhood of


to watch ns’


spotters on Crewe Station when he kidnapping estate agents when there wasseven-buthestlllgoesto aretralnstespot,’hesays.(1hom Midnight Mass once a year to pay his lilbdln)

mum back for all those lunch boxes. Anorak of Fire (Fringe) Gas Sanguine: "0 has 8 film“. N'MMI‘ limit. 'lialnspotter, Assembly Rooms (Venue green from the days of steam, which 3) 228 2423, 14-28 Aug, 2m (ts/£6); he inherited from his guru. ‘Io true the sum Balloon theatre (Venn. 38) spotter would waste their time 225 2151, so Aug-4 Sept, £6 (£5).


Gabe Stewart with a hotchpotch of hits.

I Wuthering Heights fans may wish to compare the multi~award-winning Vlithering looks to Vestris—Scottish Mime Ensemble‘s version of the Bronte tragedy. Whether you find them appealing or appalling will depend on how seriously you take the art of mime and/or the Victorian novel.

Withering Looks (Fringe) Lip Service. Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428. 13—19 Aug. noon, £6.50 (£5.50). Wuthering Heights. Vestris—The Scottish Mime Ensemble. Gilded Balloon Theatre (Venue 38) 226 2151. 25 Aug—4 Sept. llam. £4.50 (£3.50)

I It Takes Forever If You Go By Inertia This sci-fi Hare Krishna comedy threatens to reveal just what is going on in Bohemian Rhapsody (Bismillah?). space-hopping through were-turtles and toast on film along the way.

It Takes Forever If You Go By Inertia (Fringe) The Irrational Geographic Society. Pleasance (Venue 33) 556

6550. 11-19. 22—26, 30 Aug. [—4 Sept. 12.30pm £4.50 (£3.50); 20. 2]. 27. 28. 29 Aug. 12.30pm. £5 (£4).

I Mad Mash Two Bodge and Badger from Children‘s BBCTV are great fun for 2—8-year-olds. Their mashed potato-throwing antics may make some adults squirm, but they have a healthy disrespect for authority.

Mad Mash Two. (Fringe) Gilded Balloon (Venue 38) 226 2151. 13—21 Aug. Ham-noon. £4.50 (£3.50).

I Singing the News certainly has the credentials for success. ‘Desperate Measures' consists of Weekend Guardian's Simon Rae. BBC Radio 4 Weekending's Bill Wallis. and singer/songwriter Sue Casson (ex-Stop the Week). They promise to do satirical. topical-type things to music . . . you hum it. son. and Hi play it.

Singing the News (Fringe) Desperate Measures. Church Hill Theatre (Venue 46) 16—21 Aug. 12.30pm. £5.50 (£4). J

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