F Boy’s talk WT" * ’
Penetrator; “Obviously the content was a bit . . .’ Anthony lleilson’s latest play Penetrator was originally commissioned by the BBC as a television play but was never produced - ‘They never gave a clear reason why’ explains llellson, ‘but obviously the content was a bit . . .’ Anyone familiar with Ileilson’s
previous Fringe success, llormal: The
Dusseldorf ﬂipper, will be aware of )ust how ‘a bit’ his work can be. Ills biography of the Cennan serial killer took a twisted, twisting journey down the gloomy Expressionistic back alleys of that murderous psyche, and produced a play which garnered great popular and critical acclaim.
‘Penetrator is, on the surface at least, a very naturalistic piece in comparison,’ says llellson, ‘but it has the same kind of intensity, it’s still a draining experience.’ The play concerns a young soldier who goes AWOL and arrives at the flat of two old friends. llellson is unwilling to reveal the relevance of the title for fear of giving the plot away, but is prepared to describe the play’s major theme as ‘the current climate of sexual confusion among men’.
Accordingly llellson rejects any moral standpoints within the drama, and warns ‘lt’s not something people should go and see if they’re worried by language. I’m trying to put across an honest portrayal of how men are today, and if you try to do anything honest it’ll turn out to be controversial. Basically I hope it causes people to go and sit and talk about it for half an hour. And if it entertains, and doesn’t bore, then I’ll be perfectly happy with it.’ (Stephen Chester)
Penetrator (Fringe) Anthony Ileilson, Traverse (Venue 15) 228 1404, 12-22
Aug, various times, £7 (£4).
Crime after lcrime
l ‘l was on a Scout trip to Scotland and E the dormobile had to stop every five
.j minutes to let me out and wee.’ John
i Williams is recounting his last visit to l Scotland. Since then, he has taken a circuitous route via children’s homes, T a spell in the French Foreign legion
' and twenty years in prison, before arriving at his present occupation as broadcaster, writer and performer.
While In Lewes prison for armed robbery he met Writer-In-llesidence Stephen Plaice, with whom he has written this “satirical swipe at the criminal justice system and society’s response to the image of the criminal,’ as Plaice sums it up.
Looking like a cross between John McVicar and lloel Coward, William’s soothing tones bely a practical and disannineg blunt outlook regarding his post-release courtship by the media - Radio 4 readings, an autobiography and a TV documentary are all In the offing. ‘I can sell myself as an armed robber,’ he states, before adding cheekily, ‘It was either that or become a born-again Christian.’
A tough, but wise, decision on William’s part. He has however pinpointed the public’s eerie fascination and voyeuristic tendencies regarding criminals; something that he touches upon in the
John Williams: ‘Crime is part of Oil culture.’
satire. ‘Crime is part of our culture,’ he explains, ‘from lllck Turpin to Jimmy Boyle, the public both fears and is attracted to violence. People want to get close to the secret world of those locked up, but then they want to walk away again.’
Unfortunater Williams has to break off the conversation as Alarmist Theatre’s offices were burgled the previous night and he has to help tidy up. Ilo laughing, please. (Ann Donald) Whose Crime Is It Anyway? (Fringe) Alarmist Theatre, llemarco European Art Foundation (Venue 22) 556 7128,
16—28 Aug, 5pm, £5.50 (£4.50).
Omithology and Thatcherphilia in Killing Ilim
‘lt's about a currency speculator. someone in love with Mrs Thatcher and a birdwatcher; they‘re three worthless males who are taken for a ride by someone called Kate. It‘s set at the time when sterling came out of the ERM. and it's basically about a scam that takes the speculation out of currency speculation. It‘s really a play about how to make a billion quid.‘
'lt‘s a black comedy. but black sometimes suggests that it offers profound insights into the human condition. which it doesn’t. It‘s black in that it‘s sporadically rather sick. and it‘s comedy in that people tend to find it rather funny. Another reason why it‘s black is because dreadful things happen to various animals. a poodle in particular.‘
‘The poodle gets mauled by a stray pithull which is subsequently destroyed. The only thing is. the birdwatcher is very. very attached to the pitbull and then something happens to a pigeon. but that‘s the highpoint of the play so you might want to pass over that. It makes for compulsive viewing. watching people make money. lfyou can‘t make it yourself.‘
Crispin Whittell is writer/director of Killing Him. He is a former member of the RSPB. (Stephen Chester)
I llilling Him (Fringe) Cambridge Nights Theatre Company. Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550. I2 Aug—4 Sept. 4.30pm. £6/6.50 (£5/5.50).
When the West Midlands Crime Squad were disbanded. the) had themselves quite a party with strippers. a band and
ritual burning of all those dodgy ‘confessions‘ and notebooks. At least that’s what Jamie O‘Brien reckons. and he‘s used it as the starting point for his latest play: De Tox.
While the Squad are letting their hair down on their penultimate day. a drunk Irishman mistakenly wanders into their ofﬁces on the next floor down from a detoxification unit. As all good policemen know. the Irishman must be a member of the IRA. ‘We use him as an image of innocence who gets caught up in this nightmare world of confessions and interrogation and torture.‘ says O‘Brien. ‘i-Iventually. because they are so expert at it. he
confesses to murdering himself!‘
It‘s an anarchic and comedic polemic. a rant against the system which allowed the Squad to ﬂourish. Of course ace investigative reporter Paul Foot also comes into it. Indeed ‘lt's a hit of an hommage to Foot. in a post-rnodemist sort of way.‘ says O‘Brien. ‘We are interested in using comedy as the jet propulsion to the ethical battle between democratic humanism and the fascistic police state.‘ (Thom Dibdin)
I lie Tox (Fringe) Giro Theatre. F.E.A.S.T. Edinburgh College of Art (Venue 73) 228 9666. 16—29 Aug (not 22 and 23). 4pm. £6 (£4).
SATAN IN GORAY
‘I think the spread ofcults is the symptom of an ailment. We live in a world where we can believe in anything and we can do anything. with the result that a lot people actually feel that they have nothing.‘
Katie London. director of Tottering Biped‘s latest Fringe production Satan In Gordy. has apparently spent a lot of rehearsal time talking about these things. The company‘s adaptation of Bashevis Singer's original novel about Jews in a Polish village awaiting the arrival of the Messiah may have been given an earnest (and publicity- boosting) topicalin by the wackos in Waco, but for London the real pertinence of the piece is
Tottering Bipeds: ‘Waiting for 8 0'00"
derived from something much wider: ‘lt‘s rooted in something true. in its very rich culture. It’s much broader than the David Koresh thing.‘ Broader and with a few more laughs too. as London explains: ‘There‘s a scene towards the end of the play where these people wait for a cloud. They‘ve been told — and this is based on historical fact — that it would take them to Jerusalem. And you end up laughing at the literalness of having bags in your hand while waiting for a cloud. But it comes from a deep and real longing for something better — for an end to suffering.‘ (Stephen Chester) l Satan In Coray (Fringe) Tottering Bipeds. Stepping Stones Theatre (Venue 51) 225 6520/226 215 I. 13—22 Aug. 3pm. £6 (£5).
The List 13—19 August I993 37