liﬂﬂﬂﬂlll Night moves
Mark Fisher talks to Gloria’s Neil Bartlett about 503 musicals and gay theatre for all.
‘lt’s a new play.‘ says Neil Bartlett about Night After Night, ‘it‘s a piece of gay theatre. and it’s a piece of experimental music-theatre — you couldn't make things harder for yourself looking for product to tour in this country this autumn.‘
He might have a point, but the director, writer and perfomier is being hard on himself. Bartlett might not yet be mainstream (though he’ll be one step closer when he takes over the Lyric Hammersmith next April), but the fact that Night After Night is the latest production by him and his company Gloria is an essential element in the equation of box ofﬁce success. The company that brought us A Vision of Love Revealed in Sleep, Sarrasine and A Judgement in Stone has built up a reputation for sensuous, intelligent. always distinctive productions, and if the work-in-progress versions of Night After Night are anything to go by. the new full-scale version will be essential viewing.
Bartlett’s argument, however. is that to produce shows that are experimental, unconventional and commercially successful, requires a considerable amount of shrewd thinking. ‘l hope Night After Night looks as though it was created in a fit of collective folly.‘ he says, stressing just how much tough wheeling and dealing is necessary to create a production and international
if; ' wt" 1’ 2 - )1 ' I t Alter light: ‘Bream-ballet withpink
Iigh tour of this ambition. ‘lt's a very extravagant. passionate and strange piece oftheatre. It should look as though it’s somebody‘s craziest dream — dancing boys, metres and metres of pink maribu trimming, follow-spots and tap routines, all mixed in with this extremely passionate meditation on what it means to remember the past and what it means to look forward to the future.‘
Created as a piece of music-theatre for seven performers including Bartlett. Beverley Klein and a line-up of five chorus boys, Night After Night tells a simple tale ofa young man who arranges to meet his new wife for a night out at a West End show in the early spring of l958. The couple are Bartlett‘s parents, the baby they are expecting will be him. The setting allows Bartlett and composer Nicolas Bloomﬁeld to explore the curious relationship that both gay and straight people have to the glamour of the
spotlight! theatre and the romance of the musical. ‘We think being really experimental is to do with getting bigger and broader.‘ says Bartlett, who confounded many of his fans by turning to a Ruth Rendell novel for the basis of his last-but-one show. ‘Do you dare phone up the Blackpool Grand and say what you really need is a show with five gay chorus boys in it? Do you dare come into the Traverse and stage a show whose climax is a dream-ballet with pink spotlights? There's this extraordinary theory in this country that only gay people like gay art. What l'm trying to do, very quietly, is to say it‘s time we all got over the notion that gay stories belong only to gay people and that straight stories belong only to straight people. Life really isn‘t like that.‘ I light after light (Fringe) Gloria. Traverse Theatre (Venue 15) 228 1404, 10—29 Aug, 10.30pm, £7/£8 (£5/£3.50).
‘Creg - he’s got two legs and he won’t disappoint.’ This is Greg Proops’ personal re-hash at those newspaper buzz-clippings that are splattered over Fringey Edinburgh like a hyperbolic rash. it’s marginally better than The los Angeles Times’ ‘very funny comic’, but not as illuminating as The San Francisco Chronicles’ ‘Proops is a slim, nerdy-looking, 32-yeanold with Buddy Holly-style glasses.’
Proops is lust beginning to hit the big time In the States after eleven years on the comedy circuit there, but is well entrenched in the British showbiz psyche thanks to his slim and nerdy
Bree Prunes: he‘s got twe legs tunniness, being the stuff that great improvisational moments are made at. Slim Proops and Fat McShane (who‘s his mate and comedy partner Mike)
were picked up in a seedy bar (probably) in their hometown of San Francisco in 1989 by Channel 4 talent- spotters. Two minutes later they were making jokes about Clive Anderson’s cranial penalty spot (to his baldness) on ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway?’. Everyone laughed. A lot.
low, after a stand-up tour ot the UK last autumn with Glasgow’s Parrot, Proops is bringing his solo show to Edinburgh tor the first time. lie likes doing the solo schtick because, ‘you call all the shots’ and, ‘you make a lot more money’. And anyway, ‘l’ve been doing improv since 1979. And am I tired!’
‘Creg Proops - he has a mouth with which he talks tastly.’ - The list. (Craig McLean)
Greg Proops (Fringe), Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428, 13 Aug—4 Sept, midnight, £7.50/£6.50 (£6.50/£5.50).
Craig McLean stays up past his bedtime and chortles merrily.
I Schneider And Iannucci Veterans of Radio 4's On The Hour. larnpooning
rnaestros Armando Iannucci and Dave Schneider present their first live collaboration. ‘Surreal non-stand-up' they say. which could mean absolutely anything.
Schneider And Iannua‘i (Fringe). Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428. I3 Aug—4 Sept. 10pm. £6.50/£ 7.50 (£5.50/f6.50).
I Stand Up Black America No dull- but-worthy tokenisrn here. Their colour colours their comedy and the humour of lan Edwards, Renee Hicks and Suli McCullough is all the tnore forceful for it. Split your sides and get culturally aware.
Stand Up Black Amertt‘a (Fringe). Pleasani'e (Venue 33) 556 6550. I2 Aug—4 Sept. [0.20pm. £7/£7.50 (£6/f6.5()).
I Aaaaaaaargh - The Best One Yet Malcolm Hardee returns as your geni(t)al host. This year his trump card is one Charlie Chuck. owner of a veritable conflagration ofa ‘haircut', inventor of the wildly improbable ‘Chuck 0 Scope‘. and star of Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer's imminent new series for the BBC.
Aaaaaaaargh — The Best One Yet (Fringe). Gilded Balloon Theatre (Venue 38) 226 2/5]. 13—28 Aug. [1.30pm. £6.50 (£5).
I 25 Years Of Fun With a twinkle in their eyes and a goose in their step the Doug Anthony Allstars, stars of stage and spleen, lead us on a dewy-eyed traipse down Memory Lane.
A legendary career, dahling.
25 Years Of Fun (Fringe) Doug Anthony Allstars, Assembly Rooms (Venue 3). 226 2428. 18—21 Aug, 11.45pm, £7.50 (£6.50).
I Corky And The Juice Pigs Their eyes will boggle and their veins will bulge. They will wear nauseous shirts and libel lovely cute pandas. They will flog copies of their hit CD and mention their stints as gibbering jocks on Radio Forth. They will be Canadian and three. Corky And The Juice Pigs (Fringe).
The Music Box (Venue 50). 220 4847, 13 Aug—4 Sept (16. 23. 30 Aug). 11.15pm. £6.50 (£5).
The List l3—l9 August [993 55