An exceptionally bizarre circus offering from the Soviet Republic; extremely entertaining but at the same time disorientating and


The show combines straightforward clowning capers - the red noses, big rubber telephones and oversized boxing gloves are all present - with traditional Russian minstrel songs and moments that are menacing and

macabre. it also includes several

“Chapllnesque’ pieces which take yo completely by surprise and provide interludes of insight and reflection. llslng simple facial expressions, the performers lead the emotions of the audience in one direction, then the next and bacit again.

it thoroughly enjoyable, li unsettling, hour and a half. (Joe Larnpard) Academy Of Fools (Fringe) Asslsyai Revue, FEAST (Venue 73) 228 2234, various times and dates until 1 Sept, £6 (£4).

1080 Original


Thlslsatale oia lover and aruother andasou,asea)ourney.ltlsataieof

yearning and living - and a wonderful tale it is too. The whole performance takes place high in the air on a series of trapeaes, which are used to great effect - not only in terms of sheer entertaining acrobatics, but also in terms of the story itself. In fact it is a brilliant conceit. The sea, the absence of a firm footing, the ropes and rigging of a boat, even the idea of a quest, find perfect expression in the language of the trapeze. These are manipulated by two graceful and

adept movers, Sarah Jean Comns and '

Matthew Costaln, who also turn in strong and often humorous characterisations.

An important aspect of the periorrnance is an original score, pre- recorded but with bursts of live sax and flute froru the composer, not to mention the occasional tinkle front a row of glass bottles. At times haunting, at others drastic, this urusicai commentary strengthens still further the impression of continuous motion and the swell of the sea created by the swinging trapeaes. it also lites an haglnatlve, beautifully choreographed piece all the more enloyable. (Catherine Fellows)

1080 Original Gravity (Fringe) Exstatic, Pleasauce (Venue 33) 558 6550, until 4 Sept (not 23, 31), 2.30”. “£5.50 (kW/£4.50).


Anyone who can tweak nipples and make jokes

about tits, when delivering

a straight play about a mastectomy patient and emerge as a decent human being. deserves an audience’s rapt attention. This is a powerful and essentially hopeful play in

42 quick-fire scenes based

around the life of a 29- year-old mastectomy pauenL

A talented cast of three. with inventive use of a few props and a neat line in verbal games, succeed in capturing the thoughts of a myriad of doctors. lovers. friends and family in their individual attempts to cope with the taboo subject of breast cancer.

A mature and sensitive portrayal which manages to avoid hysteria or sounding like a Health Service warning. Dr List says check it out. and while you‘re at it, check those breasts. (Ann Donald)

I Tissue (Fringe) Absolute Banana Theatre Company. Over-seas House (Venue 19) 225 5105. 20, 22, 24, 27 Aug. 2.45pm. £4 (£3).


Butterfly Suite opened beautifully with the two white-faced performers of Theatre du Pif striking tableaux with yearning


bodies and horror-filled visages. The pace

quickened until the climax

of madness st0pped and silence filled the building. The first word. ‘dungeon'. resonated. A promising start. But despite the clearly created setting the eerie atmosphere of dusty corridors and candle-lit chambers the characters and their relationship remained undefined. The dynamic of the movement and text together became repetitive and the tear-stained faces lost their pathos. Unfortunately the long pauses and unclear narrative caused the audience to lose patience by the end. (Tamsin Grainger)

I Blunt"! SIIN (Fringe) Theatre du Pif. St Bride's Centre (Venue 62) 346 1405, until 28 Aug (not Sun 22). 1.30pm. £6 (£3).



Reincarnation via The Carpenters and a council flat in South London. Karen and Richard (no relation) are a thirtysomething couple whose life is stale routine personified. To perk things up Karen hits upon the whizzo wheeze of convincing her mate that she is the earthly recyclement of chubby old Karen Carpenter. and that Richard may well be a former pop star himself. Maybe he was Jim Morrison; maybe they'll be the Pet Shop Boys if they both do a bit of soul-

- shifting.

Calling Occupants. . . is Mike Leigh with naff pop stars taking the part of Alison Steadman. As the banter flies down the local pub. the celestial


overtones are further enhanced by some nice white doves cooing in the rafters of the theatre. Okay. so they were pigeons. but that’s what theatre’s all about: lying. A cosy little comedy- drama. (Craig McLean) I Bailing Occupants 0f luterplanetary Craft (Fringe) Richard Carpenter Productions. Stepping Stones Theatre (Venue 51) 225 6520, until 4 Sept (not 31 Aug), 1.45pm, £2.50 (£1.50).


It’s American. naturalistic. full of leather gun holsters and dangerous babes. And they haven’t worked out how to switch out the house lights during the performance. But what Unlikely Theatre Company do have is David Mamet's maxim 'Serve The Story’ engraved upon their forebrains, and that’s just what they do with this tale of a man who finds dismembered pieces of his slightly aged body scattered throughout the city. They’ve dispensed with good acting. any overall design and anything else that could distract from the ‘what happens next?‘ question. Fortunately the script is strong enough to stand without support. and it's worth seeing just how a good writer can wriggle under an original, brilliant premise. (Stephen Chester)

I The III! (Fringe) Unlikely Theatre Co, Adam House Theatre (Venue 34) 650 8200. 20. 23, 25. 27 Aug. 1.45pm. £5 (£3.50).

Supported bv


16136115 51925301"





Supported by


the List 20—26 August 1993 31