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Beatrice Colin experiences two productions by Ian Heggie

Sex is the theme which runs through lan Heggie‘s scripts like morality through Aesop’s Fables. Not the straightforward, ‘Do you have a . . . you know?’, but masturbation, shared sexual fantasy, voyeurism and flashing. Yet although he has the confidence to tread with a gumbooted-step where others would tiptoe, Heggie's approach at times seems merely immature.

Take The Sex Comedies, eight short dramas which explore various aspects of sex and relationships. With a cast of five, directed by Ken McClymont, this production by Barmont Productions plumps for a burlesque feel with fairground organ music blasting out between each sketch, and larger-than- life acting. The settings for each drama are soap-opera ordinary but the characters leap out at you as if from a pop-up book.

in The Modern Dentist, a bored dentist tries to get a film star’s attention from the window of her waiting room. With the help of two patients she dons various bits of rubber anatomy; a pair

of tits, a bottom and finally a giant dildo, which she then asks the patients to wank. Is this a school-boy fantasy? Who knows? But Warren Beatty wasn’t interested.

in another, The Education of a Gentle Pervert. two men reading blue mags try to seduce each other in the park. One is young and narcissistic, the other old and shy, and after a lot of to-ing and fro-ing the conclusion involves no action but a camera.

Heggie aims to explore the delicate balance in relationships; whether it is ruled by sex as in the above, tipped by bravado, as in Waiting for Shuggie ’3 Ma

or torn apart by sibling jealousy as revealed in The Cake. Yet his characters are too hard-boiled to do anything but dance like marionettes in his own imagination, and he never cuts the strings.

in Lust, a 90-minute monologue stam'ng Tom Smith, the character’s ridiculous actions render him paper thin. He is a monarchist, a virgin and a pompous twat dressed up in Frank Spencer garb. When his girlfriend leaves him for another he starts to advocate the use of pornography to encourage celibacy. Soon he becomes a TV Personality, and his girlfriend begs to sleep with him because he is famous.

The problem with these two dramas is that Heggie just doesn’t trust his characters, and uses them as vehicles for the excess luggage in his psyche. Without the endowment of any compassion or empathy, even the occasionally mesmeric ping-pong Glaswegian dialogue and more than competent acting can‘t lift these productions above the Fringe heap. Maybe I’m missing the point. Maybe l’m anal retentive, but I found them self-indulgent, not particularly funny and mostly embarrassing. I lust (Fringe) The Whitehill Group, Stepping Stones Theatre (Venue 51) 225 6520/226 215l, until 4 Sept (not Tue 24 or 31). 7.45pm, £5.50 (£4.50). I The Sex comedies (Fringe) Barmont Productions, The Gilded Balloon (Venue 38) 226 2151, until 4 Sept (except Tue 24 and Tue 3i), 5.15pm, £6 (£5).

Keeping sane

it’s tough out there on the Fringe. lot tough enough you might say, having suffered Mlddlethorpe Priiuery School's adaptation of ‘King leer’. But with the bile still rushing to the bits left bloodless from sitting on a bench for three hours it’s Important to renternber this: any Fringe performance is due to a cenpnny so «omitted to their production that it suggests some for- of Dental disorder. Whr? Because It costs £275 togettheshovrintotheFringe progruue,and£500lscheepnhenit comes to a venue. Once you’re In and onhonreverthere'sstilltheprobleuot getting publicity and an audience. So why do they do it, when success usually nouns not taking too greet a loss?

Mary Mcflugh, director of ‘liebert’s LoesofSunIty’setuptheAnldileekie thentre co-puny specifically for the Fringe. She’s doing it, she says, ‘For theexperieuceotitJndteputlt

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We’ve been marketing the play since

Hey.’ ‘I thidt the Fringe is very competitive -ldun’tthluli people realisehon ltls,’sheseys, ‘Butllove thenyltssofree.’ Foruli hercnreful pro-panning Mcfiugh still hes n Inlor worry however: ‘I’u hoping the NS society isn’t going to get unnoyed’ she explains, “because It’s a couplete piss-tire! (Stephen Chester)

Robert's Less of Sanity (Fringe) Auld ileehie, Acoustic Music centre (Venue 25) 220 2482, until 30 Aug, 6.15”, £4.50 (£3.60).


Stephen Chester lunges out at the ieailetters on his way to score the ilitiist.

I On Tidy Endings A new play by Harvey Fierstein, author and star of Torch Song Trilogy. Comes with a special ticket offer if you see Barrie Wheatley's new play, First Aid on beforehand.

0n Tidy Endings (Fringe) Northern Theatre Company, Acoustic Music Centre (Venue 25) 220 2462, until 27 Aug, 3.20pm, £3.50 (£2.50).

I The Edinburgh Rock Show You meet at the Pleasance courtyard and three hours later it’s over; what happens in between is a bit of a mystery, but if it’s anything like Arthur Smith's previous guided tours of Edinburgh, you’ll need to empty your bladder beforehand. The Edinburgh Rock Show (Fringe) Arthur Smith, Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550. 21, 25, 28 Aug, 3pm, £3.

I An Evening With Gary lneher Okay. so Arthur Smith’s in the Hitlist twice, but this is one damn fine play he’s written. It was a hit in 1991, went to the West End, was a hit there, now it’s back and it‘ll probably be a hit again.

An Evening With Gary Lineker (Fringe) Incidental Theatre. Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428, until 4 Sept. 5.50pm, £9/£8, (£8/£7).

I The MIMI Jones The manic genius of Jimmy Chisholm marks this new play about the life of one John Paul Jones, the sort of chap with such an improbably active, adventurous and exciting life that people end up writing plays about him.

The Admiral Jones (Fringe) Dumfries And Galloway Arts. Netherbow Arts Centre (Venue 30) 556 9579. until 4 Sept. 5.30pm, £6 (£4).

I Monsieur SW A surprisingly powerful play, given the crapness of its title, in which a French actor attempts to avoid his fate on the Death Trains by acting out the Arabian Nights. One actor takes on 38 characters, which makes the tickets enjoyany cheap too. Monsieur Shaherazad (Fringe) American Wolf Productions, Roman Eagle Lodge (Venue 21) 225 7995. until 4 Sept (not Suns). 5.20pm, £4 (£3).

The List 20-26 August 1993 33