Welcome! To atheatrical illusion

A load oi Balls


Bails: that’s the key. The female magician suspends one in mid-air with only the slightest hint oi fishing wire to detract from the sleight of hand. Then she does amazing things with a wand which has a ball on the tip. Then she sits back on a stool and listens to her two ieiiow perionners talking utter balls.

This ‘magic, (an, comedy’ extravaganza tells some turgid story about the seven deadly sins which gives the perionners the chance to try out their mask techniques a la Trestle and spout innuendo a la iiavro. Add a low German accents and you have the periect recipe ior cabaret, don’t you? All that can be said to that is, ‘balls’. (Philip Parr)

Welcome! To a Theatrical Illusion (Fringe) Welcome! Go, The Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550, until 4 Sept (not Tues), 5.30pm, £5/£5.50 (ix/£4.50).


When they remove a sheet to reveal a large axe embedded in a gnarled tree- stump you know that this theatre is going to be physical. liot wail- bounclng, iloc Marten wearing, belt and braces physical - there's too muchtothesetiorthat-buta gentler, more organic physicality: loosely clothed, acrobatic and unshod. it’s physical theatre where a slap spedsiorariposte, butthe detail oi a raised eyebrow can coniour up a whole love scene.

A woman abandon at the altar brings up her daughter away from the eyes oi men. Any that see her lace will, and do, die. Then, whilst tdtlng a bath, the rapidly maturing daughter is spied by a chicken thiei and willingly returns his afiections. John Wright has married title tale of passion and envy with an idea culled irom till Years 0! Solitude, which suggests that some thingsareasyetun-named, andthat

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Paul limiter to indicate them it is necessary to point. Fruit are used as the pointers here, bananas to male sexuality, melons to female: they are squeezed, split, unpeeled and guzzled.

This could, on reflection, have been uncompromisineg pretentious twaddle, were it not tor the infectious humour oi Paul iiunter, cast variously as leak-haired priest, travelling salesman and lecherous chicken thiei. iiunter’s constant air oi bemused innocence as he ciambers across the stage after the naiver wide-eyed ilayley Carmichael gives comedy to the tragedy oi betrayal and guilt. Tire only problem is that at 50 minutes, the performance is iar too short. (Thom iiibdin)

On The Verge 0! Exploding (Fringe) The John Wright Company, Tire Pleasance (Venue 33) 558 8550, until 4 Sept (not 23, 31 Aug), 5.25pm, 27.5019 ($550125).



'4‘ q,”

Richard Hening plays Rasputin. a leather trouser-wearing, quick witted fast-listed womaniser who always

Confusion is powerful stuff. as drama it’s stilted at best. (Stephen Chester) I The Confusion (Fringe) Gallery Productions. Celtic Lodge (Venue 6) 225 7097. until 28 Aug, 3.30pm. £4 (£3).




What links Cannon & Ball, Little & Large. Major & (formerly) Mellor? Crap double acts that’s what. and the same goes for this pair of bungling brothers in comedy, Frank & Moss. This is a sometimes

downbeat. often amusing

. , I parody of those sad 70s ' E and 80s seaside

'; comedians. trudging around the circuit looking

for that big television

' break. Alongside them traipses Gloria, failed dancer. former girlfriend

gets the upper hand in this of Moss and stripper with

comedy written by Richard Herring. And if you think that’s got ‘dubious’ stamped all over the ‘Richard Herring ls’ tagline then wait until you see the show. which appears to be targeted at audiences who enjoy particularly bad karaoke. interspersed with the Boney M. numbers (that’s the joke. and they don’t get any more advanced) are a few satirical looks at the Mad Monk's life with plenty of sex and fart gags. lt lasts an hour. but life‘s still too short. (Stephen Chester) I ila—iia—liasputin (Fringe) Richard Herring. Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550. until 4 Sept. 5.15pm, £6.50 (£5.50).



A prison drama. performed by prisoners. about prisoners who eventually write a play about prisoners performing . . . There are some plays whose mode of production overshadows their intrinsic meaning. and this is one of them. As a result it becomes difficult to criticise a drama whose dramatic function is secondary to its presence: which is to say that this is a worthy. earnest and important piece of theatre, but not a particularly well crafted one.

The actors themselves turn in creditable and illuminating performances, when not obliged to shout at one another - as education

| aspirations in comedy.

A few fluffed lines here and there didn't detract too much from the acerbic script it was the opening show after all. in this reviewer’s jaded opinion the ending was justifiably downbeat, even though it was followed by a good old sing-a-long so you didn’t go away feeling too melancholy. (Joe Lampard)

I No Fools, ilne Stripper (Fringe) Punch Productions. Marco’s (Venue 98) 228 9116, until 3 Sept. 4.30pm. £5 (£3.50).



Heaven. The House of God. He. Himself. is an ageing old toiT. always takin’ pot-shots at the angels forming hosts on the roof. Satan is his butler. the only help left. and intent on increasing his salary by running tours of the holy of holies.

God was late for the opening performance stuck in traffic on the Royal Mile which threw things out of kilter. Consequently the pace this very funny extended sketch needs, as the revelations about God and Nick grow increasingly fanciful and blasphemous. was never quite generated. However these two mature actors should have no problems rectifying that as the run proceeds. (Thom Dibdin)

I All This and iieaven ii (Fringe) Act of God Productions. Hill Street Theatre (Venue 41) 226

6522, until 30 Aug. 4pm, £4.50 (£3.50).



Someone should really have told the London Medics that having a band who can play reasonably competent versions of 50s

and 60s pop classics is not

sufficient basis for a show; they might have pointed out that writing a script which could have lifted its ‘plot’ from a bad My Guy photo-story in ham-fisted doggerel verse- ‘Listen Tel. 1 think you‘d better leave/You’ve been spreading rumours with intention to deceive’; ‘lt’s stupid that his jealousy/Could have come between you and me') wasn’t especially big or clever. either. The one impressive thing about the show is that the leading leggy blonde manages to give a rendition of ‘Fever’ which is completely sexless. (Sue Wilson)

I Fever (Fringe) The London Medics. Hill Street Theatre (Venue 41) 226 6552. until 27 Aug. 5.05pm. £4 (£3.75).


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‘1 i Two brothers. two rivals; one actor. one assassin. These are the protagonists of this well written and well performed piece which follows the lives of Edwin and John Wilkes Booth up to the fateful assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.

The play offers a brilliant case study of egomania while allowing the historical themes to provide a platform for some beautifully evocative monologues. Edwin’s stories of travels in the Old West are interwoven with famous Shakespearian scenes. echoing the ongoing struggle between the brothers for superiority in life and on the stage.

You can’t help but feel this show deserves a much larger venue and larger audience than it is currently finding in Britain. (Joe Lampard).

I The Actor and The MI (Fringe) The Actor and the Assassin. The Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550. until 4 Sept. 3.30pm. £5.50 (£4).

34 The List 20-26 August l993