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Accidental Death of an Anarchist
Seen at The Citizen’s Theatre, Clasgow.
‘Craig Ferguson is the maniac,’ screams the publicity. ‘0on’t we know it,’ declares the audience. Until the anarchy in Anarchist really kicks in, it’s Ferguson’s rap. Andy Arnold makes an endearing old duffer of an inspector; Raymond Burke is still largely mute as the constable with collusive knowledge up his sleeve — they’re no foil for Fergie. So we get his manic persona, his sarcastic persona, his pseudo-topical persona, even an apparent reprisal of his Bing llitler alter ego stomping dictatorially over the first few scenes. Until he, and we, get in step with the abrupt oscillation in accent and demeanour that make up the character(s) of the impish intruder, we’re watching a Craig Ferguson stand-up routine.
Then the superb Grant Smeaton and Ross Stenhouse appear, bolshie as The Management, thick as mince, and Ferguson has to settle for a third cut
, #:10- *
of the limelight, as the troupe take semi-destructive but wholly hilarious liberties with the set - built up to fall down by Cafe loco’s Mischief La Bas - and the script. Just as Raindog recently remained true to the improvising spirit of Mike leigh and his play Ecstasy by departing from it, so the Arches Theatre Company enrich Fo with a barrage of ad-libbing that elevates this production from the merely comical to the utterly uproarious. (Fiona Shepherd) Accidental neath Of An Anarchist (Fringe) Arches Theatre Company, Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428, until 28 Aug, 7.40pm, £7/28 (SS/£6).
mam- Bangladesh Festival of Food and Culture
Tommy Miah never misses an opportunity when it comes to publicity. In March this year he prepared the World’s Biggest Curry (enough for 8000) at the Ideal Rome Exhibition, on John Major’s birthday he prepared and personally delivered a curry to 10 Downing Street, and now, he is the first and only restaurateur to have secured himself a place in the Fringe progrmnme.
Ilsually, and for obvious reasons, this is not allowed, but Miah has adorned his attractive waterside premises with Bangladeshi flags, simulated market stalls under thatched awnings, portraits of notable Bangladeshis, Bangladeshi cartoons, street scenes - even banknotes-andassuchit qualities as a venue. lle also offers diners entertainment in the form of a classical dancer or musician who repeats his or her programme three times during the evening.
Basically, this is a meal out like any other - you book your table for when it suits you. But if you have bought your ticket in advance from the Fringe office, you choose from a set menu
and don’t have to think about paying the bill at the end. Bangladeshi cuisine makes much use of fish, so after poppadunts with a particularly good cardamom-flavoured mango chutney, i had a very delicious fish soup, somewhere between bisque and mulligatawny, followed by a mild prawn curry made with vegetable puree and finished with beaten egg, ‘egg drop’ style. I finished with a bowl of grape, pear, pineqrple, mango and chhee.
You can leave your table and go to thebartogetabettervlewofthe dancing, and one of the waiters will be pleased to introduce you to the impressive array of exotic vegetables on display, or tell you, via the array of well chosen details round about - the bangles, the bidis, the betel nuts - something about life in Bangladesh. (Catherine Fellows)
Bangladesh Festival of Food and Culture (Fringe) Ra) Restaurant (Venue 112) 553 3900, until 4 Sept, 7.30pm
(until 1am), £17.50.
This minimalist production should have gone the whole hog and hired a late-night slot on Festival FM: their somnambulistic acting was infectious.
The play itself is ﬁne: sea-beast ravages daughter on day of father's funeral; when it is caught all sorts of vexations and troubled questions are thrown up. it would make an excellent Radio 4 play and look even better on the big screen. But to present it with no set. just five actors wandering around a squeaky stage. requires (high quality) acting and direction. At least they didn’t attempt Fenland accents to indicate the setting. (Thom Dibdin) I Ackford’s Monster (Fringe) Cambridge B.Ed's. Adam House Theatre (Venue 34) 650 8200. 15—28 Aug. 7.50pm. £4 (£3).
BEFORE I GO
Stephen Hutton explodes thirteen seconds into 75 minutes as a man falls — or was he pushed? — from a tower into a village's market square. It’s a neat way of exploring a common nightmare and Hutton writes with a degree of wit and much
iucidity. The only problem
is that once his central character has started to fall. down is the only way to go. After roughly seven seconds. real time. the play loses the impetus of the original idea.
The production is redeemed by two splendid character parts — an ever- eager tomato seller, all angular gestures and a squeal of a voice, and a shrewdly observed upper middle-class dog-walker. Unfortunately they do tend to draw attention to the ﬂat (albeit articulate) characterisation of the falling man and his lover and, for all their hard
work. even they become tiresome as the play
resorts to self- consciousness. Nice try.
I Before I On (Fringe) Dreamhaus Theatre
; Ensemble, C (Venue l9) ' 225 5l05. until 28 Aug. ' 7.45pm. £5 (£3).
But six seconds too long.
9, V THEATRE
180! THE ILLUSTRIOUS RISE ANO TRAOIO FAll. OF TOMMY
The story of ‘Southpaw‘ Peoples. a left-handed darts player who makes it big. out of the East End and into Essex (where else). looks at success and
self-delusion. and cracks a
few jokes along the way. it’s a promising debut script from Sheffield student writing partnership Philip Graham and Robert Crouch. but sadly. weak performances and uninspired staging prevent the show from living up to its origins. and the result is dull and messy. a disappointment after last year’s SUTC offering. Well intentioned. and obviously trying hard. but misses the mark. this time anyway. (Jane Allison) I 180! The Illustrious Rise and Tragic Fall of Tommy Peoples (Fringe) Shefﬁeld University Theatre Company. Festival Club (Venue 36) 650 2395. 6.15pm. until 28 Aug. £4 (£3).
THE REVENGE OF MR SPONGE
Quick word association game: sponge . . . wet. . . drip . . . limp. A stand-up (?) double-bill featuring Spitting Image writer Marc Blake and newcomer Tim Vine.
how some people’s observations of everyday life are really unfunny? Actually. some of the jokes aren‘t that bad. but Vine and Blake are soggy performers. They didn’t seem to be enjoying themselves much either, despite a kind audience. Southside Theatre is warm and cosy though. so if the Edinburgh weather‘s turned nasty and you want to sit down and dry off your Cagoule, this may be
a the show for you.
Otherwise it probably isn’t. (Jane Allison) I The Revenge of Mr Sponge (Fringe) Marc Blake, Southside 93
(Venue 82) 667 7365. until 4 Sept. 6.45pm. £4.50 (£4).
i Damn peculiar. this one.
A pantomime in which Randy. the lovable horse. gets shot. An anti- imperialist drama where the audience joins in with a white supremacist sing-
-| along. it is a family show
whose first-act closing f number is a psychedelic
paean to the opium trip. irony is a tricky card to play in the arts and for all the slick choreography and top-class singing that
the National Youth Music Theatre bnngs to Peter
Nichols' 198?. musical. the production clouds his condemnation of the British Empire’s exploitation of india and China by never fully inverting the pantomime stereotypes it plays with. That the Emperor of China still gets booed at the final curtain. as if he was the baddie in Aladdin not the defeated hero of a tragic story. is clear indication that the message has not got across. (Mark Fisher)
I Poppy (Fringe) National Youth Music Theatre. George Square (Venue 37) 650 2001. until 28 Aug. 7pm and 3pm (alternate days). £7.50 (£5.50).
CO The List 20—26 August 1993