Midsummer magic

Catherine Fellows looks forward to the return of

the Georgian Film Actors’ Studio.

Anyone who saw The Georgian Film Actors in 1988 will not be surprised that the Assembly Rooms are billing them as international highlight of their programme. They took Moliere‘s Don Juan and ran with it. Their combination of energy. originality. humour and such slick professionalism was exceptional and thrilling. it is hard to imagine a more charming or irreverent Don Juan than theirs. but their great stroke of genius was to introduce a knitting. Beck‘s-swilling prompter on to the stage: a singular lady in woolly socks who. fumbling with the script and issuing orders between swigs, brilliantly off-set the hero’s billowing white-shined theatricality. Don Juan became at once a puppet and victim of his role - the path he himself had chosen. and even more obviously the iconoclast, as she struggled to keep him in line with the text. Peter Brook himself was moved to describe the production as. ‘the best l‘ve seen‘. Since that last visit to Edinburgh. like so much of the old USSR. the company‘s native land has been in a state of upheaval for some of the time in a state of out-and-out civil war. it is for this reason that director Michail Tumanishvili has this year chosen to present A Midsummer Ni girl‘s Dream. perhaps Shakespeare’s most gentle and

winsome comedy. The Georgian press have praised him for his insight: ‘With his unfailing intuition (Tumanishvili) felt the necessity of alleviating our present-day troubles and suggesting in his marvellous production what was most lacking and the most desired feeling in our strained life. He revived the world that we had lost due to our stupidity the world of dreams and love and mutual understanding.‘

in the Georgian production. Theseus and Oberon. and Hippolyta and Titania. are played by the same pair of actors. emphasising the multi-facet‘ed relationship between reality and the dream world of the fairies. As Mamana Antadze. speaking for the company. puts it. ‘Everything is possible in dreams. that is not in reality‘. But dreams are more than pleasant escapism. ‘For us.‘ she says. ‘the company and the Georgian people. this play is a good dream for a better future‘. I A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Fringe) The Georgian Film Actors Studio. Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428. 23 Aug—4 Sept (not 31). 6pm. £7.50/£8.50 (£6.50/£7.50).


The Hearly Haw Theatre Company’s debut production, their own adaptation of the Jean-Paul Sartre short story Erostratus, comes to the Fringe with a First Class Honours stamp of approval. Developed by the cast while they were still In their final

year at Horthampton’s Hene College, it was singled out for distinction by the students’ examiners.

The Sartre tale has one character, Paul Hilbert, a psychopath. The Hearly ilew Theatre Company has a cast of five. Hot to state the obvious, but five into one won’t go. Are we to assume that some licence has been taken with the source? ‘It did lend itself very well to becoming a dramatic piece,’ claims Hearly llew’s Samantha Hidge. ‘As there was only one character, we thought it was a great opportunity to investigate his five psyches.’

The play investigates the point where Hilbert snaps and it raises the question of how well do we know ourselves. Features distorted by strHring black and white make-up, yet clad uniformly in office-workers’ garb, the cast highlight this duality of personality. “We’re representatives of everyday society because on the surface that’s what Hilbert is; and it’s what he wants to break free from.’ (Fiona Shepherd)

Erostratus (Fringe) The Hearly Ilew Theatre Company, Hayfield House (Venue 107) 551 5932, 22—28 Aug,

7.15mi. £3 (£2).



‘lt‘s time to start taking the piss.‘ yelps Nick Mayhew near the climax of an hour-long lecture on how businesses screw the world. Sadly. he‘s been doing it all along. His disquisition on economics. management techniques and the politics of commerce is a straight recital. clearly. of some undergraduate Cultural Studies essay. and you can understand why so many college lecturers are silent. hard-drinking. nervous people. The boy‘s heart is in the right place (i mean. he obviously reads The Guardian finance pages like a hawk) but the rhetoric is far too juicy for performance. Moreover. too many stumbles and memory lapses (plus dangerously lobbing bacon into the audience) make what is there a disjointed mess. (Andrew Pulver)

I Tall, Dark, Handsome and Ho. 1 (Fringe) Nick Mayhew. Glasite Meeting House (Venue 53) 13—28 Aug. 6pm. £4 (£2).


And it may come as a shock to Dayists. but it's true; Kevin Day did used to be a racist a paid-up NF member. with swastika on the forearm. Those familiar with Day from past appearances will know that he has since fully embraced the opposite extreme of militant communism. Aside from the occasional. ironic ‘send ‘em back where they came from’ peppering this year‘s set. it‘s pretty much business as usual.

The controlled anti- establishrnent aggression. as always. isn‘t a rant along the lines of the


jokes to the point where


usual ‘urban warriors‘ but razor-sharp satire. material which gives political correctness a good name. Only ifyou think that it is politically correct to char-grill

Tories. of course. but as I do. i reckon it‘s about time he won the fizzy water. (Philip Parr)

‘I l was a Teenage Hacist (Fringe) Kevin Day. Assembly (Venue 3) 226 2428. until 4 Sept (not 23 Aug). 6.15pm. £6/£7 (£5/£6).



Dik van Dike: Eire-comedian

First we had Euro-union. now we have Euro- comics. Dik van Dike might make a lot of play about his native

; Netherlands. but his

material draws on



This is not very good. Arthur Smith's new comedy is a pleasant enough affair. but its slight concept a man buries himself in the back garden for no apparent reason and becomes a focus of interest for the first time in his life is made to seem even more slight by a languid. half- hearted production that stretches many decent

they cease to be funny. This being Arthur

Smith. there is a

smattering of fine one-

liners and the odd bit of

amusing quirkiness. but it‘s neither funny nor profound enough to be considered anything out of the ordinary. (Mark Fisher)

I Sod (Fringe) Arthur Smith. Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550. until 4 Sept. 6.50pm. £6.50/£7 (£6/£6.50).


The plane is going down

1 in a great ball of fire. rock i ‘n‘ rollers Buddy Holly,

The Big Bopper. Ritchie

everywhere from Glasgow |

to the Gulf in a set that

might have been produced

from an EEC directive. it crams in cracks about Scandinavians. quips about pesetas. one-liners about Luxembourg and a surprising familiarity with British culture (surely they can’t have sold

C rackerjack to the Dutch?)

It’s all chartered out arniably and slickly enough. and there‘s novelty value in a string ofjokes about cheese and porno films. but ultimately it‘s his energy. not his all-too-slight material. that gets van Dike through the act. (Mark Fisher)

I Rude Hits from Amsterdam (Fringe) Gilded Balloon (Venue 38) 226 2l51. until 4 Sept. 6pm. £5.50 (£4.50).

Valens and their pilot Roger find themselves in a soda bar-like limbo with a girl called Stella. Stella provides help in a sometimes sickly atonement for past sins. With some more upbeat

anecdotes and one-liners l‘ and a whole bunch of classic swingers. the boys

make those Three Steps to Heaven. Alan McHugh is

5 convincing as Buddy and I Big Bopper Mark McDonnell provides

healthy relief from the other characters‘ angst and self-righteousness. But the scenario is basically a vehicle for a lively musical nostalgia trip which would get even the most cynical of toes tapping. (Anne Hamlyn) I Three Steps To Heaven (Fringe) First Base. Brunton Theatre (Venue 95) 665 2240. until 27 Aug (not Suns) 7.30pm. £6 (£4.50).

Lively musical nostalgia in Three Steps to Head

' The List 20—26 August I993 41