6"/8"" av]- FESTIVAL


Public Service Announcement: This show is diarrhoea. ‘Bollocks, P‘k, bollocks. c"t. f"k.' - Wot a laff eh?- NOT! Even the slapstick antics of Crackerjack stalwarts, Peter Glaze and Don McLean seem positively refined compared to this testosterone-fuelled knockabout. Which is surprising really given the team’s TV credits Blockadder, The Comic Strip. They strive for the madcap mayhem of the Crazy Gang and The Marx Brothers, yet the consistent stream of cheap end-of-the-pier-How's- yir-fathir-oooer-madam- my-she’s-got-a-big-pair gags become progressively more trying on the funny bone. Ironically the funniest skit was the parody of the obnoxious critic. (Ann Donald)

I The I“ SEW (Fringe) Gilded Balloon Theatre (Venue 38) 226 2151, until 28 Aug. 6.45pm, £7 (£6).



TWO sisters share a vacuum flask of tea and a sandwich on a park bench; one sour. but well-off, and one ripe and a bit short. Colourfully performed by the Alexander Sisters, aka Lynn Ferguson and Carolyn Bonnyman, Ian Heggie’s short drama about the agonies of two middle-aged Glaswegian women unfolds with nudging humour and pathos. Insecurity. poverty and disappointment spill over into their childish squabbles and inane chat and two very different lives are evoked. Although fairly enjoyable as character studies, Heggie's repetitive dialogue and lack of a tangible plot means that

the play never really takes off. However. the sheer gusto of the cast carries it briskly along. (Beatrice Colin)

I Politics in tire Park (Fringe) The Whitehill Group, Stepping Stones Theatre (Venue 51) 225 6520, 15 Aug—4 Sept. 7.45pm. £5.50 (£4.50).



Pete McCarthy's eloquent Brit-bashing show manages to put the boot into every aspect of our cultural hair-shinedness (lousy food. delight in rain, xenophobia, hostess trolleys) and amuse without alienating. The frightening thing is that he backs it up with facts. figures and autobiography, giving credence to what could be easily dismissed as an airing of stereotypes. McCarthy draws on all our lives to debunk those prevalent Euromyths, his logic making nonsense of lime stuck in the bottle necks of foreign lager. intelligent, provocative

and very likeable.

Featuring the magnificent Billy Crocket and a selection of corn snacks. A show for anyone who has ever been tempted to take ajar of Marrnite on holiday. (Grace Hod e) I Pete McCarthy - Ilg British (Fringe) Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428, 22—29Aug. 6pm. £6.50 (£5.50).


1992 Fringe First winners Cat A offer an intense and challenging tragedy from. Straight hard man Chris, serving a life sentence, discovers that he is HIV positive and the shattering news forces him to confront his own prejudices. his homophobia and


As well as revealing the emotions of a man told that he is HlV positive. Dirt Enters At The Heart shows how letting go of anger and aggression opens up new ways for the most unlikely men to get through to each other. Fine performances from all involved. (Jane Allison)

I Dirt Enters At The Heart (Fringe) Cat A Theatre Co. Theatre Workshop (Venue 20) 226 5425. until 4 Sept (not Suns),6pm, £6 (£3.50).


Can’t live with them, can’t live without them. They’re a bitch. men, especially when they think they’re heroes like Odysseus. Circe cuts and repastes the texts of Homer’s Odyssey to open up the contradictions of a myth’s own making. We‘d all like to be heroic but the truth is not always so accommodating. Heroes are created not born.

Staging is consistent and economic from the use of mask costume to projected film, choreographed movement well complemented by an original score.

This is an impressive and intelligent piece of student theatre - refreshingly simple. (Simon Yuill)

I Circe (Fringe) EUTC. Bedlam Theatre (Venue 49) 225 9893, until 28 Aug (not Sun), 6.15pm. £4.50 (£3.50).


‘Overpowering'. ‘Harrowing’, 'Uncomfortable‘. Not quotes from The Scotsman nor Time Out, but comments from the critics who count: the audience on the first night of George Byatt’s latest play, (his most poetically personal and least overtly political, yet) performed

A plaintive, gutteral, Middle-Eastern lament cuts across a stripped-back lyceum stage, setting the tone for Peter Sellars’s spartan update of Aeschyulus’s drama of defeat. long monologues of Greek drama can seem alienating to modern audiences, but rather than compensate, Sellers makes them more so. The first section of The Persians, In particular, is distorted into an atmospheric barrage of mlked-up sound, blurring into white

defeated nation rages against the callous might of the us superpower. The production is not, however, just a politically trendy apologia for Saddam Hussein. ‘Because I did the same thing,’ says the ghost of the defeated patriarch, ‘now I am capable of understanding them.’ The overriding mood of the piece is of barren, desolate emptiness - a world torn apart by war, where low human values remain. It’s a tough, intelligent, no

noise like an untuned radio, doubt controversial production which escalating into the pulse of sets the standard for the SIP drama helicopters and modern war programme. (Mark Fisher)

machinery. The Persians (Festival) Salzburg

For this is The Persians reworked for

Festival, Royal lyceum Theatre, 225

‘the Gulf War generation by Robert 5756, until 21 Aug, 7.30pm, £6—£15. Auletta, set in a nominal Iraq where a 3 h by Theatre PKF (Peace the wait. Y Gandini Juggling Project

Keeping Forces).

House of Lies is deceptive: a minimalist play following Japanese Noh maxims, philosophising about massive issues of truth, love. life and death. Verity is dying. Andrew tries to comfort her. She in turn uies to comfort him with the truth she brings back to him from beyond the grave.

Moving performances from Andrew Byatt, Hilary Drake and Mairi Wallace, result in possibly the most challenging theatrical experience on the Fringe. It will probably reach parts you would prefer were left untouched. Well worth a visit. Oh, and do stay for the discussion afterwards. (Gabe Stewart)

I House of lies (Fringe) Leaping Salmon Theatre, Chaplaincy Centre (Venue 23) 650 8201, until 28 Aug (not Sun), 6pm plus discussion at 7.30pm. £4 (£3).


Alex is a condescending pedant; Clare is a cunning vixen. She hopes swappng childhood scars will clear up his impotence problem. We know he‘s hiding something. but by the time the solution is revealed, a) it doesn’t add up, and b) it wasn't worth

From the clumsy props handling to the repetitious script, the only saving grace of this laboured tennis match of a play is the accurate portrayal of the paranoia and frustration of lovers at

With the audience laughing at the wrong places, i agree with Clare when she says, half a dozen times, ‘it just doesn’t make sense'. i (Gabe Stewart)

I A Brief Affair (Fringe) Blue Harlequin Theatre Company, Festival Club (Venue 36) 650 2395, until 28 Aug, 6pm, £4.50 (£3.50).


A breath of fresh air on an already tired Fringe.

are unusual: brilliant juggling with loose- limbed new dance, wacky sax. and some cerebral entertainment to get the grey cells going. To a mixed sound score of water pouring and bizarre texts, the company danced sometimes improvised, sometimes in sparklingly accurate sequences with circus aids. A shining rope. water filled and striped clubs. and red balls were twirled and thrown, rolled and exchanged at high speed and with delicate humour. Even the careful lighting contributed to this effective theatrical event. (Tamsin Grainger)

I Ieither Either Or Both And (Fringe) Gandini Juggling Project. St Bride’s Centre (Venue 62) 346 1405, until 28 Aug (not Sun 22), 6pm, £5 (£3.50).



Perhaps it was the technical difficulties or even the infamous curse of The Mad Abbot himself striking again. Either way. neither has much of an excuse for what was pretty much a shambles from start to finish.

Even ignoring the blatantly obvious lack of

42 The List 20—26 August 1993