A nineteen-year old sits at home, playing a low tapes, chatting to the audience about his liie, his girliriend, how he gets his money: the usual sort
oi ‘hey, this'is me’ monologue. Except that Charley is homeless and the habitation we are talking about here is a box in a doorway. ‘llr, it’s not much, but it’s my doorway and I’ve got used to it over the last couple oi years,’ he
The Cage is based on the true story oi one homeless person and the passer-by who beiriends him. The way it is told, in ilashback and ﬂash- iorward, means that Charley is never presented solely as a victim, an object oi pity and receptacle ior charity, but someone who has sell-determination. However, he is a part oi our society, the one we take part in democratically every live years or so.
it you’re wondering whether you can take another play about the homeless, stop thinking and buy a ticket. This is the Fringe at its best. A show with angry social comment, plenty oi laughs - even a bit oi stand-up, well acted, excellent set, and demanding oi the audience in an intelligent sort oi way. (Thom liibdln) The Cage (Fringe) Middieham Theatre Co, The Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550, until 4 Sept, 4.15pm, £5/£4.50 (ﬁt/£3.50).
The legend of Saint Julian
By way oi continual risk and experimentation in narrative and style Communicado have created a prestigious reputation ior themselves, and aiter the success oi last year’s Cyrano they now iind themselves in what must be a virtually unassailable critical position.
Saint Julian continues their tradition oi bold theatrical explorations into original, usually non-dramatic source material, this time the initial idea being provided by a Gustave Fiaubert short story. The story was itseli inspired by the stained glass window oi ilouen cathedral, and it’s the lniluence oi this original representation which ultimately works to the detriment oi the show, as the attempt to render a simple linear tale in a purely pictorial manner leaves us impressed but not engaged.
Julian, a son oi kings, is tipped by a grey-beard loon-type as material ior sainthood, but nevertheless spends most oi his childhood killing things. lintil, that is, he gets a bit oi a divine message irom a slaughtered stag; ‘You’ll kill your parents,’ says the decimated beast. Julian, understandably, is having none oi it, and counters oii abroad to slaughter lots oi iorelgners and thereby gain lame in his own right.
While all this is done in as stunning and imaginative a way as possible - when Julian goes hunting the other actors iorm tlieuieelves into booghs and bushes, and a collection oi thin canes iorm an elaborately simple
St Julian: emotionally untouching
plot or psychology leit around. So iluid is the movement between the superbly choreographed scenes that it’s diiiicult to identity the characters and it’s diiilcuit, ultimately, to ieel any passion or pity ior Julian, as we’re given little reason to. The absence oi dialogue exacerbates this problem, smoothing out the idiosyncrasies which could have been provided by individual perionnances.
it’s high quality, impressive, imaginative theatre, but all the same you leave the venue ieeling emotionally untouched. (Stephen Chester) The legend 0i St Julian (Fringe) Communicado, Traverse (Venue 15) 228 1404, until 4 Sept, various times,
marsh - but there's not a lot oi sub- L
30 The List 27 August-9 September 1993
V THEATRE DOUBLE D
There exists a genre of play that to my knowledge crops up only in Assembly’s Wiidman Room. The set will consist of one couch (or possibly a bed), one television and a scattering of household debris. There will be two doors; one to the outside. one to the rest of the house. People come through these doors and argue with each other.
Happily. Matthew Westwood comes up with an argument that is considerably more witty
and sharply-observed than ‘
most in a coming-of-age four-hander that features a set ofcharacters who will one day grow up to be in Abigail '3 Party. Eastenders fans will be disappointed by June Brown’s ﬂat performance. but Charlotte Bellamy more than compensates with a true star performance of understated comic brilliance.
Theatrically unexceptionai. but essential viewing for Bellamy alone. (Mark Fisher)
I Double D (Fringe) Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428. until 4 Sept. 4pm. £6.50/£7.50 (£5.50/£6.50).
IHFEOT ME WITH YOUR I.OVE
A response to the continuing heterosexual spread of HIV. this short play is exactly what it should be: an accessible and entertaining cautionary tale. Devised by its cast with director Gerry Nowicki and collaboration from various health organisations. it
. shows how ignorant
prejudices - religious. parental. teenage and media-supported - can cost lives.
Performed with confidence and
childhood game grown-up
competence by a young company of five. the play is slickly and simply staged. relying only on hospital screens and judicious use of video and slides to embellish its central deathbed image. While it contains a firm indictment of the media. the Catholic Church. the Army and the Government. Infect Me With Your Lave stabs most sharply at HiV's greatest ally, ordinary human ignorance. (Andrew Burnet) I lniect Me With Your love (Fringe) Polkatz Theatre. Hill Street Theatre (Venue 4 i) 226 6522. until 4 Sept (not Sun 29 Aug). 5.10pm. £5 (£4).
V THEATRE IT’S STARIHG YOU RIGHT IN THE FACE
Remember pretending to be foreign by speaking gobbledegook with your best pal on the train? The Stone brothers give the
status in this strange parody of TV evangelists. talk shows and MTV. The body language is complete. the words even seem to make sense. it's just that they‘re part of a private language.
There‘s probably a meaning in here somewhere, particularly in the later part of the show. where hypnosis and hysten'a collide. lfyou get it. fine. lfnot. thenjust revel in the sheer poetry of their noise. When they sing. it is a falterineg beautiful mouth-music. offset by a soft shoe shufﬂe. (Thom Dibdin). I It’s Staring You Bight III the PIC. (Fringe) Ralf Ralf, The Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550. until 4 Sept. 5.15pm, £7/£6.50 (£6/£5.50).
From his prison cell. MacDermott delivers a
tour of his life. providing opportunities for visual and verbal gags. muted political poian and the statutory Fringe twitching De Niro impression. with a mumbling Brando not far behind. Sadly, his drastic joke-ﬂogging smothers a penchant for the surreal. Jokes once full of promise reel from overuse as MacDennott treats us to stories of his spell as a getaway driver, details of father-son relationships and the etymology of the German word for nipples. All delivered with a beguiling demeanour but he wastes his talents on punchline- orientated material. Liked the stories. loathed the stand up. (Grace Hodge) I Stand lip Stories (Fringe) Karl MacDermott, Stepping Stones (Venue 51) 225 6520/226 2151. until 30 Aug. 5.30pm. £6 (£5).
THE HEARTBREAK KID
Country ’n‘ western in all its maudlin glory is the central feature of this comedy musical play written by and starring Tony Hawks. Probably best known for his gawky wisecracks on BBCZ's Brain Drain. Hawks plays Stu Whitehead. the Willy Loman of the water filter trade. condemned to trawl the suburban bywaters of East Anglia. averting potential customers to the dangers of domestic pollution.
His character-redeeming hobby — affectingly illustrated by a clutch of Hawks-penned songs performed by the cast — is the Cowboy Club. whose preparations for a forthcoming pageant are threatened by conniving cavalier Clive’s English Civil War re-enactments.
Though the humour seldom rises above TV sitcom level. this is a slick and entertaining teatime spirit-lifter. (Andrew Burnet)
I The "W Kid (Fringe) Incidental Theatre. Assembly Rooms (Venue 33) 226 2428, until 4 Sept. 4pm. £6/£7 (£5.50/£6.50).