Mortality hangs hard on Joe. an acrobat who carries his profession in his blood. He is obsessed with procreation — with getting his genes in the pool. it is a primal need. which his young wife Mordeen and best friend. Friend Ed. understand. They also understand he is infertile.
Steinbeck wrote Burning Bright as a ‘play in story form’ in 1950. but its theme still holds. This first adaption for the stage carries much of his trademark earthiness and uncompromising bluntness. The company carries the story through three difficult scene changes with a dexterity which never loses sight of humour while keeping in touch with reality. (Thom Dibdin)
I Burning Bright (Fringe) Workhouse Theatre Company. Randolph Studio (Venue 55) 225 5366, until 4 Sept (not 2 Sept). 7.45pm. £5.50 (£4).
AN EVENING WITH WILL
Burning Bridrt: Steinbeck's play in story form
1966, according to Emily Woof’s new show Revolver (after the Beatles’ album released that year) was the turning-point for the 60s, when the love-affair with drugs began to sour, feminism started to expose the misogyny lurking within free love and flowerpower idealism began degenerating into pseudo-Eastern mumbo-iumbo. Playing subtly on our current fascination with the swinging decade, Woof combines movement, music, slides, text and sharp, complex characterisation in two converging narratives, of a 90s would-be yuppie, Jane, working on a video series based ; on Revolver, dazzled by the glamour of i the meeia world, and a young John i Lennon worshipper, Helen. loddlng i knowingly to cliche, their stories ; steadily darken as Jane becomes fascinated by the gun she finds in her ! married lover/boss’s desk, as references to Valerie Solanis’s ; shooting of Andy Warhol and her SCUM g (Society for Cutting Up Men) manifesto begin to muddy the heady 60s waters. 4 Fired by a fury all the more potent for 3 being rigorously controlled and T concentrated into a shining, compellineg fluid performance from . Woof (despite her having one hairline- i fractured foot in plaster), Revolver : addresses the awful treachery of love 3 which promises access to a bigger, i more meaningful world, but proves to be mere exploitative, expedient
illusion. Menacingly, it at least partially subverts the power-balance inherent in the conventional betrayal narrative - Helen transforms romantic pop-idol mythology into her own orgasmic fantasy; Jane/Helen eventually grabs the gun, gets mad and even. (Sue Wilson)
Revolver (Fringe) Emily Woof, Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428, until 4 Sept (not 31 Aug), 6pm, £6.50/£7 .50 (£5.50/£6.50).
then this simply ain‘t the
show — remember. there are Americans present.
So does the doublet
3 bound. RP hosed monologue o'er step the bound 0' taste and
j particularly when
contemporary references ; to AIDS and punks are made in an achingly obvious fashion. but for
the most part the
; Foremost lrnpersonator style of delivery does hold your interest. A lovely bit of Theatre For The Luvvies. (Stephen
1 i I An Evening With Will
’. i (Fringe) Alms For
An Eveningwith Will: onefor theluvvies
Will's back. bounding on stage after a four century lay-off. Waiting for him are several rows of American tourists and the sediment of a thousand RSC productions. But if you're looking for a radical redrawing of
Oblivion. Celtic Lodge (Venue 6) 225 7097. until 1 4 Sept. 7pm. £6 (£4).
i 5 RUSSIAN TOMFOOLERY
One weird show. Victor Sobchak's company rushes onto the tiny stage as a group of circus buffoons — marshalied by the man himself in a battered top hat - and executes. none too cleverly. some klutzy acrobatic manoeuvres. They then plunge
immediately into an all- ‘ Russian re-telling of a
Chekhov short story about love and jealousy.
dreaming and murder. It‘s
done in proper Stanislavski style — all glaring eyes. sulky self- control and raging madness — and just as you‘re getting browned
off(ifyou don’t speak any Russian) the whole thing ; stops dead. A bizarre mix
of amateurish messing
5 about and moving (if
impenetrable) drama. (Andrew Pulver)
I Russian Tomfoolery
(Fringe) Victor Sobchak.
1 CTheatre (Venue I9) 225
5105. l. 3 Sept. 6.30pm.
BOB OILLINGER’S STROLLING BLUNOER
More a caravan of comedy than a one-man show. First up is the rather irritating compere Roger Monkhouse who had the tricky task of whipping up a near comatose audience. Brute Farce is an uncomfortable-looking
man who paces the stage
mumbling nervously. The
Home Counties dressed Sue Beard melts the ice with her barbed and bawdy ‘moist-pants’ humour put to piano. Victoria Wood-style. Then it‘s Big Bob's turn — Denis Law haircut. Jackson Pollock shirt. this humble bloke has a knack for transforming everyday observations on their head and into guffaw-inducing ditties about Oliver Reed and Oldham FC. A charmer who had us in a helpless puddle by the end of the show. (Ann Donald) I Bob Uillinger’s Strolling Blunder Review (Fringe) Bob Dillinger. Pleasance Cabaret Bar (Venue 33) 556 6550. until 4 Sept. 6pm. £7/£6.50 (£6/£5.50).
’ --”.‘.’- 5:13 Bob Dillinger: miffaws talent!
A TRIBUTE TO NAT KING COLE
Listen up all you L. U. V. E. R. S. out there and fasten up as Mr Clarke Peters and trio take us on the smoothest. laid- back journey through the back catalogue of Mr Unforgettable himself. Nat King Cole; virtuoso piano player. the epitome ofclass and the proud owner of the most velvet
voice that could elicit
' palpitations from all and
Emily Woof: a shining, compellineg fluid 1
. LIND smrrrr
sundry. A hard man to
follow but Peters‘s sweet. i
clear style plus a channing/disarming smile has the audience in a puddle from note No l. A musical tribute with the added dimension of biographical, anecdotal lines slunk in there for added pzzaz. (Ann Donald)
I Clarke Peters A Tribute To Nat King Cole (Fringe)
Assembly At The
Meadows (Venue “6) 226 2428. until 4 Sept. 6pm. £7 (£6).
v comenv ‘
I can't work out whether the problem with this show is Smith's delivery or material. For one. she seems to take the audience to be rather stupid/naive and goes to excessive lengths explaining some of her gags. A few laughs from some old. predictable David Mellor material and she goes on a lengthy ten-minute trawl
' about the man. straining
herself to get more laughs. and her audience to
= produce them.
John Major's next in the
firing line. and also gets
the over-long explanatory routine which Mellor had; Major being crap and
; shagging dinner ladies is
hardly up-to-the-minute. cutting-edge stuff. The highlight of her show is
an amusing piss-take of
department store make-up sellers. juxtaposing their annoying style with a monologue about arms selling. quite funny but by no means saving a dull.
l hour-long show. (Joe
' Linda Smith: quite funny
I Linda Smith (Fringe) Linda Smith. The Music Box (Venue 50) 220 4847. 4 Sept. 7.15pm. £6.50 (£5).
GREAT RUSSIAN CIRCUS ON ICE
Mark Morris apparently thinks the Great Russian Circus On Ice is the best thing he's seen for ages. In that case. maybe I’m missing something. After a sympathy-grabbing announcement explaining the company's predicament, the show opens promisineg with some neat formation ice- dance in pleasantly silly costume. But as act follows act. a kind of numbness sets in — which is only compounded by the weirdly disproportionate success rate. A seemineg simple juggling act saw plates crash regularly to the ground. while some very dangerous-looking somersaults were pulled off with aplomb. Slick. relentless. but without much atmosphere. (Andrew Pulver)
I The Great Russian Circus On Ice (Fringe) Assembly at the Meadows (Venue H6) 226 2428/229 9281. until 5 Sept. various times, £8l£ l 2.50 (£6/£l0).
V COMEDY HARLANO WILLIAMS
Who couldn't be seduced by this cool Canadian’s deep. lazy drawl? Harland Williams’s old-fashioned good manners are so ingrained even the hecklers get a respectful ‘sir’ and ‘ma'am' before the put-down. His material is a bit weird. not way out there like Emo Philips. but by no means straight observational fare. Williams explores his own off-beat world of humour which has a kind of child-like naivety. without resorting to infantile gags or cheap shots. Apparently he writes children's books too. though God knows whether anybody lets their kids near stories by someone who suggests putting his contact lenses in the cat’s eyes for fun!
. Williams is a funny guy
with a refreshingly cynicism-free act and is surely one of the best imports this year. (Eddie Gibb)
I Harland Williams
(Fringe) Fools Paradise
3 (Venue 108) 556 5184.
until 4 Sept. 7pm. £6.50 (£5).
SB The List 27 August—9 September 1993