r Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh, until 7 Aug.


.. (next-5“". ‘1“. 3 ~ _ ,_ A ' ' £1. ....'

I This is a play that has won a Scotsman Fringe First, an Evening News National

Award and the Independent Theatre

Award. After its initial production by

Fifth Estate in 1991 it transferred to the Rampstead Theatre, London. All of

this is by way of saying: a lot of f people like it.

Certainly the play’s material is

' gathered from an intriguing historical 3 backwater; the final alcoholic, exiled

years of the once Bonnie Prince

Charlie. Bloated and bitter the

perpetual pretender sits in Florence, unrecognised by other crowns, waiting passiver to be called to the throne of Britain, killing time by abusing his much younger wife. Robert Carr

carries the role of the pungent, odious

hero with some fine belching and farting, and offers an impressive number of on-stage vomits, but tragically the tragedy of the Prince is not particularly involving.

OK, it’s won awards and people like it, but I'm not just being contrary when I slip into the stilettos of Miss

a Critical Backlash and say, ‘This is a

bad play’. Not only is it utterly undramatic, it lacks any sense of progression. A man argues with his wife, and then, er, carries on arguing. Better things have been made from less, but they don’t usually exhibit as many cliches as this: power-brokers play chess, romantic heroes have olive

skins and dark hair, timid girls wear

glasses and the Oxbridge queers that are British spies have lines like, ‘It is this that makes kings so very dangerous’.

My other objection is that lines like

that are delivered with a hyphen


between every word. Subtlety has, one fears, been bundled in the back of a car and is now lying hooded and bound in a dark shed many miles away from the Lyceum stage. But the end of the evening there was loud applause and everyone seemed to like it, so it’s doubtful the ‘5’ word will get its ransom dosh that quickly. (Stephen Chester)


Seen at the Iletherbow Arts Centre, Edinburgh. Returning to Edinburgh Ffinge.

It is a strange task to attempt: bringing Francois Sagan’s first, voluptuous and passionate novel of


SEAN lil.'l)S().\'

the eated budding of love to the stage. A strange task which demands a strange production if the long summer heat of the seaside, the

brilliantly evoked desires and awakening sexuality of the original are to be retained. At first glance, Theatre Cryptic has caught the heady, dreamlike state of the book with a set made from contraptions, strung together to create a pliable diversity of shapes that summon the beach to the stage.

In the play’s opening scenes, the casting too seems to suffice. Loeiza Mariq Jacq is elegant and sinuous as the narrator, L’Esprit, while Kate Dickie as her alter ego, the seventeen-

year-old Cecile, has an ungainly, naive

sexuality. Her father Raymond, played

by Claude Kagan, is suitably aloof and

masculine and, as his lover, Elsa is a

hedonistic swirl of lust. Anne at first

has all the attractions of decadence,

; which Iure Raymond away from Elsa to

_' her charms, while underneath

betraying the tendency towards equilibrium which so distresses Cecile

and precipitates the ensuing tragedy.

However, to conjure the full delicious fatality of the novel demands more

, than reasonable casting and the

rippling body of choreographer Erick

Valentin Mauricia as Cecile’s lover

Cyril. Instead of luxuriating in the

story, letting it drift towards the

yielding climax, Mariq Jacq falters and hurries through the script, doing it and the company no favours. This is a

brave and strange attempt which still

has the potential to work, but which

falls towards pure pretentiousness. (Thom Dibdin)


Seen at Theatre Workshop, Edinburgh.

9 Returning to Edinburgh Fringe.

, A guiding rule of reviewing says that if a show might just as well have been a book or a film - if, in other words, it

has nothing intrinsically theatrical about it - then chances are it will be inadequate. I have no prejudice against adaptations per se, just that if they don’t find a truly theatrical form, their purpose becomes questionable. ; So much for the rule book. John I McGrath’s adaptation of Rigoberta j Menchu’s ‘I, Rigoberta’, a shocking i testimony to torture in Guatemala, 1 makes hardly the slightest attempt to

I be theatrical. Apart from two short ' new passages that top and tail

, aghast horror, but the very fact that she is reading means that we

I characterisation, but on bleak ! political reality.

Elizabeth MacLennan’s performance, the text is taken directly from Menchu’s book. And I mean directly. Maclennan comes onto the stage - a florist’s shop worth of grow-bags and plants and begins to dip into the book for a ‘lunchtime’ read. Once or twice she moves from one side of the stage to the other; throughout, she keeps her head in the book; dramatic though the material is, she does not dramatise.

The obvious thing would have been to cast MacLennan in the role of Menchu - the book, after all, is written in the first person - but by setting the action, and I use the word advisedly, in a Central Scottish garden centre, McGrath ensures that we keep a critical distance from the material. MacLennan may read in a tone of

concentrate not on sentimental

And the fact that this reality hits home so hard instantly justifies the performance. I don’t know if you’d call ! it a play or a reading or a dramatised j adaptation, what I do know is that it ends with a stunned silence and a sense of embarrassment that I’ve never sent off that subscription to Amnesty International. The final line about there still being hope in the world may seem glib, but there is more than enough to unsettle a frivolous Fringe audience in what precedes it. (Mark Fisher)


tue528 june- tri8jUIy-7.30pm


29 June - 3 July 8pm

WISEGUISE THE WISHING TREE Myra began withering the moment she made her first wish.

15 July - 7 August TRAVERSE THEATRE CO

Presents the British Premiere of

POOR SUPER MAN - A PLAY WITH CAPTIONS The hot new play by Brad - Unidentified Human Remains - Fraser Calgary, Canada. love triangles in the fast lane - sex. lies and hidden identities.

Fast, dangerous and disturbingly funny.

It b .

TRAVERSE rurnrar

Phone Box Office for details

031 228 1404

david mamet

glengarry glen ross . by

"...essentiai.a contemporary masterpiece...” The Herald

tuesIZ-sun 17ju|y°7.30pm

purple dust

I by sean ocasey _ ”...splendrdt/ entertaining ri raucoust tinny." The Guardian

Tickets: 96.50/E3 Or see both tor £10/i25


from Tron Box Office: 041 552 4267/Trcket Centre: 041 227 5511

The List I—l4 July 199461