Yes. we're literally talking breakfast with the Honkin' Hep Cats after a night on the town or at least on stage. Pitching their act at a younger audience than their traditional late-night slot at the Pleasance attracts. the jazz-jive band are proposing to serve up a menu of food. music and humour to whoever cares tojoin them.

Manager and saxophonist Andy ‘Rubberlegs' Williams explains why the London-

based band considered

putting the morning after in their schedule: ‘Every year after the late-night show. we all fall back in a drunken stupor to our flat down the road and wake up about lunch time and cook ourselves copious amounts of food. stuffed with cholestorol.

‘This year we were encouraged to do something for a younger age group. \Ve thought we would combine that with breakfast '

Admitting the performance could be unpredictable. he also promises it will be fun for

.anyone from 3-90-years-

l old. Miss it at your peril.

l l

(Kathleen Morgan) I Breakfast With The

E Honkin’ Hep Cats (Fringe) Pleasance (Venue 33) 556

{6550. 24—30 Aug; l—3 Sept. l.3()pm. £4.50 (£3).


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Glasgow-based l.ook()ut Theatre Company is making its l’ringe debut with two new plays and the backing of a host of heavyweights. including comedienne Jo Brand and writer Brian l‘riel.

Having brass-necked it with an ingenious letter sent to dozens of prospective patrons. the three—year-old company is financially secure and ready to premiere its most ambitious project to date Virtues. lixploring the realms ofcultural identity

and fantasy. the double bill of one-act plays. Baby. [Cut ('1) and

Luzon/(v. blends humour

; and irony. fact and fiction. Co-written by

playwright Vicky Featherstone and 22-year- old Glasgow University classics graduate John Tiffany who also directs lid/iv [fut Up gives Greek mythology a kick into the 1990s. it is a tale of frustrated ambition. a humorous look at two little people thrown into the awesome world of Greek tragedy.

Written by Nicola McCartney. laundry exposes the scandalous practice of locking up 'disgraced' Catholic women in a Dublin convent laundry. The fate of the so-called fallen women who died behind the convent walls was revealed only recently. This production marks the first anniversary of the exhumation and cremation of their remains in order that a memorial be erected to their memory. says John.

‘Nicola is telling the story of one girl through three women.‘ he adds. ‘You never see the fathers or the priests. It's done through the collusion of women who let this happen.‘ (Kathleen Morgan)

I Virtues (Fringe Gilded Balloon Theatre (Venue 38) 226 2l5l. l2 Aug—3 Sept. Ipm. £5 (£3.50).

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Step into the Hetherbow time tunnel and be transported back a century. Edinburgh’s High Street is cobbled but there’s no List street-seller on hand with a rundown of the main theatrical draws. You decide to visit one of the penny gaffs in the vicinity to watch a minimalist monologue from the pen of Jimmy Smith, a local printer making an alternative living as a popular storyteller.

This is a world that playwright and history-lover Donald Campbell has spent some time researching. ‘The penny gaffs were really at the bottom of the theatrical heap,’ he says. ‘They were pretty low places, forerunners of the music hall and variety shows. Everything was done very economically: they tended not to use an awful lot in the way of costumes, props, etc.’

In the course of his investigations, Campbell uncovered some of Smith’s populist works and has adapted one of these, Haney Sleekit, the story at one woman’s rather Machiavellian progress through Old Town Victorian society. ‘There’s a touch of the Lady Macbeth about her, I always think,’ he says.

The continuing social relevance of Nancy’s relationship dilemmas and the accessibility of the language in which the monologue was written has made

Anne louise Ross as the rediscovered Haney Sleekit Campbell’s adapting job easier.

‘It was really a question of the setting. We’ve got to have an actual situation going on whereas originally the actress would just get up on stage and do it and the Victorian audience would have been happy with that.

‘Smith tended to write about women more than men. Besides Hancy, there’s Jenny Flucker the fishwife, Tippie Leery an old gossip, and there’s an old washerwoman. It was mainly to record the lore of the streets of Edinburgh. At that time there were basically three parts women could play - old ladies, young girls and heroines, but Nancy’s none of these things.’ (Fiona Shepherd)

Haney Sleekit (Fringe) Fifth Estate, Hetherbow Theatre (Venue 30) 556 925379, 15 Aug—3 Sept (not Sun), 1pm, £5 ( )-



Babel: ‘certainly not your kitchen sink'

Safe Fringeing is no fun. If you want to make the most of this bewildering carnival, you have to add a measure of risk to the high-octane blend of booze, adrenalin and chips that motors you around the shows. Babel sounds like it will not automatically make it onto people’s must-see lists but if you’re prepared to take a chance, it could be a unique Fringe experience.

‘It’s certainly not your kitchen sink,’ admits David Grindley of The Acting Initiative. ‘It’s a fantasy piece which examines how books are perceived in our society by creating a parallel world where books are of huge significance: a world very similar to

fantasy novels like Fahrenheit 451 or Gormenghast.’

As someone who spasms involuntarily at the mention of fantasy or sci-fl, I must confess my usually

' open mind was rapidly closing down at

this point. However, The Acting lnitiative’s record justifies them a second hearing.

Their promenade production of Othello was nominated for The Independent Theatre Award at last year’s Fringe and was notable for cross-casting - changing all the hes into shes. Grindley is keen to include strong female roles in the company’s work: ‘We are trying to give women actors the material they want and deserve. In Babel there are three lead roles, two of which are for women.’

The first of those is Erudire, High librarian of a monastic enclosure whose inhabitants worship books, but don't actually read them. Outwith the library walls, Vulpus is the warrior chief seeking admittance to the sanctity of the inner world. Their go- between is to be the young woman Quinch, ‘a fiery Tank Girl of a character’ who propels the play along.

Clearly, fantasy fans will not be disappointed. As for normal grown- ups, it’s hard to say. This could be one on which to play a risk card - but if it’s a stinker, accept that you’ve been Fringed! (Justin McKenzie Smith) Babel (Fringe) The Acting Initiative, Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550, 11 Aug-3 Sept, 2.25pm, £6.50 (£5)/£7.50


30 The List 12—] 8 August l994