_ coco Boothby Graffoe

8""[1 0"" FESTIVAL



With their unique literary

adaptations. Dublin's Balloonatics have for ten

for four years when he goes out into a very unglamorous Berlin.‘ says Balloonatics founder and writer Paul O' Hanrahan. Doblin wrote Alexrmderplar: in 1929 and it was filmed in I931.

over the years by constant touring. manages to convey the murky essence of Doblin's novel without histrionics or over-

simplification. combining

realist and expressionist techniques to make an

it became his most successful book but. like Bailoonatics' other favourite source of inspiration. James Joyce. Doblin was exiled. 'He was a Jewish left-winger so his books were burnt.‘ O'Hanrahan elucidates. ‘He had to leave Germany in 1933. and ended up in '3 France after the war. Doblin‘s Classic 5 where he died in 1957.‘

expressionist text Berlin Balloonancs are “0

Alexander/time. Strangers ‘0 C9mPlex ‘lt's set in the 20s. and “3‘39. mid the”

is about what happens to a . (“5‘1"”)de P'anUL

man who‘s been in prison 3 energcuc SUIC. honed

nume- Retrace the Defaced

Pit Fong Loh ls a Malaysian woman

impact. ‘A kind of rough sophisticaton is what we‘re after.‘ says O‘Hanrahan. ‘Alexanderplatz operates , as a prophecy. in much the T same way as Cabaret did. only subtler. Echoes of today are everywhere.’ (Neil Cooper) I Alexanderplatz (Fringe) Balloonatics Theatre Company. Theatre Workshop (Venue 20) 226 5425. 15—20 Aug. 9.30pm; 21—28 Aug. 4pm. £6.50 (£5).

years blazed a tireless trail that has seen them take in many of Europe‘s major festivals. scooping a number of awards along the way. including Fringe Firsts in 1983 and 1990. This year sees them return after too long an absence with the world premiere of their adaptation of Alfred

Like lee Evans, sharp impro comedian Boothby Craffoe brings a wealth of variety show experience to the circuit. The son of an air traffic controller, he overcame a ‘humiliating’ rejection from Exeter University by immersing himself in a string of formative jobs that included door-to-door salesman and, significantly, Butlins redcoat.

In between organising knobbly knees competitions, the ganeg performer found himself hogging the microphone during the evening entertainment slots, developing a fierce passion for theatre. A spell as a stage manager on a seaside vaudeville show swiftly followed, as did pantomime work, but it wasn’t until he tried stand-up that Craffoe really made his mark.

‘I did this big pub circuit for the breweries round Nottingham,’ he recalls. ‘l’d do two pubs a night for 40 quid a pub. Two half hours In each pub, either side of the bingo. And

Boothby Craffoe: former Butlins redcoa

best known. A master of the withering put down, Craffoe’s knack for spontaneity served him well when he compered the Comedy Zone at last year’s Fringe and has since won him the ‘Guardian best put down’ award. ‘I’m getting worried about this thing now,’ he frowns. ‘Articles about me always say something like “hecklers beware”. And so it’s like I’m the Fastest Gun in the West. People come along and try and outsmart me.’ Unsurprisingly, this year’s hour-long stand-up show will rely heavily on those quick wits and Craffoe freely admits that his material may well be totally different every night. As a

disco bars. You’d do the last ten minutes of the night and people would lust shout at you.’

Although both punishing and demoralising, this apprenticeship allowed the comedian to hone the cutting repartee for which he is now

result, expect only a hilarious evening out and the crushing humiliation of

several more outspoken fools. (Ian Watson)

Boothby Craffoe (Fringe) Pleasance

(Venue 33) 556 6550, 12 Aug-3 Sept, 9.15pm, £80 (£7/6).

z r ~.v*‘;I-.:t'~-,"* ...‘,'.. ;.~

12th August - 3rd September, every night . Show starts 8pm Tickets: £6/£5 Box Office: 031-225 6520 Stepping Stones Studio Theatre. Gilded Balloon ll. West Bow. Grassmarket


and a contemporary dancer; she aims to make those two things one. Members of her london-based company Bi Ma, who come from Japan, Malaysia and England, have built their reputation on a style that ‘bridges East and West’. In a dance scene dominated by Western culture Fong Loh is the voice of a new generation. ‘We cannot live in one culture,’ she says. ‘Cur society is made up of so many things.’

The company’s latest piece, IIetrace the nefaced, looks at that great global squabble who owns what hit of land and who was there first. The dancers share the stage with seven large pieces of stone: each stone representing a particular piece of land or culture. They act as a small community: each defending their own bit of rock against the world. ‘IIo matter how civilised we become,’ says Fong loh, ‘we still feel the need to conquer. We never seem to learn from history.’

The Eastern element of Fong loh’s choreography ls largely one of spiritual, sensual attitude, but she

8i Ma Dance Company: East meets West in a powerful dance fusion

occasionally makes direct reference to Chinese dance forms. In one section of Retrace she uses the

traditional Chinese ‘long sleeves’ to

1 powerful effect as extensions to the i dancers’ arms. ‘We have so much to

learn from other cultures,’ says Fong

loh, ‘and when you bring them together you can create a whole new dimension.’

What would the guardians of ancient

Chinese culture have to say about

their precious long sleeves entering a new dimension? ‘They’d probably kill me if they knew,’ says Fong loh with a slightly nervous laugh. What she’s too modest to say is that her work shows

nothing but respect for her traditional

culture. (Ellie Carr)

Betrace the Defaced (Fringe) Bl Ma Dance Company, St Bridr's Centre (Venue 62) 346 1405, 15-20 Aug, 9pm, £6 (£4).

Sane BomsBane


ll "Majesty and wit" Time Out

' I 9,: AugIS-27(not21) 1

Venue 42

Beneath the Spider's Webl 260 Morrison St.


£4.50 (£2.50) Tickets fiom Fringe or on the door.

48 The List 12-18 August 1994