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Miami City Ballet
Miami City Ballet was ilavour oi the Festival beiore it ever stopped on the Playhouse stage. Being given a two- week-Iong media drumroll has undoubtedly put bells on its arrival - but now that it’s here in the ilesh it’s hard to deny it. it ain’t lost the weather in Miami that’s but.
a twinkle in a young llew York City Ballet soloist’s eye. Today Edward Villella is artistic director oi a company that ranks among the best in the world and his enigmatic leadership is the talk oi the town.
The company dances strictly Balanchine modern ballet but, unlike the original HYCB tribe, Vlllella’s dancers are not production-line clones but as multi-cultural a mix oi personalities and physical types as ballet ever gets.
As MCB takes the Edinburgh stage, it’s that Villella touch that brings here and now vitality to that old Balanchine style and wipes the iloor with the spit and polish sparkle oi his three-part ballet ‘Jewels’.
Each section is abstract with a loose throwaway theme. ‘Emeralds’ (French Romanticism) leads in gently with a
Ten years back the company was just ' I.
Maimi City Ballet: hot stuff America) knocks the pale green shimmer oi ‘Emeralds’ to the ground ; as modern ballet gets a blast oi Broadway - hips gyrate, block shoes stab the iloor and long legs punch the air to the iazzy rhythms of Stravinsky. ‘Biamonds’ (Imperial Russia) is clean, pure, neo-ciassical lines and outrageous technical brilliance.
. Ironically in this brightest whitest oi
Russian gems it’s here that the Miami . team looks all-American, as a mirrored
‘ballroom’ set transionns a stageiul oi '
dancers into a cast-oi-thousands, no-
holds-barred, Hollywood-style finale. In this case you can believe the hype.
Jewels seen at Playhouse Theatre: run ended.
Mixed Bill (Festival) Miami City Ballet,
Seven Streams of the Bier Cta ?
Incorporating Bunraku puppets, opera, rock, dance/mime, French 18th century theatre, Cennan dialogue and bedroom iarce, Canadian Director Robert Lepage comes damn near to rolling the whole world of drama into three-and-a-hali hours.
A twenty-minute traditional Bunraku prologue tells the story oi the aged ‘ Japanese emperor and the beauty. Scientists working to iind an aphrodisiac ior her discover pyrotechnics instead, which, leading to the invention oi gunpowder, will ultimately bring the city oi Hiroshima to ashes. This parable oi destruction born out oi love and beauty, introduces the character oi Jewish Jana Capek, who came to Hiroshima to photograph devastation and iound
. Hiroshima, the city under which the
seven streams oi the River Cta not.
1 Rather, lepage uses the city as a
j threshold to enter a dramatic world oi 3 photographic images, both disturbing
tough, sassy turn oi phrase and Playhouse Theatre, 225 5756, 19—20
_oiibeat syncopation. ‘Rubies’ (40s Aug, 7.30pm; 20 Aug, 2.30pm, £5—£29.
V THEATRE beauty instead. ! The play is not really about
The director’s disparate use oi varying artionns builds up a rich patchwork oi images, using elements oi water, light and iire, which grow in impact. The tone ranges also, from periods of intense concentration, to light inconsequential banter. At times the audience is iorced to embrace a deliberate minimalist pace. Some such 3 moments are uncomiortable, others create breathtaking climaxes oi suspense.
Such episodic methods allow lepage g to touch on a multitude oi themes, the most important oi which is his exploration oi sexuality. Sex, and how it relates to eroticism, pain and iaithiulness, lies at the very heart oi the production.
The iinal section plays with ideas oi art and theatre, oi plays within plays. Here, the stage crew appear to blunder, but the production isn’t ialling apart. We are merely
witnessing the artiilciallty oi the play,
and are invited to ask, what is the diiierence between art and real lite? (Gabe Stewart)
1 The Seven Streams oi the River Cta
( (Festival) ExMachina, Meadowbank
1 Sports Centre, until 21 Aug, 7.30pm,
There's a great moment ten minutes into this new play by Fringe First- winning Sladjana Vujovic when the histrionic and uneven slice of sub-
‘ Berkoff East End angst
turns out to be a play within a play and we're not going to be stuck with
; it for the rest of the evening afterall.
The great moment.
however. doesn‘t last.
because the play that takes over is a laboured crawl through a relationship in crisis as the playwright turns out to be impotent and his wife turns out to be sleeping with the leading man.
A kind of Look Back in Irritation. Demrotr might manage to avoid the obvious pitfalls of plays about bad playwrights. but
; otherwise its succession
of revelations and plot
twists never bring the insights they portend. (Mark Fisher)
I Dennott (Fringe) Mania Productions. Roman Eagle Lodge (Venue 21) 225 7995. alternate days
' until 3 Sept. 7pm. £5.50
? v THEATRE ; ABBUCTIHC
Dario Fo‘s latest full- ; length work is the familiar diet of madcap farce with
Marxist dialectics. and
shows the mayhem caused when a Thatcherite tabloid queen is
( kidnapped by a trio of
; hapless buffoons
i resembling a cranked-up
i Three Stooges.
; Transposing Fo into the
context of the British
l cultural milieu is often
problematic. and even
here much of the intended
‘ v THEATRE
'Roonis (Venue 3) 226 2428. until 3 Sept. 6pm. £8l£7 (£7/£6).
i V THEATRE ; CLAPTRAP
] Three luvvies and a
l couple of hard hopefuls
i from Hackney come
i together for histrionics in
. I Henley. Or. West End
political bite comes over as naughty. sanitised fun. Susan Penhaligan brings
within a play
‘ all the stroppiness
required to the title role.
3 and there are some funny
moments from a comic
3 priest. who bears a
curious facial resemblance
to one of Ken Dodd’s f Diddymen.
é amusing but strangely l old-fashioned production.
I Dario Fo’s Abducting
Diana (Fringe) Moving Theatre in Association
with W.P.C.. Pleasance
(Venue 33) 556 6550. ’ until 3 Sept. 6.30pm.
E £7/£8 (co/£7).
v comrov 3
A vision ofcamp revealed
in gold lamé. Mark Davis is a true—blue San
Francisco faggot. A late
addition to the Fringe. he played his opening night to a small. warm. but not
Perhaps it was our 100 per cent heterosexuality
(established. to Davis's
mock-dismay. early on). perhaps jetlag and first- night gremlins. perhaps
the ﬂighty allusions to
Californian trash-culture. but for all his brash
charm. Davis seemed to
misfrre a little.
Maybe he’s always this way. While some of his material — which includes ‘drag attacks‘. requiring wigs and frocks - is clearly designed to tickle ribs. there's also serious stuff. mostly on bigotry. Whatever: the portrayal of his mother — all lipstick and maternal pride — brings the show to a wickedly joyful conclusion. (Andrew Bumet)
I Mark Davis - Industrial Strength Dill!" (Fringe) Mark Davis. Assembly
' l actress‘s affair with hunky l
f stage-hand provides
. catalyst for revelations
l about the price of
( celebrity and financial
Given the difficulty of
1 playing luvvies - living
caricatures — it is a credit
to this company that all
j the hamming here was
; done by the characters and
3 not the performers. What
i is more. rather than being
7 repellent they were funny.
Only at the climactic
denouernent. as histories
of murder. betrayal. lust
and lesbianism are
f does Claprrup degenerate into farce. But that is not
the taste you leave with — a nice little twist in the tail
sees you home contented. (Catherine Fellows) I Claptrap (Fringe) Blue Harlequin Theatre Company. Adam House Theatre (Venue 34) 650 8200. until 27 Aug. 7pm.
3 V THEATRE THE BLACK
The accolade of worst
show on the Fringe is one
that should be awarded
with care and
consideration. So check
back with me in two weeks' time. Suffice it to
say that The Black
Ambulance Gang is a serious contender.
You don’t have to search far to find bad acting in Edinburgh at this time of year. but the supreme glory of Thirteen O'Clock’s production (for it is so bad that it is almost good) is that you can see bad acting all over the city. Because Tire Black Ambulance Gang is performed on a coach.
it‘s a tragical mystery
, tour characterised by half-
hearted improvisation. unconvincing performances and ramshackle direction made all the more
enjoyany dreadful by the i knowledge that with a decent script and a bit of
rehearsal it could have
been quite successful. One
for bus-spotters and lovers of trash. (Mark Fisher)
I The Black Ambulance Bang (Fringe) Thirteen O’Clock Productions. Planet Holyrood (Venue l16) 556 5044. until 27 Aug. 7.45pm. £6 (£5).
38 The List 19—25 August 1994