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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.

(Ellie Carr)

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

and comic.

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




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


'Roonis (Venue 3) 226 2428. until 3 Sept. 6pm. £8l£7 (£7/£6).


] Three luvvies and a

l couple of hard hopefuls

i from Hackney come

i together for histrionics in

. I Henley. Or. West End

_ s?

Dermott: play

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.

An intermittently

é amusing but strangely l old-fashioned production.

(Neil Cooper)

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

uproarious audience.

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

hysterically recounted.

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.

£5.50 (£4.50).



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