“Yea. slimy things did crawl with legs/ Upon the slimy sea.‘ This interpretation of Coleridge‘s epic poem mixes the spoken word. operatic singing and an ambient soundtrack with impressive physical theatre. Inventive and innovative. it is a most welcome working. which brings to life the ghostly fable of treachery. retribution and the death



‘those in full possession of the tem'ble truth the

olf an albatrossfbiy I ig§:::iclfiilt2:;3dbincrgcd. ° c ' e . BREAKER 1...... b. a... r...

wonderful poetry rather than by its literal representation.

Unfortunately. it is also marred by uneven performances from the chorus and by being too long in the telling. Well worth seeing nonetheless. although those who have read the text will get more from the performance. (Thom Dibdin)

i Take Aileen Paterson’s vibrant illustrations away lrom a ‘Maisie’

' Maisie goes to Musselhurgh

decked oui like Carmen Miranda, can’t outweigh the many petty annoyances.

1, book and VOII’re left with a weak story. Sadly, the intrinsic flaws are unlikely

Strong, catchy songs and lively action might have saved this stage adaptation, instead we have insipid

' chase sequences, lack-lustre dancing

to improve during its run, as they ; include an overall lack ot direction, ' and the worst crime tor a children’s show (4-12 years), lack oi subtlety.

What was The Kosh to do”? Funding was in danger of being pulled

i thanks to the uniform

ridicule of recent material.

Only one thing to do. let the company‘s prima

donna let rip with a - mindblowing 40 minutes

of extravagant dance. As the audience enters.

Sian Williams is there

play doesn't deal with the fatal ambiguity which led

some victims to collude with their persecutors

Gina promptly commits suicide when she is enlisted as a Kapo. However the play‘s real significance is as a

E liberating outburst and that its author Charlotte , Delbo was herself a

I The lilme OT The and uninspired songs, with largely (Gab; Stewan) i typing the Words 10 JUdith survivor of Ravensbruck. Ancienwaflw (Fringe) incomprehensible lyrics. The heavy- Maisie in the iiainioresi (Fringe) l w"'5'“5?” S 1096'?- AS 1‘ j (angflfinnellfl Southbr‘dgc came ; handed political correctness doesn’t Brunton Theatre Co and Baldy Bane rigs ' I ° 3'” a

Word (Fringe) The Bulmershe Revival. Celtic Lodge (Venue 6) Fringe

(Venue 1-3) 556 3663. !he", aim".

{.1 3 Se I (not Tue) Theatre Co, Brunton Theatre (Venue "n ' p There are a law comic gems, but

95) 665 2240, until 26 Aug, 2.30pm and

! breaks out of the business ' ' circuit and into that ofthe (

7pm. £6 (£4).


Chinese State Circus: still magnificent. but not as daring

I remember. two years ago a grim-faced Chinese State Circus hoop tumbler giving up after three attempts at some seemingly impossible stunt. I wondered which archipelago he‘d be sent to. but last week he was back in the ring. looking very cheerful. perhaps because nothing went 'wrong’. Their last visit had seen a few spectacular failures. but game Brits love a loser and heartin applaud plucky failures. This time only the winsome plate-spinners obliged.

This is maybe why. despite the magnificent dragons. charming dogs and clowns. despite the

even the ingenious set complete with ! canoe and hammock, or seeing Malsle

6.30pm, 25 (£3.50).

lithe control of the

jugglers and spinners. the i acrobatics simply aren’t

. quite as spectacular as in

7 previous years. Could fear of failure be affecting how ; far they will go?

One new slot was a

i noble. athletic and

graceful martial arts

1 routine. which grew more

abstract and menacing.

, until I thought I'd

i wandered into a Fringe

mime act. Chinese State

Circus meets the 20th .' century. (Gabe Stewart)

I Chinese State Circus (Fringe) Meadows. 662 1411. until 4 Sept (not 25 Aug or 1 Sept). 7.15pm daily. 2.30pm Wed. Fri. Sat. 5pm Sat. £5—£12.50.


Milena Jesensky had an

extraordinary life. Having

survived two years in a mental asylum her draconian father’s prescription for ‘wild ways’ and an exceptional roving intellect she fled to literary Vienna as wife of free thinker and womaniser Ernst Polak. There she met Franz Kafka and began an intense affair. Eventually exasperated by his addiction to his paranoias and phobias. she concentrated on her own life as an outspoken

journalist. defying the

threats of the Nazi regime.

f She died in Ravensbruck . concentration camp. but ; not before she entrusted

her story to a fellow prisoner who subsequently wrote her

. biography.

It is great to see it dramatised so intelligently by this young company.

With spare. sensitive

staging. they present her . experience as a series of confrontations with

successive faces of

patriarchy. but avoid

reductive equations.

. Jocelyn Fairman is an ; impressive Milena. and

expresses what is so important: that her remarkable resilience was

born not out of defiance

but a profound understanding of the forces driving her Oppressors. (Catherine Fellows)

I Milena (Fringe) Newcastle University Theatre Society, Venue 123 (Venue 123)556 3663. until 27 Aug. 6.15pm, £5 (£3).


it was a reserved audience that seated itself. carefully avoiding the front row and the prospect of Dave Schneider‘s manic glare.

Minutes later. the rubber- faced star of BBC 2's The Day Today was writhing

to a thumping soundtrack.

This was rock ‘n' roll. he


Only when he shrugged off his leatherjacket and

' put face and body into

true Schneider mode did he convince us. This was

I more than just stand-up

it was visual comedy at its

best. The man can

provoke laughter with a

, simple sneer. but he put

t his whole body to work in

: this explosive blend of

mime. slapstick and cerebral humour. Great stuff. even for those in the

3 front row. (Kathleen Morgan) l The Dave Schneider

1 Show (Fringe) Dave Schneider. Pleasance

(Venue 33) 556 6550.

f until 3 Sept (not 22 Aug.

. 1 Sept). 7pm, £7/£8

I (£6/£7).

i l l i i l

Dave hneider: slapstick and cerebral humour

circus. She is an acrobat

5 whose love has taken a

mortal tumble: to regain her sanity she needs to

; connect both circuits.

' What transpires is an

. extremely intense love

i Box Office 226 5138. until 27 Aug (not 21) 7.15pm. £4 (£3.50).

; affair and a superb display ;

g of physical technique. It's The Kosh back redefining

; the boundaries of dance.

L (Philip Dorward)

I Circuit Breaker

i (Fringe) The Kosh. Gilded

: Balloon [1. Stepping

i Stones (Venue 51) 225

I 6520. until 29 Aug.

( 6.15pm. £6 (£4).


This play about eight women deported to Auschwitz and determined to survive and bear witness is unusual in that its language is a rhythmic outburst. a prose poem. It‘s as if the dumb obscenity of the concentration camps could only be rendered as a primitive and elemental lament.

But the moral imperative. the need to survive and carry the word is dissolved in a regime of unparalleled bestiality. unaccountable fate alone deciding who shall survive and why. It also recognises that the true witnesses were not the survivors but. as Primo Levi observed.



‘Trains fascinate girls and make women dream. Trains run through time and the ages. and open to the lonely memories of certain unfinished journeys which women imagine.’ My Spanish neighbour translated the programme as we waited in front ofa stage half- filled with metal buckets. some holding bunches of pink. yellow and white Chrysanthemums.

As the five ‘women' (two of them men in floaty dresses) entered. it became clear that this was physical theatre. and the language barrier irrelevant. In fact. as one woman paced back and forth with a book on her head intoning ‘la poupée estjolie. je suisjolie’. another sombrely snipped the heads off one of the white bunches of Chrysanthemums. and a third offered a red apple to the central ‘woman-in- training’. I wished for something a lot more foreign. a lot less transparent. (Catherine Fellows)

I Derlva (Fringe) Matarile Teatro. Demarco European Art Foundation (Venue 22) 558 3371. until 20 Aug. 6.15pm. £4 (£3).

The List 19—25 August 1994 41