Gemma And Mrs

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‘I find dance rather boring,’ says lulu Johnston, who’s still recovering from a none too inspiring three-year dance training. Since leaving college she’s been using drama to put the life back in her limbs and at this year’s Fringe she puts on two solo works in what she describes as a crossover between dance, drama and mime.

Johnston’s rejection of pure dance was partly inspired by ex-DVB man lligel Chamock, whose distinctive style of text-based physical theatre is already turning heads on this year’s Fringe in the Volcano Theatre production flow to live. Like Chamock, Johnstone is interested in the combination of words and movement, but rather than playing on existing texts as Charnock has done with the likes of Shakespeare and Ibsen, she aims to create her own

Kemper/ Bstie

lulu Johnston: telling dance-tales unique tales.

Cemma is a little girl who is deal and dumb; Mrs Kemper is the woman she grows into, and Johnston’s first solo (directed by Jo Walker) charts Gemma’s lifelong struggle to communicate with the outside world. Beastie, the second solo, tells of a young woman’s metamorphosis into a ‘snorting beastie’ on what was meant to be ‘the happiest day of her life’.

The Cemma tale, I’m informed, is a heady combination of acting, singing, sign language, oh and ‘knee trembling’ tap dance. Clearly Johnston, unlike her mute heroine, is not a woman who has problems in communicating. (Ellie Carr).

Gemma and Mrs Kemper (Fringe) Lulu Johnston, St. Columba’s by the Castle (Venue 4) 220 5959, 29 Aug-3 Sept, 12.30pm, £4.50 (£3.50).


Gurney is a relatively obscure World War I poet and musician who. after being gassed at Ypres. went mad and died after fifteen years in mental institutions. ‘A not very well known great poet with a remarkably unhappy life.‘ sums up Piers Gray. who has written the monologue in Gurney‘s own compact style.

Jonathan Douglas performs one day in the paranoid schizophrenic's life. portraying the frustration of a poet who ‘could not get the hang of Ypres into words‘. Alternater raving and bitterly ironic. balancing pastoral imagery with oddball humour. this disturbing but wholly compelling piece originating from Hong Kong. sees Gurney haunted by dozens of characters. in a series of concise glimpses. interspersed with a selection of his songs. The resulting patchwork of disjointed confusion leaves one feeling both lost and unsettled. yet buzzing with vivid word images. This should be a great radio play. (Gabe Stewart)

I The Ivor Gurney Show (Fringe) Breakaleg Theatre Company. Southbridge Centre


shallow. Montgomery shows talent. and given some time to develop her material. this could turn into a zany. philosophically challenging piece. but it‘s not there yet. (Gabe Stewart)

I Buttercup (Fringe) Cassy Montgomery. Hill Street Theatre (Venue 41 ) 226 6522. until 3 Sept (not 1 Sept). l|.45am.

£4.50 (£3).

T v more:


The Studio Theatre at the " Stepping Stones is the

perfect place to stage Genet‘s play dark. claustrophobic and sweaty. You can sense the mounting pressure in Madame‘s gilded bedroom.

I.orna Henderson and Kely Nascimento handle the roles of the eponymous maids with skill. at times strong and determined. at other times weak and lost in their own misery. They are desperate to overthrow the tyranny of their mistress but succeed only in replacing her grotesquet‘ie with their own parody of

Both sad and moving. this tragic tale is heavy going fora lunchtime slot but makes a refreshing change from inane comedy. (Jonathan 'i‘rew) I The Maids Walkabout Theatre Company (l‘ringe) Gilded Balloon ll (Venue 5|)225 6520. until 3 Sept. noon. £5 (£4).



Take the country classic. ‘Deck of Cards'. and give it a socialist twist. lan Saville. socialist coniuror.

Saville‘s half dozen conjuring and ventriloquist tricks are wrapped tip in a self- mocking narrative rebuking socialism‘s social nicities. together with its more idealistic/ sinister side. Props include an enigmatic onion posing as Saville‘s soul. and an array of talking works of art. from Marx‘s portrait. to Munch's ‘Scream'.

Saville's hair shows his age. but his eyes show his youthful idealism. Some allegorical strands are over-laboured. but as some of the waffle is whittled out during the run. it‘ll fulfil its destiny as a sharply observed political entertainment. (Gabe Stewart)

I Left Luggage (Fringe) lan Saville. Hill Street Theatre (\"enue 4| ) 226 6522. until 3 Sept. l2.45pm. £5 (£4).


Children love a good fright. and the first 60 seconds of this show promises frights aplenty in a fun-filled frolic. l'nfortunately. it doesn‘t quite fulfil its promise. There are loads of (‘hristmas cracker puns that have kids in helpless giggles. and a surfeit of silly faces and voices. but this adaptation of the sorcerer"s apprentice has nothing out (if the ordinary to offer in the way of magic.

As often in audience participation shows. it's the kids‘ reactions on stage that are magical. such as seven-year-old Iiliot's artistic interpretation of a horse.

(Venue 123) 556 3663. knows; he rim that party and Jeremy (4) losing his

num- What the Bullet Sad

s ..- .-~~' a,» - ‘~ 1 z _ . . . . ., , g3 sam ~ I > g r; 1 J. 7 until 3 Sept (not Tues). activist. The deck of cards underwear. Traditional t k r ‘g r .- "t noon. £4.50 (£3.50). is his ideological bible. children's entertainment. -. ' , are I " s ' containing 52 different (Gabe Stewart) . " 1.. I 7’3 . . . . viewpoints and the tour I The Wizard of Castle

Magic (Fringe) Magic Carpet 'l'heatre. Southside Community (‘entre (Venue 82) 667 7365. until 3 Sept. 12.10pm. £4.50 (£4).

suits necessary to get anywhere in the labour Party today. His deck also has Marx's first draft of the Socialist Conjuring Manifesto written on it.

~s/ .. q r s ,. . f .. ' BUTTEHCUP Maya's depressed. She‘s a frustrated artist living in LA. When she attempts suicide. she discovers the spirit of Rilke living in her - microwave. Despairing of his lyrical philosophical company after only ten minutes. never mind eternity. she wails her way back to life.

Maya. whose own work ‘couldn‘t keep her in tampons‘. is played by Cassy Montgomery. who also wrote. directed and produced the play. She tries to tackle existence. art and the cultural cesspool of LA. which is a tall order in a half-hour show. Although there are promising flashes of

dramatic intensity and comic observation. it's both too short and too


Making connections with Sarajevo marred by uneven pace and intitially plummy acting from the two women,

as the distance between the two sides disappeared in the track of a speeding bullet, the production brought home its message in an energetic finale. (Thom nlbdin)

What The Bullet Said (Fringe) Theatre

._ of the Sleepwalking Soldier, Demarco European Art Foundation (Venue 22) 558 3371, until Aug 27, 12.15pm, £4


No women in a beauty parlour. Two snipers in a dugout. The parlour is in Sarelevo, the dugout on an overlooking hill. Two sides in that dreadful conflict, both sucked by war towards madness. This new play tries to understand what is going through the heads of the women under constant threat from sniper fire and the snipers who observe and shoot them.

Although the first performance was

22 The List 26 August—8 September 1994