are training for the New



Absolute Banana's triple , i

bill with male-female relationships at the crux of each short. varies greatly iii content. interpretation and quality. The first play. Caryl Churchill's 'l‘ltrt't' .llun' .S'li'y/i/t'ss Nights. has a double bed as its focal point and concentrates on [no dysfunctional pairings. lnfidelity. paranoid stispicion. husbands who don't listen. neurotic wives: Churchill works all the blissful joys of coupledotii into this bleak. incisive view of marital lllc.

The scc‘ottd play. Xt'l-fi. struggles with a weaker script. annoying stereotypes aitd some surreal. nocturnal interludes that don't work. Middle class theatre stttdents playing Shal. ‘n' Trace secretaries quite frankly annoy. This irritation is topped by a pseudo-interactive self- t'ellcxive third short. Just how radical is it to reference your script and audience suspension of disbelief it) this day atid age'.’ (Bethan Cole)

I Three More Sleepless Nights (Fringe) Absolute Banana Theatre Company. Theatre West lind (Venue I26) 228’ 9292. Fri 26 Aug only. 2.30pm. £4.50 (£3.50).


More of ajog than a run. .llumt/iim stumbles a few times but keeps a near-


The Northern Theatre Company is not the luckiest group on the Fringe - what tales of woe lie behind its productions. In 1990, 24 hours before performing the award-winning Love Kevin, the company arrived at the Pleasance to discover its props, costumes and musical instruments had been stolen. In 1993, fifteen minutes before the opening of Dumb Waiter, the Acoustic Music Centre ceiling collapsed and had to be propped up to allow the afternoon’s productions to go ahead.

This year there has been no break with tradition. When shows from the NTC’s Fringe programme were performed a few months ago, actor David Sandford was knocked down by a bus and writer/director Barrie Wheatley stepped in at the last minute to perform in his own play. Diane Dubois took showbiz salutations a



plaster-cast in The Shawl.

To secure themselves against future calamities, the company raised money for their Fringe activities with a 24- hour sponsored rehearsal of Tom Lehrer songs (the American satirist best known for Poisoning Pigeons in the Park, and The Elements). Rehearsals began at 7pm on the 24 July, and the show opened the next evening. A moderately-altered version of this marathon is performed at the

The show underlines the musical talent of the Northern Theatre Company members, performing in three different productions a day: Lunch with Lehrer, Assassins and The Times They Were a-Changin’. (Rory

The Northern Theatre Company performs Assassins (Fringe) at 7.45pm and The Times They Were A Changin’ = (Fringe), Adam House Theatre (Venue little too literally when she was forced ) 34) 550 3200, until 27 Aug. to perform, complete with fracture and i Lunch with Lemar run ended,

steady pace. Two runners metaphor. his run representing his life. Although the idea is strong. the play‘s sudden allegorical change of course left tne tniles behind. (Dougal l’erman) I Marathon (Fringe) Hourglass Theatre Company. Gilded Balloon ll. Stepping Stones (Venue 5l ) 225 6520. until 3 Sept. 2pm. £5.50 (£4.50).

mam:- BUFF!

York marathon. Steve is lit. set in his ways and wants to win. whereas David is ill. open-minded and runs for fun.

Both actors jog constantly for an hour. discussing their friendship. as David tries to work out why he has always been running to catch tip. When he sprints ahead. the play runs itito

Buff! A surreal physical cameo

A surreal physical cameo. Bit/j} focuses on a perfect 80s )‘v’t'x‘I/Ikm couple. lt kicks off with Mark and Katy sitting on their sofa discussing whether to have mushroom coloured blinds and concludes as they tussle in turmoil. overcome by their crushing. claustrophobic. twee relationship. Framing the couple's daily routine is the bizarre commentary of various genitally exaggerated creatures. who bound around mimicking Mark Marathon "‘3" l and Katy's exploits and

28 The List 26 Augusth September l‘)94

worshipping the teapot. Katy's downtrodden workmates Anne and Leon are neat caricatures. btit lack depth and significance -she supports an unnappreciative partner and he is a frustrated lad and wannabee windsurfer. interesting but not essential viewing. (Bethati Cole)

I Buff! (Fringe) Torsion Theatre Company. Festival Club/Adam llouse (Venue 36). 650 2395. until 3 Sept. 2pm. £4.50 (£4).


A Piece ()va Heart is listed in the Fringe programme as a comedy. From the description of the show. ‘Five nurses and a country-western singer go to Vietnam'. it is possible to see where the Fringe publicity machine


«3 *r

The Reluctant Dragon: mad- cap silliness

went awry. bit) the show is most definitely weighty theatre. The play sensitively traces the (true) story of six young women iii Vietnam. facing the horrors of war. Through their suffering they discover a sisterhood and camaraderie which they find lacking when they return home to receive only abuse. which heightens the physical and emotional hardship they endure as after-effects of the war. (RW)

I A Piece Of My Heart (Fringe) Festival Theatre USC-USA. ()ld St Paul‘s Church and Hall (Venue 45) 557 6696. 27. 31 Aug and 3 Sept. 2pm. £4 (£3).


Based on Kenneth Grahame's tale of a vegetarian dragon-poet too lazy to light. this adaptation makes tip iii enthusiasm and mad-cap silliness what it lacks ill sophistication.

Weak story links are swept away in a wave of energetic audience participation. Jonathan Rickard's memorable face. Allistair McNeil's intimidatineg abmpt hutnour and Linda Duncan McLaughlin‘s strong characterisations all help to jolly thitigs along. The accompanying Japanese mime also worked well relatively underplayed. its simplicity entranced children and

created a long—lasting image. If we were a bit dazed by the end of it all. we certainly weren‘t bored. (Gabe Stewart)

I The Reluctant Dragon/ The Mirror (Fringe) Jonathan Rickard Children's Theatre. Stockbridge House (Venue I48) 225 3247. until 3 Sept (not Suns) 2.30pm. £4 (£3).



Atty company choosing to wrestle with the politics of Northern Ireland is an easy and provocative target. yet this accomplished short play by Claire Booker manages to steer a steady. if harrowing course through these murky waters. Essentially about the destructive and horrific nature of vengeance. the play explores the relationship between a sister dying of AIDS and wreaking her'own war against the British Artny and that of her brother. an active member of the IRA. The difficulty and dramatic strain in compressing two such emotive subjects into 50 minutes is visible at times. yet overall this is a stark and strong piece of work. (Ann Donald) I Shattered Peace (Fringe) New Forest Festival Fringe Theatre Company. Hill Street Theatre (Venue 4|) 226 6522. until 27 Aug. 2. l0pm. £3 (£2).

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Life on the other side