ism/6"" FESTIVAL

Backgreen Belter

Clyde Unity Theatre: a gallus diva

It’s the summer of ’85, iii-NBC is pumping it up and the Backgreen Belter has just returned from tour to her small-time, west coast of Scotland town. It is a summer of innocence, of sexual awakenings, a summer when death has yet to cast its shadow over Beiter and her three sixteen-year-old pals. Campbell, a gay, young Scot in a kilt, is Belter’s best friend. Virginia, suffering dreadfully from her non- developing flat chest and eczema feels ugly, repressed and itchy.

Thomas, a young-Sennan staying with It

his Crossroads-addicted aunt, is far too direct for his own good.

John Binnie’s latest play mixes songs ;

and humour into a show that is itself

highly energised. it picks up your sensibilities, engages your attention and then, just as you thought you’d bought a ticket to a musical, snaps in with a gutsy yet delicate examination of loss. Emotions, relationships and

hope are all here, but at the end of the .

day, being a stranger is mostly what it’s about. The production makes exceptional

, use of a minimal set and imaginative

lighting to create a highly theatrical experience. As Beiter, Patricia

McCowan’s voice is not exactly lovely, ?

i but it has the guts required. Overall,

the cast doesn’t miss a trick and give a fully satiating performance. Their rendition of ‘liever been to me’ is

.1 particularly excellent. If there’s a

problem, it is one common to too many plays that run for just over an hour.

Instead of gentle relaxation of the = pace, it sags slightly towards the end. But that is a minor gripe at a

production that is a proper little belter. (Thom Dibdin)

Backgreen Beiter (Fringe) Clyde Unity Theatre, Theatre Workshop (Venue 20) 226 5425, until 3 Sept, 5.30pm, £5.50 (£3.50).

_ v comsov

The Umbilical Brhers

Seeing this pair is like watching a Chinese martial arts movie - superb choreography, macho role-playing, mind-bending sound effects and a healthy dose of puerile humour. imagine two schoolboys acting out

their favourite film/cartoon characters

but with the BBC sound effects department for voices, then you’ll get the picture. Through inventive microphone use they replicate every sound imaginable from Batman rolling on a condom, to a gunfight at the OK Corral to Yogi Bear being fed into a iiquidiser. Excellent synchronisation of the sound effects with accurate mime marks the show’s comic authenticity.

They exhibit both the wilful cruelty and innocence of children along with

The Umbilical Brothers: slick. sick slapstick a sense of wickedly adult inspiration

that had the all ages audience roaring

with glee. Mixing puppets with

firearms, cock rock with nerdiness i and fun with everything, it’s a cartoon come to life with a bitter and twisted

weapons obsessive as the animator. Throw in some witty trompe l’oeil and

you have a manic fest of sick

1 slapstick.

' churning noises if put to a certain use.

You’re guaranteed to have a cracking

time. If you don’t, keep quiet about it. That greased rubber glove that they have could make some stomach

(Jonathan Trew)

The Umbilical Brothers (Fringe) Gilded Balloon (Venue 38) 226 2151, until 3

Aug, 4.45pm, £6 (£5).


in an un-named war zone a young girl shelters from . the blast. Here she acts out La Ronde. creating an intricate world of dressing-up box make believe. When a soldier invades her space. bringing with him horror stories that penetrate through her wide-eyed mask to a brittle. nightmare-scarred shell. she embroils him in her playacting.

This edgy. fraught piece seems to be scrunched full of what it is trying to say. and would benefit from lengthening. At the moment it is too well signposted. so that when the supposed revelation finally comes it is already common knowledge. (Neil Cooper)

I The Clouded Eye ,

(Fringe) Glitteris. Pleasance Theatre (Venue 33) 556 6550. until 3 Sept. 5.30pm. £5.50 (£5); £6.50 (£5).


Kate Johnston's accurate portrayal of the ultimate rock chick and the dubious fame she acquires is in turns comic and heartbreakineg sad. From fractured. ugly duckling girl-child to extrovert. trying too hard hero- worshipper. all patchouli oil and purple walls. this is a serious study of fandom in the extreme. and Johnston‘s depiction of the cynical. bed-

Part bar-room

.‘\§.. \

The Clouded Eye: getting mighty clouded

hopping no-hoper. desperate to keep the dream alive. is deeply poignant.

Debauched sagas of rock 'n’ roll excess are commonplace. but are rarely seen from the groupie‘s angle. which is often trivialised. Times

; may have changed. but

this is one song that has almost certainly remained the satne. (Neil Cooper)

I iiard As Bock (Fringe)

Kate Johnston. Gilded Balloon ll. Stepping Stones Studio. (Venue 51) 225 6520. until 3 Sept.

. 5pm £5 (£4).


H is



The Brother: irish bar-room philosopher spins a good yarn

A man who doesn't know his own name reels off a stream of consciousness full of contradictory logic.

philosopher. part literary

The Trag

pawn. he becomes more

the storyline to kids.

However. the humour he ' injects into it is probably ; way over the heads of

I most five to eight-year-

it‘s a great hoot. They are

cal Comedy of Macpmch: inverted niacbeth

eloquent with each pint he downs. spouting yarns involving bicycles. boils. and socks full of porter. alongside the ubiquitous brother of the title.

In this virtuoso solo adaptation of Flann O‘Brien‘s finest works Eamon Morrissey displays an obvious relish for linguistic trickery. and shows a comic control that comes only with experience.

Once again lrish theatre proves to be among the finest in the world. and can stand beside its literature with pride. Unmissabie. (Neil Cooper)

I The Brother (Fringe) Eamon Morrissey. Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428.12—l5. 17. 18. 21, 22.24-25. 29.31 Aug. 3 Sept. 4pm. £7.50 (£6.50). 19. 20. 26—28 Aug. 4pm. £8.50 (£7.50)


Richard Medringtron‘s well-edited. cleverly inverted ‘Macbeth' isn‘t a bad way of introducing

OldS. For the adults. however.

after all. more likely to get the literary jokes (‘ls this a plunger 1 see before me?‘ ‘Out. out damn Spot.‘ shouted at a dog peeing on a carpet). it‘s about time children's escorts got a pay-back for all the tnindnumbing singalongs they've endured in the past. Recommended not so tnuch as a kids’ show. but rather an adults‘ show suitable for kids to tag along. (Gabe Stewart)

I The Tragical Comedy of Macpunch (Fringe) Parable Puppet Theatre. St Paul‘s and St George's Hall (Venue ll4) 556 i202. until 27 Aug (not Sun). 4pm; 29 Aug—3 Sept. 5pm. £3 (£1.75).

32 The List 26 August—8 September 1994