In One Take

In One Take: explicit, uncomfortable and passionate

It may not be the first thing on politicians’ minds, but AIDS is the great political issue of the moment. This is not so much because of the illness and discomfort the syndrome brings about - there are, after all, many ugly terminal diseases it is more because its existence forces society to examine sex and sexuality with a degree Of openness that makes the liberated world-view of the swinging 60s look downright prim.


This seems to be what the best AIDS i

plays are recognising. The story of the HIV-positive man slowly edging his way towards death has already become a theatrical cliché. It may be sad and distressing, but in dramatic terms no more interesting than anyone

dying for any other reason (and offhand I can think of only two plays about cancer). This is why Brad Fraser’s Poor Super Man is a better play than Derek .larrnan’s Modern Hature (both at the Traverse) - the

former makes sexuality the issue, the latter only the inevitability Of death.

And it is what makes Aids Positive

Underground’s In One Take such a relentlessly brutal and passionate piece. For all the play’s visual explicitness (gay porn films are proiected between scenes and nudity abounds), for all its nagging reminder of the presence Of AIDS (one character is dying, another might be), what it is actually about is the bonds of love and hate that govern our relationships and that the awareness of mortality draws -' into crisp focus. It is an uncomfortable, sometimes vicious production that delves into murky sado-masochistic waters, all the time confronting attitudes to sex, love and desire, and then on to our wider relationship with the world outside. (Mark Fisher) In One Take (Fringe) AIDS Positive Underground, Theatre Workshop (Venue 20) 226 5425, until 3 Sept, 7.45pm, £5.50 (£3.50).



The Hostage

The only unpleasant thing about The Hostage is the experience of sitting in the heat of the Assembly Rooms watching the cast work its way through crate after crate of stout. This Is such a friendly, light-hearted production that it would not have been surprising or unwelcome for the cast to pass round some of the dark stuff, and invite the audience to join in the crack. Brendan Behan’s play allows the Arches Theatre Company full licence to exercise its talents for bright, fast-paced comedy. Sadly, the course Of Irish history since the play was first produced in 1958 has made It seem a painfully nostalgic piece of

It depicts the moment in history when the Republican cause was passing from the hands of veterans of the 1926 rebellion to the black-gloved grip of those who would perpetrate a


. Withjoke afterjoke. at

least they‘ve got the cavalcade bit right. the interpretation of the word comedy is. however. up to your own sense of humour.

Ifyou find yourself sniggering at the following then Crook is a must: ‘My girlfriend keeps things bottled up beetroots and pickles mainly‘; ‘I came up to Edinburgh on a road made of paper. the A4‘. and ‘l'm doing evening classes in Indian language and sari seems to be the hardest word.’

Thankfully. this

incessant 40-minute tirade

new era Of brutality. As Pat and Meg, the keepers Of a disreputable, but kind-natured ‘boarding house’, Eamonn Hunt and Terry Heason portray ; the humane side of the old order. They are surrounded by an array of colourful characters whose lives are disrupted by the arrival in their midst of a young British soldier held hostage by the IRA. The resulting events are played out

as an energetic farce that steers a little too close to the school of ‘Allo, Allo’. But a delighted audience is

proof of the show’s entertainment value, with Terry Heason’s renditions of old rebel ballads a particular success. (Justin McKenzie Smith). The Hostage (Fringe) Arches Theatre

' Company, Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428, until Sept 3, 7.40pm, £7l£8 (ES/£6).

35 The List 26 August—8 September 1994

is broken by the surreal brilliance of Britain‘s top

. acting raconteur Sir

Bernard Chumley. He sings Huey Lewis. swears constantly. throws tantrums and reels off

I bizarre elongated stories about Kia-ora. Jim Bowen and Jimmy Saville. who

(funnily enough) never married. Chumley at least

makes this worth the

{ admission money. but

onlyjust. (Philip


I A Comedy Cavalcade

(Fringe) Don'an Crook With Sir Bernard Chumley. Gilded Balloon

(Venue 38) 226 2151.

until 3 Sept. £6.50




Home to tend their ailing father. three sisters meet up in their old playroom.

. After so long apart it

would seem they have

little common ground. but

it is found at last through the re-telling of a horrific incident from childhood. This Scottish premiere of Geraldine Aron's blackly comic one-acter is

' beautifully constructed. i moving from deceptively

couthy naturalism to a

; darker. more stylised vein. The acting too is

: superlative. as the

1 children. with shades of

Dorian Crook: gag tirade Macbeth’s witches. become utterly believable. The final solution to the grown-up sisters‘ marital problems showsjust how

unpleasant children of all ages can be. Highly recommended. (Neil


. I The Donahue Sisters (Fringe) Mantis Theatre 1 Company, Hill Street

1 Theatre (Venue 4 l) 226

6522. until 3 Sept.

36.45pm. £5 (£4).


? 20,000 LEAGUES



Boasting a budget well

into double figures (£15)

this show oozes deliberate I tackiness with aplomb.

From the false start

beginning to the Blue

Peter-like volcano prop at

the finale this is comedy on a shoestring. Jules Verne's classic

: forms a very fuzzy

template for the creaky

f plot that follows Captain

Nemo‘s fishy adventures in the briney. Keeping the

. entire affair afloat is a motley crew of the worst

puns ever heard. Try ‘rolling a gong on the

chest of a slave'.

You’ll need to suspend belief to sail on the good

ship Kiss Me Quick but

you‘ll end up blessing her and all who sail in her. (Jonathan Trew)

I 20,000 leagues Under

! The Sea (In a Fishtanlt)

(Fringe) Marco’s (Venue

98) 51 Grove Street. 228 I 9116. until 3 Sept (not :iTue). 7pm. £5 (£3).

Boyfriend From Hell: education or castration?

7 00mm


Fat is a Fringe issue. ()r so it seems. Herring's battle against his ever expanding girth has picked up on a common theme this year.

In the struggle to overcome his Mr Kipling addiction. Herring slopes off on obscure tangents. throws in some superb one-liners and garners some big belly chuckles i from the audience. Some of the gags will be familiar to listeners of I.(‘(' and Herring 's Fist (if/"1m but they‘re just as fresh second time around.

So if you're still confused about what exactly happens at Mars Bar parties then this rebel without a corset will enlighten you. (Jonathan Trew)

I Richard Herring is Fat (Fringe) Pleasance (Venue 60) 556 6550. until 3 Sept. 7pm. £7/£8 (Lb/£7).

mum: i BOYFRIEND E I i


Sex. suspenders. satanism and sodomy along with a kind of copulatory a cappella sounds like every Tory councillor's outraged wet dream. However. they can sleep soundly since i this show has a definite i safe-sex message and | delivers a solid kicking in ' over-zealous PC fanatics. ! It's an all-singing. all- (lancing. bawdy shenanigan with rhyming dialogue and a rough and ready sense of humour. Unfortunately. there‘s a huge gap between the depth of the ideas and the form in which they are presented. This show doesn't know whether it i wants to be serious theatre i examining grave issues or i a student medical revue. I (Jonathan Trew) I Boyfriend From Hell (Fringe) Mania Productions. Roman Eagle Lodge (Venue 21) 225 7995. alternate days until 2 Sep. 7pm. £5.50 (£4.50).

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