Two dissatisfied and wildly mismatched couples spend an evening together in which revelation is piled on scandalous revelation until things finally collapse under their weight.

If middle class domestic dramas. full of sexual repression and adulterous intentions. must exist. then can we please have them a whole lot less obvious than this. Puppet Relationships is so riddled with cliches it could become a cult. as an unhappy cast portray the ghastliest stereotypes imaginable.

In a bid to appear profound. analogies are strained to breaking point as everyone becomes everyone else‘s analyst. and ends up sounding like Freud at half-cock. Truly awful. (Neil Cooper)

I Puppet Relationships (Fringe) 22—11 Productions. Demarco European Art Foundation. (Venue 22) 558 3371. 15 Aug—3 Sept (not Suns). 8.15pm £5.50 (£4.50).


lock and Bailey: roadie to ruin

Funny business rock ‘n‘ roll one minute you're No l in Zambia for fourteen weeks and the next you‘re a fumbling old fart with a gut the size of Birmingham who can‘t remember his name. never mind the chord changes. Fortunater there's always a trusty roadie on hand to pick up the pieces and mop up the vomit.

Every rawk pig cliche is covered in this sorry tale of life on the road to celebrity excess. Bailey is accurate in his portrayal of wasted decline and Lock is the perfect laconic foil to his employer's sozzled exuberance. The hilarity which the show provokes is spontaneous but when you have such a

An interesting play, with an astonishing performance by Colin MacLaren, playing Hamlet with assured good humour and honesty. He . even managed to transform a badly- aligned lighting cue to his advantage, I crouching and craning into the ; spotlight his soliloque, at once i sympathetic and menacing. Sari 1 Waste" plays Ophelia, with as much 3 spunk as the bard’s lines allow, as flashes of anger turn into frustration ,1 and an eventual madness that is more 1



Hamlet: wartime intrigue

dignified than pathetic.

Director Ross Macfarlane’s unspecified 20th century setting and costumes (ranging from Edwardian to modern Elizabethan) emphasise wartime political intrigue, but his imaginative use of lighting, music and space, helps to lighten this infamous heavyweight. (Gabe Stewart)

Hamlet (Fringe) Edinburgh Footlights

Theatre Company, Reid Concert Hall

(Venue 8) until 3 Sept (not 21, 2618 Aug, 1 Sept), 8.45pm, £6 (£4).

rich source of material to work from it's difficult to put a foot wrong. (Chesney Trew)

I Sean lock and Bill Bailey - Hock (Fringe) Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550. until 3 Sept. 9.45pm. £7/8 (£6/7).



Boothby Graffoe: absurdly funny

Thank God for comedians who are still prepared to pull funny faces. flourish daft props and jump around. Boothby Graffoe will try anything once if it works he might try it again. And again. There‘s

no side to Graffoe. no

attempt to impress or stay cool he just goes for laughs. His is good. old-

fashioned knockabout japery with an absurdist I streak. mixing visual

gags. sound effects and corny one-liners into a

continuous stream of bizarre humour. He's also a renowned heckler- wrestler but tonight there was no need: in Edinburgh. wejust wanna be entertained. We were. (Eddie Gibb)

I Boothby Graffoe (Fringe) Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550. until 3 Sept. 9.15pm. £7/8 (£6/7),


An original Israeli play that fuses sensuous. exotic dancing and all manner of percussive delights with a poetic. pop culture-laden narrative that tells a universal tale of love turned sour.

Not a play in the Western sense. this is more a personal odyssey in search of self that is both accessible and profound. A spirited central performance is of such conviction that when catharsis comes it is with a resonance rarely seen on these shores. Closing with

an enthusiastic. liberating belly dance. this is deserving of a far wider audience and a far higher profile than it is currently receiving. (Neil Cooper) I How! (Fringe) Society For Better Quality ()f Life. Bonnington Resource Centre (Venue

48) 657 4740/55] 3107.

1 until 19 Aug. 22—26 Aug. 29 Aug—2 Sept. 8pm. £5 (£3).



lrish?: the big issues In their ambitious production of a self- penned play. Belfast- based company Leverage set about exploring all manner of issues primarily. but by no means exclusively. of Irish interest.

National identity. sexual identity (the male roles are taken by female actors and vice versa). exile. English culpability for

W”‘"fi‘«:‘"fi’p’f+ :- ~

' today‘s Troubles. Catholic

guilt. summary justice.

historical revisionism

you name it. they attempt to dissect it in a play that makes full use of the title's all-important question mark.

It's intense and worthy stuff but ultimately Iris/i." suffers under the weight of its own pretensions and its scattergun approach to

the big themes. (Stan~ _ Ferguson) I Irish? (Fringe)

Leverage. Festival Club (Venue 36) 650 2395.

until 3 Sept (not Tue). £5



grneo ; MADAULAY

' This just in: the Queen

Mother has been killed in a bizarre buggery incident

on a motorway hard-

shoulder. Police are

seeking a bunch of

squaddies for questioning. and Fred MacAuley is helping them with their

enquiries. Like how. for

example. can a

meandering. nicey-nice.

37-year-old accountant

father-of-three suddenly

toss off a casual remark about death by rogering?

Generally MacAuley‘s

show is a mild affair. an

hour of periodically

sparky living-room conversation that rarely ruffles the feathers and barely splits the sides.

In this context. though. the sudden mental visualisation of the Queen Mum‘s bum. and a final. traumatic question time (‘Okay. hands up which guys have ever tasted their own sperm?‘) are like an oases of gut-busting danger. More wild-side walking please. Fred. (Craig McLean)

I Fred MacAulay (Fringe). Gilded Balloon (Venue 38) 226 2151. until 3 Sept (not 30). 9.30pm. £6 (£5).




Denial of the Fittest Sloan‘s hyperactive one- woman show is possessed by the ghosts of her characters' many- branched family and quirky past. Like the glowing balls she juggles. these frenetic Yiddish personas are very personal. a therapy of self in an era of hard-boiled reality.

Sloan's monologues demonstrate the capacity of words to bear their own freakish existence in

f colour and comedy. For


this she is ever accessible. a committed and

FESTIVAL arm/10m

persistent humorist who uses pathos as a mojo

' stick to make us laugh and

think. (Ronan O‘Donnell) I Denial of the Flttest (Fringe) Judith Sloan. Theatre Workshop (Venue 20) 226 5425. until 3 Sept (not 28 Aug) 9.30pm. £5 (£3.50).


1915. and poet IE. Flecker is dying of tuberculosis. In his Swiss sanatorium he is visited by the spirits of Rupert Brooke and T.F.. Lawrence. who act as devil and angel figures. wrestling for Flecker‘s soul. In writer Stephen Horrobin's world. poets are either world-weary fops with faraway eyes or else stiff upper-lipped patriots in uniform.

The attempt to create a languid air is over-earnest. Though this is clearly a labour of love. with Horrobin also directing and taking the lead role. the end result is something akin to a poetic Stars In Their lives. Morrissey fans and other sensitive types should love it. (Neil Cooper)

I That Falls At Eve (Fringe) Altamirage Theatre Company. C. ()verseas House. (Venue 19) 225 5105. until 3 Sept (not 1 Sept). 8.30pm. £5 (£3).


Story-telling can be a compelling and skilled art form. but it is not the same thing as drama. In I Om'e Knew a Man. Nancy Wright Cooper tries to

' blur that distinction. but

ends up with a show that succeeds neither as a performance of stories nor as a piece of theatre. Cooper‘s multiple tales of the men and women she has slept with stir little emotion and make you wonder how someone could be so naive. as she allows herself to be exploited time after time. The ‘raw. unexpurgated'

style in which she acts out

these sexual histon’es is limited and unconvincing. Any imagery that her stories create is deflated by the self-conscious smile she gives the audience as she invites them to inspect the pimples on her ‘ass'. (Justin McKenzie Smith) I I Once Knew a Man (Fringe) AAA: Actors Alliance of America. Roxburghe Hotel (Venue 89) 225 3921. until Aug 27. 9.45pm. £5 (£3).

The List 26 August—8 September 1994 45