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Women In Uniform

The best co-ordinated wardrobe in comedy is back. Mel and Sue have three points in their favour: A) They’re a fresh young sketch duo; 8) They’re very funny and; C) um - all the stuff about them being women in comedy and that. Melanie Geidroyc (try pronouncing that even without the aid of alcohol) and Sue Perkins, beat the opposition hands down with a gamut of well-drawn and impeccably performed characters all based around ten-second accessory changes (like


Hank Williams was arguably the greatest country singer ever. and his stormy life and early death have ensured that he would be the stut'l'ot‘ legend. Something of a cult figure these days. even beyond the confines ot‘country music. his life and music are now the subject of a new play from Strong Arm Theatre Co. Producer Guy Rogers and director Lyall Watson have combined with writers Neil Reid and Steve Delaney to realise Hank's story. Delaney

Mel and Sue: Marching their way to the top

criticism and more than hint of mixed gender messages, but then think of Joyce Grenfell's ioyously daffy schoolteacher it’s not as revolutionary as some seem to think.

George Dillon’s Hamlet: Reservoir Dogs style action

Dillon's directorial take backdrop to ‘)()s Britain.


the pair of golden wigs used for Mariella and Petra, the Euro-Dutch MTV VJ’s who got into ze English

scene yes? in last year’s Kitten’s Go 6m). As last year’s surprise hit they

delighted critics, got rave notices from all and sundry, and sold out at the box office. Not bad for a pair of

(then) relatively unknown performers.

Since then, we’ve seen the Van Groovers getting ‘into zis place’ on

8802’s Saturday Night Armistice. Cute as pie Mel, and dashing, raffish Sue present the kind of female characters that will have post-feminist analysts foaming at the mouth -harming, very

English types with a wedge of self-

The duo have been constantly compared to French and Saunders, and now they’re writing for the big girls’ autumn TV series, on top of carving themselves a slice of the cake. Women in Uniform sees

comedy’s bright young things standing on the precipice of success about to

jump in head first, and if you miss

them now you’ll kick yourself when they’re headlining the Albert Hall for

primetime TV. (Cait Hurley).

Women in Uniform (Fringe) Mel and Sue, Pleasance ( Venue 33) 556 6550,

9 Aug—2 Sept, 4pm, £6. 50 (£5. 50); £7.50 (£6.50).

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also plays the singer. ;

alongside a cast of three more actors who will take on multiple roles.

‘At its best. the production will flow l'reely from music to drama and back. but it's not a musical in the sense that there is no sung dialogue. We will be locusiug on various aspects of Banks life. including his problems with drink and pills. as well as his persistent backache. which explains the title.

‘I hope that we can make people aware ot‘ the sheer poetry of his lyrics a lot of his songs are really well known. but not everyone realises he wrote things like Hey (iuml Loo/vine. We've tried to mix familiar with less obvious things. and let the music comment on the drama in places.‘ (Kenny Mathieson)

I Pills, Thrills and Backache (Fringe) l’leasancc Two (Venue 33) 55o (650. 9-49 Aug. 3.40pm. £6 (£5); Stepping Stones Theatre (\"enue 5 l) 335 (i520. 20 Aug 2 Sept. ~1piii.£b(£5).

Pills, thrills and backache: Hank Williams knew them all


‘He was an unequivocal avenger and he was barking mad!‘ George

on Hamlet does not t'ollow

the usual overly

reverential. desperately “authentic” Shakesperean production norms. 'l‘en

~ years ot‘ studying the play

have led him to conclude

that it's time for a radical

reassessment ot' the tormented intellectual prince. Time to pose him as a man ot‘ action rather than a prevaricating loser. And it that means

~ bringing Kendo —- the

Japanese way ot the sword in to add a bit ot lv’t'yt'rt'ttt'r Drier-style action to the final scene. then so be it.

"to the lilizabethan

audience Hamlet was an adolescent wild child and

most definitely a man or

action.‘ asserts Dillon.

from his Brighton home. Dillon t'cels his years developing a "non- concept drama”

directorial-style under mentor Steven Bet’koli . have helped make his

version that bit more dynamic. 'I feel that thought makes action sterile. ln rehearsals I try to generate an atmosphere w here an action Hows t'reely and people act on instinct like in the martial arts.” Thus ill the filial scene the light

between l.aertes and

Hamlet takes place not with the usual ‘prissy' stage swords. btit real rapiers. ‘Rapier wounds are mortal] Dillon explains w ith excitement: ‘I don't want the audience to think it‘s sat‘el‘ (Bethan


I George Dillon’s Hamlet

tl‘ringe) Assembly Rooms

(\"enue 3) 226 2428. )2 Aug—Q Sept. 3.50pm. £8 (£7); L“) (£8).


Writer/director Richard Spaul's new play for Cambridge Experimental Theatre addresses a horror that's become the silent

The piece w as inspired by

an incident early in the Bosnian civil war in 1992. when a mental hospital was .:bandoned by the stall and TV footage showed bewildered patients wandering round a shrapnel shredded wood. ‘That image ot’ abandoned responsibility. ot‘ Bosnia as a lunatic asylum with the start. missing. was something that stayed with me.’ says Spaul.

Bttt this isn't a documentary. Bosnia isn't mentioned once in the play. It‘s essentially about people and their capacity for endurance. humanity and tolerance under lei'i‘iblc conditions; and of how it's ot'ten the least verbal who turn ottt to have those powers. Spaul had to search lidinburgh tor a suitable venue to stage it in the round. ‘We also use radiating corridors which means the audience is surrounded by the hospital environment and its mounting tensions as the patients discover themselves it) the vacuum ol authority. i would hope. as the audience watch characters like l’orky or the Flycatcher trying to deal with an inexorable brutality. that they are provoked into thinking about the predicament which they stand fin'.‘ (Ronan ()'l)omtell)

I These Who Die as Cattle (l‘ringe) (‘ambridge lisperimental 'l‘heatre. ('alton Centre (Venue ll‘)) 13-27 Aug. 3.50pm. £6.50 (£5).

at... These Who Dle As Cattle: endurance, humanity and tolerance