1""/3"” FESTIVAL



Joan of Arc has become such a sacred cow and cultural icon it’s hard for theatre to do her justice. llot that anyone ever did in real life. Jean Anoullh’s version of the legend is a high-flying and sympathetic role- playing exercise, as in turn we see past, present and projected future played out before us. Characters slip in and out of what could be a standard courtroom drama, spicing up the action and splicing the narrative thread.

But apart from an emotional, though cleverly understated, Joan, proceedings are no more than surface deep in this production. While initially coming over as a hilarious wheeze, the


scenes in the future King’s court are played gratineg for laughs and could

be taken straight from Blackadder.

The rest of the time there’s far too

much stiff upper-lip and not enough 7 truth, while excessive costume

changes, intending to be clever, merely distract from the meat of


Whilst Justine Waddell shows

, genuine talent as Joan, on the whole you’d be as well keeping the myth of

the martyr intact in the sanctity of your own head. (lleil Cooper)

The Lark (Fringe), CABS, Cambridge University, Ilill Street Theatre ( Venue 41) 226 6522, until 26 Aug, 2pm, £5 (£4).

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A mythical England

, jumps off the page and

into high-stepping life in this gloriously rollicking romp set in ajolly hockey-sticks girls school

‘3 circa 1938. Here the spirit

of the Empire and the archaic debris of the class system is Virgo flllllt'ltl. Day girls are second class citizens. crushes are as common as midnight feasts and jingoism is hereditary. Double entendres abound as the blossoming sexuality of women on the verge smoulders to the surface. A huge cast under the steady hand ofdirector lan Ormsby-Knox perform with considerable

skill and appropriately

wide-eyed panache. Happy endings abound.

and when the girls beat

the local boys school at

cricket it's all too rippineg ripping. Songs are belted out with

confidence. and the

choreography is small~

scale Busby Berkeley. After all the froth and

frolics though. an i unexpected twist catches

you unawares and leaves you reeling. (Neil Cooper)

' I The Big Book For Girls 1 (Fringe) NSTC. Assembly

Rooms (Venue 3) 226

2428. until 2 Sept. 2.05pm. £7/£8 (£7/£()).


lna series of eight crisp monologues, New Yorker Richard lloehler reaches inside the people and situations that most writers ignore - a telephone 5 receptionist taking orders, a builder . reflecting on a fling with a TV actress, a waiter at the funeral of a customer acquaintance. Whereas we are normally shown the hassled buyer, the glamorous actress and the weeping


Clean Sheets and Bloody Games: Late Result


Based around the ladies” pub football team on a no- liope southern housing estate. Stephen

Keyworth's play is packed

with fag-end characters.

and lines that hang

quizzically in the air long after the action has passed

on ~- ‘l’ve seen the

criminal mind and it dresses in war" being a prime example. The play opens with news of a pub

regular who has been kicked to death and it‘s peppered throughout with references to violence. culminating in the off- stage petrol bombing of the local all night cafe. The ‘aghast' factor is definitely uppermost. The writing lacks a goal but not gall and there are occasional impressive moments provided by a gutsy cast. (Ronan O'Donnell)

I Clean Sheets and

Bloody Games (Fringe)

Active Performance. Gilded Balloon ll (Venue

; 5|) 225 6520. until 25 . Aug. 1.45pm. £5.50


llichard lloehler: more faces than most ;

3 result is dignified, funny, moving and g tascinating.

Not surprisingly, there are one or two


I slightly weaker sketches. The first,

' which features a man making all sorts of excuses for being late for work, is delivered almost too fast to follow and the basic idea, though a good one, was made funnier in lleil Simon’s film The Heartbreak Kid.

' But this is quibbling. The standard of

. lioehler’s writing and performance is

j exceptionally high. Every word and

gesture rings true, and using only the simplest props coffee, a jacket, 3

builder’s helmet, a baseball cap - he

; creates characters that are

§ sufficiently different to avoid

" repetition but sufficiently connected to give an overall unity.

Most of them see themselves as

' losers (whether they are or not), but in

a wonderful reversal. A man teaching

English to foreigners usually

stereotyped as a Ioser’s job - is shown

T by his students to be a winner. After

some very funny exchanges with

‘Svetlona’ in particular, we witness

him earn a real sense of achievement. For these beautifully observed

portraits, lloehler too should feel a

sense of achievement. A winner. (Ben

Out of the Blue (Fringe) Richard lloehler, Pleasance (Venue 33) 556

widow, lloehler gives us the other side E 6550, untIIZSept (not 29) 1.45pm,

of every day working life, and the

£6.5a/f8 (£5).

32 The List l8-24 Aug I995