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Skin diva

From punk to stand—up. Liz Aggiss’ dance has always been intended to create a reaction. Now she plans to bare her bottom, discovers Ellie Carr.

Absurditties: dance meets stand-up comedy

Liz Aggiss of Divas reckons she‘s the stand-up comedy act of the dance world. ‘I don’t know what the equivalent is - i don't think anybody‘s given it a term but it‘s probably stand- up dance.‘ she says. Aggiss has been dubbed the Vivienne Westwood of dance (she once went on tour with The Stranglers) after a career that‘s taken her from avant-garde dance to the cabaret circuit. and back again. Aggiss‘. roots were in London‘s punk scene;


later with her bizarre cabaret act World Wigglers she became involved in the alternative comedy boom of the mid-

; 80s, working alongside performers on the artier end of the circuit like John ilegley.

Now her company Divas comes to Edinburgh with her newest work. the punningly-titled Absunlitties. ‘It just seemed like an opportune moment to make a solo work.’ says Aggiss. ‘to totally rely on me as a performer. so that there was no kind of supporting cast. or music . . . So it was reallyjust about me being on stage and baring everything and baring all really.‘

Baring all? What. literally? Do we detect a touch ofthe Michael Clark hare-your-bum syndrome going on here'.’ ‘Well. sort of.‘ says Aggiss.

‘There are a few difficult moments with

the audience when I do actually disrobe tip to a point. and the audience gets jolly worried. But nothing happens . . . They all just put their hands in their mouth and go. “Oh god. no more . . . keep it on!“

‘lt‘s really a piece that looks at performance from the idea of the performer being totally exposed on stage.‘ she concludes. ‘and because of my background in cabaret. it means I‘m addressing the audience in quite a confrontational kind of way. Also. it‘s not like a normal dance performance where everything is set. lt‘s set to a point. but I've got freedom within it to move around a lot. which means that l‘m kind of at the wills and whims of the audience. if they start heckling. then somehow We got to deal with it. They haven't yet . . . but it could happen.‘

I Absurditties (Fringe) Divas. St Bride's Centre (Venue 62) 346 I405. 2 [—26 Aug. 9.30pm. £5 (£3.50).



Playing Sernlevo: volatile resistance

What practical iunction can art play In a time oi crisis? This is one oi many questions asked In this production by Edinburgh-based Fiith Estate as a

theatre In the middle oi a war zone is requisitioned as a military hospital. The troupe oi turied out actors labour their exits somewhat, until they find themselves caught up In real llie events as the wounded seek shelter. When a cold-hearted doctor and nurse turn up, the choice between action or acquiescence seems simple, but when It's Iiie or death, intervention Is unavoidable.

The parallels with the ionner Yugoslavia are obvious to Allan Sharpe’s rough-hewn polemic, but things are universalised here by his use oi Scots vernacular, adding weight to the argument oi theatre as a potent political weapon. This Is something Sharpe clearly believes In with a passion. The healing and transcendental power oi art Is made explicit too as a shell-shocked glrl ls brought magically back to consciousness, while the art and

science debate between the ageing

actor and the doctor exposes a deeper suiiering behind the medical man’s clinical veneer.

The play tries too hard to make the Grand Statement at times, and such are the constraints oi its schematic term that the characters aren’t really allowed to breathe. Instead they are mere ciphers, only there to iuel a point oi view. Like most theatre set In its own world, there Is a tendency to be selt-reierential, with at least one reierence to the company’s own back catalogue. The device oi speaking to the audience as though they were the other patients almost backiired the night I was In, as an audience member verbally iired back, but then, it theatre Is to ever really matter maybe such volatile resistance Is what’s required. (iIeII Cooper)

Playing Sara/eve (Fringe) Fifth Estate, Netherbow Arts Centre (Venue 30) 556 9579, 7 Aug-2 Sept (not Sun) 8.30pm. £6 (£4)

I KIatwa/The Curse Polish company Wiersmlin is fast becoming a Festival favourite with their blend of physical theatre. mime and puppetry exploring the cultural collision of eastern and westem Europe. This production is based on a traditional Polish tale of faith and retribution.

K lama/F he Curse (Fringe) Wierszalin. Theatre Workshop (Venue 20) 226 5425. tutti] 2 Sept. 8pm. £7.50 (£4.50). I Boothby Graiioe If you like Lee Evans (they've worked as a double act in the past). then chances are this clowning comedian will appeal. No clever-cleverjokes. just good clean slapstick fun.

Boot/thy Graffoe (Fringe) The Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550. until 2 Sept (not 3/) 9.25pm. [8/7 (£7/6).

I White Rabbit Cowboys A group of local actors and writers have put together this entertaining one-man show based on the preamble to a lads‘ night out in Edinburgh.

White Rabbit C owboys (Fringe) City Cafe (Venue I50) 220 0900. until 28 Aug. 8pm. £4.50 (£3.50).

I ilarold on the Iiolyrood One of several groups in Edinburgh this year whose roots are in the renowned Chicago improv school where the likes of John Belushi learnt their trade. Harold is a form of improv which is based more on a theatre tradition than the kind of Whose Line Is It Anyway? stand-up style we've become used to. Harold on the Holyrood (Fringe) Chicago Improv Syndicate. Moray House Union (Venue [68) until 2 Sept (not 21) 9.50pm, £5 (£4).

I Rhona Cameron Every year Rhona Cameron returns home, and every year her show is more polished. This year she has added television fame as the co- presenter of Gaytime TV. so tickets should move faster than snow off a dyke.

Rhona Cameron (Fringe) Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428. until 2 Sept. 9pm. £9/8 (£8/7).

so The List 18-24 Aug 1995