The Monicans: Brechtlan drama

It’s been a year of regrettable anniversaries. We’ve already remembered Hiroshima, Nagasaki and the Allied POWs in the Far East, but there have also been reminders of a crisis closer to home the irish Potato Blight which kicked in 150 years ago. TV drama The Hanging Gale


The Great lrish Potato


has already addressed the issue, and Sinead O’Connor can be heard rapping her conspiracy theories on her current single ‘Famine’.

The Monicans, a theatre company composed of ex-theatre studies pupils from St Monica’s High School, Manchester, commemorated the famine with their CCSE proiect a few years ago when they were given the task of devising a piece of Brechtian drama based on the Cecil Woodham- Smith book The Great Hunger.

Incorporating traditional Irish songs and dancing, the play oscillates between the story of a typical lrish peasant family’s experience of the famine and scenes from the House at Commons.

‘It does make the political point that the English establishment was largely responsible for the famine really getting out of control,’ says director Eddie Brierley. ‘There was enough for d in Ireland to feed the population but it was exported. The Corn Laws in England were largely responsible for the deaths of the people because the price of corn was kept artificially high and the Irish couldn’t afford to buy it. It seemed appropriate to do the show again because of the timing.’ (Fiona Shepherd)

The Great Irish Potato Famine Show (Fringe) The Monicans, The Mad Abbot ( Venue 84) 447 8811, 28 Aug-2 Sept, 2pm, £5 (£3).

Mapapa Acrobats: enthusiasm


Seven indefatigable Kenyan men bounce incessantly to taped soca music. clad in sun-bright. bumble-bee yellow and black costutnes. They yelp and whistle their way through tame tumbling tricks. creative jump-rope and limbo with an exuberance that almost excuses the half-learnt choreography. After numerous press-to- handstands on a two-tier table. they start throwing themselves at each other with alarming abandon. and at the second botched manoeuvre that sent


lesbian drag artist Amy Lame once said that God invented gay men so that fat girls would have someone to dance with. More than Kisses explores the relationship between a gay man and a straight woman who wants more than just a clubbing partner.

Miriam (Clare Basel) craves a passionate Venetian lover, but makes do with chocolates, Wagner and elaborate fantasies. In the flat below lives Peter (Graeme Messer), an art student and a fag hag’s wet dream: well-groomed, articulate and eager to please.

As their friendship grows Miriam focuses her desires on Peter. She believes that one word, one bat of an eyelid and he would fall for her. Peter, however, aches for casual encounters with dominant men, and as he and L Miriam trawl the scene together, she

More Than Kisses: idealises the tag/hag relationship

someone crashing to the bare floor. none but the ghoulish are eager to see the inevitably harder stuff in store. Enthusiasm rather than expertise is clearly their forte. But the quick-shifting acrobatic pyramids that grace the publicity posters are a redemptive finale. (Lynn Keating)

I Mapapa Acrobats (Fringe) Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550. until 2 Sept (not 21 Aug). 2:30pm. £7.50/£6.50 (Hi/£5.50).


Deidre Rubenstein covers everything from cheesecake to child abuse with her incisive. funny and often poignant poems. prose and songs. Slipping seamlessly from an Aussie equivalent of Vera Duckworth. twisting her lips into a sneer. folding l her arms across her ample

finds that his needs are as complex as her own.

Messer projects a powerful blend of vulnerability and sexual hunger, while Basel brings empathy to a character that seems naive beyond belief. It’s possible that Miriam might be taken aback by the cruisy atmosphere at Heaven (surely London’s most vanilla . boys’ chm) buy how many bosom and spouting a ; twentysomething women can there be “mm 0f “"mkaS .‘ha‘ ! who’ve never seen a splitf rolled? buzzmg' 5

More than Kisses idealises the ho‘uszw‘ifc wit}, a head full fag{:‘iag rela‘tlonihlphantll finishes lust of drugs and domestic as e Spec '9 0 0 9" overs trivia and on to a man- threatens that ideal. A deeply eating seductress. What's unsatisfying ending to an otherwise A Girl To Do? Plunders moving play. (Catriona Smith) the depths of femals More than Kisses (Fringe) Out at fspcf‘cl’“ al‘d alrgl’fihq my; 55733 5213's”; 57%;! . iiié’it’tiiit23:. 2. 2.30pm, £5.50 (£5.50).

impressive performance. more for the quiet power

of the spoken word than for the raucous robustness of the songs. (Gill Roth) ' What’s A Girl To Do? (Fringe) Deidre Rubenstein. Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 242S. until 2 Sept (not 29). 2pm. 25-27 Aug.

£8.50 (£7.50); 28~2 Sept.

£7.50 (£6.50).

Two horror writers. Alex :1

jaded has-been. and Jack.

an unpublished newcomer. meet in the

library of an old house

during a party. The lights

ditn. the furniture creaks

and the atmosphere is

' immediately charged with

anticipated menace as they try and out-do each other with sinister stories and indulge in spiteful. literary one-up man ship. Dar/(rules is Tim Arthur's debut as a playw right and successfully runs an icy linger down the spine of all of us who enjoy an engrossing yarn and have a macabre fascination for things that go bump in the night. Stephen King eat your heart out. Now that's an idea for a story. ((iill Roth)

I Darktales (l‘ringe) JFK. Repertory Company. Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550. until 2 Sept (not 29). 2.15pm. 25 -27 Aug £6.50 (£5.50); 28. 30—2 Sept £6 (£5).



lixit the romanticism of Fever/inch and enter the more turbulent world of non-league football. Heckingtown have reached the third round of the FA cup but it only seems to divide the club. From the old-fashioned manager to the lucre- orientatedchairman. the racist old pro and their star black striker who thinks he's the next Stan Collyinore. it seems that no-one‘s happy at Heckington.

This is a lively. waggish play that successfully

What’s a Girl To Do? - “the quiet power of the spoken word’

' f“ ms Big Tim

manages to relay the desperation rather than the glory of the 'bcautiful game'. All that‘s needed is a half-time break for pies and liovril for that footy atmosphere in full. (l’ltilip l)orward)

I Big Time (Fringe) Big l’ig Theatre Company. (iilded Balloon (Venue 38) 226 2l5 l. until 2 Sept. 2.45pm. £5.50 (£4.50).


I would recommend this charming and skilfully puppeteered version of the Seottish play to children of all ages. Macpunch is Mr l’uncli's Scottish relation. who is told mysteriously by two witches (the third doesn't turn up) that he will soon be the King's personal entertainer. ousting daft old Mr Scaramouche. It

all goes horribly wrong

when he tells his Wife. The storyline has been delightfully altered -- with a few adultish gags for parents. and puns like Spot the dog. Spot. geddit'.’ An excellent way to while away an hour in the afternoon you can always say you forgot to bring the kids. (Cait Hurley)

I Macpunch (The Bard In The Booth) (Fringe).

Netherbow Arts Centre ; (Venue 30). 556 9579.

until 2 Sept (not

; Sundays). l.I5pm. £3

; (£2).

e: great balls of mire

2‘ The l is! 75 Ano-7 Qpnr IQOS