“PM/10”” FESTIVAL. _


Polish theatre once again knocks the stuffing out of just about everything else around in this stunning evocation of sin and divine retribution. Candles, incense and Catholic iconography


Wierzsalin: rough-shod Spectacle

abound in what is an essentially simple and timeless tale, as a drought falls on a village after a young woman bears two children by the local priest. . This sets the wheels in motion for a startling insight into human suffering and superstition as the villagers demand, and receive, a form of justice only later negated by natural disaster. All this is played out to a hurdy-gurdy drone played by the village idiot. Wierszalin Theatre’s rough-shod spectacles will be familiar to anyone who saw their tantalising productions over the last two years. This adaptation of Polish theatre’s founding father Stanislaw Wyspianski’s 1899 script is an equally compelling example of holy ritual and symbolism, making it the purest of

theatrical experiences. It is as it the impassioned classicism of composer Arvo Part had been theatricalised into

the heartbreaking epic we’re so

" . privileged to witness here. This is a

company who carry the weight of both this world and the next one on their

shoulders. They bear the burden


magnificently. (Neil Cooper)

Klatwa (Fringe) Wierszalin Theatre (Poland), Theatre Workshop ( Venue 20) 225 5425, until 2 Sept, 8pm, £7.50


Maria Mamona‘s one woman show has a frenetic verve and she sustains beautifully the whimsical hysteria. Mamona‘s own adaptation of Denis Diderot‘s anti- clerical novel The Nun. written in 1760. tells the story of a young girl forced by her family to take the veil. and of her attempts to escape a world of abuse and restriction. The fact that Mamona plays all the parts herself heightens the impression of a schizophrenic mind cloistered in its own fate. confused and alone. The stark set. the stifling religiosity and Mamona‘s solitary brilliance create a chilling and haunting piece. (Ronan O‘Donnell) I My lord (Fringe) The English Theatre Co From Poland. Hill Street Theatre (Venue 4 l) 226 6522. until 2 Sept. 8.35pm. £5 (£4).

mm- THE suseeusrou BRIDGE

The personal path to spiritual enlightenment is

the topic of Scott Carter‘s

second comic monologue playing at this year‘s Fringe. The suspension bridge of the title is the protective cradle offered by any ten cent guru on the make. be they old-time evangelists who‘ll heal you all the way to Heaven. or militant Buddhists chanting the names of all five Marx Brothers.

Carter’s manner is engagingly candid Spalding Gray is an obvious but reasonable comparison. This is a lengthy tale of the fun that‘s to be had on a Shamanistic retreat. and as the momentum builds. you‘re right up there with him. finding truth in

Scott Carter: ‘engaglngly candld’

unexpected places. Hallelujah to that. (Neil Cooper)

I The Suspension Bridge (Fringe) Scott Carter. Hill Street Theatre (Venue 41) 226 6522. until 30 Aug. 9.30pm. £5 (£4).


Despite a delayed opening. the Cambridge Mummers are still not ready for the stage with this uncomfortably understructured monologue about one woman‘s personal revelations. Due to a last- minute casting change. the piece was rewritten for Kristin Fredricksson and. as a result. is rm! about a young Asian-American battling for balance between two cultures as publicised. Instead it‘s a stream-of-consciousness rambling by a young acting student on the subject of herself. The attempt at casual demeanor and delivery falls flat as the show veers dangerously towards theatre as therapy for the actress. When Fredricksson solicited questions from the audience. one woman asked if she could leave. Others followed. (Lynn Keating)

I Sophia (Fringe) Cambridge Mummers. Southside Community Centre (Venue 82) 667 7365. until 2 Sept. 8pm. £5 (£4).


Hands-down winner of the most apt title (both show and company) at the Fringe. The obvious gimmick of a Dumb and Dumber version of li’uitirtgjbr (im/ut works for about ten tninutes. Sadly. they are not sequential.

Absent humour. ribalry. and a committed medical revue audience. there is nothing that warrants mention apart from the observation that the only laughs were from Generation 7. (under- lifteens). l was tempted to complain about the difficulty of seeing from four rows back. but never mind.

From a country where gross manifestations of stupidity are a oerformance tradition. it is still disturbing to see it iractised with such relish. (Wes Shrum)

ll The Idiotic Death of Two Fools (Fringe) Annoyance Theatre of Chicago. C (Venue 19) 225 5105. until 2 Sept (not 3|). 9pm. £5 (£3.50).


This devised piece was developed in a workshop led by Theatre de Complicité. but the four post-graduate drama students who comprise this company can take the credit for a polished and imaginative piece of physical theatre.

The piece is based loosely on the early life of Portuguese painter Paula Rego whose work explores the relationships between men and women through her dark fascination with fairytales. Dog Theatre take a few episodes in Rego‘s life. from childhood through loss of virginity to the death of her first husband. and weave a fantasy which brings her fevered imagination alive. Secrets Under the Skin is about childhood fears that continue into adult life. a theme which often appears in Angela Carter's writing.

This energetic production contains some inspired set pieces. and it is performed with humour and flair. (Eddie Gibb)

I Secrets Under the Skirt (Fringe) Dog Theatre. Demarco Foundation (Venue 22) 558 3371. until 2 Sept. 9.30pm. £5 (£3).


Franz Kafka and Jim Morrison are notionally subjects of this double bill by fecund Theatre. a young English company who specialise in flexing theatre's intellectual muscles. Kujku '.\' [mt Request is a monologue in which the writer compares his creativity with his role in society. It‘s very skilfully performed by Dominic Coleman. but ultimately unengaging. Far more exciting is The Last l’net. in which writer/director John Keates is the wildest of three portrayals of the Lizard King. Coleman plays a journalist. clearly based on The Doors biographer and camp follower Danny Sugartnan. whose quest for the ultimate story sucks him into a whirlpool of excess. Superbly almost transcendentally realised. this is an imaginative voyage into things not known. (Andrew Burnet) I The End Fecund Theatre (Fringe) Bedlam Theatre (Venue 49) 225 9893. until 2 Sept (not 27). 8.05pm. £7 (£5).


Dan Freedman seems to

have lost his nerve after last year's Cumedv Zone showcase in which he shone. Tonight.

; Freedman's disappointing

rag-bag of a show. which mixes slides. pre-recorded tapes. Leonard Cohen impersonations and some straightforward stand-up. never really hit a groove. His strongest material could hold its own in any

fecund Theatre: flexing theatrical muscles

of the more established comedians‘ sets. but Freedman seems to have developed a habit of puncturing waves of laughter with self- deprecating glances lixed on his shoes. This may appeal to audience members who like the shy retiring type. but it does little to generate laughs. Freedman‘s frequently good material would be better served if he developed the air of someone who actually believes his jokes are funny. if he doesn't. why should the audience? (Eddie Gibb)

I nan Freedman (Fringe) The Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550. until 2 Sept (not 3|). 8.20pm. £8/7 (£7/6).



Paulson Barbour‘s act appears to be based

around the notion that he

expects a small audience.

j Tonight a magnificent seven were treated to an

opening which praised the value of living a fake life. The aim was to put us at ease with the polite smiles which were certain to be raised during the following hour.

Not so much straight stand-up as critique of comedy. Barbour's thoughts tend to meander into familiar terrain the rights of smokers and the comic's longing for a surefire catchphrase.

Bellylaughs not bombast are what an audience wants. Back to the drawing-board. Paulson. (Brian Donaldson)

I Quality Roams (Fringe) Paulson Barbour. Calton Centre (Venue ll9) 477 7170. until 2 Sept. 9.50pm. £4 (£3).

44 The List 25 Aug-7 Sept 1995