' Plugging the . literary gap

Stephen Naysmith finds some literary goings-on at a brand new Fringe venue.

Two gaping holes in the Edinburgh Festival scene are being filled by Scottish International at new venue Famous (irouse House. according to the organisers.

The first is the absence this year of the Edinburgh Book Festival. which only occurs in alternate years. ‘In the 50th year of a high profile. important Festival. literature shouldn‘t be sidelined.' says Faith Liddell. producer ot'Scottish lnternational's estensivc literary programme.

In addition. Scottish International claims to be the first venue offering a showcase for Scottish talent alone. ‘We are the Festival‘s first ever Scottish vetttte. which is a bit of a disgrace after 50 years really' Liddell adds.

In the literary field. that leaves plenty ofoptions. The prograr-rrme is titled The Rough (inn/e In Seoul's/I Au/lun'v. and reads like a w Ito's w ho of contemporary Scottish writing. It includes critical and mainstream successes such as Janice Galloway. A. L. Kennedy. Iain Banks and William Mcllvanney. oltcn appearing in



Janice Galloway

combination with authors who are less well known. ‘Kathleen Jamie has had success as a poet btrt we are combining her with Lil. Lochead. who is w ell- established. It‘s great to have the up and coming and those who are already established workirtg together over the three weeks.‘ Edwin Morgan likewise. appears with two newer poets. Margaret Fulton and Gordon Meade. Scottish lnternational‘s intention is not to rival the Edinburgh Book Festival. indeed the Book Festival organisers have programmed half the events. Scottish International aims to put on programmes which are not catered for elsewhere. ‘This year we have a very


Liz lochhead small comedy programme. because others are doing that. Next year when the Book Festival is running. we'll scale down otrr literary operation considerably.‘ Liddell explains.

Strong advance ticket sales. rellect the public‘s abiding curiosity about writers. Liddell claims: ‘l’eople want to see if there is the same seduction in the flesh as there is in the writing. There is a magic about encountering someone w hose literary voice ltas haunted you.‘ (Stephen Naysmitlr)

I The Rough Guide to Scottish Authors (Fringe) Scottish lnterrrational at The Famous Grouse llouse (Venue 34) 220 5606. ‘)--3l Aug. noon. £3.50.

The Bible

In the beginning there was a lost tribe oi thespians who came unto the Fringe with their show named The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged) and verily did audiences laugh at this humorous take on the bard.

So tertile was the ground upon which the Reduced Shakespeare Company cast its comedy seed, the show begat a son which ran through the entire history at America. Once more the BSC was blessed with laughter, and their shortened history in turn begat another bless’d son, which as you’ve probably guessed trom this laboured ecclesiastical

The RSC impose one at many cuts in their abridgement of The Bible

ioke, sees the BSC tackling the Bible. As Austin Tichenor, who gets to play God, explains, this production will be a game at two halves covering the Old and law Testament in 90 minutes.

‘We’ve done politics, so religion couldn’t be tar behind,’ says Tichenor. ‘It’s a public service - we’re not just out there to have a good time, we have a mandate to take things down to a length that people with short attention spans can manage.’

Although getting some oi the Biblical references will aid enjoyment oi the show, says Tichenor, anyone who has seen a couple at Cecil B. BeMille movies should be adequately equipped to deal with the BSC’s in-depth analysis of the Good Book. ‘We are products ot MTV and too many Warner Bros cartoons,’ admits Tichenor. In other words, they’re looking to prophet lrom popular culture. (Eddie Gibb)

The Bible: The Complete Word of Bad (Fringe) Reduced Shakespeare Company, Assembly Rooms, 9—31 Aug (not 13, 28), 11 .30am, {39/8 (£8/7).



quick hits

I Ghetto The National Student Theatre Company has an enviable track record of Fringe hits. This play. melding drama. dance. music and Brechtian cabaret. focuses on Lithuanian Jewish actors performing satire for their SS Commandant‘s pleasure. (i/Ienu (l’ringe) Nulinnul Slur/en! Thea/re Cmnpnny. Sour/Mule (Venue 82) 667 22/2. 9—3/ Aug (nvl ll. /8. 27). //./5mn. [5 (£4.50).

I Twelve Ben Moor's bizarre. absurd but ultimately ('let'er narrative line goes front A to Z via epsilon and omega. with a battery of quick-tire gags that leave the audience reeling. Bring your brain cells and leave your hangover at borne. See preview. Tire/re (Fringe) Ben an: Pleusunee (Venue 33) 556 6550. 8—3/ Aug. /2.30pnr. [6/[5 (Li/£4), preview 8 Aug £4.50.

I Animal Farm/tinder Milk Wood One-man maestro Guy Masterson returns to Assembly Rooms playing his l9‘)4 and I995 sellout shows on alternate days. Masterson‘s soaring. searing story-telling and delivery are spot- on do not miss hint.

Animal Farm/Under Milk anl

( Fringe) Guy Muslersnn. Assembly Rmnm‘ ( Venue 3) 226 2428. 9-}! Aug (tiller/rule (la/es nul I9) //.-l5uni. [8.50/[750 (t‘7.5()/[6.5()).

I Be My . . . Be My Baby/Bosom Buddies Fringe veteran Jack Klaff returns with two one-man shows. playing on alternate days. featuring reworked material from former hits. Be My Baby looks at questions about procreation. and Busmn Bur/(lies looks at the tiiajor ideas of this century seen through the prism of some famous male pairings (Freud/Jung or Hitler/ Stalin). See preview.

Be My. . . Be My Baby/Boson! But/(lies (Fringe) .lut'k K luff. Pleusunt‘e ( Venue 33) 556 6550. until 3/ Aug (ulIernuIe (lures). [2.30pm. £6/[5.5() ((5/14). previews 7. 8 Aug [3.51).


The List ‘)-IS Aug I996 27