Twenty-tour-year-old David lloiashvili is a product of the live-year training altered to theatre directors in his native Georgia, in the tormer Soviet Union. When his celebrated production at King tear, in the Georgian language, comes to the Assembly Rooms, it will be a chance to lind out what he learned.
To British eyes, it is the impressive unity of costume, music and ensemble acting that stands out, plus the highly developed sense of visual story- telling, but the Georgian press have concentrated on Doiashvili’s understanding ot Lear’s madness and power. ‘This is not the outcry ot a madman,’ wrote one critic, ‘but the hymn ot a man who has tinally lound himselt.’
Doiashvili sees lear as a fallen tyrant who has to renegotiate his relationship with the rest of the human race. ‘For me, it is when he loses everything that he becomes human. There is a line in the play that goes “When we are born, we cry that we are come into this great stage ol tools”, but the point is that there is no choice. You have to accept that you are on the “world stage” and join in.’
lie is also impressed by what he has
seen of British theatre. ‘You have the very highest class of actors. They are real protessionals.’ Equally, there is much that we can learn lrom the Georgians. King lear could be one of the highlights of this year’s Fringe. The chance to witness a totally different concept ot theatre should not be missed. (Catriona Craig)
King tear (Fringe) Mardianishvili State Academic Theatre, Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428, 13-15, 18 Aug, 2pm, £8.50 (£7.50), 16, 17 Aug, 2pm, £9. 50 (£8. 50).
1 ,, , King lear: ‘a man who has tlnally lound himselt'
I Stole Freddie Mercury’s Birthday Cake
A Festival without the loveably roguish Malcolm llardee would seem oddly empty, but the man who, among many other achievements, brought the Balloon Dance to our screens, is considering making this his last year. Not because he’s become a predictable lixture on the Fringe - he doesn’t mind that - but because, ‘I haven’t got the energy, really, to do four weeks ot midnight shows’.
Consequently, this year’s llardee show is an early atternoon ellort. This is something of a tirst. ‘lt’ll be a sober audience and a sober pertormer,’ he says. ‘l’ve only ever performed sober once, and that was in Edinburgh, strangely enough. I got up the next morning and didn’t remember a thing about it.’ Boom boom.
The 1996 eltort is noteworthy in two other ways. Firstly, it coincides with the publication of his autobiography, also entitled I Stole Freddie Mercury’s Birthday Cake, a meander through a misspent lite that’s impossible to put down and deserves to spend the next tew months on the bestseller lists. Admittedly, the anecdotes ol prison, pertorming and promoting stretch
Malcolm llardee: who ate all the cake?
credulity to its limit, but it is, llardee insists, all absolutely true. ‘ll anything, it’s underdone.’
Then, there’s the launch at llardee’s new career as a magician. Clearly in a mood to contide, he relents to stripping away some of the secrecy trom his newly-acquired mastery ot illusionism.
‘You know how Tommy Cooper used to do tricks and they never worked, then at the end he made them work? Well, I do all that, but I don’t make them work at the end.’ A true pro. llow can you resist? (Alastair Mabbott)
I Stole Freddie Mercury’s Birthday Cake (Fringe) Aaaaaaaaaaaaaargh, The Pleasance (Venue 33) 555 6550, 9—15, 18-21 Aug (not 12) 2.50pm, £5 (£3); 16, 17, 23-25 Aug, 2.50pm, £6454.
CROSSING THE BORDER
This original new- production from Arbroath-based Last Gasp Youth Theatre is drawn from the most famous event in the town's history — the signing. in l32l). of that surrogate Scottish constitution. the Declaration of Arbroath.
The cast of 25 teenagers - with a sixteen-year-old stage manager and a music co-ordinator of thirteen — examine fairiin relationships on both sides of the border during Scotland's Wars of Independence. Universal teenage and domestic issues are played out in what Jacqui Skelton. co- director of the company. calls 'a youthful rampage through Scottish history".
The whole cast have learnt to ‘power drum‘ and Skelton claims. ‘there's lots of noise and it's very fast-miwing.‘ Indeed. in a denoueinent not uncommon for teenagers. the cast come to blows; in this case. a re-enactment of the Battle of Barmockburn. staged. we are warned. with real broadswords.
All this and home in time for tea. as the entire company are commuting from Arbroath to lidinburgh each day. (Alan Crawford)
I Crossing The Border (Fringe) Last Gasp Youth Theatre. Diverse Attractions Theatre Complex (Venue 5 l ) 226 44I2. I2 Aug—I7 Aug. l.45pm. £4 (£2.50).
For anyone who's been there. madness is the only solution to all
unansw erable question. Yet attitudes towards mental health problems are as unenlightened and riddled with taboos as they‘ye ever been. To those on the outside. there‘s still a stigma
Stormln’: challenglng homophobia and the state at the gay
attached to the frequently misused term 'schizophrenic'. Since the so-called death of society. things are getting worse. Innis Bourrie's one-man play shows life on the inside as he portrays a psychiatric hospital rtipatieiit from the day of admission. through assorted treatments. to eyciitual release into the 'cominunity'.
'It's an area." according to liourne. 'which hasn't been lully explored by theatre.’ With si.\ years” experience as a psychiatric nurse. Bourne based the piece on true eyents. and took the title from a section of the l‘)83 Mental Health Act which allows patients to be detained in hospital against their will. ‘I thought I could bring something to it maybe others couldn't. I don't want to get iiiio the politics of it. but there is a message if people want.‘ (Neil Cooper)
I Section II (Fringe) Pallet Theatre Company. Grcyfriars Kirk House (Venue 28) 225 3626. |2~2-l Aug (not IX). 2pm. £4 (£2.50).
Romantic notions of the unhinged writer haye flourished through the ages. tacked on the likes of \'irginia \Vooll'. Dorothy Parker and Sylyia Plath. Jtist such a woman is at the centre of Robert Hamilton's award- w inning absurd black comedy '/'/I(' Ill/(’I'I'ft’ll'. though director Pol (‘leinentsmith prefers to think of his colourful leading lady as 'an archetype rather than a stereotype.‘
Closet bisexual and I’L'slk‘L'ICtl tltllllot’ l)csiree Martin is intei'yiewing actors to help break her w i'iter's block. lint when unsuspecting young actress Rosalind Sceley turns tip. jtist after I)esirec has murdered her husband for suspected adultery. things get a little ottt of
The Interview: temmes tatales
hand and a battle of wits Clementsmith has clearly succumbed to the lemme fatale's charms: 'You fall in love with Desiree. eyen w hen she turns around and slaps you in the face. because we cart all relate to her ~- meryornﬁ been fucked in er at some point in their lifef ((‘Iaire Prentice) I The Interview (l‘ringei National Student Theatre Company. Assembly Rooms (\cnuc 3) 226 2428. 0-» IS. Iii—22. 2o Kl Aug. 2.45pm. £8 (£7); to. l7.23-v25.-\ug.2.~15pm. 9.") (£3).
“If it wasn't rcgurgitated old plays. the new stuff seemed to be a bit loo introspective for me.’ Rather than sitting around and complaining about what he sees as a dearth of quality gay theatre. Leeds- based playwright Martin (irecn chose to pen his own work and challenge both tlte ltorttopltobic establishment arid the state of the gay play.
The result of that frustration is Storm/11'. ideally staged in the (‘ouiiting lIouse because of its piib setting. lll which a group of activists meet to rliscuss a gay-bashing Journo. Their own relationships e\cnttiall_\ come to the forefront — I)a\e lo\ es Tom. Tom lo\ L's l)a\ c. Peter“ and Stewart loyc each other but Peter hates botli the pub and gay men.
It sounds complex and difficult but fear not. a lorra laughs are promised. 'lf people are provoked. then that's a bonusf admits Green. 'but it‘s supposed to be funny and an hour and a Iialf's theatrical experience.‘ (Brian Donaldson)
I Stormin’ (Fringe) l.o\e Theatre Company. Gilded Balloon III (Venue I2) 226 2|5l. 9—2.4 Atig.
2. 15pm. £6 (£5).
32 The List 9- l 5 Aug I‘)‘)o