First, there was comedy. Then stand- up comedy. Now there’s stand-up theatre. Er, ’scuse me - what’s going on?
According to Claire Oowie, whose new show All Over lovely is a double-
term to describe what she does on stage. With roots in london’s alternative comedy circuit, Bowie has developed an upfront, almost agit- prop style of performance that hauls prevailing sexual attitudes over the coals by way of vicious humour. On the fly-cover of a new book containing six of Oowie’s ‘stand-up theatre’ plays,
All Over Lovely
act with raunchy Peta lily, it’s the only
the writer/performer/poet/comedian is described as ‘the female counterpart to Ouentin Crisp’.
For the purposes of All Over lovely, Bowie and lily play not-so-devoted sisters who try so hard to be different they end up exactly the same. The pair meet after years apart and before long are engaged in the hair-pulling-and- biting throes of sisterly un-love.
Bowie and lily currently spend around twelve hours a day on All Over lovely, but are getting on lust fine. ‘lt’s wonderful working with her,’ says Bowie of lily. ‘She’s got this incredible intelligence, which means she always knows what you’re talking about. You can almost converse in shorthand.’ (Ellie Carr)
All 0ver lovely (Fringe) Claire Cowie and Pete lily, Traverse Theatre (Venue 15) 228 1404, 9-18 Aug (not Mons), times vary, £7 (£4).
Claire Bowie: sisters are d
Two By Two/ Texts For Nothing
Two treats await Beckett-lovers at this year’s Fringe, both involving people who knew Sam personally. As its name suggests, Two By Two is a double-bill of short two-handers, ‘Bough For Theatre One’ (blind beggar/lame beggar interface) and ‘The Old Tune’ (retired soldiers’ wistful memories). These pieces, filled with ironic humour and glib bleakness, are directed by John Calder, ‘The Old Tune”s British publisher, who also co- founded Edinburgh’s Traverse Theatre. Two By Two is performed by Raymond Segre and leonard Fenton - the latter otherwise known as Dr legg in Easfl-‘nders.
There’s also a visit by legendary New York actor/director/writer Joseph Chalkln (whose play The War In Heaven is 7:84 Theatre Company’s contribution to the Fringe). lle’ll perform a unique show in a remarkably Beckett-esque fashion. Texts For Nothing is a prose piece, adapted by Chaikin for performance in 1981. Three years later, Chaikln suffered a stroke which left him aphasic - literally ‘without language’. After a slow recovery, Chaikin now returns to Texts For Nothing, but - as
Joseph Chalkin: the wilderness years
in Beckett’s play Nrapp’s last Tape - the protagonist interacts with a recording made when he was younger. Set in a wilderness, Texts For Nothing is poised between one world and another. ‘When he suffered his stroke, Joe had to choose between life and death, and felt afraid of the unknown,’ explains director Anders Cato. ‘That’s the kind of area where the play takes place.’ tlh-huh - sounds like Beckett, all right. (Andrew Burnet)
Two By Two (Fringe) Bernarco Foundation In Edinburgh (Venue 22) 557 0707, 19-31 Aug (not 25), 7.15pm, £7 (£5).
Texts For Nothing (Fringe) lafayette Workshop, Continental Shifts at St Bride’s Centre (Venue 52) 346 1405, 12-15 Aug, 7.45pm, £7.50 (£5.50).
Closing the deal: lnThe Solitude Of The Cotton Fields
IN THE SOLITUOE OF THE COTTON FIELDS
When the late Bernard- Marie Koltes' Duriv Lu Still/[HIV I)t' ('nlmt appeared at last year's Edinburgh International Festival. it was arguably one of. the most gobsmackiiig displays ol raw onstage emotiort ever seen lll these parts. In it. haggling becomes art. as two men meet to conclude a necessary business transaction. What‘s for sale is arrybody's guess. btit the full thrust and parry ol' the deal are delivered with a thrilling \ iscerality more akin to a bosirrg match than a play'. 'The characters use language as a weapon so as to avoid arty real communication.' says Kimoit Koul‘ogiannis. author ol’ a new English translation. which aims for clarity through character rather than the full-on. soul-baring sweatbox beloved ol‘ the French. ‘In a sense it's less poetic; but then there's a strange atmosphere to the play. It's a very rich. classical test. yet its preoccupations are very contemporary. In that way Koltes' work reads like William Shakespeare.‘ (Neil Cooper) I In The Solitude Of The COIIOII Fields (Fringe) Trivial Theatre Company. Greyl'riars Kii'khouse (Venue 28) 225 3626. l3—3l Aug (not Suns). 7.50pm. £5 (£3).
Last year. this adaptation of Dostoyevsky's Crime um/ I’iiIiiv/imt'ril by Kiev's Golden Gate Theatre was one of the Fringe’s biggest hits. l'orcing a change of venue on closing night as people scrambled for tickets. What liir everybody between the eyes was the ltighly visual. visceral style.
'What is interesting is that it is eirseriible work.’ |explains Tomek Bork. the ' slrow‘s producer. 'The visual aspect is based on the ensemble. on movement >« its not just two talking heads on stage. The story ts tttil only coritiirunicated through text and emotional delivery. but by creating an overall dramatic picturef l.il'e lit the I7kt'.ittte also adds depth to their interpretation. life is tottgltf says Bork. ‘it's easy for them to understand like Raskoliiikov that while crime is terrible. sometimes yott are cornered. lake a frightened dog you hay e to bite to siittlehovs escape. . .' I’L‘thlllllL‘tI III a corribination ol‘ Russian and Iillgllsll. this is Hill to be missed. (Marc Lambert) I Murderer ( l‘r irigei (ioldert (iate Theatre. Hill Street Theatre (\‘etiue -ll) :36 (r523. I: :(r .-\ttg.
(v35pm. £7 (£5).
THE BRADFORD POISONER
Humbug Billy is the legendary s\\ L‘L‘l-sc‘llt'l‘ (ll Hradl‘or'd's market I” the ISRUs. When DUI) customers the alter eating some ol~ his arsenic-laced sweets. the local mill
my nei's are suspected ol trying to stop a (,‘har'trst insurrection by poisoning the troublemakers. (‘otlspit'acy‘ theory l'ollovys cover-up ItiIItms sham trial. arid Humbug gets \tllllL’ great PR for Ills stall.
Writer/director David James spends most ol' his time tn local museums. scanning archives (or source material. and indeed this period epic is intended primarily to ’make history live for young people. Among these are the JD-strong teenage cast. \vltt) circulate around to e stages. pr‘ortreiiadc-style. l'or' intense and immediate theatrical effect.
This promises to be a
production vs ith huge political and dr'aiiratic scope. live l'olk music. ()It\L‘t’ Stone-style speculation and an apocalyptic \ isioii ol' industrial hell. The company 's el'l‘or'ts can also be seen in ll'liilt' Men My - possibly the only play on the I'llllg'v‘ to TL‘JIUI'L‘ ‘rirercury-lincd underpants from Italy" ((‘ii'aiit (iordoiil
I The Bradford Poisoner il-riiiget The \Vey Valley Theatre ('oiitp‘aiiy. Royal .\lile Primary School t\'eiitie <5) ().\' H l5.i NS/tisooJio NS. I3 I? Mtg. hill”. ‘43 It I t
SHE KNOWS YOU KNOW
l-eys people realise that the phrase. "You big girl‘s blouse. \vas coined by Hilda Hakei. the godriiothei ol' \yoriien's \l.lll(I-rllp comedy Tilly and deterriiiiied. Hilda (ought to the top ol' her piolessiori lll the Wills and -l(ls. but died alone altd L'Httlttst‘tl UI .’\I/II\‘IIIIL'I 's. .Vli‘ Klimt \ )illl A'Iiiiii takes material lioiri Hilda's act to tell the sltlty ill lth Illt‘ .-\cll't'ss .It‘all l-ergussoti. \\lto also wrote the show has become increasingly impressed by Hiltla's lctiacioiis character She started tloiirg coiiredy at the age ol teri.‘ she iriai'yels. '(Xiir you believe it ’ .-\iid this \vas at a time when there “etc may rm \\t)lllt‘ll doing it.' The play also traces the gradual onset of deiiieirlia 'l'\e seeir clips of her act \\ heir it is oh\ iotis that she has dried up] says I eigussoit. ‘You can see the teat lll her eyes. but then she comes out \\IIIl sortiethriig absolutely hysterical. \‘he \\as .t L'titttlc gt‘ltltts,- ((‘atrrorra ('i‘aig)
I She Knows You Know (I‘llllg‘t‘l West Yorkshire l’layliouse. l’leasarice (\t'ttttc U) 550 (i550.
7 il .-\ug iriot Mons. Thurs 30!. (l. ISpm.
Comic genius resurrected: Jean Fergusson as llilda Baker
The List ‘)-l5 Aug NW) 43