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The ‘War Of The Worlds’ Story. . .
With news that there may well be life on Mars, while here on earth Independence Day breaks all box-office records, a production of HG. Wells’s classic invasion tale seems perfect timing. Claire Prentice wonders whether sci-fi is the new rock ’n’ roll.
The image of the anal retentive science- liction nerd is hard to shake off. but according to Dave Green. writer of The 'War ()fT/Ie Worlds" Story. ‘il‘s‘ cool [0 be a sci-fi fan.‘ The show is a celebration of l()() years of the genre made popular by HG Wells's timeless classic.
Described by Green as ‘essentially a comedy and technically a musical'. the show takes snippets from various versions of the original and mixes them up with iii-character chat and gags. The result is a bizarre romp through time as Wells joins Richard Burton and David
Essex as they record Jeff Wayne‘s 7()s pomp rock album version. En route there are slides, songs and a re- enactment of the legendary ()rson Welles radio broadcast where mass hysteria ensued amidst a nation all too eager to believe anything.
‘The main thrust ofthe piece is us talking about science fiction. how it has affected our lives and looking at its evolution through the media.‘ explains Green. who works as a Guardian scribe by day. ‘lt's actually surprisingly educational and we explore issues like: did Orson Welles intend to trick people'."
HG. Wells. meanwhile. had as much to say about the time he was living in as he did about the future. ‘There are parallels in the book between this powerful alien life-force and the British Empire.‘ believes Green. ‘()r look at
War Of The Worlds: spaced out
the United States which sees itself today as this completely invulnerable power. You can read a lot of these things into it.‘
()n the back of The X-l’iles and the record-breaking box office smash Independence Day. Green predicts a mass-scale ‘outing‘ of fanatics in the millennium. ‘I believe it will take over from football in the next century.‘ he asserts. The image of blokes donning spacesuits rather than shellsuits on a Saturday afternoon may be a little extreme but Green quotes from 5()s movie flop l’lan 9 From ()uter Space. ‘Everyone‘s interested in the future.‘ I The ‘War Of The Worlds’ Story: ILG. Wells And Richard Burton Versus The Martians (Fringe) ()1in Human Theatre Company. l’leasance ()ver The Road (Venue 33) 556 (i550. 25~-3l Aug. 3.25pm. £5.50 (£4.50).
THE VIRGIN MARY SHOW
‘Jesus is a good name - you can’t shorten it to anything,’ suggests Joseph during the opening nativity scene. The Virgin Mary Show manages, however, to condense his life into a one-hour comic-theatrical performance from unconventional birthplace - ‘When I said I wanted him to have a stable home life, this is not what I meant’ - to crucifixion. Bernadine Corrigan’s second-coming follows on from the success of last year’s hit When Ilarry Met Cathy. The cast of two, lleville Watchurst and Corrigan herself, re-create the flow Testament story on the premise that the whole thing is a miraculous misconception, a misogynistic ruse invented by the arrogant but feckless
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The Virgin Mary Show: hallelulah
Jesus who turns to religion because it is ‘the last resort for people who can’t do anything else.’
Corrigan focuses on the absurdity of
the basis of Christianity and compares the original concepts with the reality of the church today. During one of her many asides between the theatrical skits, she observes wryly: ‘If Jesus was alive today, he’d live in the Arizona desert, stockpiling weapons.’
Corrigan and Watchurst manage to avoid preaching to the audience but still tackle the subject in a more directly relevant manner than, say, Monty Python ’5 Lite 0! Brian - which, let’s face it, is pretty formidable competition.
This is not a show that would go down well with the religious-right at the Republican convention but then again (read my lips), ‘lt’s the big lies that work,’ according to Mary. (Alan Crawford)
The Virgin Mary Show (Fringe) Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550, until 31 Aug (not 27) 3.30pm, £7. 50/1350 (“ﬁll/£5.50).
I SnOWShOW Assembly brings you one of the hidden delights of this year‘s Fringe. Slava Polunin's comic mastery is given full rein with his wonderful clown show. Don‘t go expecting red noses and hooters. Go expecting to have preconceptions shattered. Snmrs‘ltmr (Fringe) Slam l’olunin. Assembly Rooms ( Venue 3) 226 2428. until 3/ Aug (not 25. 28) 4.45pni/ll. [5pm. [/0.5()/[9.5() (f 9. 50/“. 50).
I The Fever Originally nominated fora Fringe First Award but subsequently found to have breached the golden rules. Clare Coulter‘s solo performance is nevertheless a genuine touch of class. The theme is the gulf between rich and poor and how it is played out on both grand and small-scale. Coming to a train carriage near you soon.
The Fever (Fringe) ('lare Coulter. 'I'rarerse (Venue I5) 228 /404. until 3/ Aug (not 26) various times. [7 (£4).
I The league 0f Gentlemen Three pans very ftnm y and one part truly dark. The Gents are at the driving-seat of the sketch routine bandwagon. Unemployment counsellors and local shop proprietors are among the myriad characters who have been setting the Fringe alight. The League ()/'(}('title'ttt¢'ti (Fringe) l’leasani'e ( Venue 33) 556 6550. until 3/ slug (not 27) 4. 35pm. [6/[5 ( (5/01).
I Gagging For It Lee Mack. last year's So You Think You're l-‘unny.’ victor. heads the cast of comics who will be making you. well. gag for it. He is ably joined by Geoff Aymer. Kevin Hay and Neil Webster in a quickﬁre show which begins promisingly with a mix of song and gags and moving on to gags and more gags. A surprise hit and one that is more than welcome. See review. Gagging For It (Fringe) Gilded Balloon II (Venue 38) 226 2/5/. until 3/ Aug. 4pm. [6 (£5).