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Time And The

He’s Germany’s most- performed playwright, his work has been performed all over Europe, and now he’s found an enthusiastic English champion. As Time And The Room hits Edinburgh, Neil Cooper asks, ‘Botho who?’

The domestic interior has been the staple setting for creaky old farces since time immemorial. Yet for almost as long. more allegedly serious artists have been trying to break through the French windows to somewhere altogether more epic. With Time And The Room to be presented at the lntemational Festival by Nottingham Playhouse German playwright Botho Strauss turns the idea inside out. using the room as a place of endless comings and goings. little snippets of contemporary domestic ritual whereby

Anyone can fall in love: Anita ilobson in Time And The iloom

characters move to and fro. in and out on metaphorical and actual levels. Social signals are misinterpreted or just plain bodyswerved. You‘re never sure who anyone is or why they're there. The only constant is a mysterious character called Marie.

It's this lack of linear narrative that director Martin Duncan believes obstructs a British audience‘s response to Strauss's work even though he's the most performed playwright in Germany. and directorial mavericks such as Luc Bondy. Patrice Chereau

and Peter Stein have all had a crack at Time And The Room. Duncan. who is clearly a fan. stumbled across Strauss in the 70s. when he saw an early translation starring Glenda Jackson. ‘lt‘s basically blips.‘ he says of Time And The Room‘s unusual structure. ‘People can’t seem to accept that complexity in the theatre. even though they have no problem with it in pop videos. or films by someone like the Coen brothers.‘

While acknowledging Strauss‘s clear affinity with Beckett. Pinter et al. Duncan also sees parallels with both Bn'tish sit-corn and the out-there humour of Spike Milligan and Monty Python. ‘That whole tradition was a huge popular success. yet it came straight out of surrealism. If you'd put that on as theatre people here would’ve had a problem. ljust think that sometimes when people visit the theatre in this country they become afraid of thinking.‘ Jeremy Sams’s new translation remains faithful to the original. and if the grisly domestic minutiae all seem a little familiar. it's worth bearing in mind that Strauss has been compared. albeit unfairly. to Alan Ayckbourne. ‘This play is very much about middle-class angst. though.‘ admits Duncan.

Time And The Room (International Festival) Nottingham Playhouse. Royal Lyceum Theatre. 225 5756. 29—31 Aug. 7.30pm. 3 I Aug. 2.30pm. £6—£20.

l **** I


Greg Fleet is a very self-indulgent man. For twenty years, he indulged himself in any drug he could lay his hands on, beginning at thirteen with cigarettes, then progressing via alcohol, marijuana and [$0 to a decade-long heroin habit. flow, he wants to indulge himself by talking about his experiences.

luckily, ‘Fleety’ - who hails from Australia - is also a very charming and amusing man. A former actor and Neighbours star (he does not equate the two) - he has now kicked smack and is focusing on getting his act together. ills speciality is comedy firmly rooted in autobiography, an entertaining and often poignant combination, which also features In his other show this year, In love He- tine Dan llear You Scream. laugh along as he describes the “bong Olympics’; take good note of his trippers’ tips, and share in his horror of people and time wasted. Also thrill

to his gawky dance routines, performed to a soundtrack of druggy flew Yorkers The ilamones and lou Reed.

Above all, enjoy the buzz of a fascinating and sometimes wildly funny account. This show amounts to 80 minutes in the company of a really

Greg Fleet: sheer indulgence

good storyteller with a really interesting story to tell. (Andrew Burnet)

Greg Fleet - Ten Years In A long- 8leeved Shirt (Fringe) Australian comics @ The Gilded Balloon (Venue 38) 226 2151, unfll31Aug, 7.30m, £7 (£6).

quick hits

I She Knows You Know The life and career of comedienne Hylda Baker both of which were wrecked by Alzheimer's disease are brought poignantly to life by Jean Fergusson (Marina in Last Of The Summer Wine) in a tribute biography. See review.

She K nows You Know (Fringe) West Yorkshire Playhouse. I’Ieasanr'e (Venue 33) 556 6550. until 3/ Aug (not 26. 29). 6.15pm. £8.50/£7.50 (£7/£6).

I Dealer’s Choice Patrick Marber‘s rich black comedy about gambling is both intelligent and grandly entertaining, with a cracking cast deftly directed by the author. A dead cert winner. Dealer is Choice (Fringe) Royal National Theatre. Fringe Club (Venue 2) 226 5138. until 28 Aug. 7pm. £8.50 (£7.50).

I Martin And John Adapted from Dale Peck‘s novel F ueking Martin by its solo performer Sean O'Neil. this emotionally violent drama from Chicago follows a young gay man's search for a life after the AIDS—related death of his lover. See review.

Martin And John (Fringe)

Stra tford- 0n - Guy Prod u cti ons, Hill Street Theatre (Venue 41) 226 6522. until 3] Aug. 7.20pm. £7/£5 ( £6/£4. 50).

I Yes, My Fuehrer Based on a true story, this is a heart-searching account of the weakness of psyche which allowed Hitler's charisma to flourish; and an affecting solo performance by Jacqueline Pilton. Yes. My Fuehrer (Fringe) Zeitgeist Theatre. Marco Zr (Venue 98) 228 9116. until Aug 3] (not Weds). 6pm. £4.50 (£3).

I Milton Jones’ The llead One of the better prepared of this year’s visiting comedians. Jones presents a frisky combination of rambling stand-up and warped characters, with a high proportion of hits in every volley.

Milton Jones' The Head (Fringe) Milton Jones. Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550. until 3! Aug. 6.40pm, £7/£6 (£6/£5).


The List 23 Aug-5 Sept 1996 33