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L’Espléndida Vergonya Del Fet Mal Fet
It may be performed in Catalan, but as Marc Lambert discovers, you won’t need the lingo to enjoy Caries Santos’s surreal visual extravaganza.
With a cast that includes a woman who lives horizontally. another who keeps her husband in an aquarium. a ﬂying violinist. a giant tongue and a perambulating mechanical piano. you can tell that L'Ifsplém/ida . . . is not your average piece of theatre. Conceived by Caries Santos. the Catalan director and classically-trained musician. it marries his original score to a surreal sense of the visual that has been described as ‘deliriously inspired‘.
‘l‘m ﬁrstly a musician.‘ says Santos. who has played and recorded all over the world. ‘But i also use the possibilities that theatre throws open. At the same time. it‘s all very precise and not in the least bit improvised. I set myself to visualise music and to mix its language with that ofthe theatre. It‘s a play. but one with a musical idea.‘
Fishy tale: Caries Santos's splendid mermaid lets her hair down for the Festival
Blending elements of opera. ballet. and recitation in a circus-like atmosphere. Santos‘s uniquely personal vision still remains difﬁcult to pinpoint. ‘I know!‘ he exclairns cheerfully. ‘But really you have to see the show to understand.‘ Don‘t expect much help from the programme notes either. It‘s clear from Santos's Dadaist poem-like scribblings that L' lisp/emlida does without a plot.
‘There are proper ston’es everywhere.‘ replies Santos blithely. ‘On TV. in cinema and books and so on. Therefore if one does something without a plot it‘s not so bad - right? There is a text that is sung using different phonetic effects and expressions of the voice. but that‘s all. Of course if the audience want to imagine during the
performance that‘s ﬁne. And one does see that certain relationships exist between characters on the stage.‘
One thing made crystal clear however. is that Santos‘s work belongs to the distinctively Catalan style native to his adopted city. ‘ldentity is important. ‘ he concedes. ‘Here in Barcelona there are many groups who work in a style you wouldn‘t call bizarre. but certainly particular. It reﬂects a Catalan sensibility. a personality. energy and modernity one might describe as Mediterranean.‘ Ole to that. (Marc Lambert)
I l’ Espiendida Vergonya Del Fet Mal Fet (T he Splendid Shame Of The Deed Badly Done) (Intemational Festival) Caries Santos. King‘s Theatre. 225 5756. 23—25 Aug. 8pm. £6—£20.
i ***** i
Putting stage plays on screen isn’t easy, but putting movies on stage without a Cecil B. Demille style budget is a logistical nightmare. Yet with little more than a pair of pyjamas, a satin sheet and a piece of gauze - Donal D’lleliy, star of the new movie version of lloddy Doyle’s The Van - has pulled off the impossible. In the opening scene of D’llelly‘s one-man epic Catalpa we meet frustrated screenwriter Matthew ltidd. Kidd’s ambition is to make a historical blockbuster about the real- llfe rescue of six Irish nationalist prisoners from an Australian penal colony. Thwarted at the first hurdle, all he’s left with are the pictures in
Skis . 4f '1' These boots were made for talking: Donal D'Kelly In Catalpa
This is a clever introduction to a delightful performance by D’lleliy, as the good ship Catalpa sails magically into life. it’s a feat of range and imagination to behold with wonder, as D’llelly effortlessly portrays a cast of thousands, from square-jawed hero and left-behind heroine to soft- centred comic foil.
These are all the ingredients required for an old-time Hollywood hit, right down to the gorgeously gooey ending as, mission accomplished, the wanderer returns to domestic bliss. With a line ilve soundtrack from Trevor Knight, D’llelly and Director Bairbre lll Chaolmh have made theatre at its purest, an adventure worth climbing aboard for. (lleii Cooper)
Catalpa (Fringe) Donal D’Kelly, Theatre Workshop (Venue 20) 226 5425, until Aug, 8.45pm, £7.50 (£4).
I Shining Souls Scots playwright Chris Harman shines through with this quick-witted. multi-layered new black comedy for our times. A ﬁtting swansong for Traverse director Ian Brown. Shining Souls (Fringe) Traverse Theatre Company. Traverse Theatre (Venue [5) 228 1404. until 3] Aug. times vary. £10 (£6).
I Dylan Moran ls lndlsposed He looks like a dark-haired Dulux dog. But he‘s really rambling. shambling. endlessly-waff‘ling but brilliant Irish stand-up Dylan Moran.Dylan Moran ls Indisposed (Fringe) Dylan Moran. Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550. until 3] Aug (not 29) 9.15pm. £7.50/£6.50 (£6.50/f5.50).
I Sean Hughes The cute. cuddly ln'sh stand-up with TV credentials up to his armpits jets into Edinburgh for a Fn'nge superstar- style hurry. hurry two-nights-only run at the Queen‘s Hall.Sean Hughes (Fringe) Queen‘s Hall (Venue 72) 668 2019. unti123 Aug. 8pm. £8.50/£6.50.
I Portrait III A Woman Eat your heart out 0]. Directed by Gerry Mulgrew and based on true events. Communicado Theatre Company‘s tale of a young Frenchwoman in the dock for murdering her lover has as many political twists. moral dilemmas and dodgy witnesses in 90 minutes as Simpson‘s trial did in nine months.
Portrait Of A Woman (Fringe) Communicado Theatre Company. Traverse (Venue 15) 228 [404. until 3! Aug (not 26) times vary. 2? I 0 (£6).
I Bill Bailey Another week at the top for the big. hairy boggly-eyed keyboard whizz whose rendition of ‘Richard Ciaydennan Does Three Blind Mice‘ is second to none.
Bill Bailey (Fringe) Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428. until 3! Aug (not 29) 9pm. £8.50/£7.50 (£7.50/£6.50). '
The List 23 Aug-5 Sept I996 41