FESTIVAL lpm—3pm

THEATRE PREVIEW Fishtales Size, bait and winning are three factors at the heart of man’s existence. Combining these essentials is Rowan Tree Company’s Fishta/es, a light— hearted yarn about the enduring British pastime Thankfully, a working knowledge of maggots and waders is not required as director/adapter Judy Steel claims, We got no knowledge of or interest in fishing at all.’

A pot-pourri of song, storytelling and verse, Fishta/es has as its centre a lyrical stOry by 39 Steps author John Buchan,

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Fishtales: Gentle tales of fishing folk

entitled The Herd Of Stand/an, in which a Borders shepherd saves a young laird who risks life and limb to net that biggie.

’The pieces are a celebration of Scots language and culture, but there’s a little political twist to them too. They poke fun and take a wry view of the world of politics,’ she laughs. You wonder if hubby David sees the funny side. (Claire Prentice)

I Fish tales (Fringe) The Rowan Tree Company, Famous Grouse House (Venue 34) 220 5606, 70— 79 Aug, 7pm, £6 (£4).


“Should not be missed” Sunday Express.


40 TIIELIsT 8—14 Aug I997 l

earth ’sfirst work of fiction


From the ancient Sumerians, a people whose origins remain a mystery - a culture so advanced some say they were influenced by extra-terrestrials ~ the tale of King Gilagamesh, his shadow brother, the wild man and their heroic journey to the dark forest to defeat fear and seek eternal life. Dreams, dance and stunning music. Ideal fun culture for all ages.

Greyfriars Kirk House Venue 28 11 - 23 Aug. (exc. Sun.) 16.40 Tickets: 0131 225 3626 £4

The Bristol Travelling Theatre THE EPIC OF GILGAMESH

KIDS PREVIEW The Happy Prince

Oscar Wilde didn't seem like the bible- bashing type, so it comes as a surprise that his kids tale The Happy Prince takes such a hard-line moralistic stance. So much so, in fact, that Edinburgh Acting School's Anna Tinline, who directs the five to eleven- year-olds, felt compelled to introduce some humour to lighten proceedings up a tad.

Examining the gulf between rich and poor, the story focuses on the unlikely bond which develops between a swallow and the solid gold statue of a Prince, who join forces to redistribute the town’s wealth. ’Giving is just as much fun as receiving’ is the basic message here, although wee Jimmy will probably require further proof of this when refused the latest £90 trainers.

’It’s a magical fairy tale which is also very educational, and remains surprisingly relevant today,’ believes Tinline. ‘The villagers are very, very poor and yet the town council have wasted all this money on the statue.’ As Tinline points out, it certainly does sound familiar. (Claire Prentice)

I The Happy Prince (Fringe) Edinburgh Acting School, YMCA (Venue 777) 77—76 Aug, 7pm, £3.50 (£2.50).


Education in crisis, domestic violence and widespread poverty . . . Dickens would no doubt turn in his grave if he knew the extent to which his century- and-a-half old concerns lingered on. Conveying these themes, but devoid of a conscious political agenda, Sykes And Nancy knits together five of the social commentator’s famous readings, with well-known characters from Oliver Twist, Martin Chuzz/ewit and Nicholas Nicke/by making an appearance.

Played by two actors, the piece evokes the whole gamut of emotions, according to Oddbodies director John Mowat. ’We wanted to remain faithful to Dickens’ own words, without elaborate costumes, props and sets to detract from the dialogue,’ he explains.

But, far from a lofty purist, Mowat is a firm believer in making theatre accessible. ’Dickens has suffered to some extent from academic nit-picking but all that achieves is that you alienate readers and audiences.’ Tell your English teacher to suck on that. (Claire Prentice)

I Sykes And Nancy (Fringe) Oddbodies, Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550, 8, 9, 73, 76, 77, 20, 27, 24, 25 & 28 Aug, 2pm, £6/f 7 (£5/f6).

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Anecdotes. imagery and audio in Oscar McLennan's Urban Minefield

THEATRE PREVIEW Urban Minefields

It's been seven years since Oscar McLennan last played at the Festival, but his new show promises that his return won't go unnoticed. The most recent of many collaborations with audio-visual artist Anne Seagrave, Urban Minefields is largely a spoken-word performance by the former stand-up comic, about four cities in which he's lived: Glasgow (his birthplace), London, New York and Belfast. The Glasgow section, he says, is probably the most anecdotal, but the other three are more like ‘painting with words,

creating an atmosphere of the place.’

McLennan's shows have been acclaimed as far afield as the US and Poland, and he credits his visual use of language with his success abroad. 'Plus, as a performer, I‘m quite animated and visual myselfl' His work has been described as surreal, a tag he doesn't dismiss out of hand. ’But both Anne and myself are very conscious that we're performing to an audience,’ he continues, ’so it certainly wouldn't be self-indulgent Surrealism. It'd be the use of an image to add to the general thrust of the thing.’

Now happily resident in Dublin, McLennan doesn't always present these ‘verbal pictures' of his former homes with much fondness. 'The thrust in my work is to upset this apple cart of normality. So that runs through the pieces, especially in the Belfast one, because it is very much a tribal village mentality there, and they can't handle anything that's different, so you have to be normal. And what is accepted as normal there - that twisted logic is really quite frightening.‘ (Alastair Mabbott)

I Urban Minefie/ds (Fringe) Oscar McLennan, Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550,

8-23 Aug, 2.40pm, £6/f 7 (£4).