Tales From A Traveller

What have I achieved? Is it all worth it? Such questions have troubled us all.

The threat of death, however, makes such soul-searching more urgent in this first Fringe offering by Dutch Company Les Enfants Terribles.

The central character in Tales From A Traveller, an immortal on his 500th birthday, must choose whether to go on living. Writer-performer Erwin Kokkelkoren and production manager Bert Oele have no such luxury both have full blown Aids.

But the play is not relentlessly dark' ’The audience share my character’s exuberant birthday celebrations,’ says Kokkelkoren.

Tales From A Travel/er is possibly the most poignant first on the Fringe this year. It is only thanks to new anti-Aids drug cocktails that Kokkelkoren can perform In Edinburgh. He is a man who knows his priorities.

’Theatre is a passion, and as for the disease, it is only as big as yOu allow it to be,’ he concludes.

(Stephen Naysmith)

I Tales From A Travel/er (Fringe) The Famous Grouse House (Venue 34) 220 5606, 9-78 Aug, 5. 75pm, £7 (£5).


Hovis Presley: Wherever I Lay My Hat . . .That's My Hat

There are two ways of catching a glimpse of HoVIs Presley this festival. Either by seeing his 97 show Wherever /[.c7y Hat. . . That/5 Hal 0r, IQSS conventionally, popping up to the Meadows to watch him gallop around With a ball at his feet. The former Will give you an appreciation of a droll Boltonian whose poetic style and substance has led to ineVItable comparisons With John Cooper Clarke. 'It would be foolish to copy directly what ne does and he'd probably agree With that,’ ponders Presley. ’I like to think that I've got my own style.‘

And that laconic style is brought to bear through a range of subjects this year. 'Football gets mentioned,’ offers the Wanderer. ’Unrequited love seems

Watch your mouth: Tales From A Traveller

to occur quite a bit. Food Crops up.’ And at the end of the day, we’ll all be over the moon if the boy does good. (Brian Donaldson)

I Hovis Presley: Wherever I Lay My Hat . . . That’s My Hat (Fringe) The Stand Comedy Club (Venue 9) 220 7550, 8—24 Aug, 4pm, £4 (£3).

THEATRE PREVIEW Ssshhh . . . !

Princesses, handsome heroes and happy ever afters why can’t real life be more like fairy tales? But, unlike such glitzy Hollywood mowe versions, the Hong Kong Youth Arts Festival focuses on the moral role of classic kid’s yarns.

Weaving together The Frog Prince, Rumpe/sti/tskin and The Emperor’s New Clothes, HKYAF have created Ssshhh . . . 1. Far from being a grown- up rant, the emphasis is on fun in this exuberant physical theatre piece.

’When approaching theatre for young people, many people are very patronising, and I was determined not to be,’ claims Lindsey McAIister, who has scooped an MBE in her capacity as founder/director of the ground- breaking HKYAF.

Meanwhile, the morals of the story run along the lines of ’a promise is a promise’ and ’don't let your vanity rule you’. Pretty fundamental stuff, but rules that often go out the Window in adulthood. (Claire Prentice)

I Ssshhh . . . I (Fringe) Hong Kong Youth Arts Festival, The Famous Grouse House (Venue 34) 220 5606, 8—l7Aug, 3.30pm, £4.50 (£3.50).


Imagine the ancient world of the 6th century, put it into the hands of an excellent writer like Iain Crichton Smith and you Will have a powerful tale.

Columcille, performed by the award- winning Stray Theatre Company, is Crichton Smith’s latest creation. Illustrating the life of Saint Columba, the Irish Prince turned monk who brought Christianity to much of Scotland, the piece touched many audiences in various atmospheric venues on its recent tour of the Highlands and Islands.

With movement, harmonic singing and original music from the era, Columcil/e promises to be quite a theatrical event. ’The show features an 8th century bell and the authentic sounds of a Pictish horn blown through a sheep's head,’ explains director Alisdair McCrone.

At times Violent and emotional, th0ugh not lacking in humour, the story clearly focuses on the Spirituality of Columba’s story. ’lt is about his own personal journey,’ says McCrone, ’I expect the audience to go away feeling moved.’ (Sarah Crawford)

I Columcil/e (Fringe) The Famous Grouse House (Venue 34) 220 5606, until 77Aug, 5.30pm, £7 (£5).

COMEDY PREVIEW Excavating Rita

‘I think I must be mad. I always come up and say I must remember not to‘do that again but every year I practically kill myself.’

Richard Herring is not talking about wrestling with bears or leaping bound, gagged and blindfolded from a speeding locomotive but his unquenchable desire to be involved in more than one Fringe production, .

every year.

‘Stewart (Lee) and myself use Edinburgh to try things out,’ he says. 'I'm never interested in coming up with a show I've been working on all year.’

For 97, he is appearing with fellow fun fister Lee in This Morning With Richard Not Judy as well as writing Excavating Rita, a black comedy about ‘love, death and archaeology,’ and ‘mung beans . . . and underarm hair'. Seven archaeologists chance upon the grave of a once-young Saxon woman leading to all manner of gruesome happenings.

‘Personal experience? 'About twelve years ago, I went on archaeological digs, so it's kind of about that, but it's more about the relationships of the people on the dig, rather than about archaeology,‘ indicates Herring. 'lt's comedy but it's quite gruesome. It’s about death as well. So there's some

death in it.’ (Brian Donaldson)

I Excavating Rita (Fringe) Richard Herring, The Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550, 8—30 Aug (not 12, 26) 3.30pm, £8/f8.50 (f 7/£ 7. 50).

THEATRE PREVIEW fecund Theatre's 27

Gone are the days when theatre companies could pull a crowd With nothing more than some bloke In black tights and too much slap clutching a skull and yelling about his childhood. Today's media-literate, club-cultured audience want more, and fecund Theatre are ready to give It to them.

Their new piece 27 - commissioned by Glasgow’s Tramway and receIVIng its premiere in Edinburgh combines physical theatre With traditional narrative, Video technology, animated vocal effects, and an ultra-modern soundtrack by dance-scene darlings Spooky. '

27, written by John Keates, is a personal retrospective of social change between 1968 and 1996. Dealing With fragmented memory, it explores the forces which shape an indiwdual.

The company utilises modern techniques and technology to create ImmediaCy for audiences In the cyber-age.

’We wanted to evolve a grammar for our times,' explains John Keates. ’We don't deal in popular culture trIVIally. We use it to make serious pomts.‘ (Peter Ross)

I fecund Theatre’s 27 (Fringe) fecund Theatre, Theatre Workshop (Venue 20) 226 5425, 77-25 Aug (not 77) 3.45pm, [6/[4


Close To You

Seen at Battersea Arts Centre, London on Sat Jul 26.** it

New Zealander Raelene Heslop is a 705 child, with passions for crimplene, polyester and the glorious MOR music of Karen and Richard Carpenter. Embodied by kinky-locked actress Sarah Davison, Raelene is our chipper, kitschin-clad guide on a descent into retro-madness.

More arch than outright funny, Stella Duffy’s script is a slightly sinister send-up of the havoc caused by a deranged fan’s dysfunctional roots. But it’s Davison’s talent we care about, not Raelene's increasmgly ridiculous dementia. Her faCIlity for characterisations of cartoon- like accuracy, plus her spot-on imitation of Karen’s warm contralto, compensate for the show’s lack of emotional sting. (Paulo Post)

I Close To You (Fringe) Sarah Davison, Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428, 9—30 Aug (not 77, 78, 26) 4.25pm,

f 7. 50/[ 8. 50 (f 6. 50/£ 7. 50). Preview show, 8 Aug, £5.


* t it t * Unmissable

i: ilr it it Very ood

* t * Wort seeing

it 1* Below average

it You've been warned

8—14 Aug i997 THEUSN?