FESTIVAL 9am 1pm


The little Mermaid

** *

This solemn Little Mermaid bears no similarity to the saccharine Disney version. These mermaids are cruel creatures who fit in well in this dark and tragic tale of pain and loss.

Slow to start, but eventually engaging, the poetic language is better suited for seven year olds. Cast movement and imaginative costumes work well. Comic ship's hands, sharks and a forgetful swordfish provide light relief.

Tough nuts will consider it worth seeing, if for no other reason than to introduce the little darlings to the harsher realities of love and regret, loyalty and sacrifice. (Gabe Stewart) I The Little Mermaid (Fringe) C Theatre, C (Venue 79) 225 5105, until 30 Aug, 11.30am, £5 (£3/f4).

COMEDY REVIEW This Morning With Richard

Not Judy II

t 1k it

There's a thin line between off the cuff comedy and a half-arsed show. Richard Herring and Stewart Lee straddle the divide. Spoofing the morning chat show format, they blether about the news, talk about themselves and explain just how much money they lose every time they do the Fringe. A spot of audience participation takes the place of the chat show phone-in.

Now unfortunately, you can’t polish improvisation but you can make it slicker. This show is like sitting down the pub with your mates shooting the breeze. It's warm, comfortable and you'll have a laugh. No more, no less. (Jonathan Trew)

I This Morning With Richard Not Judy II (Fringe) Richard Herring and Stewart Lee, P/easance (Venue 33) 556 6550, until 30 Aug, 72.30pm, £8/f8.50

(f 7/f 7. 50).

THEATRE REVIEW Behind The Aquarium At The

Last Pizza Show

* *1 *

Dilemma: married Graham just wants to be mates, with sex, and Gary just wants to meet Mr Right. Neither wants to 'get involved'. lnevitably, they fall in love and resort to secret dinners behind the aquarium at the Last Pizza Show restaurant.

The sparkling dialogue and performances poignantly convey the cost of living two lives, neither one properly, as we head for a will-they- won’t-they climax.

Warm and funny, bitter-sweet and tender, this 1996 Fringe First winner deserves to be a big hit. (Gabe Stewart)

I Behind The Aquarium At The Last Pizza Show (Fringe) Bradford Playhouse Touring Company Gilded Balloon (Venue 38) 2262757, 74, i6, 78, 20, 22 Aug, 72.30pm, £6 (£5).

Unbridled nostalgia with Pooh

Broolrie's Maurice Bessman


Known to many as the Brookside writer, Maurice Bessman has no intention of letting such associations limit his talent. In 1996 he founded Nyeusi. Liverpool's first black theatre company. 'I felt there was a need for young black actors to perform in roles other than the stereotypical black roles they are generally offered.’ For Bessman, theatre not only offers a forum for storytelling ‘with which anyone can identify’. but also the kind of artistic freedom that cannot be achieved in writing for television.

'Very black at times, but also very funny,’ is how Bessman describes Cleo. The play traces the life of a woman who has been through the care system. In her search for love and security she lurches from one self-destructive act to the next until finally she looks to herself, realising only she can take control of her own life. Bessman clearly has a great understanding of his subject matter, having worked as a nurse in care units. 'I do not agree with the culture of perpetrator as victim', he says. ’You have to take responsibility for your life. This is what Cleo does. It‘s a brave and very moving act.’ (Robin James)

I Cleo (Fringe) Nyeusi, Theatre Workshop (Venue 20) 226 5425, Aug 18-24, 70. 15am, £4.50 (£2.50).


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KIDS REVIEW and giggle helplessly at poor nervous

A. A. Milne's Winnie The P'g'?‘- , , , ,

P h Bring your childhood imagination and 00 enjoy an hour of unbridled nostalgia.

1k int * (Gabe Stewart)

I A. A. Milne’s Winnie The Pooh (Fringe) Richard Medrington ’s Puppets, Netherbow (Venue 30) 556 9579, until 30 Aug (not Suns) 72.45pm, £3

The audience are a bunch of naughty children found in Christopher Robin’s bedroom in a mega sleepover, but we promise to go to sleep, once we've

heard a story. (£2.50). In a style reminiscent of Alan Bennet, STAR RATINGS Richard Medrington captures the * * ,1 * 1, Unmissab'e charming nostalgia of A. A. Milne. The * iii Very ood audience empathise with Eeyore, and in \élvort seeing _ * it e ow avera e Sing along With the little brained bear, * You,ve beengwamed i I i i 1 i . , q j . j ‘_ Importers of Mexrcan f » ~ ' , Fine Jewellery & B m , 3 , I Hand Crafted . i i Accessories i i Q, - , 56 HIGH STREET ‘3 . ROYAL MILE

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Tel: 0131 557 9553 Open 7 Day