THEATRE PREVIEW The Beaux' Stratagem
Combining physical theatre, puppetry and masks, this dark tale of sex, death and . . . er, football (well it is Brazil) is something of an obsessive act in its own right. Inspired by Brazil’s first modern playwright Nelson Rodrigues, it’s a hallowed tribute to a man seen as both sinner and saint.
For Pia Fraus, he’s the latter, revered for dragging theatre away from its right wing vaudeville roots into raw reality.
For a group so gone on a guy who's penned umpteen novels and plays though, this is a show of suprisingly few words.
’It is,’ say Pia Fraus of the power of puppet animation, 'the link between reality and imagination. It is the theatre of the in-between.’ (Ellie Carr)
I Flor De Obsessao (Fringe) Pia Fraus Theatre Company, Continental Shift at St Bride’s (Venue 62) 346 1405, 78—23 Aug, 2pm, £5 (£3).
Two likely lads roger their way through the provinces in The Beaux’ Stratagem
Strut and Fret return for their third successwe Fringe with a revival of Farquhar’s, The Beaux’ Stratagem, a show which will hold much interest for those of the 60s generation and teeny- bopper adherents of its Current toothless reincarnation in the pop charts. Even for thirtysomethings in between, there is some interest in the production's paralleling of 605 culture and that of the newly-liberated Restoration period. Daniel Wain explains that the 60s were ’the beginning of sexual liberation - people were able to let their hair down and be more free with the opposite sex'. Wain plays Archer, ’a likely lad', as he puts it, scheming to shag his way back to London from the provinces. He and his trendy mate, Aimwell, engage in a hornfest With the local lassies, only to find that all the nightmarish truisms about the zipless shag are true. Strut and Fret have recently received a Lottery grant, which Will no doubt improve the production values of an already high-quality company. (Steve Cramer)
I The Beaux’ Stratagem (Fringe) Strut 8 Fret, Moray House Theatre (Venue 167) 667 2272, 78—30 Aug (not 24) 2.20pm, £6 (£4).
Flor De Obsesséo
F/or De Obsessao is a tale of obsession. And we’re not talking kit cars or stamp collecting. Bra2il’s Pia Fraus Theatre Company’s prediliction is sex, with a little bit of death thrown in for good dramatic measure.
Bring Me Sunshine
It's the night of the longest day of the year. In a flat in Edinburgh’s Tollcross, a composer is dying of cancer and the lives of people connected to him weave in and out of his final work. Little interrelated vignettes of love, death, confrontation and teenage angst unfold — sometimes a shade tenuous, in a script that could probably stand a little tightening here and there — but there are some fine performances, particularly by the younger members of the cast and the charismatic, scarey down-and-out McLeish. (Alastair Mabbott)
I Bring Me Sunshine (Fringe) Rapsca/lion Productions, Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428, until 30 Aug, £8/£9. 50 (£7/£8. 50).
Grace is at that difficult age. On the brink of 30, and clucky as hell, but the blokes don't want to know. Fantasising in her bedroom, she’s visited by the stuff of housewives’ wet dreams — Chippendales, joiner, doctor, Mr Darcy — only to find out genetic engineering was what she craved all along. In an original and inventive production, the cast clown around like the Let’s
Grace: 30, clucky and dreaming of M Darcy 40 THE HST 15-21 Aug 1997
THEATRE PREVIEW Witches Abroad
Literary purists may groan at the mention of Terry Pratchett’s name, and complain that his immense success is way out of proportion to his talents, but there's no denying that the creator of Discworld can weave an amiable yarn. And rarely more than when he’s writing about the three witches Granny Weatherwax, Nanny 099 and Magrat Garlick. The Wotjacallem Players, from Andover, Specialise in adapting Pratchett's witty witch stories for the stage, with the author's full support. ‘He says that we have the definitive witches,’ claims actress and co-director Sarah Salholm.
Witches Ahmad is the second book in the trilogy, but the third that Wotjacallem have adapted, and they have kept the same central trio, which so impressed Pratchett, for each one: Salholm as Granny, Claire March as Nanny and lrana
lrana Brn asthe New Age Fairy Godmother Magrat in Terry Pratchett's Witches Abroad
Brown as Magrat. The company was founded by Salholm and Brown in 1994 as 'something to do’ and has succeeded far beyond anything they could
Since the last time the Wotjacallems took Pratchett to the stage, there has been an animated version of the first book, Wyrd Sisters, on Channel 4. Salholm has no idea whether their own theatrical efforts were the spur, but she knows which medium she prefers. ‘We watched that and thought it was better on stage in that, with the characters as cartoons, the humour comes across but it’s slightly flat. They may well have got the idea from us. People come from far and wide to see our plays in Andover.‘ (Alastair Mabbott)
I Witches Abroad (Fringe) Wotjacallem Players, Marco’s (Venue 98) 228 91 76,
17—23 Aug, 2pm, £6 (£5).
Pretend trio deIVing into the dressing- up box. But while a iazzed-up Bontempi soundtrack and off-the-cuff performance give the piece fluidity, it's too self-conscious and deVOid of any real substance. (Claire Prentice)
I Grace (Fringe) Jade Theatre Company, Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550, until 30 (not 79, 26) 2pm, £6.50/£7.50 (£5.50/£6 50).
On a rubbish tip somewhere in Guatemala, scavengers are SIIFTIFTQ. The twist, in director Rosanna Lowe’s production, which touches on Mayan myth, is that they’re all characterised as birds, the hummingbird arriVing among them to spread good Will that overcomes their indiVidual self-interest. With a few outbreaks of carnivalesgue perCUSSion and Spanish song amid the clucking and screeching, Hummingbirds has some nice characterisations and set-pieces. It lacks the kind of denouement that would make it a truly satisfying piece of theatre, but there are moments of humour and pathos which go a long way to redressing that. (Alastair Mabbott)
I Hummingbirds (Fringe) Cambridge ADC, Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550, 76, 78, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 30 Aug, 2.40pm, £7 (£5).
THEATRE PREVIEW Nine Lives, Ten Tales
'Oh, God, I sound like a right Whiney grt,‘ says Lil Warren, Cockney mouthpiece of Lippy, the nationwide collective who present this one-woman assault course through womanhood as seen through the eyes of Denise, a seemingly 'ordinary' woman.
'I wanted to write something about child abuse,’ says Warren, ’but writing it in isolation I couldn’t hack it. Then, the more l talked to people, the more aware I became of how it affects people throughout their Whole life, until the chain is broken.’
Despite the seriousness of the play's subject matter, Denise's story is laced with a streetwrse ribaldry Warren sees as common to women in the East End of London, Glasgow and Liverpool. ’The whole tone of the play,’ she says, 'is that life's a bag of shit, but if you keep a sense of humour about it you can get through.'(Neil Cooper)
I Nine Lives, Ten Tales (Fringe) Lippy, Gilded Balloon ll (Venue 36) 226 2757, 70-30 Aug, 2.45pm, £6 (£5).
STAR RATINGS * i t * 1E Unmissable t it t «k Very ood Av * * Wort seeing * * Below average * You’ve been warned