theatre - dance 0 comedy '
Coming up with the Goodes
Two shows by a company you probably haven’t heard of could be among the surprise hits of this year's Fringe. Say hello to the oddly named Weepie and Puckerlips.
The joy of the Fringe is that just when your palate has become jaded, you stumble across a show which dazzles your intellect and reawakens your senses.
Here are two: both Weepie (7? r i: r t) and Pucker/fps (at t it) by Limb demonstrate considerable writing talent combined with witty, enchanting staging.
Writer Chris Goode has received praise for earlier efforts at the Fringe. No wonder, for these two pieces are funny, moving, thought- provoking and sensational value for money. Pucker/fps is performed by Goode himself, ably supported by Thern Schmidt as the silent, ethereal ‘Barker'.
Any attempt to explain the plot would quickly end in frustration. It matters not that Goode's character, Keener, works for the Government ’department of millennial anxiety'. Nor that as the year 2000 approaches, alarming events call his scepticism into question. What matters is the writing, fizzing with the stuff of being.
Pucker/ips is an ode to life, full of striking imagery: 'The rain was cross-hatched, later becoming just scribble,’ Keener explains at one point. The effect is frequently moving, never strained.
The flights of whimsy are outrageous and some of the self-mocking theatrical stunts sail close to pretentiousness, but the overall effect is charming.
Of the two, Weepie is the more coherent drama, an audaciously engineered collision between two intriguing tales.
One is the true story of ex-public schoolboys turned murderers Richard Elsey and Jamie 'Petrel' Petrolini.
The other is the legend of medieval mystic Mary of Oignies, who had visions, wept uncontrollably and, apparently, picked up radio messages from the future. She is brought hilariously to life as a chat-show guest by Finlay Robertson, who also plays Petrel.
The chat-show sections are almost Pythonesque, while the claustrophobic exchanges between the murderers evoke Beckett as their blackly humorous, ultimately tragic relationship is exposed.
It would be wrong to suggest that either piece was flawless theatre, but just when you think 'oh, now they've spoilt it', Goode hauls you back from the brink with a captivating detail or a sliver of disarming wit.
The performances are hard to fault, and Goode is a writer of quite alarming confidence. Simply devastating. (Stephen Naysmith)
I Weepie (even dates) Pucker/ips (odd dates) (Fringe) Limb, Roman Eagle Lodge (Venue 27) 225 7226, until 30 Aug, 6. 20pm (Weepie) 6 . 30pm (Puckerlips) f 5 (E4).
Prufrock: Live! Let us go then, you and |
While TS. Eliot’s play The Cocktail Party packs them in at the King’s Theatre as part of the International Festival, a Fringe version of his much earlier, revolutionary poem ’The Love Song Of J. Alfred Prufrock’ looks set to be exciting and innovative.
Prufrock: Live! is a one-man take on this classic work of fragmented sometal Bookended by two readings, the show includes elements of theatre, character comedy from actor Andrew Saint-John. There Will also be live music performed on saxophone and
'We have created a shimmering jigsaw puzzle,’ enthuses artistic director Andrew Holmes. 'We don’t reduce the poem by explaining it
away. We unpack—all the different responses, emotions and reactions, giVing the show a poetry and richness all of its own.’
Prufrock: Live! is a homecoming for Empty Space Theatre Company, which won a Fringe First in 1984 With a verSion of F. Scott Fitzgerald's This Side Of Paradise. In the meantime, the company has only returned to the Fringe once, in 1986. Since then it has become established through extensive international touring. The new show emerged from two years of research and development work with theatre laboratory The Performance Project.
'The time is ripe to unleash Prulrock on the world,’ says Holmes. ‘This once Single-toned poem now explodes across the stage in a rich, high-energy mix of different styles.’
Should be a peach. (Peter Ross)
I Prufrock: Live! (Fringe) Empty Space, The P/easance (Venue 33) 556 6550, until 30 Aug, 6. 30pm, E 7/f 8 (E6/E7).
clowning, stand-up and
H it list Oh show me the way to the best teatime shows
Timeless Glasgow-based Suspect Culture's new piece about the passage of time and its effects on a group of friends. See feature, page 27. Timeless (International Festival) Suspect Culture, Gateway Theatre, 473 2000, 27—30 Aug, 7.30pm, £72. Anna Weiss The must-see theatre hit of this year's Fringe is a numbing drama about the terrifying implications of False Memory Syndrome. Anna Weiss (Fringe) Traverse Compnay, Traverse Theatre, 228 1404, until 30 Aug, times vaiy,
f 10 (£6).
Prufrock: Live! Theatre adaptation of TS. Eliot's much-loved early poem, set in Edwardian London. See preview, left, and Freeloaders, pages 5 & 7. The Cherry Orchard Beautifully mounted interpretation of Chekhov's great play, directed by the legendary Peter Stein. See Frontlines, page 8. The Cherry Orchard (/ntemationa/ Festival) Edinburgh Festival Theatre, 473 2000, 28—30 Aug, 7pm. f5—f25.
Weepie/Puckerlips Two cracking new plays on contemporary themes by Chris Goode, performed on alternating nights. ee review, left. .. . . . _
Elephant Wake Joey Tremblay's solo show for Canada's Catalyst Theatre brings the village idiot myth into a late 20th centUiy setting. See review on following pages. Elephant Wake (Fringe) Catalyst Theatre, Hill Street Theatre (Venue 47) 226 6522, until 30 Aug (not 26) 7.30pm, f6 (£5). The Coat Based on the Gogol classic, this warm and exhuberant performance is endlessly inventive and compelling. The Coat (Fringe) Credo Theatre, Demarco European Art Foundation (Venue 22) 558 7330, until 23 Aug, 7.45pm, £5 (£3). Tears Of Laughter NDT ill, the ’mature' branch of Nederlands Dans Theater, with a programme of five pieces by ace choreographer lirl Kylian. See Frontines, page 8. Tears Of Laughter (International Festival) NDT/Il, Edinburgh Playhouse, 28-30 Aug, 7.30pm, £5—f20.
22—28 Aug 1997 THE List 41