6pm 8pm FESTIVAL


Knives In Hens

** *‘k

Right from the start, Knives In Hens is a slightly unsettling play. The audience is thrown straight in at the deep end, trying to fathom the relationships in what is the most bizarre of love triangles.

Power, knowledge and language collide and shift. The audience is never allowed to sit back and relax with the assurance that we‘ve ’got it’, and we are given deliberately few handles on the play. The dialogue is sparse and jagged; the set, lighting and sound similarly disorientating; and the performances are as provocatively austere as the setting.

This is a very Successful mood piece. (Ed Grenby)

I Knives ln Hens (Fringe) Traverse Theatre (Venue 75) 228 7404, until 30 Aug (not 25) times vary, £70 ([6).


Californian Poppy

* at

This new Scottish play is about a mother and two daughters who meet up to sort out their lives. The mother is dead, but hangs around onstage quite a lot as a heavy-handed sort of 'presence', cajoling the living and being sarcastic about them.

There are a laughable number of skeletons in cupboards (count ’em: homosexuality, marital violence, prostitution, incest, child abuse), and the dialogue is as clunking as the plot: it may be realistic, but is no less banal for that.

It’s staged without character, and not even the good performances from all three actresses can save this play. (Ed Grenby)

I Californian Poppy (Fringe) D. MG. Produc tions/Byre Theatre, St Andrews, Famous Grouse House (Venue 34) 220 5606, until 30 Aug (not 26) 7pm, £8 (£6).


****t Unmissable

i: A v: it Very ood

k t * Wort seeing

ii * Below average

tr You've been warned

6-31Auq 9]

(not Mondays) Leith Links. Edinburgh

..... 5....2 ‘1 {,“IQLI (as

It) i it I I( t, 2. if



Sub-Post Office Of Death

** t

Listeners to Radio Four’s The Masterson Inheritance will be pleased to see Spontaneous Combustion’s new show, which uses the same format, and carries it off nicely.

The five cast members each take an improvisational theme from the audience, performing within the plot- line of the hostage situation in the location of the title. Some very witty touches are provided by Phil Whelans as a paranoid farmer With a dysfunctional family and Niall Ashdown as a teacher with an implausible terrorist past and the mock-melodramatic format works well within its context. (Steve Cramer) I Sub-Post Office Of Death (Fringe) Spontaneous Combustion, Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428, until 30 Aug, 6pm, [7.50/f850 (£6.50/f750).

THEATRE REVIEW Heavy Breathing *

With a more conVIncIng cast, more disCIplined direction, and in a venue with decent Sight lines (one poor punter was stood craning for most of the show), Dylon Ritson’s multi-Iayered play might be worth seeing.

It certainly throws up some interesting ideas, although no sooner does it engage and arouse curiosny than yet another clumsy scene-change

fragments the flow. Despite the odd enjoyable moment, this filmic flop lacks focus.

Whatever Heavy Breathing has to say about the nature of cinema and real narratives get lost among the interminable comings and goings, mostly poor-quality acting and misjudged direction. As for the set design, it's criminally insane. (Gabe Stewart)

I Heavy Breathing (Fringe) Crazy Horse, C cubed (Venue 726) 225 5 705, unti/30 Aug, 7.45pm, f5 (f4).

THEATRE REVIEW Naked Wedding A ii at

If late-905 romance really is defined by a string of affairs in the hopeful search for Mr or Ms right, then Foursight Theatre have put their finger on a subject close to the bone for many.

When 'she’ meets 'him' at the Iaundrette, their hearts race, they twist and twirl into a self-consoous state of in-loveness, but this time it will be different or Will It?

This is a simple and poignant piece about ordinary clashes of the sexes, the bits of our hearts we can't open and the bottom drawers we don’t clear out. Inventiver staged, with strong physical performances from the duo, the banter provokes embarrassed titters of recognition from both sexes. (Tanya Stephan)

I Naked Wedding (Fringe) Foursight



Power, knowledge and language: Knives In Hens

Theatre, Theatre Workshop (Venue 34) 226 5425; until 23 Aug, 7. 75pm, £7. 50 (f 6)

THEATRE REVIEW Wumpa . . . An Adventure ‘k *

Oh dear, what a shame. Wumpa Woman’s well-meaning journey to self- discovery starts off too subtle for words and ends up tub-thumpineg obvious.

The members of Canadian trio full figure theatre company have undoubted physical and musical talent, and one of them's a Jamie Lee Curtis lookalike. But despite these advantages they drown under Wumpa's failings: too many narrative techniques and not enough focus.

Odd moments connect, but far too few. The final message is: women can - whatever it is. Despite the joy with which full figure convey this news, one suspects a trite Just Do It logo would have sufficed. (Gabe Stewart)

I Wumpa . . . An Adventure (Fringe) full figure theatre company Viewflo Centre (Venue 777) 229 7659, 27, 23, 26, 28 & 30 Aug, 7pm; 22, 25, 27 81 29 Aug, 6pm, £6 (£4)

COMEDY REVIEW Emotional Baggage a: * at

Cambridge University’s finest wits gather for this strangely uneven sketch-based show.

Initially an umbrella theme of travel is detectable, but this is gradually abandoned in favour of a trenchantly eclectic style. The performers' apparent intention to achieve a thoughtful, exploratory brand of humour succeeds only sporadically, although the ideas obviously stem from a bright source.

Ultimately only a few of the sketches including an excellent mime to the cream of television cop show themes - make a real impact, and after an hour the crowd are left wondering why they weren’t persuaded to laugh more. (Chris Small)

I Emotional Baggage (Fringe) Cambridge Foot/igh ts, The P/easance (Venue 33) 556 6550, until 30 Aug, 6pm, £7/f8 (£5/f6).

One of the most creative. the most deeply moving. shows of the season.


An apocalyptic whirlwind..a bright yellow sail. a black frock coat. a profusion of situations. charivari of images, Liberation

‘1‘ I; T" . v ‘\ m \‘ filo-f» / . " i i? \\'


£20 family ticket:

Full of new ideas, qrace, rhythm. perfectly executed by impeccable professionals. Le Monde

Im-s Thurs only: [‘8 concs

Dynamite! L‘Expl‘f’ss

Box ()”l(.(‘ on site open from

I adult 8. '2 children (I’B405,‘Htll(ll‘ntfi, kids. ()Al’s) midday until show starts.

22—28 Aug 1997 TIIE LIST 45