THEATRE festival reviews

as J.Alfred Prufrock

THEATRE REVIEW Prufrock: Live! * * i

This is nothing if not brave. Take one of the 20th century's best known poems (T S. Eliot's 'The Love Song Of JAIfred Prufrock'l, read It to the audience; deconstruct It as abstract performance art wrth live music,

references to Eliot's The Waste Land and apposite props; then recrte it again for good measure

There are moments of tender pathos, but solo actor Andrew Saint-John doesn’t quite carry the amorphous, almost wordless middle portion

though the motifs and images it presents do add poignancy to the concluding reCItal

Saint-John dares to eat a peach, bUt c0urage is not enough (Andrew Burnetl I Prufrock Live’ (Fringe) Empty Space Theatre Company, Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550, until 30 Aug, 6 30pm, £7/f8 ([6/[72


Miss Broadmoor Landlady To Thespians

* t

Miss Broadmoor has misunderstood Landlady to the tliesps -- almost exclusiveiy male she is convinced that

nuptials are In the offing With one of her guests. Unfortunately, she remains oblivious to the fact that Bertie, the object of her desire, is hard at it With fellow actor Mr Pratt. Things get a little dark for a while when the truth finally dawns, but a punchline is on hand. Penelope Solomon's solo performance is good but the material is a little sparse and stretched to its limits over 60 minutes. There are only so many crap double entendres you can handle before you start cursing the ghost of Sid James. (Brian Donaldson) I Miss Broadmoor Landlady To The Thespians, Laffa Jaffa (Fringe) P/easance (Venue 33) 556 6550, until 30 Aug, 6.45pm. £6.50/f750 (ES/£6).

THEATRE REVIEW The Merchant 0f Venice * ‘k i *

Edward Argent directs Shakespeare's tale of money, power and wrath With some panache, updating the production to a 90s context. Finlay McLean captures Shylock’s vengefulness nicely, providing a humanity which makes his irrationality plausible. Lewis Hancock‘s Bassanio is appropriately mannered in style, and doubles as Portia’s suitors wath some clever camp. As Portia, Katy Hale is nicely restrained, domg a solid line in cold fury, aSSIsted by Giovanna Mackenna’s Nerissa, an eye-catcher in a difficult minor role. The Siiits and Wine glasses of the sociare-mile set brings the play alive, so if yOu've got the money, see it r- if not, be careful who you borrow it from

(Steve Crarner)

I The Merchant 0/ Venice (Fringe) Prime Productions, Famous Grouse House (Venue 34) 220 5606, until 30 Aug, 2. 75pm, [6 ([4l


3 TheTownThatWentMad


A sort of Welsh Trainspotting for the theatre, Volcano Theatre's TheTownThatWentMad definitely has a depresSIng message The four main characters play out a range of roles from Anytown, iuial \'\I’a|es, ‘.'.'(‘ci‘.’lli() numerous themes into one i:lotline l‘i

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Taking the digs: Penelope Solomon as Miss Broadmoor

53 THELIST 29 Aug—ll Sep i997

is perhaps this aspect that makes the play difficult to follow' it skips from character to character, lacking the Substance to iump out and grab the audience

On the up-side, this does not prevent the producti0n entertaining on other levels The physical staging inesmerises, the \'~Jllly dialogue amuses, and the inventive use of props impresses ~- so much so that, when the final curtain comes down, you may find it difficult to accept its all over (Abigail BremnerI I TheTownTlmtlrt/enti'l/lad (Fringe) Volcano Theatre, Pleasanc'e (Venue 33) 556 6550, until 30 Aug (not 26) [7 50/69 50 ([4 50/[5l

THEATRE REVlEl‘.’ Suburbia

1r if 1r fir

Set In the paikino lot at a 7-Eleven

store somewhere In suhurhan USA, Eric.

(Talk RadioI Br1ic_ic>sian's analysis of Geneiation X is funny, tiaciic, lioirih'e and sad A set of hoozinci losers meet on a regular basis outside Norman Chaudiy's store, with nothinci better to do than deny that they have a futuie A couizie of bad apples have the oall to start dreaming of moving (It and .Iti-vitiih'e tei‘isI-pns a'vse

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cef.IEoI' Dave Johns - On The Edge

'Ladies and gentleieen, please ‘.'./elc'o'ne ME " shouts Dave Johns at tl=e start of the snow and he continues in. the same warm, good- natuied way for the next hour

The 40-year-old Geordie is just a nice, nonnal guy who's pretty funny, and his easy charm is miles away from the cultivated ordinary bloke persona of some comedy 'negastars His material

Dolls of the valley: Volcano Theatre in TheTownThatWentMad

is pretty good, but it's his sense of fun that stands out

He likes his audience anti his audience likes him He's not the most hilarious comedian on the Fringe, but he gets the warmest applause I've heard all month (Ed Grenhyl I Dave Johns ~ On The Edge (Fringm‘ GI/de l Balloon (Venue 81‘ 226 275 l, 29 8- 30 Aug, (0 75pm, [6 50 ([5 50" .

THEATRE REVIEW Rambling Sam The Dr Johnson Show

it t * Samuel Johnson, the 18th century poet, essayist, lexrc ooraphei' and wt, was an interesting literary colossus cannot quite I are; a whole hour's show

John Rainer's perfoi'ii'ianc e rs very watchable, and he makes an enel'ent rot) of fleshinci out Johnson s well- documented foibles ancl ltllti"\,‘,'l‘iclii‘i’c’\ His script, however, ineVItahly suffers )y c oiiipai‘Isoii with the hiiliiarit "his of the doctor hIII‘iself "I this 'Tilfllicl'i‘ of

chap, hut eve". this,

(lllOtl quotation and orzginal Iiiafenaz, Johnson's epithets shine out like :ierns l'l‘-.lii."l'l(i(](‘ has many pains, hut celibacy has no pleasures,’ for Iestaiv e- so the Test looks pale lohnson fans Will like this others \‘.’lll gust adiniie It (Ecl C‘ite'fi“. fl Ralph/Inc} Sam The T}! l.‘h:isije Snai'. (Fringel Souths/(lo (Cu/Lari:

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Uncle Sam: John Rainer as Dr Johnson

T fiATfRAfiN—GS '

* t r t t Unmissable

* ir 4r * Very good

i i it Worth a shot

it * Below average

* You’ve been warned j