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MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS
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THE VILLAGE THEATRE East Kilbride Thursday 6th to Saturday 8th November Tickets £8.5()/£5.00 Tel 248669
80 THE LIST 23 Oct-6 Nov 1997
MUSICAL THEATRE Cat Man's Tale
Edinburgh: Traverse Theatre, Wed 5 & Thu 6 Nov.
'Opera Circus has a commitment to not just stand there and measure fish,’ says Peta Lily. As director of the company’s new touring production, she is describing her opposition to the traditional opera singer's movement of arms without body. Cat Man’s Tale promises the skills of physical theatre and the harmonies of opera. A four- perforrner piece, it is entirely sung, with libretto by David Harrower (whose play Knives in Hens has had two acclaimed productions at the Traverse) and music by Scots composer Alasdair Nicolson.
l—larrower's adaptation of a shon stony by Erica Wagner tells of a young priest, Leo, who falls in Tove with a Circus performer. He is drawn into the world of circus by Lena and an ageing lion- tamer called Rufus, who is losing his grip. Leo, also slipping as he moves toward LOTISClOUS'TQSS of sin, begins to
Clown in the mouth: Carole Irvine and Bruce Evans in Cat Man's Tale
think of replacing Rufus.
'Erica Wagner was very pleased with it, completely taken. She said she'd never seen anything like it,’ says Lily. 'lt's about the ritualistic and religious element of the circus. That's reflected in this very potent and condensed language that David Harrower uses. There's a lot of quick edits between these sequences, so that the physical theatre works like a film. Alasdair Nicolson says it works like the Rite Of Spring, wrth its underlying magic, and this story of the new king replacing the old.’
For all the evocation of magic and myth, the action takes in some contemporary issues. The idea of guilt, particularly sexual guilt, is at the centre of Maria and Leo’s relationship, and there- is something to say here about the perception of women. 'Rufus is in denial,’ explains Lily, ’while Maria is in torment - someone excluded from religious ritual as women often are. She comes a sense of blame for other peepies' siri, as semenmes happens to wornen.’ (Steve Cramer)
STUDENT EXPERIMENTS Lunchtimes Edinburgh: Bedlam Theatre, Weds until 3 Dec. 'MOre than 50% of our audiences are entitled to concessions, which indicates that a lot of people who come here are students; but there‘s still a large number of other people in our audience ' So says Christabel Anderson, president of Edinburgh University theatre company. This year the company 78 keen to encourage an outside audience to its home at the Bedlam Theatre, Wllh a programme of lunchtime performances every Wednesday. As we" as new plays, the programme offers revivals including Gogol's The Marriage and Pinter's The Lover
Gulia lnnocenti, lirector of the The Marriage. promises new approaches. ’lt’s not your average stuffy l9th century play,’ she argues. ’lt's very modern and valid to today, a farce that
can be adapted to modern times.’ Of Pinter’s tale of suburban repressron, The Lover, (go-director Ben Lewis says, 'We're gomg to play up the sexual side of it, since it’s a very sexy play to start with If you play it fairly straight, it's so much more shocking to see this fairly staid, middle-class couple getting into all these strange rituals!
Among the new plays on offer are Chris Rolls" By Any Other Name, a touching play which deals With an elderly man reflecting on life and relationships in a room full of ’get well‘ flowers and Nick Hastings Musical Chairs, a menage a trots of iealouSy and greed, focussing on the coming of age of a young muucian
So it you thought that student theatre was peopled by a bunch of Old-Etoriiaii l‘iair-flit‘kei‘s, give it anothei chance Last year great achievements were made on a perilous budget, and this year even better things are hoped for. (Steve Cramer)