Edinburgh: Traverse Theatre, until Sat 20 Dec. a as e

Greta is a bachelor of indeterminate age, a sad, decaying figure who keeps up appearances With a flamboyant wardrobe and a wee dod of make-up. His claims to have once owned a fashionable Chelsea boutigue have as much foundation as a well-cleansed face, but a sensitive man needs his sense of glamour When Greta was a wee boy called Davre, no one paid him any attention Big brother John became a fisherman, while their mother went to work, leavrng Greta at home With the housework and his fantasies

Now he's stuck With a mother left bedridden, incontinent and speechless by a stroke For five years, she's tormented him, banging on the wall for attention, pleading silently for release Greta's had more than he can take Other family members - an embittered sister-in-law, an ambitious niece ~ have their own reasons to want rid of her, but no one has the guts to do her in

James Duthie's play tackles the uncomfortable and increasingly topical issue of euthanasia in a skittish, rather rnelodrariiatic way The grim, unglarnorousrealities long-term infirrriity on one hand, grinding mil in the fish Industry on the other are painted convrnc ingly and ec'c‘mornrcally

Eisi‘ioiicciiiiar Jesus, My Boy

Glasgow: Old Athenaeum, until sat 20 ~53... 3*

Parenthood isn't easy, surrogate paternity even harder Add diVinity to the gene pool and there’s trouble ahead This monologue, written by former standup comic John Dowre (who originally performed it himself) tells the normally unheard story of Joseph, stepfather to the Messiah, in his own words

Tom Conti returns to his alrna mater, the former RSAMD building, to perform this Scottish Youth Theatre

Family man: Tom Conti as Joseph in Jesus. My Boy

58THE LIST 19 Dec 1997—8 Jan l998

Unhappy families: Louise Ludgate and Russell Hunter in Greta

Each character reveals petty misdemeanours, and one Winds tip committing a serious, if predictable, crime.

But the central intrigue -~ in this drama laced With morbid humour -- is the inner crisis of the central character Russell Hunter’s years in panto serve him well With Greta's prissy campery, at times he conveys the weary bitterness of a man struggling ~ like many of today's middle-aged sons and daughters -- to cope With a carer's responsibilities But the agoiiising conflict between compassion and resentment, dignity and frustration raging below that rouged skin - that's what we want to know about, and here Hunter, Duthie and director John Tiffany don't fully deliver (Andrew Burnet)

benefit prior to a West End transfer It's a lovrngly told interpretation which makes excellent use of Conti's rich v0ice and lovable, shambling waiinth Dowre's Joseph is emotionally damaged and resigned to his lack of sophistication, but not devoid of sly humour Conti assumes a knowing, communicative manner that rapidly inVites the audience into Joseph's world His ancestry might be Italian, but he can play the wry Jew with all the Chutzpah of Wooch Allen

But the real star of this show is the script Scholarly, deeply poignant and Wickedly funny, it explorts a late-20th century sensibility to carve out an authentic portrayal of a lst century man a man With all the aspirations, disappOintments and petty vanities of a real human being Lamenting his depiction in natrvrty scenes as a sexually inert geriatric, he remarks, 'I may not know much about art, but I know What I’m like’ one of several splendid moments of wordplay

Later, he evokes a deeper strain of pathos, reflecting on the appalling statistic of 2000 Jews exeCLited by the Romans, Without havrng to spell out the Holocaust resonance, describing the dreadful cruelty of crucifiXion, expressing his sympathy for the gnevrng parents of Judas lscariot

Finally, Jesus, My 80y is an unusual hybrid Sympathetic to Christianity yet far from proselytising, intellectually rigorous yet easily accessible, simply staged but multi-layered; full of light humour and deep pain. It is, in short, a triumph of contrasts. (Andrew Burnet)


panto reviews


Glasgow: King's Theatre, until Sat 17 Jan.

Gerard Kelly, Elaine C Smith, Dave Anderson and other usual suspects remain faithful to the basic. Aladdin story With the usual lengthy Wishy- Washy diversions, unintentionally hilarious Oriental dance routines and all the stock panto elements. The Spice Girls bef‘ld‘l”) is passable but Smith’s version of 'Barbie \‘Vorld', retitled 'Twankey World', was inspired iii its

silliness 'Ciu'rie -)/l lanai/ricerr i’et's do /auricfr, "

magic and adventure slapstick and him kabout

Jokes and tapes '2 love and rornanc e

srnut and innuendo t baddies and boundeis '2 celebs and soap stars s top tunes _i singalongs .i sweetie showers '2

glit/, glamour and p/azx

Kids and adults alike wrll respond to the usual overall high standard from the King's with its lavrsh costumes and inventive sets, but there's only a handful of genius iiioinents

(Fiona Shepherdl

Cinderella Paisley Arts Centre, until Wed 3i Dec.

Until Prince ( “ia'rnrn'; gets hitched, the land is ruled by l‘l‘s wit ked stepmother the Duchess \.'.ho, in a rnove reminiscent of the Kevrn Bacon 'c lassic' Footloose, has outlawed singing and danc ing h'leanwliile, across town, Cinderella skrvvres for her two Spice Girls-esgue sisters Will the Prior e and Cindy get it together in tune for a climactic show tune“


, n. 1 17', " . = I-‘_‘.‘ K/ a I H ,n; ~. '3

Sweet 'n' sour: Elaine C. Smith and Gerard Kelly in Aladdin at the King's, Glasgow

magic and adventure ? slapstick and knockabout ‘.> jokes and rapes 3 love and romance -‘ sriiut and innuendo

baddies and bounders '3

celebs and soap stars top tunes

singalongs ,weetie showers '9 glitx, glamour and man i

Prince Charming comes across like Joe from EastEricfers tall floppy fringe and deniinl, but Ciricferel/a is about song 'n' dance not acting Go for 'Spice Up Your Life', not the appalling gags 'Peier Rcissl

Mother Goose Edinburgh: Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh, until 3 Jan. c

The tale of the goose With the Midas butt sees soc ial (illllilf‘l Mother (ioose ditc h her morals and her mates in favour of youth, beatin and ll( hes {who wouldn't7"l But the di/xy fairy is at hand to dispense soine worldly wiscloiii and Cupid's bow is ultimately set to congiier all bleugh' l.leanwhi!e, Lawue Mc Nicol as a catsuit-cladded Mel B upstages the villari in the scary stakes

magic and adventure

slapstick and knockaliout I iokes and rapes

love and rornanc e

srntit and innuendo .t baddies and liouiicleis

celebs and soap stars 1 top tunes

s;riga|origs i ‘;‘.'.’(‘(‘ll(‘ shinniers % r;lit/, glamour and p/ai'.’ :‘

Panto at its poppiest, With references to Bob Dylan and the current icons Teletubbies, Agua and the Spice posse, of course But it's audience participation a-go‘go which helps bolster a meandering yarn

rClaire Prenticer

1 i .