F Albertine, In Five Times Touring until Sat l4 Mar *iHr

Talking to herself: Una McLean and Hope Ross in Albertine, In Five Times

Michel Ti'emblay’s 1982 play is a study of one old woman's look back at the

trials and regrets of her life. This new

Scots translation by Bill Findlay and Martin Bowman received its premiere at the Tron Theatre, directed by John Binnie for Clyde Unity Theatre; and a warm reception was give to its cast Of respected Scottish actresses, including Eileen McCallum, Una McLean and Alisor‘. Peehles.

Five of the six players portray Albertine at different stages of her life. McLean kicks off proceedings as the 70-year-old 'Bartine’, newly installed in a nursing home and, possibly for the first time, openly assessing her life. Gradually she confronts and converses with herself at the ages of 30, 40, SO and 60 and with her ageless sister, Madeleine.

Despite adopting similar postures, the actresses are portraying five distinct personalities. At 30, Albertine is anxious, nervy and already needing to escape her situation with two troublesome children and a husband at war. By 40, she's an embittered widow, but her 50-year-old incarnation is relaxed and happy, having gained a new lease of life. We later discover she has cast off responsibility for her tearaway daughter and disturbed son, and that her insular 60-year-old self is on the verge of addiction to the tablets prescribed after her daughter's death.

The strong ensemble cast is more than equal to the job of convincing that this is one woman shaped as much by her own neurosis as by circumstances. Her stable, contented sister maintains that Albertine’s victim mentality is as much to blame for her unhappiness as the hardships she has endured. Ultimately, it is old Albertine who, with the benefit of hindsight, can bring about some resolution, dignity and peace of mind, neatly rounding off a modest emotional voyage (Fiona Shepherd)

I For tour dates, see page 68


Sabina! Touring until Fri 3Apr an *

Sandra Hamilton is bored of her huindrum little existence in a boring Scottish town. Inspired by the exotiosm of her friend Tereza, a Czech dissident in exrle, she decides to let her altei ego loose Enter exotic, impetuous double-agent Sabina.

What starts as a bit of harmless fun ineVitably gets complicated when Sabina becomes more Czech than Tereza and their landlord Matthew falls in love with her Set against a background of radio news from Prague, the sometimes farcical action is contrasted With news of genurne triumph of ideals over fear and repression

Chris Dolan's Sabina! has a great storyline and is a well crafted piece of drama that deserved its Fringe First at the I996 Edinburgh Festival. Jane Stabler gives a solid performance as Tereza, while Lorraine McGowan as Sandra and Vincent Friell as Matthew bflf‘l‘. m er With Vitality; but the interpretation of the characters is too exaggerated and less would be more.

The roles are demanding ones. Sabina herself must he believable all of the time rather than most of the time. Matthew must suspect Sabina IS a fraud but choOse not to confront her this suspension of disbelief is essential to his character and gets lost in the general slapstick. There are moments of genuine comedy, but the audience needs to understand the degree of disaffectioii the characters feel towards their real lives to experience the

Mask play: Lorraine McGowan and Vincent Friell in Sabina!

tension that drives the play.

You have to hand it to Borderline: the company reaches places where others fear to tread Without compromising professional standards Leslie Finlay's production will appeal to a wide audience and is a very good choice for the venues on the tour. Sixteen out of seventeen are in Scotland; the odd one out being a little place called London, squeezed in between Banchory and lnverness. (Stephanie Noblett)

I For tour dates see page 68.

STAR RATINGS * *- * * it Unmissable t * 1k * Very ood ii * air Wort a shot it * Below average * You’ve been warned

reviews THEATRE

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Summer Holiday Edinburgh Playhouse, until Sat 21 Feb **

Darren Day is the bachelor boy bus- driver in this reworking of the 1962 vehicle for Cliff Richard and The Shadows. The lightweight plot follows the exploits of four dim, hormonal pals and a bland all-girl band as they travel across the high spots of 605 Europe in a fetching red London bus.

Although the cod Cliff accent and t .

singing voice aren't far from his own, ,, ' 3...

Day is the antithesis of Richard f‘» .J-

lewd, qiiifiless and tiresomely red- .: $9-31.”. _' '- -- .. blooded The pieoBeatles, sex-free Day trippers: Darren and the boys innocence of the original is replaced

here by a lazy reliance on innuendo, swagger and smut.

Faded TV star Ross King guests as a pop PR guru and erttltusiasticailv :itugs his way thrOugh all the corniness on offer. But it's Day tire aridtc-r'ice loves, cheering and squealing as he scales new heights of narcissism.

Despite a plethora of polka dots and a trawl through every antiquated prejudice imaginable, the musical is strangely decade-less. rieitlier an imaginative update nor a homage to the 60s. This is cpitoiriiseil by the disappointingly utilitarian sets.

Ultimately, it’s the infectious tunes that carry the prOdUCIlOt‘i The final ined‘ir-y has pockets of the crowd dancing, as Day persuades all before him to

surrender to the songs’ undeniable charins. (Chris fiiialii


Blood Brothers

Edinburgh: King's Theatre, until Sat 21 Feb ‘k air it

Willy Russell’s much-lauded musical about the effects of deprivation and class division makes a slick and norsy visit to the King's.

A struggling mother is persuaded to give up one of her-twrri boys to her moneyed, childless employer The two brothers grow up on opposing sides of poverty and privilege, but form a sporadic and ulimately doomed bond.

In the hands of narrator Mike Dyer. Russell's intelligent, plot-stirring verse is rather iiriderit'nrietl h; Lia-at: of American rock-style crooning, contributing to an often brash anti err-:z-Jiouglq production. But when freed from this Meatloafash tendency, inert of the songs - particularly the rucurring ’Marilyn Monroe' and "st-ll tale It s No: Triie' - have a wrstful rousing charm. Paul Crosby as Mickey arid Tin» .C.-ii.'l";ijl Hive handle the difficult progression from sirecitty seve'i-year-aids estranged friends with depth and sensitivity.

Despite the musical’s sometimes gauche s:ri'ipli:iiy, the finaie llil'si touch even the most stony-hearted of sceptics, and the trace-prim it resieives convincingly proves that Blood Brothers's populism still imittadc-s the best packaging for a potent analysis of class. (Chris Small)

Separated at birth? Paul Crosby and Tom Fairfoot in Blood Brothers

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20 Feb—S Mar I998 THE IJST 85