Edinburgh: Theatre Workshop, Thu 4—Sun 7 Jun

So, what’s the common ground between the peOple of Edinburgh and James Connolly, the turn-of-the- century Irish diSSident, executed in Dublin after the Easter Rising? Well, you may already know that he was born here of Irish immigrant parents 130 years ago, but Robert Rae writer/director of a community show about Connolly for Theatre Workshop sees a more timely conection,

’The reason for looking at Connolly now is because of the situation in Scotland now, With Scotland moving towards being an independent state,’ he says Rae’s production Jimmy C has had an interesting side-effect: a political awakening Within the 80 Stockbridge community members who are involved And JUSI in time too, Rae reckons —‘ many of the big issues in Scottish politics simply aren’t being discussed. 'Instead there’s the politics of internal Labour selection committees. Somehow the debate isn't raging Out there.’

jimmy C is a celebration of the Irish Socialist Republican leader, whom women liked for his non-threatening ways. Rae chose a ballad form, because the verses fit so well the phases in Connolly’s life, and because it gives access to lots of cracking Irish mUSlC.

The show’s aim has been to make the Easter Rising and events leading up to


Community spirit: Robert Rae directs fimmyC

it feel ordinary, because ordinary people were involved. ’In a way Connolly spent his whole life telling people, “you can do it, you can do it",’ says Rae. ”’If you don’t like what's happening, do something about changing it."’

Community theatre is a life-changing experience, which proves that there’s life after telly, Rae believes. ’It’s helped Theatre Workshop become a place where ordinary peOple can get involved, and work with some of the best practitioners around,’ he says. 'It stops theatre being a bunch of inward- looking luvwes' (Gabe Stewart)

Punchy dialogue: the 'Ianguage fist' of Ashes To Ashes


Glasgow: Tron Theatre, Tue Z—Sat 6 Jun Few writers revel in the qunks and nuances of English like Harold Pinter. It's Surprismg, therefore, to discover that Holland’s leading theatre company speCIalises in performing Pinter in translation.

During the past decade, Amsterdam- based Toneelgroep has presented six of Pinter’s plays ~ an almost obsesswe repertoire. 'It’s my age,’ explains director Titus Mtiizelaar. ‘I’m 49 years old, and the moment I started to be interested in theatre was the time of the early Pinters. The Dumb Waiter, The Caretaker and plays like that attracted me to theatre.‘

Recently, Moizelaar's devotion was rewarded: ’When [Pinter] wrote Moonlight and Ashes To Ashes he immediately sent them to us. I loved both plays and I directed them.’

On its UK debut, Toneelgroep presents Ashes To Ashes (in Dutch With

surtitles) alongside Buff, written and directed by Gerardiin Riinders. Created in 1991, Buff centres on a critic who bemoans the lack of drama in the theatre while ignoring the domestic crisis overwhelming his Wife and son, The show has been acclaimed all over Europe. ’We love to play Buff,’ says Moizelaar, who acts in it. ’There is no escape in the performance you have to Jump over the cliff.’

Pinter forbids presentation of the two plays as a double-bill. ‘It’s very interesting to put them together,’ insists Moizelaar nonetheless 'It shows two sides of maybe the same thinking, but it's a bumping kind of meeting. Buff is extremely physical and Violent: and Ashes To Ashes extremely Silent. There is a minimum of movement, but it’s very concentrated and severe, It’s a language fist, a fist of thought.’

Buff is performed after Ashes To Ashes in the bar: take some Dutch courage and watch them slug it out. (Andrew Burnet)

new shows THEATRE


Glasgow: Tramway, Fri 29 & Sat 30 May

lt’s goirky, it's queer and it's here. Based in Manchester, Queer Up North is a biennial festival established in 1992, and has become the biggest gay arts festival in Europe. ’Nothing like that really eXisted,’ explains festival director Gavin Barlowe. 'We wanted to bring different artforms together and put them under a banner.’ visiting Glasgow for the first time, Queer Up North brings Mestiza, a multi-media dance piece by New York's Julie Tolentino, plus cLUB bENT, a cabaret variety show.

cLUB bENT first emerged at Sydney’s camptastic Mardi Gras, and this year’s bulging package includes four Australian performers, alongside four British artists and a double-act from New York, Among those appearing are drag country ’n' western singer Tina C (famous for her song ’Is My Ring Too Tight For Your Finger7’), Jeremy Robbins, who splashes his way through the incredible bathtub routine Slippery When Wet (seen at the 1996 Edinburgh Fringe) and a new piece, plus Manchester’s own Divme DaVid, described by Barlowe as 'a surreal alternative cabaret act’ Sure to put the gaiety into gay. (Andrew Burnet)


Walking on glass: cLUB bEN’t

I Theatre Company, is riddled With

FOOTBALL COMEDY An Evening With Gary Lineker

East Kilbride: Arts Centre, Fri 26—Sun 28 Jun.

When it comes to football, there are more metaphors for life than you can shake an assistant ref's flag at. Arthur Smith’s comedy An Evening With Gary Lineker, revamped by Rapture

them. 'It’s a good play for women because it shows up the sadness behind men who get so involved in football to the exclusion of relationships,' explains Michael Ernans, director of both the play and the company.

The backdrop of ltalia 90, the moment when football started to appeal to social as well as soccer commentators, is the setting for life and love as England strive for world domination. ’The female character fantaSises about haVing the perfect man in this case Gary Lineker,’ notes Emans. ’He has nice legs and a nice smile. And the men have the fantasy that they’re gOing to Win the World Cup so they all want Gary Lineker to go all the way,’ Fantasy football, indeed.

(Brian Donaldson)

He scripts, he scores: playwright Arthur Smith

HOSTAGE DRAMA Someone Who'll Watch Over Me

Glasgow: Arches Theatre, Tue 9—Sat

13 Jun An Englishman, and Irishman and an

American are locked up together, ’It sounds like a Joke,’ admits director Kate Wooldridge 'Actually it’s deadly serious, but it’s one of the funniest things I’ve ever read.’

The play is Frank McGUinness’s Someone Who’// Watch Over Me, based on Brian Keenan’s account of being held as a hostage in Lebanon McGumness was anxious that his play should have Keenan's approval, but need not have worried. '[lt] made me choke and cry and laugh and hold myself,’ was Keenan’s response. This production is also endorsed by the human rights group Amnesty International, and Will help boost its current campaign to pressure the United Nations into enforcmg the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

This Will be the debut production for Wooldridge's Glasgow-based Company Theatre, which she co-founded With actor Stephen McCreadie, who plays the Irish character. 'It’s perfect for the Arches,’ enthuses Wooldridge. ’All that stone and brick is perfect for a cell in Lebanon.’ (Andrew Burnet)

Cell mates: Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me

28 May— it Jun 1998 THE UST59