theatre - dance 0 comedy 0 kids

ti-iEArRE PREVlEW Perfect Days



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In firm control of her hairdryer, Siobhan Redmond stars in Liz Lochhead's new play. Perfect Days. The play follows the good. and bad hair days of a glamorous thirtyosomething celebrity hairdresser. Barbs. From her lofty flat to her flashy salon. she would seem to have life at her fingertips - yet she just can't get the old biological dock off her minth‘s neither emotionally nor sexually possible, but nevertheless, she yearns for that baby.

Barbs finally learns ‘to live her days’. 'That's the important thing' says Liz Lochhead. 'lf you have bad hair days there must be other days that are perfect days. You don't have a perfect life. there are odd perfect days. more

like perfect moments.‘

Uz Lochhead is delighted to have found what she describes as a perfect title for her first truly romantic comedy. She wrote the play with Siobhan Redmond in mind. 'Sometimes you have people in mind and it doesn't matter‘whether they do them,’ she explains. 'And other times. like this. i really can‘t imagine anybody else but Siobhan doing the part. She's very very funny; very passionate, very vulnerable and very dever.’ (Robin James) a Perfect Days (Fringe) Traverse Theatre, (Venue 75) 228 1404, 15 Aug—5 Sep


(not 17, 24, 31) £72 (£7.50). Previews 7, 8, 11 Aug, 7pm, 12 Aug, 2pm, £7.50


Well, somebody has to write them. Obituaries, not plays. And just such a somebody, earning an honest crust pontificating over lives and deaths, is the focus of this drama by novelist and radio playwright Peter Tinniswood.

The good lady's been shut away for years in a labyrinthine newspaper office writing long hand obituaries. Finally she’s been computerised. Some small consolation comes in the form of being allowed to go out in style by writing the obituary of society hostess and pioneer aviator Dame Nina Plunkett.

’Peter Tinniswood writes some hilariously funny stuff,’ says award- winning actress Angela Pleasence, fresh from filming Cider with Rosie for Carlton TV. 'But it's not a laugh a line because there’s this other side when she talks about her life. That's the wonderful thing about Tinniswood,

44 TIIE “31' 6-13 Aug 1998

there’s this real sorrow underneath, as there always is in the best comedy.’ (Stephanie Noblett)

a The Last Obit (Fringe) Ange/a Pleasence, The Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550 9—31 Aug (not 17, 78) 2.50pm, f 7/£ 6 (f 6/£ 5). Preview 7—8 Aug £4.

THEATRE PREVIEW Nothing But Pleasure

After a gruelling eighteen month tour of Think No Evil of Us: My Life with Kenneth Williams (a 1996 Fringe First winner), David Benson is back with a brand new show.

Following up such a smash hit must have put him under intolerable pressure to come up with the goods. 'There could have been,’ he admits. 'This time I've gone into it not allowing myself to feel pressured, not to worry about awards or touring. I can’t wait to get going with something new, for my own benefit, as much as for the

audience's amusement.’

The actor/writer remains tight-Iipped about the new show. ‘All I’m saying is the central theme concerns a subject that could cause a certain amount of controversy . . . something very, very current. It's quite a dark show, but funny as well. And I’ll tell the audience why we're all going to die by the year 2000. I have a theory that nobody has been able to refute. I'll be happy for any member of the audience to tell me why I'm wrong. In fact I hope they will.’

Expect revelations. impressions, and musical numbers. ’l'm singing live with a piano player - David Benson Unplugged!’ (Scott Montgomery)

e Nothing But Pleasure (Fringe) David Benson, Observer Assembly (Venue 3) 226 2428, 8 Aug—5 Sep, 7.40pm,

f 9/£ 8 (f 8/f 7).


What do Dracula, Hitler, Pontius Pilate and The Archers have in common? They are all related to the legend that is Shylock, Shakespeare’s most controversial character.

Gareth Armstrong (who plays gay pub landlord Sean in Radio 4's The Archers) became fascinated with the history of Shylock whilst playing the role at Salisbury Theatre. His research expanded beyond the limits of the play and encompassed people and events from Biblical times, to World War II, to present day attitudes towards the man and Jews in general. 'It's a very organic piece,’ he explains. 'It evolves the more I learn about him.’

Whether or not you're familiar with The Merchant of Venice doesn’t really matter. Gareth Armstrong's compelling performance owes as much to his vast knowledge and passion, as his use of characters from both hist0ry and literature to recount Shylock’s 400- year-old history. Promises to be both provoking and perceptive. (Kirsty Knaggs)

a Shylock (Fringe) Guy Masterson Productions, Observer Assembly (Venue 3 ) 226 2428, 9 Aug-5 Sep (not 76, i7, 26) 77.30am, [9/158 (£8/f 7).

DANCE REVIEW 98.4% DNA - Being Human «see

This clever, two-person physical theatre extravaganza may be the best- researched show on the Fringe. Australian co-creators Teresa Blake and Daniel Witton (who founded their multi-disciplinary company in 1990) have taken as their central notion the fact that humans and pygmy chimps share a whopping 98.4% of the same genetic sequencing. In this piece, the physically and mentally dextrous pair leap far beyond this in order to probe our evolutionary past, present and future.

Call it tip-of-the-iceberg theatre- making. Whilst devising the show, Witton and Blake steeped themselves in a plethora of popular scientific theories, plus any short stories, poetry, films and such that might amplify their theme. All this background knowledge was then condensed and filtered through their bodies. 'We're in-put junkies,’ Witton confesses. 'If something is fired in us, we try to articulate that onstage. Here our source material was so massive we were compelled to find images that would resonate on many different levels.’

You might regard 98.4% as cosmic abstractions made flesh, or an acrobatic science lecture- demonstration involving movement, circus skills, texts and a complex sound design. As for the answer to the show's central question ’What is it to be human?', Witton and Blake are intriguineg inconclusive. As he remarks, ’We’re not necessarily the greatest species yet. This isn't the final draft.’ (Donald Hutera)

a 98.4% DNA Being Human (Fringe) Desoxy, Continental Shifts at St Bride’s (Venue 62) 346 7405, 70—75 Aug, 2.30pm, £6 (£4) 77—29 Aug (not 23) 8.30pm, £7.50 (£5).

STAR RATINGS tittt UllllllSSrimC Very good Worth seeing Below average Yoii'w ht‘l’ll warned

David Benson keeps schtum about his Pleasure