A new interpretation of the Bluebeard myth from Hungary invites sympathy for the wife- imprisoner.
Bluebeard . . . hmmm . . . isn’t he that bloke who chopped up his wives and kept their bodies in a secret room of his gothic pile? Well, actually, no. Bluebeard's popular image in Britain as a grim groom with a bloody axe has little to do with how the character is understood in Eastern Europe. The 1911 verse drama by Hungarian writer Bela Balazs portrays him as an archetypal figure seeking true love in an imperfect world.
Coming out of the East and promising to set the record straight is Merlin International, Hungary's leading English-language theatre. The company’s three-handed version of Balazs - which The List enjoyed in Budapest — is a hair- raising sensory trip, blending physical theatre, formal verse, symbolism, a hip hoppy sound collage and psychoanalytical ideas. A startling collision between old and new, it's both intellectual and accessible.
Bluebeard is a lonely man, newly married to a Freudian slip of a girl, and keen to secure her unconditional love despite the dark chambers of his soul. But Judith, his young bride, is keen to expose all her husband's secrets.
Well-kent Scottish actor, Michael Mackenzie, plays the title role. He was spotted by Merlin director Lazlo Magacs when he appeared in the Hungarian epic The Tragedy Of Man, at last year's Fringe, before transferring to Budapest.
'l’m a 55-year-old man and, although I'm happily married, I'm interested in playing this character who sees his last chance of a relationship with a younger
theatre - dance - comedy
Hungary for love: Merlin International Theatre in Bluebeard's Castle
woman; who is getting older, but still feels young inside,’ says Mackenzie. ’I don't have these feelings to such a depressing extent as Bluebeard, but I recognise them.’
Mackenzie is also quick to point out the contemporary relevances of the tale on which Bartok based his famous opera.
'I might get into trouble with the sexual politicians, but I think that it still expresses the way men and women feel differently about love,' he says. ’This seems to be saying that a man is only prepared to let a woman into his life so far, but a woman wants to know everything. To a large extent, I think that still attains.’ (Peter Ross)
m For details, see Hit list, right.
Fascinations From The
subject was the first 27 years of Keates's life, Incredibly, the result was neither incoherent nor narcissistic, but powerful and absorbing.
Fascinations From The Crowd is subtitled 'The Highs And Lows Of Urban Life". Although its inspiration was Keates’s move in 1995 from rural
Fragmented observations of London: Fascinations From The Crowd
'Continuing the apprenticeship' is how John Keates describes the gameplan for his company, fecund theatre. It’s a remarkably humble statement, and not just because praise from many quarters has been lavished on fecund’s work. The company's work over the past few years has been provocative, self- confident and stylistically audacious, while its subject matter has been intensely personal, bordering on egocentric.
Last year‘s show, 27 was a culmination: a multi-media mélange featuring eight performers on a small stage with microphones, loud music, live and recorded video, whose central
Buckinghamshire to Central London, it represents a new departure. ’The other work’s been much more personal, culminating in a retrospective,’ says Keates. 'This is the first time there’s an objectification to it. I think the performers are more empowered, because they're out gathering information, then translating it into theatrical ideas.’
Described by Keates as ’a collection of fragmented observations of characters and places', the new show should be noisy, busy and in-your-face. Much like London, in fact.
(Andrew Burnet) a For details, see Hit list, right. See also Freeloader ticket offers.
for an early evening
Kill The Old Torture Their Young Scottish writer David Harrower sets out to top the success of Knives ln Hens with his new play. See feature, page 28. Kill The Old Torture Their Young (Fringe) Traverse Company, Traverse Theatre (Venue 15) 228 1404, ll Aug—5 Sep, times vary, f 72 (f 7. 50). Previews 9 Aug, 7pm, 7 1 Aug, 2pm, I 7.50 (f4).
Bluebeard’s Castle See preview, left. Bluebeard’s Castle (Fringe) Merlin International Theatre, Famous Grouse House (Venue 34) 220 5606, 7—76 Aug, 7pm, [6 ([4)
Fascinations From The Crowd See preView, left. Fascinations From The Crowd (Fringe) fecund Theatre, Theatre Workshop (Venue 20) 226 5425, 70—15 8! 24—31 Aug, 7.30pm,- 77—22 Aug, 9.30pm, £7 (£5).
Boothby Graffoe Sheep-botherer Graffoe returns with jokes that'll have you bleating all the way to the pen. See preview in this section. Boothby Graffoe (Fringe) Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550, 8—37 Aug (not 71, 25) 7.45pm, £9/f850/[8 (f8/[750/f7). Previews 6 & 7 Aug, 7.45pm, [4. Circus Of Horrors Get some shock treatment courtesy of The Wasp Boy and his fellow fun-lovm’ freaks. See review in this section. The Circus Of Horrors (Fringe) Circus Of Horrors Big Top (Venue 50) 554 303 7/226 2428, 7—37 Aug, 7.30pm, [72/in (IQ/[8). Labels Tasty new play about a man and his canned goods, written by Louis De Bernieres, author of best- selling novel Captain Core/li’s Mandolin, and performed by Pip Utton (see feature on Ado/f, page 27). Labels (Fringe) Company Theatre, Southside Courtyard (Venue 76) 667 2212, 7—37 Aug (not Wed) 7.05pm, £5 ([4).
Disco Pigs Enda Walsh's Fringe 97 hit about a pair of kids out on the town is back. Wild, weird and heart- wrenching. Disco Pigs (Fringe) Corcadorca, Observer Assembly (Venue 3) 226 .2428, 7 Aug—5 Sep (not 10, 79 Aug, 1 Sep), 7pm, [9.50/f850 (£8.50/f7. 50)
6—13Aug i998 rueusrss