— . L A theatre - dance 0 comedy
Hallucinatory drama mingles with slapstick in a 1920s brothel as Brouhaha make their Festival debut.
Inspired by Sergio Leone's Once Upon A Time In America and de Quincey’s Confessions of an English Opium Eater (with a touch of Shallow Grave for good measure), Brouhaha’s The Opium Eaters is a strange mixture indeed. ’lt’s like watching a dream, or a nightmare,’ explains performer Allison Cologna of this exploration of old memories, hallucinations and relationships, leavened with knockabout comedy. ’You're never quite sure if what you're seeing is really happening. There’s a definite fairytale-like quality to it.’
Set in a 19205 brothel, it follows the lives of three prostitutes who are well past their sell-by date. Their extensive drug use and complete lack of any physically appealing qualities have ensured that their business has died a death. While waiting in vain for clients to come knocking, they smoke away and pretend everything is just fine. They are, however, in very dire straits. When something occurs which has the potential to change this situation, the three women find that their problems have only just started. ’lt’s a very dark comedy,’ continues Cologna. ‘People will come away from it feeling slightly disturbed,
but at the same time, it is incredibly silly.’
Brouhaha are an international all-female clown trio, founded by Allison Cologna and Catherine Marmier and joined in this production by Jane Guernier. 'We are very physical,‘ says Cologna, ’but it’s not just us throwing ourselves around. There’s a softness to it; a more feminine rhythm.’ Formed in 1991, they have taken
Richard Whitely: ’l’m 104 years of age' “THE US? 13—20 Aug l998
Teatime Chat With Richard Whiter
Those livnig outside the Yorkshire TV area know him only for his dreadful jokes and ties on Channel 4's spectacularly successful word qurz Countdown, But there's more than that to Richard Whitely, the man With more student unions named after him than Nelson Mandela. 'I am an mterwewer,’ protests the ever-affable host 'People don’t know that, but I’m 104 years of age and l have been interViewmg on Yorkshire TV for the last 30 years, from Prime Ministers to punks. I've got a chat show running for half the year on Yorkshire TV.’
Havmg been persuaded to bring his interViewmg prowess to Edinburgh and
Den of iniquity: The Opium Eaters
their peculiar brand of physical comedy to Mexico, Germany, Spain and America, as well as touring extensively in the UK. However, this is their first time at the Festival. ’lt’s quite ironic that our first show is set in a brothel when we're Festival virgins,’ she jokes.
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chat to the varied personalities in town at the time, Whitely is amused to see Teatime Chat listed under Comedy in the Fringe Programme 'Are you saying it's gomg against the Trades Descriptions Act? Believe me, I'll try to play it for laughs when the occasion demands, I’ll try to get a laugh or several.’
’I hope that [his Countdown co- presenter] Carol Vorderman Will be on one of the shows towards the end of the run,’ he says. 'The TeIeVision Festival is devoting a whole session to Countdown. They're calling it "The Unsung Hero” because it's broken all the rules. Here's this low-budget, lo- tech, unassuming game show which not only has run for sixteen years but dominates the Channel 4 ratings. They were trying to get some deVil’s advocate to rubbish it, and I know it sounds crazy, but they can’t find anybody' (Alastair Mabbott)
3:2 For details, see Hit list, right
Shows you can watch between Meals - and probably should.
The Opium Eaters See preView, left The Opium Eaters (Fringe) Brouhaha, Theatre Workshop (Venue 20) 226 5425, until 37 Aug (not 23) 3.30pm, f 6. 50 ([3).
The Tell-Tale Heart Chilling, atmospheric retelling of the Poe clasSic, with musrc. See reView on followmg pages. The Tell— Tale Heart (Fringe) lrogim, Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550, until 37 Aug (not 77, 24) 3.40pm, [7/[6 ([6/f5).
Conversations With My Agent A dip into the shark-infested waters of US sitcom-writing, adapted from Robert Long's best-seller. Conversations With My Agent (Fringe) Conversations With My Agent, Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550, until 37 Aug (not 24) 3. 05pm, £8. 50/[7 50 (£7. 50/f6. 50).
Emma, By Jane Austen Novelist Martin Millar and actor Doon McKichan present their own updated version of Austen’s evergreen classic. Emma, By Jane Austen (Fringe) Gilded Balloon Productions, Gilded Balloon (Venue 38) 226 275 7, until 27 Aug, 5pm, [9.50 ([8 50). Teatime Chat With Richard Whitely See preView, left Teatime Chat With Richard White/y (Fringe) Richard White/y, Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550, 77-37 Aug (not 25 Aug), 3pm, £7 ([6).
Brain Souffle Fringe fave Scott Capurro strikes a typically uncompromismg stance, examining the issue of date-rape through the medium of oven gloves and a sock. Brain Souffle (Fringe) Scott Capurro, P/easance (Venue 33) 556 6550, until 37 Aug (not 78) 5 40pm,
f8 50/[750 (£7 50/[6 50). Greetings From Hollywood Cyndi Freeman’s fascmating tales of different facets of LA life. See rewew on followmg pages. Greetings From Hollywood (Fringe) Calder’s Gilded Balloon // (Venue 36) 226 2 75 7, until 37 Aug, 5pm, £6.50 (£5.50).