COMEDY REVIEW Lee Mack - Return Of The Mack

at: an

lee Mack: the man in black is back

Fresh from C4’s hit comedy Gas, the Mack is back. The billing calls it a 'comedy spectacular': this is a little over-inflated, but he does have his moments. These come not from his prepared material, which is too much in the unoriginal vein of the differences between men/women/northerners/ noutherners, etc, but from his tangents.

Losing track of his train of thought is something Mack has a problem with. His digressions appear to surprise him as much as the audience, but luckily for him, and us, they are what cause the most mirth. (Kirsty Knaggs)

B Lee Mack - Return Of The Mack

(Fringe) Lee Mack, P/easance (Venue 33) 556 6550, until 31 Aug (not 25) 7.35pm, f 9/£ 8. 50/1? 8 (f 8/£ 7. 50/1? 7).


Bluebeard's Castle

st it it *-

Sympathy for the devil will be acutely felt by audiences for Merlin’s three- handed adaptation of Balazs' verse- drama. In this production by Budapest’s leading English-language theatre company the wife-murderer of

theatre 0 dance 0 comedy

popular legend is actually an ageing man seeking vainly for unconditional love and trust.

Beneath a barrage of clever lighting and excellent David Holmes-style

sampled music by Hungary's DJ Palotai,

Scots actor Michael Mackenzie treats us to a powerfully restrained performance. The chemistry between Mackenzie and co-star Ildiko Bacsa fairly crackles with emotion, making for a sad tale. Go on, shed a tear for Satan. (Peter Ross)

a Bluebeard's Cast/e (Fringe) Merlin International Theatre, Famous Grouse House (Venue 34) 220 5606, until 16 Aug, 7pm, £6 (£4).

COMEDY REVIEW Steve Frost's lmpro Allstars wees

Improvisation: when it’s good it's very, very good, and when it's bad, it's excruciating. Steve Frost's lmpro Allstars, comprising Whose Line Is It Anyway? keyboard man Richard Vranch, Steve Steen and Andy Smart, didn’t quite reach either extreme. They were mostly very good. But what kind of masochist gets up on stage ,willing to lay everything bare? The answer is Andy Smart, who got his knickers pulled down and his knob bitten. On the first night.

How funny things are depends to some extent on how good the audience's suggestions are, so come armed. (Gabe Stewart)

m Steve Frost’s Impro Allstars (Fringe) Calder’s Gilded Balloon, until 22 Aug (not Sun) 7. 15pm, £8.50 (£7.50).


Fettes College and Wester Hailes. We don’t often hear the name of a prestigious private school and that of an area of urban deprivation in one breath, but at the Fringe they have Berkoff's adaptation of Kafka's novella in common.

Wester Hailes’ Moving Parts Theatre Company has been working with residents Theatre Du Pif, under a new initiative to train young people in the arts. 'It's our first classical script, a real challenge,’ says the company’s Fiona


DANCE PBEVlEW Under The lnfluenc

I we"

Vertigo-inspiring: Legs On The Wall

The title of this new piece from Australian company Legs On The Wall might suggest illicit substances. in fact, it refers to pressures ranging from social obligations to manipulative relationships.

But it's not all heavy stuff, according to company manager Cathrine Couper. 'It focuses on relationships but with an element of humour rather than dramatic content,’ she says. 'lt’s very episodic, not a linear narrative.’

The performers all have vertigo-inspiring skills as a result of circus training. but there’s also a more refined style of physical movement. This may be because the piece is directed by former dancer Kate Champion, known for her work with England's radical dance theatre company DV8. Champion has enjoyed the shift to directing. 'l'm not just showing other people how to string steps together, but proving i can write and talk as well,’ she says.

After sell.out performances at the Fringe in 1996. Legs On The Wall are back, still bouncing one step ahead of the competition. (Don Morris)

a Under The In fluence (Fringe) Legs On The Wall, Observer Assemny (Venue 3) 226 2428, 77 Aug~5 59p (not 24 Aug or 7 Sep) 6.30pm, £10/f9 (£9/f8).

Scott. 'But the production is stylised physical theatre, very intimate and sad.’

The contrast with Fettes could not be greater. This is the school's sixth year at the Fringe in a production directed by two senior students. Tom Simpson and Douglas Leckie use the elasticity of their lead performer to create intense physical theatre. 'Ruscen Vidinliev is very gymnastic,’ explains director of drama Brendan Butler. 'He spends 90% of his time on stage crawling around the scaffolding set.’

Not to be outdone, Movmg Parts have also stamped their mark on Berkoff's play by altering the script. Scott explains: 'It's not that the main body of the text has changed, but

rather that we provide extra information. We give Gregor more of a past, more family life'

Bring on the beetles. (Nicky Agate) a Metamorphosis (Fringe) Fettes at the Fringe, Fettes Concert Hall (Venue 724) 332 2287, 24—29 Aug, 7.35pm, £5 (£2). % Metamorphosis (Fringe) Moving Parts, Diverse Attractions (Venue 71) 225 8967, 73~75 Aug, 7.30pm, [4 (£2; children 50p).


tittt Uniriissable

* t t * Very good

Worth seeing

t «k Below average

1: You've been warned



52 must 13—20 Aug 1998



1 PI.

A (Q ..


\ ‘l