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A play that’s been wowing audiences in New Zealand can be seen here at last.
True love and eternal happiness. Who needs it? Well, probably all of us, but how many get it right? Someone once said the difference between a romantic and a sentimentalist is that a sentimentalist thinks things last forever, whereas a romantic knows for sure that they won't. Tom and Elizabeth, the couple in Gary Henderson‘s Skin Tight, have been married, but more importantly, in love, for half a century. Living on a remote New Zealand farm, their life together is charted by love and anger, passion and pain. But now, Elizabeth is leaving.
Based on The Magpies, a famous poem by Kiwi humourist Denis Glover, Skin Tight is a visceral, heartbreakingly intense mix of sensual, physical grace and Henderson’s lyrical script, that, like the greatest love affairs, leaves things emotionally exposed down
theatre - dance - comedy
to the bare bones. This is no
naturalistic reading either.
Performers Jed Brophy and Larissa Matheson are far younger than their characters, but capture the years impressionistically, so as they fondle, frolic and fight their way towards the play’s end, the years tumble away.
It was whilst touring New Zealand that producer Guy Masterson first saw the show, and approached Henderson, who also directs the piece, with a view to bringing it to Edinburgh. ‘It was amazing,’ according to Masterson, ‘because here was this absolutely amazingly beautiful show, that had sold out for season after season in New Zealand, and no-one here
Skin Tight: fondling, frolicking and fighting
In fact, New Zealand culture in general is pretty thin on the ground here. ‘People here aren't aware of New Zealand theatre,’ Masterson enthuses, ‘yet there's a very lively scene over there. If you look at the amount of Kiwis around working at the Fringe, it speaks volumes about the creative energies out there.’ This brings Masterson onto a favourite and highly valid bugbear. ‘We're still so insular in this country, and so ignorant of theatre outside Britain, that we don't do ourselves any favours. There‘s a big wide world out there,‘ he says, ‘and it's about time we woke up to the fact.‘ (Neil Cooper)
knew about it.’
Wanderlust: 'Everyone can relate to a shitty bus ride'
See Hit list, right, for details.
The title says a lot about Kate Smith’s unashamedly autobiographical show. No sooner had Australian Smith returned from travelling the world, including Scotland, than she wrote a show about it and promptly went a- wandering With Wanderlust to Sydney, the Adelaide Fringe Festival and now Edinburgh. Narrating experiences that range from taking Ecstasy to swallowmg something far more gruesome in India, you can safely say that Smith’s variety of wanderlust has little to do with haversacks and yodelling.
’I think what’s great about Wanderlust is that it embraces a lot of things,’ she says. 'People from the ages of 18 to 70 relate to it. It looks at things like leaving home, going far
far away from your family and friends, leaving security and reaching for what you want. Everyone can relate to a shitty bus ride, everyone can relate to different types of tourist that you meet and everyone can relate to being homeSIck.’
The show IS a mix of Story-telling and stand-up with a theatrical structure — 'I do 25 different characters in the show,’ she says, ’as well as direct address to the audience, which takes more of a stand up lormat' - and all the characters are taken from her own experience. ‘I fell in love with a Glaswegian in Edinburgh two years ago and he’s in the show,’ she confides. ’Although I think he finds it strange to have an audience of people laughing at my interpretation of him — it is a bit of a piss-take.’
(Stephanie Noblett) a See Hit list, right, for details.
front of some of these.
Skin Tight See preView, left. Skin Tight (Fringe) Traverse Theatre (Venue 15) 228 7404, until 5 Sep, times vary, f 9 (f 6).
Wanderlust See preview, left. Wanderlust (Fringe) Observer Assembly (Venue 3) 226 2428, 4.25pm. £8. 50/[750 (£7. 50/f6. 50).
My Last Week With Modolia The pOignant tale of a young man falls in love With his perfect partner who, like him, can see imps. So she’s 88 — got a problem? My Last Week With Modolia (Fringe) Ben Moor, Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550, until 37 Aug, 4.20pm, £8.50lf750 (USO/£6.50).
The Tell-Tale Heart Chilling, atmospheric retelling of the Poe classic, with music. The Tell-Tale Heart (Fringe) lrogim, Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550, until3l Aug (not 24), 3.40pm, £7lf6 (EB/£5).
Circus Ethiopia Astonishing acrobatic feats from the children and young adults of one of Ethiopia’s new CerUSeS. Circus Ethiopia (Fringe) Circus Of Horrors Big Top (Venue 50) 554 3037/226 2428, until 31 Aug, times vary, £72/f70 ([9/f8).
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/f750 (USO/£6.50). Greetings From Hollywood Cyndi Freeman's fascinating tales of different facets of LA life. Greetings From Hollywood (Fringe) Calder’s Gilded Balloon /l (Venue 36) 226 2157, until 37 Aug, 5pm, £6.50 (£5.50).
From Hell She Came See review on following pages. From Hell She Came (Fringe) Dead/y Serious Theatre Company, Pleasance Over The Road (Venue 33) 556 6550, until 31 Aug (not 25), 5.30pm, £8/f 7 (f 7/f6).
20-27 Aug 1998 rue usm