Essentially Phoenix Stirling: MacRobert Arts Centre, Fri 25 & Sat 26 Sep mun:

In two years as Phoenix’s artisitic director, Thea Nerissa Barnes has programmed varied and dynamic pieces for this compact powerhouse company. Her skills as a choreographer are also on show in the current tour, though ’Unbroken' is probably the least memorable piece, weighed down by a rather worthy text as soundtrack.

Mark Baldwin's work is familiar to Scottish audiences from his collaborations with Scottish Ballet and his flippant contemporary style undoubtedly looks better on the Phoenix dancers, at ease with the non-classical style. ’Templates of Glory’ is a slight piece, mildly reminiscent of Mark Morris’s baroque dance phase but with Baldwin’s own quirky absurdist sense of humour thrown in. It’s a sinuous shimmy for five dancers, though occasionally Baldwin slithers into gimmicky touches.

American choreographer Dwight Rhoden provides the highlight on the programme with ’Diction’, a playful series of duets looking at male-female relationship complications. It’s an original, physically charged romp to the sounds of Pat Metheny and Art of Noise, plus jokey dialogue spoken by the dancers. With poised athleticism, and limbs locked in every way imaginable, this is strikingly sexy work that brilliantly shows off the physiques and talents of a pulsating company.

(Don Morris)

Varied and dynamic: Phoenix Dance Company

GAELIC MUSICAL Beul Nam Breug (Mouth Of Lies) Edinburgh: Traverse Theatre, Wed 30‘Sep

A bit of audience research never goes amiss. So it is that after two comedy productions, Gaelic touring company Tosg are offering musical and historical content in one play, Beul Nam Breug or Mouth Of Lies for non-Gaelic speakers (who will be catered for in Edinburgh with Simultaneous translation facilities).

The Hebridean writer Norman Malcolm MacDonald was commissioned by the company to dramatise the life and songs of Mary MacLeod, a 17th century bastion of girl power.

’Apart from her songs, there’s not much known about her life,’ says Tosg's artistic director Alasdair MacKinnon. ’She hadn’t trained, but classed herself as unofficial poet to the clan MacLeod. At that time, that was seen to be a man’s role. So there are feminist features to the play.’

The company name means ’ambassadors’ and MacKinnon confirms that they regard themselves as ambassadors of Gaelic language and culture. With this new Gaelic writing they are really spoiling us. (Fiona Shepherd)

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MODERN CLASSIC Difficult People

Glasgow: Arches Theatre, Tue 6—Sat IO Oct. Edinburgh: Traverse Theatre, Wed 9—Sun 13 Dec

Israel and politics. The two subjects go together like ham and eggs. (On second thoughts, hold the ham.)

It's hardly surprising, considering the Jewish homeland was born out of politics. But Israeli playwright Yosef Bar-Yosef’s play Difficult People surprisingly eschews the subject, focusing instead on the human condition and human relationships.

’An Israeli play showing a side of Israeli culture that doesn’t talk about politics is very appealing,’ says director Emily Harris, 'because we’re bombarded in the media that Israel is all about politics.

leWish New Yorker Harris, founder of two-year-old, Glasgow-based Theatre Flux, co-translated this first-ever British production of Difficult PeOple with Adi Geva. It’s taken this long for the award-Winning 25-year-old contemporary European classic to reach these shores.

’I am very emotional about the first production of the play in the UK,’ says Bar-Yosef. ’It is a play about leWish- Israeli relationships, but I believe it has universal implications. Many of the audiences have no connection to Israel 0r Judaism.’ But anyway, doesn't everyone dig Jewish humour?

Pinter-esque in style and adhering to the classical unities of time, place and plot, Difficult People could be seen as

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“...The most compelling and humourous exploration of the human soul...” Moscow Times

£ Tues l Stall (03(le M0) Box. urtic- 61117.3. Ti. sport

new shows THEATRE

Surprisingly difficult: Theatre Flux

giiite undramatic. ’Nothing much happens,’ agrees Harris. ’But it’s really about the relationships between the people and the conflicts that they have and how they go about resolving them.’

Basically, a mysterious Israeli outsider introduces himself to a threesome, and changes their lives completely by showing them the truth about themselves and each other. And then Just leaves. Unlike the Israeli author, who is staying with the company throughout the play’s run, to take part in the post-performance discussions.

The play may be apolitical, but sure as hell the discussions won't be. And there are no surprises there.

(Gabe Stewart)

by Yosef Bar-Yosef UK PREMIERE

Arches Theatre 6. ' WOOD?)th

Post show discussions hosted by _ Yosef Bar-Yosef

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24 SepAB Oct lll98 THE LIST 57