Edinburgh: King's Theatre until Sat 3 Apr a e

Responsibility. That is the key word - the key concept in Ben Elton’s Popcorn, in which two white trash serial killers confront an Oscar winning movie director. Who takes responsibility for society’s descent into a violent abyss? Is it the individual perpetrator of a crime, the artist seen to glorify and fetishise homicide, or the audience, gorging themselves on a diet of enter~ and infotainment? It's clearly a subject worthy of serious considered debate, but the arguments put forward here seldom rise above the level of sophistication one might find in a secondary school media studies lesson. And the responsibility for that, can only lie with the author.

The problem is a simple one: Ben Elton doesn’t get America. He's not fascinated with the place in all its perverse diversity in the manner of, say, Martin Amis, so all we get are his first impressions. They result in a stream of obvious and - in a play barely two years old - outdated references. The spirits of OJ, Oprah, and even (God help us) John Wayne Bobbit are invoked

in a sequence of artificial and unconvincing exchanges between sketchily realised protagonists.

Jokes are made at the expense of (get ready with your list of approved targets of liberal humour) lawyers, talk show hosts, ambitious starlets, cosmetically enhanced first wives, vulgarian movie producers and, of course, television networks. A few do hit home, but most reveal an ill informed sensibility at work. Kevin Williamson says more about the relationship between violence and cinema in the last five minutes of Scream than Popcorn manages in its entirety, largely because the American writer understands fully the culture he’s presenting, while the Englishman remains ignorant and,

worse still, disrespectful.

An award winning West End smash this may be, and Elton's name will no doubt continue to possess marquee value, but be warned if you're intending to be among those packing the house: you may find yourself in for a frustrating

experience. (Rob Fraser)

A“ #5

Firing blanks: Ben Elton's Popcorn

7.l5pm; tnat Sat 2.l5pm. £3.5()-£l‘).5(). Tim Rushton‘s challenging choreography is combined with the music of Bach in an exploration of gender roles in the modern mating game.



Ladywell Way

Musselburgh. 605 2240. IP. H. 'l'l'. WC. WA]

Blitz! Mon 5~Sat l0 Apr. 7.30pm; Sat 2pm & 7.30pm. £4.5()—£(i.5().l.ocal amateur group MAMA present Lionel Bart’s musical evocation of life under the threat of the Luftwaffe.


l3-29 Nicolson Street. 52‘) (illtltl. [ll. WC. WA]

Martin Guerre Tue I3--Sai 24 Apr. 7.30pm; Thu 2pm at 7.30pm: Sat 2.30pm & 7.30pm. The story of assumed identities in medie\al l‘rance

5 packs a dramatic punch. but are the tunes memorable enough to carry the . audience along emotionally? See

review page 57.


2 Leven Street. 52‘) (illllll. [lL TL WC. WA]

Popcorn Until Sat .‘s Apr. Mow-Thu 7.30pm; liri (3pm & 9pm; Sat 5pm 61' 8pm. 120—120 (LS-EH). Ben lilton’s comedy looks at the connections between lilm violence and the real thing. See review page 58.

i Sleuth Mon l2—Sat l7 Apr. 7.30pm:

Wed d; Sat 2.30pm (K; 7.30pm. £b.50—£|() (cones available). l’eter Bowles and Michael Malone)’ take the roles immortalised on lilm by ()Iivier and Caine in Anthony Shaffer‘s ingenioust intricate power game.


2-13 High Street. 556 957‘). Puppet Animation Festival Until Sat l7. See Kids listings.


l8-22 Greenside Place. 557 2590. [H. WC. WA]

Girls' Night Out In Ibiza Mon 5—Sat 10 Apr. 7.30pm. £7—£ l4. A raucous evening is guaranteed as the young ladies in question jet off for fun in the sun. Expect drunken philosophising and a fair few saucy sangria-fuelled



Clerk Street. 608 2()l9.

Tony Hancock Double Bill Wed l4 Apr. 7.45pm. £9 (£6) Pip Utton stars in two back-to-back one man shows centring on liast Clteam's most famous son. 'Stone Me It's the Lad Himself" by Peter Michael and Heathcote Williains' ‘Hancock's Last Half Hour.‘ A must for devotees. and of considerable interest to anyone with a love of comedy

Continued over page

listings THEATRE

Ori’fs'itage andiill the rage

The Caretaker Andrew Dallmeyer gets under the skin of down and out Davres, which may well be an uncomfortable experience for him, but should prove a rewarding one for the audience. Arches regulars Paul Riley and Ross Stenhouse complete an impressive cast for what should be a memorable production. See preview, page 56. Glasgow: The Arches, Tue 6—Sat 24 Apr.

Begin Again A norr influenced examination of the effects of the aftermath of war on the individual and society. In an unnamed Scottish city, a man shaped by violence reaches a defining moment: writer David Harrower, director Guy Hollands and their cast explore the consequences resulting from the path or should that be paths? he takes. Touring.

The Tempest Actors Touring Theatre’s production is heavily performance art influenced, with Rose English among the cast of three and Laurie Anderson serving as composer. The last word in avant garde innovation, and unlike anything else you’re likely to see this year. See preview page 56. Stirling: MaCRobertArts Centre, Wed l4—Frl 16 Apr.

This grid includes theatre and dance performances at Glasgow and Edinburgh's main theatres. More information, including events at smaller venues, can be found in the listings above and over the page. Performances shown in brackets are free or reduced price previews.

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