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The Bedsit

Remember Bert Lynch in 2 Cars? Since the 605, Belfast-born actor James Ellis’s reputation has grown to formidable heights, built against a backdrop of regular TV and West End theatre work, plus critically acclaimed performances for the National, the RSC and the Old Vic. As soon as he read the powerfully disturbing The Bedsit, Ellis backed it to the hilt. His faith has been rewarded by critics‘ plaudits on his ’fierce and clever performance’ in the ’highly charged political play’. After a ten day rehearsal period, the play was up and running at The Tabard in Chiswick, with Ellis landing the dream job of headlining in his own local pub. It then played Battersea Arts Centre this June as part of the ’Time Out Critics Choice’ season, where Observer Assembly liked it so much they’ve taken the production lock, stock and barrel to Edinburgh. Revolving around the relationship between a lodger, a landlord and a menacing mystery man, it is a stark piece with, as writer Paul Sellar says, ’an air of threat’. Brady the landlord is played by Ellis; Dempster the lodger by Gerard Rooney, familiar from the 'l'm not bitter’ Murphy’s ads. James Hartman is Anton, the man Sellar describes as having 'an aura’ about him. ‘He’s calm and polite but more menacing for it. A lot of people have put two and two together and billed them as IRA or a terrorist organisation. It does have a political backdrop, and there's a topical resonance for sure, but it’s not really about that. It could be happening at any time in any place where these sorts of power struggles go on.’ Keeping close to the actors during the play’s development has been invaluable for Sellar, who has

Lynch mob: The Bedsit

since been commissioned by the National Theatre. Not only can he pick up on problems and help deepen aspects of the script, but sometimes, as he says, 'someone might do something unexpected accidentally, but it works best.’ The best example of that would give away the plot twist which results in the play’s shocking climax. And all before lunch too. (Gabe Stewart)

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Beware of adults: Matilda

Matilda, the child so gifted she begins to read the canon during her formative years, is similarly afflicted —~ plagued by parents who think she's a nuisance and a headmistress who strikes the fear of God into all she meets

Although adapted from a children's novel, McAIrster asserts that this production (performed in both English and Cantonese) is not rust for kids, 'It's very much for a family audience A lot of parents feel ‘I’ve got to take my child to something' so they drag them to a show, then fall asleep. I remember my dad sleeping through an entire pantomime and the dame throwrng popcorn into his mouth. When it came to Matilda, I thought oh my god, I don’t want the parents in my audience to feel that they have to sit there and

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'When I \.'.as young,’ explains Lindsey l.'l(AIrstei, [L'iiettizr of We Hong Kong

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Youth Arts Festival's production of Matilda, 'teachers and family members were, in my eyes, the characters that Dahl writes about, they were monstrous"

grin and bear it, I want them to enjoy it.’ Unless they're the monstrous adults about whom Dahl wrote, enjoy rt they most probably Will (Dawn Kofie)

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I II: Wipe the sleep from your eyes with these eye-popping shows.

Shylock Gareth Armstrong's five star hit from last year returns after a world tour and a sell-out rapturous reteption at Hampstead Theatre Apparently Armstrong (the velvety— gravelled voice of The Arrhers's Welsh gay pub landlord) has been r'efinrnr; his text and performante Could his exploration of the identity of Shakespeare's rnut h irraligned character get any sharper or more exceptional than last year? Find out for yourself. Shy/ock (Fringe), Observer Assembly (Venue 32 226 2428, 7— 30 Aug, ll 55am, [IO/[9 ([9/[8l

Bodger And Badger CBBC’s mash-throwrng duet are back at the Fringe after a six year absence. Hiiar‘l. a six year old, leave your worries at the door, and have some anarchic, anti- authoritarian fun. See pievrew on followrng pages Bot/ger And Badger (Fringe) Kometlia@Southsmle (Venue 82) 667 2272, 6-15 Aug,

70 30am, [6 ([4)

Adolf Pro Uttoo's rzetr'rfyrng five star reincarnation of Hitler has amazed audiences Srme he bombed Edinburgh ‘.‘.’|lll it two years ago. Go see why Utton's spot-on performance continues to stun. Adolf (Fringe) Observer Assembly lVenue 3) 226 2428, 6—30 Aug, 7 1 30am, [9/f8 (Hi/[7)

Matilda See prtwrew, left Matilda (Fringe) Horig Kong Youth Arts Festival, Famous Grouse House, 220 5606, 6—22 Aug (not 76) noon, [5 (£3). The Bedsit See prevrew, left. The Bedsit (Fringe) Observer Assembly (Venue 3) 226 2428, 7—30 Aug, ll 50am, f9/[8 (£8/f7)