FESTIVAL 1-3pm continued

THEATRE REVIEW Speed The Plow ****

What happens when a newly- promoted film executive gets a chance to do good? It's a dilemma with a lot riding on it, threatening a couple of livelihoods but promising a chance to make a difference.

As master of contemporary hyper- realism, one expects a keen ear from David Mamet. But these actors take his diamonds and buff 'em till they shine like angel’s tears. The lines flow so smoothly, it's as if they've lived these

theatre 0 dance 0 comedy 0 kids


Speed The Plow digs deep

characters. Tenderly directed, the piece turns on a knife-edge.

As a portrait of power and the corrupting influence of principles, Speed The Plow digs deep. (Gabe Stewart)

I Speed The Plow (Fringe) Birmingham Stage Company Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550, until 30 Aug (not 24) 2.20pm, £8/£ 7 (£6/£5).

THEATRE REVIEW Sherlock Holmes . . .The Last Act!

*‘Ihk *

The man beneath the deerstalker is revealed in this coda to the Sherlock Holmes adventures. Bereft of his loyal Watson, Holmes has retired to his bees and his cocaine. Recalling the classic cases, Roger Llewellyn’s wryly humorous Holmes reacquaints us with iconic characters, bloody murders and uncanny detective work. Atmospheric lighting and sound recreate the familiar settings, from a certain Baker Street flat to the Reichenbach Falls where Holmes battles Moriarty the original Dr Evil. It's the lesser-known elements that prove most intriguing, though. This is thanks to the convincing script, filling in gaps left in Watson's chronicles, exposing Holmes' private demons, and to Llewellyn's compelling portrayal of the fading genius. (Allan Radcliffe)



roomy-sum MMIMIIMI tandem





Written and Performed by Jeremy Ward \ 6-29 AUGUST . “HOW TO BE SUCCESSFULLV MAD”

Of interest to everyone who is curious about


Everyone likes to hear a stay. This is storytelling Mulvaney the Immortal Irishman who fought

for the King of Ellland. A show for everyone with a taste for the wonderful and the ridiculous.


BOX OFFICE (0131) 226 7207

Stir-22nd 10.15am (Ends 11.15) Brd-29th 11.15am (Ends 12.15) £6.00 (£4.50 concessions)

Why do people go mad? And what is 'madness’ anyway? This show provides an

outline sketch of the workings of the mind, and what to do when things go wrong.

their own minds’ workings.

Stir-nth 8.15pm (Ends 9.25) (6.00 (“.50 concessions)

for adults (and some teenagers), featuring


THEATRE REVIEW SNAG: A Sensitive New Age Guy ****

single guy left high and dry

Lloyd Wlnwright is one of life's winners. He has a good job, plenty of money and a nice house. So it comes as a bit of a shock when his good-looking, intelligent wife leaves him to set up home with his twin sister.

Nicholas Papademetriou is brilliant as Lloyd and the various characters (some of whom are more savoury than others) he encounters. They include the members and leader of his men‘s therapy group; the oleaginous Roberto with his innumerable, cunning ways of wooing the ladies; and a dentist

with a penchant for getting wed.

Without descending into a list of horrific clichés about masculinity and the perceived differences between the sexes, this tale of one man's journey into the terrifying world of singledom manages to convey what it is to be without a partner in the late 90s - from the pain and anguish of finding yourself alone, right through to the embarrassment involved in initiating a

one night stand.

This production’s packed full of witty observations about both relationships and modern life from start to finish. (Dawn Kofie) I SNAG: A Sensitive New Age Guy (Fringe) Gilded Balloon (Venue 38) 226 2151,

until 30 Aug, 2.30pm, £6.50 (£5. 50).

38 TIIElIS'l’ 12-19 Aug 1999

I Sherlock Holmes . . . The Last Act!

(Fringe) .lay Productions, Roman Eagle Lodge (Venue 21) 226 7207, until 29 Aug (not 16, 23) 2.35pm, £6.50 (£5).

THEATRE REVIEW Shakespeare's Bottom *****

Performed by people who, quite frankly, are old enough to know better, this is burlesque of the highest quality (if that's not a contradiction in terms). The play concerns Thomas and Harriet Bowdler, two Puritanical siblings who, back in the1800s, edited Shakespeare with a vengeance in order to make him fit for family consumption. The audience are invited to witness them in action as they recklessly remove anything they feel has crude, lewd or rude connotations.

The wit pours forth at supersonic speed, and Shakespeare's appearance to confront the bowdlerisers is a scene of unforgettable brilliance. Absolutely priceless. (Kirsty Knaggs)

I Shakespeare’s Bottom (Fringe) Pace Productions, Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550, until 20 Aug, 2pm, £7/£6 (£6/£5).

THEATRE REVIEW I Might Be Edgar Allan Poe ***

This is a scholarly and erudite comic play, in which a traumatised patient in a mental institution has delusions that he is the American master of macabre fiction.

But the problem is exactly in its erudition. There are simply too many words. On top of Poe, philosphers Derrida and Heidegger make cameos as the narrative attempts a discourse on the nature of both madness and reality. So much goes on in two hours that both the plot and our sympathies for the patient get lost.

As a treatise on Poe it is revealing and fascinating; as drama it's hard work. (Ross Holloway)

I I Might Be Edgar Allan Poe (Fringe) Collective Unconscious, The Garage Theatre (Venue 81) 221 5105, until Aug 30 (not 16, 23) 2.05pm, £5 (£4).

STAR RATINGS eases W~' £- **** u'

iii **