theatre - dance 0 comedy


If Rose West lifted the lid on the realisation that not all women were natural nurturers, then the succession of Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy cases since, have mined that misconception to oblivion.

Finn Taylor wrote the play at a time when the press were concerned that Sudden Infant Death Syndrome could be hiding a minefield of MSP, the syndrome in which carers make their charges ill in order to get attention. One American woman killed eight of her children before suspicions were raised.

Taylor plays Stella, who's lost one baby and just had another. Whenever things fall apart, she needs to bring the focus and pity back to herself. 'T he whole intention is usually to injure the child, not kill it,’ says director/performer Sarah Cakebread. 'These women often have a lot of medical knowledge, and know how to bring illnesses on.’

Finn Taylor as Stella: When She Was Bad

What makes this disturbing, apart from inspiring a mixture of disgust and pity, is that most of the time Stella's not a monster, but a rather Iikeable character. 'By the end of it people's reaction to the scenes where she injures the baby is "Is she really doing that Is that really happening?”

(Gabe Stewart)

I When She Was Bad (Fringe) Hot Wax, Theatre Workshop (Venue 20) 226 5425,

77-22 Aug, 4.15pm, £7 (£5).

THEATRE REVIEW GraeaelFitting - The Final Freakshow

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It’s the final freakshow of the millennium, but no one‘s interested. Thanks to the likes of Jerry Springer and the Internet, you can view the bizarre and the unthinkable in the comfort of your own home. This results in Gustav, the show‘s leader, urging his troupe to add even more shocking elements to their performances.

Although the idea behind this mixture of theatre and opera may be to give body facist police a jolly good poke in the eye with a jaggy stick,

being invited to view people as freaks isn't a particularly pleasant experience, nor empowering on their behalf. (Dawn Kofie)

I Graeae/Fittings The Final Freakshow (Fringe) Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550, until 27 Aug, times vary, £6/£5 (£4/£3).

THEATRE REVIEW The Opium Eater ****

Thomas de Quincey, author of Confessions Of An Opium Eater, is living the time-honoured life of all struggling artists; poor, alone and dependent on drugs. His only companion is an apparently simple-

Separated at birth: The Nimmo mrns‘

minded vagabond, who, in return for bread and tales of opium-induced fantasies, acts as de Quincey's messenger, as he himself is too paranoid to venture out of his grim 18205 Edinburgh bedsit.

This two-hander is an extremely well- written and compelling story, acted with the utmost conviction, in a suitably depressing-looking set. The production is, in fact, marred only by the unfortunate noise levels audible from other areas within the venue. (Kirsty Knaggs)

. The Opium Eater (Fringe) Gilded Balloon l/ (Venue 36) 226 275 7, until 30 Aug, 5pm, £ 7 (£6).

COMEDY REVIEW Yank Me! fir * i at *

Coming on like a cross between Henry Rollins in spoken word mode, and John Bender from The Breakfast Club in full rant, San Fransiscan Harmon Leon is a comedy force to be reckoned with. Less stand-up than a series of achineg funny monologues, Yank Me! is an extension of Harmon’s writings for Sky magazine, and an enlightening look at Stateside life, including Christian hardcore punk, fast food restaurants and America's Most Beautiful Baby Contest. This expose of the horrors of his homeland is weird, wildly original, and occasionally downright incomprehensible, but well worth the effort. Yank you? Thank you sir, I will. (Kirsty Knaggs)

. Yank Me! (Fringe) Harmon Leon, The Stand (Venue 5) 558 7272, until 29 Aug (not 76) 5pm, £5 (£4).

DANCE REVIEW numb b. ****

If the words ’performance art’ strike fear into your very being then this could just be the show to open your mind.

Granted the description of the piece on the flyer ‘a story about my body, told by my body’ doesn’t inspire confidence. But Camille Thoman’s numb b. is, despite its pretensions, a formidable display of visual art. Naked, her physical contortions are framed by

If Sean was in town... and time was running out...

what would you do to track him down?


darkness, projections of herself and finally fully-dressed. Interestingly enough, at her most exposed, her movements are accentuated by strobe lighting. Dressed in girly pink, she reverses the asexual image we have of her naked and comes across as a vulnerable, if disturbed young woman. (Catherine Bromley)

I numb b. (Fringe) Camille Thoman, Komedia @ Southside (Venue 82) 667 2272, until 29 Aug (not 76, 23) 4.75pm, £7.50 (£5.50).

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Company 6 vin Robertson

“Keeps an audience gripped - masterful The Scotsman

Komedia @ Soufhside

Box Office 667 2212 Aug 8th - 29th 5.15pm (6.35 pm ) £7.50/£5.50


Venue 33 Thu 5 - Sun 29 Aug 5.30pm (not Sun 8 Aug. not Tuesdays) Tickets: £8.00 (£5.00)

£9.00 (£6.00) Preview: Thu 5 Aug - £5.00 Box Office: 0131 556 6550

'thoroughly enjoyable...

the best play around“ The Herald ‘a gorgeous production' Edinburgh E venr’ng News

and on tour details from 0141 334 6686

12—19 Aug 1999 THE um 43