Theatre 0 Comedy-0 Dance


Hopeless Games

What exactly do they put in the water in St Petersburg? Two years ago. the historic city was represented at The Pleasance by muscular and ascetic theatre/dance troupe DEREVO with Red Zone. A dark and sombre work of physicality and imagination, it proved a starkly welcome contrast to the droves of, third rate stand-ups they would have brushed their wide shoulders against in the courtyard.

Last year, they returned with a lighter, yet equally absorbing work, entitled Once. In their absence this year, an unfillable void seemed to exist. However, their local chums Do- Theatrehave galloped to the rescue, accompanied by Potsdam’s fabrik, allowing Richard Demarco to claim yet another impressive coup from the east of Europe.

Formed twelve years ago, Do- Theatre have become one of the most influential underground acts in post-Soviet society, renowned for their extreme and brutal body theatricality. So impressive has been their effect on the genre, that they have created a style all of their own called Russian Butho.

While Do-Theatre created and shaped their art under severe oppression (much of their work was performed in illegal open air venues), it positiver thrived after the Wall came down in 1989, with the twenty works they have produced since wowing festival audiences all across Europe.

Founder and artistic director Jewgenij Koslov states that Hopeless Games ‘is a fusion of different theatrical and dance forms; it combines elements from the established Theatre of the Absurd with those of contemporary dance.’ As with DEREVO. Do-Theatre are continuing the process of darkening the clown. ’The naivety of farce is enriched by the use of black humour,’

Black Butho: Do-Theatrelfabrik

insists Koslov.

Set in a derelict train station, the remnants of past lives, hopes and belongings lie strewn on the tracks. The final carriage left the station some time ago, but once every year, the place begins to stir. An uncertain menace comes from the phantoms of vagrants and tramps who once roamed the area: now they are back, not to beg from or trouble the commuters but to play a game. This game is attractive and exciting but the unseen consequences prove lethal . . .

The fall of the Berlin Wall may have resulted in an economic boom and commercial explosion which could have swamped progressive art and theatre. The likes of DEREVO and Do-Theatre have proved that the underground can enter the mainstream without the dilution of its potent essence. (Brian Donaldson)

I For details, see Hit list, right.

Intemational's bright young thing: Boris Charmatz

Lachenmann's instrumentals (24—25 Aug). ' ’lt’s hard to perform all four, but it’s also a great moment to see not only the latest piece of a newcomer,‘ Charmatz admits. ’We are not doing pieces that have to be seen now and then are forgotten. I like the idea of getting old in a piece, to come back to it and dive in and see how to live in it now.’

It may be useful to regard Charmatz as an emotional conceptualist with some rule-breaking notions about

1 O-Late

DANCE PREVIEW Boris Charmatz

Last year the International Festival mounted a staggering retrospective of Dutch master choreographer Hans Van Manen. This year they've split that generous focus between veteran Swedish dance-maker Mats Ek and a young French upstart named Boris Charmatz.

In the latter’s case, the Festival is presenting each of the four dances this radical 26-year-old has produced. The quartet commences with 1993's A bras Ie corps, a sincerely clumsy, intimate duet devised with creative soulmate Dimitri Chamblas (16—17 Aug). It ends with the turbulent, tender herses (une Iente introduction), described as ’a quartet for five performers’ made in response to composer Helmut

staging. Each of his works will occur in a different area of the Edinburgh Festival Theatre stage. Charmatz is quick to point out that the main idea of each piece is not the position of the audience. ’There's only one philosophy of dance to guide us the rest of our lives: always use the next work to put our knowledge of dance in question.’ (Donald Hutera)

I For details, see Hit list, right.

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Carmen have some fun with these late night delights. Ed Byrne: On The Road Dazzling wit and stage assurance from this charming young man legend has it he shakes a mean cocktail, too. See review on following pages. Ed Byrne: On The Road (Fringe) Ed Byrne, Observer Assembly (Venue 3) 226 2428, until 16 Aug, 70pm, E 77/£70 (£8/E 7).

Boris Charmatz See preview, left. Boris Charmatz (International) Edinburgh Festival Theatre, 4 73 2000, 76-25 Aug (not 78, 22—23) 70.30pm, £ 12.

Carmen Funebre (Funeral Song) The Quad comes alive with the sound of mourning glory in aid of Al's work with Kosovo refugees. Carmen Funebre (Funeral Song) (Fringe) Teatr Biuro Podrozy, The Quad (Venue 792) 662 8740, 73 Aug, 70pm, £30 reception and show/E 7 7.50 show only.

Dylan Moran: The Last Gasp Notoriously grumpy young man with fag in hand and audience in his pocket. See Frontlines, page 14 and Freeloaders, page 11 Dylan Moran: The Last Gasp (Fringe) Dylan Moran, Gilded Balloon At The Palladium (Venue 26) 226 2757, 73-77 Aug, 70.30pm, £9.50 (£8.50). Hopeless Games See preview, left and Frontlines, page 9. Hopeless Games (Fringe) Do- Theatre/fabrik, D.E.A.F. @ St Mary's Cathedral (Venue 709) 557 0707, until 74 Aug, 70pm. £7 (£5).

Box The Pony Songs, stories and vivid characterisation are making Leah Purcell a genuine contender. A funny, harrowing and ultimately uplifting tale of Australian poverty and prejudice. Box The Pony (Fringe) Performing Lines, Observer Assembly (Venue 3) 226 2428, until 30 Aug (not 76, 23) times vary, .6 70/£9 (£9/£8).

12—l9 Aug 1999 THE UST 59