Theatre 0 Comedy 0



The Ju Ju Girl


Looking for the real Africa, young, wounded-by-Iove Kate carries the ashes of her grandmother Catherine, to be scattered in the missionary where she grew up nearly a century earlier and which she left in mysterious circumstances.

Along the way Kate enjoys the native hospitality of wide-boy entrepreneur Eddie and preacher Daniel. They politely challenge her naively hypocritical white liberal attitude ('Give me a racist or atheist any day - you know where you are with them!’) and her historical ignorance.

When she suggests that both Scots and Africans are downtrodden victims of English imperalists, they remind her that Scots were the prime colonisers. Kate feels deeply uncomfortable because Martha, Eddie's Mozambiquian servant girl, sleeps on the floor. 'You white liberals are the worst,’ says Eddie. 'How many homeless people sleep on your floor in Glasgow?’ The way Eddie sees it, what Kate calls corruption is simply a system whereby everybody wins.

Susan Vidler is marathan woman

White Catherine, African born-and-bred, first meets her ambitious minister husband-to-be as he arrives in the dark continent straight from Edinburgh. But the ghost of her missionary father haunts their marriage, and increasingly, Catherine is torn between differing concepts of duty and betrayal.

Kate's dilemma also concentrates on issues of trust. Throughout, Kate's and Catherine’s tales interweave (perhaps a little too much at times) providing a marathon challenge for actress Susan Vidler who is on stage for most of the two hour play.

Issues of culture and identity are also subtley explored in an intriguing story line which results in a quite gripping piece of theatre. There are some magnificently

restrained performances from Susan Vidler, Derek Riddell as her husband/travelling companion and Manu Kurewa as preacher Daniel. Kolade Agboke's Del Boy character gets some great laughs.

Aileen Ritchie's tale of female self-discovery paints well-rounded characters and director John Tiffany has balaned the light and shade. Beautifully staged and lit, there's the incongruous bonus of watching Africans dance a reel in the desert. and of hearing a spine- tingling Zimbabwean version of Amazing Grace. The overall effect makes up for the disappointing denouement. (Gabe Stewart)

I The Ju Ju Girl (Fringe) Traverse (Venue 15) 228 7404, until 4 Sep (not 23, 30 Aug), times vary, £72 (£7.50).

Manic Marlow is malevolent

THEATRE REVIEW Berkoff's Women *****

'How sweet of you to come on time - bastards!’. Linda Marlowe explodes onto the stage like a psychotic Cruella de Vil, in a one-woman show presenting female roles written by Steven Berkoff.

Berkoff clearly doesn't write roles for shy, retiring wallflowers - his women, be they vengeful Greek heroines or hooray-henry, fox-hunting nightmares, are consistently striking. The language is often coarse; this is best shown in The Sphinx speech where Marlowe nearly foams at the mouth in her rabid denunciation of the male race. And for dirty anecdotes, you can‘t get much more filthy than the East End crone presented here.

Having intended to have a five minute interval, Marlowe instead

refuses to let us leave the theatre for fear of us staying too long in the bar. In fact, her audience has no difficulty in remaining riveted in their seats for 90 minutes of non-stop monologue in which Berkoff's tight, onomatopoeic verse is ridden like a wild stallion by Marlowe.

The new short story, ’From My Point of View’, ends the show. Coming across like the kind of woman Tom Waits would have written a love song for, this is woman stripped bare, alone on the stage pouring out all her insecurities, all her loneliness. Directed by Josie Lawrence, this production is both a tribute to the genius of Berkoff’s writing and a testament to the awe-inspiring greatness of Linda Marlowe's acting. (Catherine Bromley) l Berkoff’s Women (Fringe) Guy Masterson Productions, Observer Assembly (Venue 3) 226 2428, until 30 Aug, 7. 75pm, £9/£8 (£8/£ 7).

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Tasty morsels to get you dribbling The Ju in Girl See review, left. The ju Ju Girl (Fringe) Traverse (Venue 75) 228 7404, until 4 Sep (not 23, 30 Aug) times vary, £72 (E 7.50). Berkoff's Women See review, left. Berkoff's Women (Fringe) Guy Masterson Productions. Observer Assembly (Venue 3) 226 2428, until 30 Aug, 7. 75pm, £9/E8 (£8/£ 7).

Lyrebird: Tales Of Helpmann Wicked drama queen remembrances for 90 glorious minutes. See review on following pages. Lyrebird: Tales Of He/pmann (Fringe) Tyler Coppin, Observer Assembly (Venue 3) 226 2428, until 30 Aug, 2. 75pm, £9.50/E8.50 (£8.50/E 7.50).

Bond A first class tale of love and lego. See review on following pages. Bond (Fringe) General/y Better Productions, Gilded Balloon (Venue 38) 226 275 7, even dates until 30 Aug, 2.30pm, £ 7 (E 6).

Poisoning Pigeons In The Park Tom Lehrer‘s stinging satirical songs matched with catchy melodies. See review on following pages. Poisoning Pigeons In The Park (Fringe) Gilded Balloon ll (Venue 38) 226 275 7, until 30 Aug,

2. 75pm, £7 (£6).

On The Whole It's Been Jolly Good Foxy Leslie Phillips performs a Peter Tinniswood monologue in touchineg tender Fringe debut. See review on following pages. On The Whole It '5 Been Jolly Good (Fringe) Leslie Phi/lips, Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550, until 30 Aug (not 23) £8/£ 7 (E 7/£ 6).

How I Got That Story Thought- provoking look at how the media are frugal with the truth. See review on following pages. How I Got That Story (Fringe) Seasonal Productions, Chaplaincy Centre (Venue 23) 662 8882, even dates until 30 Aug, 2.30pm, £6 (£4).

19—26 Aug 199m: usr 33