Theatre 0 0 Dance
The Kaos Importance Of Being Earnest
Renowned for bringing their own inimitable style to the classics, The Kaos Theatre Company have turned their attention to The Importance Of Being Earnest, arguably Wilde's best- loved work. First performed in 1997 during a highly successful tour, the play will be touring again after the Festival around England, Ireland and Wales. A searingly satirical look at notions of identity, society and sexuality, it is rich with the barbed social commentary that Wilde was a master of. Managing to bring it bang up-to-date without losing any of the original script, Kaos have transformed Wilde’s original characters into ones instantly recognisable to the modern audience.
’Lady Bracknell snorts cocaine and ﬂies like the Wicked Witch,’ explains director Xavier Leret. 'Algernon and Jack are clubbers, real hippy, dippy characters and we used the Spice Girls as models for Cecily, who is still clearly mad as a hatter.’ The costumes have also been updated, with leopard skin and clubwear
featuring strongly. ‘lt's as camp as a field of tents,’ he laughs.
’Of all of Oscar Wilde’s plays, I think this is probably his best,’ he continues, ’and our approach is most suited to his work.’ This involves much clowning around, with slapstick and physical theatre very much emphasised. While the acerbic repartee between the characters is still in place, it has been accentuated by physical violence in the form of cat fights and cake fights. Music also plays a large part in highlighting the humour; opera and a capella renditions of classical pieces by Handel and
Mozart have been incorporated, as well as a modern soundtrack.
Although wit and humour are obviously strong elements in the play, the pointed politics aimed at society cannot be ignored. 1 think what makes this such a classic is that it deals with the canons of human behaviour.’ says Leret. ’All the characters are so despicable. It’s nasty, cutting-edge stuff, ridiculing society and exploring notions of identity. I'm having such a hoot with it!’ This is Wilde as he should be performed - wild. (Kirsty Knaggs) I For details see Hit list, right.
Electra’s father is dead, killed by her mother and her lover. Her brother is far away, and her sister is neither use nor ornament. In essence, she is alone in mourning him. Thoughts of revenge and the hope that her brother Orestes will Soon return are the only things keeping
her alive, for as a woman in ancient Greek society, she is powerless.
This new adaptation of Sophocles' classic tale of revenge and murder, which has been updated while retaining the original text, is visually and aurally stunning. Going back to the ancient Greek method of performing, whereby three actors play a number of different characters, the twist in this production is that each character, save Electra, is
portrayed through a different medium, employing video and audio techniques.
The interaction between the actors on stage and the characters portrayed through video and audio is very effective at creating different levels of intimacy, particularly between Electra and her long-awaited brother. The nightmarish, hissing voices of the gods and the Furies fills the theatre space from above, bringing a disturbing, awe- inspiring atmosphere, which captures perfectly the essence of these ancient deities.
Kate Dickie was compelling as Electra, but the real star of the night was Flemish singer Erudike de Beul as Clytemnestra, Electra‘s mother. She interpreted the character as a Wicked Witch of the West-type, evil oozing out of her pores as she screeched, spluttered and sang her way through the lines. A tragedy the play is, but the performance most certainly was not. (Kirsty Knaggs) n For details, see Hitlist, right.
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While away the afternoons with these Festival essentials. The Kaos Importance Of Being Earnest See preview, left. The Kaos Importance Of Being Earnest (Fringe) Kaos Theatre UK Ltd, Theatre Workshop (Venue 20) 226 5425, until 30 Aug, times vary, £7.50 (£5). Electra See review, left. Electra (Fringe) Theatre Cryptic, Theatre Workshop (Venue 20) 226 5425, until 28 Aug (not 23) times vary, £8 (£5). The Murder Of Sherlock Holmes The great Sherlock Holmes is a coke addict driven more by his vanity than ideals of justice in this must-see Victorian take. The Murder of Sherlock Holmes (Fringe) TNT Theatre and The American Theatre Group London, Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550, until 30 Aug (not 24) 3pm, £8/£ 7 (£ 7/£ 6).
They Shoot Horses, Don’t They A powerful work about the 19305 dance-offs which would last, agonisingly, for days. See review, following pages. They Shoot Horses Don ’t They? (Fringe) National Youth Theatre Of Great Britain, George Square Theatre (Venue 37) 662 4717, until 30 Aug, 4pm, £9.50 (£6.50).
Labyrinth: Mystery Of The Monster In The Maze An introduction to Greek myths aimed squarely, although by no means exclusively, at the younger audience. Labyrinth: Mystery Of The Monster In The Maze (Fringe) Wee Stories ‘ Theatre For Children, The Netherbow Theatre (Venue 30) 556 9579, until 30 Aug (not 22) £4 (£3).
19—26 Aug 1999 THE UST 57