Beret the hatchet: Conflict resolution by dance in Giselle

Giselle is one of classical ballet’s great warhorses, a darkly romantic folk tale of a love that reaches from beyond the grave. Swedish choreographer Mats Ek’s radical revamp of his source material turns the titular heroine from innocent peasant girl to ragbag village eccentric. Instead of dooming her to a supernatural realm of dead, betrayed virgins known as Wilis, Ek plunges her into a mental hospital where body parts symbolise the impossibility of becoming whole.

Ek’s mother Birgit Cullberg founded the ballet company that is presenting her son’s work. This is not his sole attempt at re-interpreting a classic: Sleeping Beauty can be seen at The Playhouse next week. 'I make use of the fundamental story and the original music,’ Ek said, ’but I am not interested in keeping to the classic tradition. Cultural heritage is the point of departure. I see it as a big bowl which I break down, recreate and fill with my own meaning.’ (Donald l-lutera)

I Giselle (International) Cullberg Ballet, Edinburgh Playhouse (Venue 59) 4 73 2000, 23-25 Aug, 7.30pm, £5-£25.

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Chambers And Nettleton - Two For The Price Of One *irir

They’re Northern lasses, a’right! The two women get full marks for enthusiasm. They may be slightly rough around the edges, but they made a truckload of people happy literally. Performing in one of the Fringe's most unique venues, in the back of a truck (which is actually quite a nice, well air-conditioned 36 seater venue), Chambers and Nettleton have bawdy humour down to a fine art. Northern and damn proud of it. With humour that occasionally wanders on to the tacky and vulgar side, they also belt out some cracker tunes. 'Comedy and booze' is definitely the theme of the day. (Tracy Griffen)

I Chambers And Nettleton - Two For The Price Of One (Fringe) Chambers and Nettleton, Comedy Cafe - Off The Back of a Truck (Venue 8) 226 5 738, until 30 Aug (not 22), 6.75pm, £6 (£5).


Robert Knox verses Lee Ness - 'The Gay Bernard Manning'


Despite Lee Ness’ aka, the only minority group to land themselves any kind of bashing was the sedate smattering of tweed-wearing tourists. From Ness’ lament upon his chubby childhood, to sandwiching his top five list of Koran don’ts around Robert Knox’s less than satanic verses, the set is witty and (metaphorically at least) a very good laugh. Well-versed in sexualised John Hegley, Knox muses upon lardy girlfriends, the CSA and the It posse. Unfortunately, despite being charged with both charm and hefty stage presence, the duo, starved by their sparse audience, were ultimately unable to stir up the tea-sipping titter into anything less sober. (Judith Ho)

I Robert Knox verses Lee Ness - ‘The Gay Bernard Manning’ (Fringe) Canon '5 Gait Cellar Bar (Venue 762) Robert Knox Verses Lee Ness, until 29 Aug, 7pm, £3 (£2.99).



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Mucus is your friend. Three nerdy Australians believe that it’s a sadly overlooked resource. Looking like a trio from a kiddies program, they’ll croon their absurd way into your heart. Did they grow up on a diet of red cordial? Perhaps their energetic and enigmatic show is due to an intravenous diet of Sunny Delight. It wouldn’t be surprising given the wee green one’s freaky hair. Either way Tripod have perfected the art of combining comedy and song. It’s never certain whether it’s carefully rehearsed or spontaneous chaos, as they punctuate their set with


THEATRE REVIEW A Madman Sings To The Moon *****

Croissant Dangerous Tony Cownie in A Madman Sings To The Moon

With the blatant exception of Irvine Welsh, the poor and dispossessed make rare appearances in new Scottish theatre writing. But in David Mark Thomson’s A Madman Sings To The Moon, their plight is placed centre stage when poverty stricken Kenny takes the occupants of a trendy Edinburgh cafe hostage. He might be ten bob short of a coffee, but Kenny's impoverishment is not only financial. He yearns for an idealised cinematic world of Lassie films where acts of human solidarity and selfless giving are the norm. Not concerned with financial gain and with no overt political agenda, Kenny proceeds to draw out the inner fears and psychological demons of his hostages. He might be the madman of the title, but these exchanges call into question the sanity of the world beyond the cafe.

At once dark and comic, this is a powerfully provocative production that forces the audience to contemplate the lot of those without a share in New Labour’s stockholding society. But it also poses questions about the priorities in our own lives. With a stunningly authentic set, imaginative use of music and fine acting throughout the cast of five, you’d be a madman to

miss it. (Davie Archibald)

I A Madman Sings To The Moon (Fringe) Brunton Theatre Company, Brunton Theatre (Venue 797) 665 2240, until 28 Aug (not 22) 7. 30pm; 27 Aug, 2.30pm,

£8/£5. 50 (£4).

unexpected moments (cue imaginary car driving across stage). Their ’Sailor Dance’ is the next 'Macarena'.

(Tracy Griffen)

I Tripod (Fringe) Tripod, Gilded Balloon I/ (Venue 36) 226 275 7, until 30 Aug, 7. 75pm, £7.50 (£6.50).

COMEDY REVIEW Lee Mack's Bits *****

Oscar Wilde. Pissed. KFC in one hand, can of Special Brew in the other. If there's one part of Bits that perfectly encapsulates Fringe regular Lee Mack’s bizarre and original approach, it’s the sight of that literary genius slumped on a sofa completely plastered. There can be no doubt that Lee Mack’s hilarious creations put him in the same league as the likes of Steve Coogan and Paul Whitehouse. Insightful without ever seeming smug, outrageous but never gratuitous, Lee Mack's latest Fringe effort is refreshing proof that surreal sketch comedy doesn’t have to be a hit-and-miss affair. (Olly Lassman)

I Lee Mack's Bits (Fringe) Pleasance

(Venue 33) 556 6550, until 30 Aug (not 24) 7.75pm, £9/£8.50/£8 (£8/£ 7. 50/£ 7).

COMEDY REVIEW My Own Little World ****

Shiny happy people! Adam Hills must be one of the happiest comedians at the Fringe. He’s certainly one of the few who blushes onstage. Blending a unique mix of his own personal philosophy with observational humour, he takes the audience by the hand and leads them to a positively warm and cheesy place. His interpretations of national anthems are inspired (despite his singing ability being on the dubious side). With humour that's almost innocent, Hills dispels the myth of the typical big beer drinking Australian bloke. Does the word cynicism exist in his dictionary? Probably not. Not afraid of having fun and looking a bit goofy, Hills’ world is refreshing and uplifting. (Tracy Griffen)

I My Own Little World (Fringe) Adam Hills, Gilded Balloon (Venue 38) 226 2757, until 30 Aug, 7.45pm, £7 (£6).