DANCE PREVIEW Sleeping Beauty

A fine time to give up smoking: Sleeping Beauty

Pricked not by the needle of a spinning wheel but by heroin, Aurora is in this new production of the classic ballet Sleeping Beauty, a rebellious teenager turned drug addict.

No stranger to controversy, renowned Swedish choreographer Mats Ek has been at the forefront of modern dance for over 30 years. His recent work with the Cullberg Ballet has included dramatic reappraisals of classics, including Giselle, Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty. Concerned with modernising our fairy tales and reinforcing the fundamental human issues they contain, Ek’s work experiments with the theatricality of performance and shows ballet reflecting basic human feelings.

Using Tchaikovsky’s score and the main characters of the story, Ek has eliminated the pomp of the fairy-tale court and instead multiplies individual characters on stage in order to heighten the effect of the emotion portrayed. Margareta Lidstrom, artistic director on the production, describes it as 'a very special choreographical language. There’s a lot of energy, strength and power.’ (Catherine Bromley)

I Sleeping Beauty (International) Cullberg Ballet, Playhouse, 31 Aug-2 Sep, 7.30pm, £5-£25.

COMEDY REVIEW Geraldine McNulty: Greatest Hits

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Anything calling itself a Greatest Hits package should always be approached with the deepest suspicion. But this collection of oldies- but-goodies won't fail to delight even the most hardened of cynics. An hour whizzes by as we are reacquainted with some of McNulty's finest comic creations. From the endearing to the repellent, the sympathetic to the plain old pathetic, the sequence of brilliantly observed characterisations is never less than hilarious. McNulty's diversity as an actress is astonishing, transforming herself completely with

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a minimum of physical alterations, an effect which can take lesser performers a wardrobe full of costumes and several layers of make- up to achieve. (Allan Radcliffe)

I Geraldine McNulty: Greatest Hits (Fringe) Geraldir.e McNulty, Gilded Balloon (Venue 38) 226 2151, until 30 Aug, 7pm, £7.50 (£8.50).

COMEDY REVIEW At Last! It's War Famine Death And Pestilence

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Continuing the trend for conceptual humour that is the Fast Show and Big Train, The Four Horsemen (two men and two women actually) bound onto the stage, eager to deliver their messages of mirth and frivolity. Coping well with the restrictions that any fringe venue imposes - no room for any set or staging the players sow the seeds of their Cleverly observed Characters and situations, returning to harvest them as the show progresses. Four stars in the making, but only three for the review. This is competent material, very well delivered but, in every sense of the word, a sketch show. (Declan Lynch)

I At Last! It’s War Famine Death And Pestilence (Fringe) The Four Horsemen, Gilded Balloon (Venue 38) 226 2151. until 30 Aug, 7.45pm, £7 (£6).


Big Word Performance Poetry ****

It’s difficult to describe in words the art of Big Word, because between all the performers, they used them all in their packed performance poetry show. Dynamic, vitriol charged and sweaty would go some way to conveying the dramatics on offer.

Jem Rolls is the verbal dynamo hosting the entertainment, and he certainly does roll through language but not as we know it, with power and phlegm- driven passion. Francesca Beard slows the pace with breathless rhymings and witty attacks on past loves and Rob Gee defies pause, rhyme and good taste as he races at break-neck speed through tales of boredom and passionate escape. Two new performers will be taking up the reins of this galloping stallion next week and if you like it fast and furious, then this is the show of your dreams. (Catherine Bromley)

I Big Word Performance Poetry (Fringe) Christie’s Comedy Cellar (Venue 106) 228 3765, until 30 Aug. 6.45pm, £5 (£4).

THEATRE REVIEW Simply Barbra 1k 1k 1k at

In our preview of this show, its star Steven Brinberg informed us he felt Miss Streisand would appreciate it, in spite of its tendency to 'gently make fun of her'. Gently! You wouldn't want to see him getting rough. Essentially a

DANCE PREVIEW Mats Ek Triple Bill

Think of Swedish choreographer Mats Ek's contemporary triple-bill of works, She Was Black, Solo For Two and A Sort Of. as the filling in a dance sandwich. That makes his radical reinterpretations of the classics Giselle and Sleeping Beauty the bread. The Cullberg Ballet, named after Ek’s mother Birgit, are presenting all five ballets as part of the International Festival.

Black nabbed its title from a bit of revue-show dialogue: 'I dreamed about God last night.’ /'What did he look Iike?’ I‘She was black.’ Set to the piercing strains of a Gorecki string quartet. it's a non-narrative. surrealist adventure with an aggressive urban tone. The choreography explodes before a fragmentary set featuring cut-off staircase and twisted wall.

In its original form the melancholy love duet Solo For Two won American TV's equivalent of an Oscar. Ek regards the heterosexual couple in it as each other’s mirror image. There's a chance that A Sort Of. a dream ballet for sixteen dancers also pegged to Gorecki,

Acting the coat: Mats Ek Triple Bill

might alleviate the programme's relative gloom. But then again . . . Ek made all three dances within the last five years. Now in his mid-50$, the man is so in demand these days that he calls himself a ‘merchant of ballet.’

(Donald Hutera)

I Mats Ek Triple Bill (International) Cullberg Ballet, Edinburgh Playhouse, 4 73

2000, 27—28 Aug, 7.30pm, £5-£25.

subtle piss-take on bloated celebrity mores, Brinberg's Barbra beautifully blurs the line between tribute act and parody, cabaret and comedy. Interspersed with acerbic, sniggery intros, Brinberg's take on the Streisand standards are also eerily exact, leading to the inference that beneath the pithy lampoons there lurks a fan indeed. (Barry Mcpherson)

I Simply Barbra (Fringe) Steven Brinberg, P/easance (Venue 33) 556 6550, until 30 Aug, 6.30pm, £8. 50/£8 7. 50/£ 7).

THEATRE REVIEW The Caribbean Tempest ****

Calypso music comes wafting through the air as you're led down through the Gardens to the open-air stage area, where all manner of Caribbean sights and sounds await. The setting is ideal to recreate a tropical island, even if the driech weather isn't. This musical, colourful and very physical adaptation of Shakespeare is not confined to one area; the action takes place on all sides, and even embraces the audiences’ space on a couple of occasions. The humour of the play is exploited for all it’s worth, and the result is a riotous, enchanting experience which even the threat of rain can‘t spoil. (Kirsty Knaggs)

I The Caribbean Tempest (Fringe)

Theatrum Botanicum In Association With Holder's Season, Barbados, Royal Botanic Gardens (Venue 193) 0374 167 352, until 30 Aug, 7.30pm, £10 (£8).


Tubular Hells


Private thoughts on public transport. Nearly everyone has caught the last train home and witnessed the motley assortment of drunks and eccentrics on it. Many people have also entertained themselves with naughty thoughts to pass the journey. This Fringe premiere sees two drunken lads, a very buxom lass and her pal, a bickering couple and an eccentric lady meet on the last tube home. What results is unlikely and uproariously funny. Written and directed by Dr Victoria Walker, it’s performed by medical students who have been friends for many years. A brilliant script laden with innuendo sees this production hit the spot. (Tracy Griffen)

I Tubular Hells (Fringe) Purple Productions, Roman Eagle Lodge (Venue 21) 226 7207. until 28 Aug. 6.00pm, £5 (£4).


*idrir Don't arrive late for Colin Murphy's