theatre 0 dance 0 comedy



Beginning at high-level tension, and continuing that way for just under an hour, Laodamia is an astonishing piece of theatre, for its ability to sustain its audience through this kind of intensity alone. Beyond this, the capacity of this narrative to create authenticity in a chunk of ancient myth performed in the fashion of ritual by three actresses, who distil the essence of the original story, is truly impressive. The central character’s dilemma is that of a woman married young and deprived of her husband by the Trojan war. Sick with desire, she is

Rotten lover: Laodamia

torn between benevolent and malign Gods, eventually choosing the way of the latter in deciding to recall her dead husband from his resting place for three hours of lovemaking with his decayed corpse. For this she is

condemned to the underworld.

So much for the story. The real power of Laszlo Magacs' production lies in the artful rhythms and lighting of the piece, with an eerie, electronic score which maintains the tightened-screw atmosphere throughout. A stunning performance at the centre of this piece by Beth Fitzgerald retains riveted attention from the outset with a kind of stillness, which pulls her audience's attention with a sure and unflagging touch. (Steve Cramer)

I Laodamia (Fringe) Merlin International, Famous Grouse House (Venue 34) 220

5606, until 30 Aug, 8pm, £8 (£6).

THEATRE REVIEW The House Of Pootsie Plunket

*‘k‘k‘k Surreal and blackly tragi-comic, Pootsie Plunket is a mock epic take on the Electra myth transposed to the icy north of Canada. Pootsie is proud to belong to a lineage of pioneers, but with her father dead and her idiot brother unable to take the helm of the Plunkett fortune, trouble awaits. Her mother has a new lover, hot from Montego Bay and disdainful of Plunkett traditions. It’s a slow-burn of a tale as tension builds to its inevitably tragic climax, but the engrossing storytelling keeps it compelling throughout.

The immaculately hyper-real

performances and the dazzlineg superior design succeed in creating a chilling atmosphere. Excellent contemporary Gothic that is not unlike a Tim Burton film on stage. (Ross Holloway)

I The House Of Pootsie Plunket (Fringe) Catalyst Theatre, Continental Shifts at St Bride’s Wenue 62) 346 1405, until 28 Aug, 8pm, £ 7 (£5).


Al Murray The Pub Landlord - And A Glass Of White Wine For The Lady


Dumped at the altar more times than

he cares to remember for the Perrier award, this bastard son of Grant

Unatural High: Buzz Stop

Mitchell and Tommy Cooper has the masses in his blazer pocket within minutes. Treading the well worn ‘getting to know your audience' path of introduction, Murray affectionately insults those foolish enough to stray within a tumblers throw of his makeshift bar.

You will not see a more polished Perrier-eligible comedy performance this festival - his ad-libs and insults are all exquisitely timed. No revolutionary insights into life, the world and everything, but hey, who ever said that was what the Fringe was all about? (Mark Robertson)

I And A Class Of White Wine For The Lady (Fringe) Al Murray, Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550, until 30 Aug, 9.25pm, £8. 50/£8 (£7. 50/£ 7); George Square Theatre (Venue 37) 662 8740, 27-29 Aug, 11.15pm, £9/£8.50

(£8/£ 7. 50).


Even when you've wrung every last bit of excitement from life, you still yearn for more. Or so the characters in Negative Equity's Buzz Stop discover.

For them chemical excess, power, Olympian sex and communicating with your inner being are simply not enough, and their desperate search for the

ultimate high leads to dire consequences.

This intelligent marriage of verse, movement and tongue in cheek humour, which verges on being a modern-day fable, works extremely well. The only complaint is that, at times, the dance music used renders the actors inaudible. (Dawn Kofie)

I Buzz Stop (Fringe) Negative Equity Theatre Company, Chaplaincy Centre (Venue 23) 662 8882, until 28 Aug, 8.25pm, £6 (£4).


Fart jokes were funny in The Young Ones, although even back then farts were not enough material to sustain a one and half hour show. They’re certainly not now, more than a decade later.

Recounting a morning in a loser household of two men whose sole entertainment is bodily functions and masturbation, this production is puerile and very unfunny. It's a miserable cross between Benny Hill and The Young Ones, with a set straight out of a kiddies’ show. If you'd like to see a grown man eat powdered milk, maybe you'll get into this. Otherwise, it stinks. (Tracy Griffen)

I The Big Stink (Fringe) Tickled Pink Productions, Diverse Attractions (Venue 11) 225 8961, until 28 Aug, 9.45pm, £5 (£3).

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26 Aug—9 Sep 1999 THE usr 43