Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, Wed l—Sat 4 Nov.
Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, James Dean. All great American icons, larger than life personas and uncompromising standard-bearers of the American Dream, and all with tragic and tormented private lives. The star-spangled ideal that it's better to burn out than fade away may have much to do with the unpalatable fast-burning truth behind the celebrity mask, as much an analogy for America as the American Dream itself. And if you're looking for examples of the decadent culmination of the American Dream, there are few better than the casinos of Las Vegas.
Giving the awakening, Rambert Dance Company’s latest work, The Celebrated Soubrette evokes a vivid world of showgirls and sequins, while also exploring the gritty desperation that lurks behind the bright lights. 'What's interesting about Vegas is that it's a city full of contradictions,’ says choreographer Javier de Frutos. 'I met a lot of people and it fascinated me how they have another sense of normality. Once they've finished, they take off their eyelashes, pick up the kids, cook dinner, then go back to the twelve o’clock show. There are people living there, even though it's a city built for gamblers.’
The glitz and glamour of Vegas vaudeville, the flamboyant camp of Liberace and the frustrated sexual intensity of playwright Tennessee Williams all serve as physical and musical inspiration for Rambert Dance Company's twelve-dancer ensemble. Often dismissed as too kitsch and insubstantial a subject for the high art medium of modern dance, the sequinned world of Liberace's Vegas at first seems an unlikely choice of subject.
‘It‘s easy to knock Liberace, but actually he was one of the first people to bring high culture to Middle America,’ insists de Frutos. 'He’d begin playing a piece
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Rambert Dance connects Liberace and Las Vegas
by Chopin, and somehow end up with the boogie- woogie. That kind of interesting mixture of elements interested me, but also that sense of hidden sexuality in Liberace.’
Given that a key aspect of the performance is a portrayal of emotional substance behind the glamour, it’s no surprise that de Frutos has also chosen to draw inspiration from the emotionally tormented subject matter of that equally tragic American icon, Tennessee Williams.
’Tennessee did something in a much more obvious way than any writer of the time,’ explains de Frutos. ’He made his own sense of autobiography into a universally accessible art. So what I've done is try to find a kind of off-kilter connection between the world which the dancers inhabit and the sense of intimacy and sexuality that Williams deals with. The theatrical possibility of those realities brought me even closer to his world. But it’s all seen through a lens of glitziness; it‘s the characteristic perfume which emanates from Vegas.’ (Olly Lassman)
Actor Rupert Farley has the dubious pleasure of playing Christie. ‘He was not a nice man,’ he says. ’He had a hatred of women and saw them all as whores. He had a lifelong "thing" about prostitutes but the only time he c0uld really get satisfaction was when his Victims were dead.’
Christie gassed his Victims and then buried the corpses in the garden and even plastered body parts into the walls of number ten, When he moved flat and the next occupant knocked a bit of wall through, a grisly discovery was made bringing Christie’s killing career to an end. He was charged With the murders of seven women, and
ADAPTATION Ten Rillington Place
Citizens’ Theatre, Glasgow, Thu 26 Oct—Sat 18 Nov.
There’s a fascination with gory crimes that is too Widespread to be abnormal. And the Citizens’ Theatre has satisfied the dark Curiosity of Glasgow’s theatre- goers With a few dastardly (in subject matter) dramas recently,
Director Kenny Miller
No great surprise. then, that Kenny Miller's latest project for the Circle Studio is his own adaptation of LudOVic Kennedy’s novel Ten Rillington Place was the abode of murderer John Christie whose Victims included Beryl Evans who came to live at this address With her family Husband Timothy Evans was wrongly sentenced to death for the murder and this miscarriage of justice is at the centre of the play
Timothy Evans was given a posthumous pardon,
’It’s really qurte gruesome,’ Farley says. ’Christie had incredible luck at first. When the police came round to search the garden they failed to notice there was a piece of human thigh bone propping up the fence and a skull had worked its way to the Surface.
’The adaptation for the stage is true to the book,’ he continues, ’And it played an important part in the death penalty being abolished in Britain ' Every cloud , . (Stephanie Noblet)
ADAPTATION The Diary Of Anne
King’s Theatre, Edinburgh, Tue 31 Oct—Sat 4 Nov.
Capturing the full horror of the Holocaust isn't easy. A glut of books, films, documentaries and photographs have attempted to describe the unimaginable, but few have been as successful as the diary of one young Dutch girl Written with an eloquence and humour that belied her tender years and arduous circumstances, Anne Frank's Diary Of A Young Gir/ gave a focus to the faceless millions who died at Hitler’s hands.
A definitive version, including sections preViously deemed unsuitable by Anne’s father, was published a few years ago. And now a stage adaptation by Wendy Kesselman is embarking on its first European tour, with award- Winning stalwart of stage and screen DaVid de Keyser taking on the role of Otto Frank.
’Alth0ugh the Holocaust was a massive and uniquely horrifying event, it’s also a universal problem,’ he says. 'You only have to look at what’s gOing on in the Balkans to see that it's a good play to be dorng in this era.’ The complexities of Otto’s character, and indeed all of the residents in that rooftop prison, have been extracted from Anne's original text and given a life of their own 'Wendy Kesselman has compacted the diary in an attempt to capture the claustrophobia, the humour and the pressures,’ says de Keyser ‘And to make all the characters much more rounded figures ’
Shouldering the responsibility of playing the diarist herself, is fifteen- year-old Anne Bedi ’She’s such an easy person to relate to that I think everybody feels they know her in a way,’ says Bedi of her namesake. 'She unveils so much of herself in the diary as she’s growing up. And although at the start she’s quite an irritating child, she matures in quite a short time to an extraordinary degree ’
Havrng just survwed those awkwach early adolescent years herself, Bedi already has a handle on Anne’s inner psyche, but it’s still a challenging role. ’She was a real person and there are people who are still alive that knew her, so I want to do her justice.’
Anne Bedj takes Anne Frank from ‘irritating child' to symbol of resistance
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