DOMESTIC DRAMA A Listening Heaven

Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh, Sat 10 Jan—Sat 3 Feb.

Torben Betts presents a tale of suburban angst

At the age of 32, Torben Betts has come a long way in the very week A Listening Heaven, hrs first play, rs being revrved rn Edinburgh, hrs latest play, /ncarcerator rs being premiered rn London Originally produced in 1994 at Alan Ayckbourn’s Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough, A Listening Heaven sOunds very like Ayckbocrrn's own work The kind of domestic, middle-class angst that has become Ayc‘kl)()urn's speciality rs all there, and Betts rs happy enough to acknowledge the inspiration

'l was influenced by AyckoOurn in my early twenties,’ he says, as rehearsals begin at the Royal Lyceum ’But this play rs a little different it's much blacker stuff But its certarniy the domestic landscape that he writes about '

Set at a middle-class family occasion rprecrsely what occasron emerges as rt progressesr, the play is about intergeneratronal conflict Betts pitches the young son turned eco-warrror into conflict 'y'r/lllT hrs older, .vnOre conservative relatives 'lt’s not a play abOuI ecology, though,’ he says ’It's about the conflicts created rnsrde thrs estranged, dysfunctional farnrly’

The playwright admits to a background in the very world he describes 'The town I was brought up in in Sussex was very conservative middle England, a very reactronary mrllreu,’ he says 'I was exploring the lives of these kinds of peOple rn the play It's funny, but there aren't any belly laughs rn rt I’m interested rn creating anxrous laughter The play rs melancholic, rather than depressing and the truth emerges from rt '

Betts himself has moved away from thrs style of work, and the opening of Muriel Romanes’ procluctron will comcrde with the opening in London of Inc‘arcerator, an altogether different affair, being a tragedy rn verse '1 wanted to get away from people in rooms for a whrle,’ he explains. But not for long, He's now working on another AyckbOurn commission, so if you OHJOY thrs one, there'll be another along soon (Steve Cramerr


Eden Court Theatre, lnverness Wed lO—Sat 13 Jan, then touring. at t *

Aladdin 'cannot be embraced whole-heartedly

Scottish Ballet's ambitious new adaptation of the famous adventure fable from The Arabian Nights rs the company’s first full-length production in seven years While aspects of design and performance are pleasing, septuagenarran choreographer Robert Cohan's opus cannot be embraced whole-heartedly

Armrng for the status of instant famrly classic, the work falls far short of its goal, Apart from choreographrcally overpado'ed, as a piece of storytelling rt mrsses clarity More drsapporntrng rs the absence of humour or, crucially, a sense of wonder Characterisation rs thin even by fairy tale standards. The Evrl Magrcran rprratrcal Mrchele Dr Molfetta

reviews THEATRE

on openrng nrghtl rs Without threat or dimension How can you hiss at a non- entrty“ E en the genre, the one thing universally assooated With this stOry, lacks presence, berng reduced to a few flashy, expensrye laser fragments There are fine nuggets of legerdemarn, cOurtesy of rllusronrst Paul Kreve The yanrshrng tricks and a brief flying carpet ride are neat But, like the pas de deux for Aladdin desus Pastorl and the Princess Linda Packerl, the latter floats around aimlessly, as rf in a dramatic vacuum

As a play-rt safe medroc.'rty, Aladdin fits right in With Scottish Ballet's current mrddle-of~the-road aesthetic, Cohan gives the hard-working ensemble plenty of Vigorous, effortful dance passages rncludrng, surprisingly, a slew of frrst act ’rewels clrvertrssements' on pointe Lez Brotherston's reputation as one of the

country's most ingenious designers

remains unscathed, thanks to movrng panels that continually redefine the space rnsrde a glowrngly red proscenium arch

Composer Carl ;

Davrs's strrrrng, sappy pastiche of Prokofiev, Tchaikovsky and John ET

Williams provrdes a surfert of climaxes

The productron’s one lrve wrre rs .'

Pastor's physical exuberance and resOurcefui rnnocence as Aladdin,

Handsome, supple and fluid down to hrs fingertips, thrs wrnnrng company newcomer rs a real find. He only faltered while wrrthrng against a wall, bare-chested and rn chains like some overextended homoerotrcrsm. (Donald Hutera)

2 years (52 Issues) at £80 Save 20% 1 year (26 issues) at £45 Save 10% 6 months (13 Issues) at £24 Save 5%

advert for

Mr/Mrs/Ms Forename Surname these benefits for months to come. Address 0 Critical A-Z of every film showing in central Scotland 0 Previews and reviews of the best events in music. theatre. comedy, dance and the visual arts 0 Fun, definitive and hip guide to the club scene Postcode

0 Book reviews and literary events 0 Special supplements and festival guides

0 Competitions and reader offers Dayt'me tEIephone

Free postage and packing Guaranteed direct delivery Complete knowledge at your fingertips

Payment Details I enclose a cheque/postal order for £ .......... .. Made payable to The List Ltd

Or please debit my

To subscribe now simply call with your credit card Visa D Mastercard D or complete and send or fax the coupon attached

Telephone 0131 558 1191 Card Number FaxO1315578500 lllllllllllllll

expiry date Return to I l l J J Subscriptions, The List Ltd. Freepost EH2877, 14 High Street, Edinburgh Eh1 1TE Signature Date

51an—18Jan 2001 THE LIST 61