MUSIC/kl t/Jl/ll lw’ ASSASSINS MacRobert, Stirling, Sun 13 May 000

A hrtter rr‘an rru a Santa costume snarls rnto a tape 'e’r "rer ahout love and hr‘, rntentron to krll Rrrghard eror‘ h. ‘L, rig a plane rnto the White House. As rrtuszeal theatre goes. /lf,‘saf;.',.rrri, has more to eorr‘rnenrl It than mest ot the rrrrdrllerhrox.’ pap ehur'ned out h; the Broadwa, ‘.".’est£r‘.d feelgood laetory.

Stephen Sondherrp and .John Vr/erdrrran’s eorrtrr; rr\rrsrr;al rs a rrredrtatron on the ass; ssrnatrons and attempted ass; ssrnatrons of US presrdents. Whether rt rs rdeologreal eonuretrons or psyr;ho|ogrr;a| ohsessrons. the preee ha/ards a darkly humorous guess as to the rnotrvatrons ol the lee l larvey Oswalds ot thrs ‘.‘./()l|(l.

.lohn erkes Booth. who ; ss; ssrnated Ahraharrr l llt(;()lll, tergns hrgh prrnerple. hrrt eondemns lrrrnsell as he deserrhes the dead presrdent as a 'nrgger' loyer'. lhe undynamrr; duo who hrlarrously hungle an attempt to kill (‘zer‘ald l’or'd are less loathsome.

Sondherm and Werdman may not he Kurt Weill and Bertolt Breeht. hrrt nerther. thankfully. are they Andrew Lloyd Wehher and lrm ltrr:e. Ass.’ ss/ns has an Intelligent. satrrreal edge whreh rs ahout as weleome rn the average popular musreal as a (:ur‘ry at lor'y Ml) .John lownend's house.

lhrs Rapture Theatre on a shoestring productron Isn't always up to the seor‘e and ser’rpt. lhe Amerrean aeeents often slrp. and some of the srngrng and aetrng rs rough round the edges. Nevertheless. Paul Rush's Samuel Byek the of the eron ; ss; ssrnatron plotl rs delrerously funny. lJltrmately the last Krlhrrde eompany pulls together to ereate a presentatron whreh rs stronger than the sum of rts parts. (Mark Brown)

Shoestring Sondheim


Carbon copy musical fails to enchant


Playhouse, Edinburgh, until Sat 12 May 00

lhere Isn't a great deal to rertomrrrend thrs rather rnert produetron ot a elassrr: rr‘usreal. lhere's good, ellr(:rent srngrng and danerng. hut lew memhers ot the east (:ornhrne the two wrth any eer’tarnty. lhrs adaptation of Homer) Arid Jrr/ret to street gang 50:; New York rs played ahsolutely rn period. perhaps for (:ontr'aetual reasons. hut rts pox'rer rs hegrnnrng to wane rn rts etle(:t. srnr:e the street thugs ol the 50:; no longer seem genurnely menaerng. more lrke (:har'aeters from Happy (Days. rn ta<:t. lhrs rs a rnythrr: New York that few of rts audrenee wrll have seen. and makes lrttle lrnk wrth (:ontemporary (:ultur'e.

lhere are a few good moments. wrth a nreely r'ealrsed. (:lever‘ly staged duet ol Somewhere" early rn the seeond hall a hrghlrght. All the same. our star-(:rossed lovers are not really stars. and are lrahle to make you (:ross. Whrle ()elra Graham's Marla srngs heautrlully. wrth a rather operatrr: turn. she (:ontrasts a lrttle too r‘.‘u(:h wrth the pop (:ultural srngrng of Norman Bowman's 'lonv. and her hoolrng rs not gurte as rt should he. Meanwhrle. Bowman's danerng rs protrerent and energetre. hut hrs hahrt ol gnnnrng whrle delivering $3().'l‘.(} of the preee's most tr‘agre numhers made me wonder whether he wasn't hear‘rng thrngs wrth a lrttle more lortrtude than neeessary. rSteye Cr‘arr‘er'r

Rep has wiped the slab clean, and

MINCE? . Dundee Rep, until Sat 19 May come out smelling like a well- 0000 disinfected abattoir. The

Masson’s musical is a lot of fun

It might be argued that the critically acclaimed Dundee ensemble has lost its stride of late. While Dundee Rep’s hallmark high-quality sets and ambitious and well-executed shows have never diminished in aesthetic quality, a well-intentioned awareness of local culture seems to have brought forth a couple of bog- standard parochial scripts that even the talent at the Rep couldn’t quite elevate beyond mediocrity. Thankfully, with carnivorous musical comedy Mince?, Dundee

considerable talent that is Forbes Masson (you might remember him theatrically for the hugely successful comedy of morbidity, Stiff!, or on TV as a ginger kiddy- fiddler in Eastenders) brings to the stage an irreverent foray into the human psyche with all the right ingredients: swinging tunes, one- liners and a large quantity of tinned mince.

The plot revolves around tormented advertising genius, Donald Johnstone as he tells the story of his descent towards offal- related lunacy. We join Johnstone as a Woody Allenesque wreck, observed on the couch by deadpan psychoanalyst, Dr Craig, who, with the aid of a pair of computer- enhanced spectacles, begins to explore Johnstone’s tortured past. All-singing, all-dancing collaborators in Johnstone’s cerebral demise include meat- packer turned femme fatale Marilyn Montrose and Tartan-clad offal

magnate and self-proclaimed True Scotsman Mr McKinnon, part of a huge host of brilliantly entertaining characters that manages to employ every one of the 14-strong ensemble and, with a song and dance routine roughly every ten minutes, it’s certainly a lot of fun.

More impressive still is that Masson and Dundee Rep have, with commendable sensitivity, worked the troubling issue of senile dementia into the proceedings, represented by the subplot surrounding Johnstone’s rapidly degenerating dad. It’s one thing to come up with a light-hearted, no- holds-barred musical jaunt, quite another simultaneously, delicately and poignantly to portray a subject such as dementia in such a skilful and profoundly moving way.

There are a few flaws; the male vocalists seem, at times, in need of a few singing lessons, and the ending is a tad unsatisfying, but this is still premium-grade stuff, and an accessible and hugely charismatic return to top form for Dundee Rep. (Olly Lassman)


“‘E \ 5x.

WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF HRT Adam Smith Theatre. Kirkcaldy. Thu 10 May. then touring. .00

The swam: r‘uar "‘ ~of‘. arrrrks am: a. fltlfll‘k‘x‘tr‘N f:‘t.\_. . Kl: saggy-st“: a wee 'ra' l‘r‘1‘tlt‘b‘tltl l‘t'r‘” tll"llgltllt‘at 'lfx‘ °."<- stat ti wt 2 re l’alat‘e l’reat'r: lx'ln‘arnor‘k ~;t‘-".ml at: ar‘ appropriate 'e'r‘rrrder llltll \‘.'.t' ‘r.‘.t‘.'z' ll‘. llle ‘.',t rrltl mt playxarrltrt l\'1.ll|t'.lr‘l‘.t-fl, rather t'ran that of the ulrrrrurtrluu H'Hltlt‘l \Jt‘llt‘fr, l \tltlt‘l these selt rnrluigent thrrt‘.srrrr‘ethrngtg they'u- gr‘t nothrrrg on menopausal .'.omer‘ wrth tlllllllt‘lr‘frlr‘tl lluslrar‘ds and trr'ketu tr ‘r a l)anrer ( )‘l torrnell (‘Hllr‘elt

.Jones' alter tronate (:orrtrti rnuslr‘ai has heriorne sorrrethrnr; ( rt a phenorrrenon. and rt rsn't (lllllriult to see Vt Ira and Anna. who haxe esraperl :rntullrllrng ll'.es rn Hellast tor a nrght ot exrrternent with thr- lrrslr (:rooner rn Hour-gal. hrt enough narls. and rrren. on the head to relate to the lrves ol wr rnren everywhere rregarr llr :‘.f, ol whether the,” .re ever enjoyed a rountr‘, z". western slide gurtarr.

Although a lrttle too lrgllt tor sorr‘e tastes. the play eomhrnes the soaprnes‘. ol a Nell Slrnonrmnted, .‘thh porgnantl‘, hurrrorou', lrnes that (gould alrrrost trnd their rule a l r/ loehhead drarr‘a. Anna Ne‘.'.rell's hrrght produetron for Horrlerlrne lheatre (Lornpau, lrrrng'. out thehest Inner t'rree strong east. l rnrl, Vr/hrtetord's Vera. rl‘. partreular. r‘. a hrrllrarrtl, has/(l, preture of rrnaeeeptrng .‘xorkrnr; elass yarorr‘arrheed.

rl/lark Brosxrr

Brilliantly bawdy

2'.‘7:. ' THE LIST 67