Playhouse, Edinburgh, Tue 20 Nov—Sat1 Dec.
Broadway and London sensation Chicago is about to hit Scotland, providing us with ‘Razzle Dazzle’, ‘Class’ and ‘All That Jazz’ (just three of the songs in a score jampacked full of great numbers).
Created in 1975 by the gay songwriting team of composer John Kander and lyricist Fred Ebb, under the helm of visionary director/choreographer Bob Fosse, Chicago oozes sex and heat, all done through bravura song and dance.
Set in the Windy City in 1926, it tells the story of Roxie Hart, a married chorus girl who kills her faithless lover and manages to avoid prison through the histrionic efforts of show-off lawyer Billy Flynn. Roxie ends up a vaudeville headliner with another ‘scintillating sinner’, Velma Kelly.
But don’t go to Chicago for the story, go for the music and dancing.
Fit bodies clad in decadent, skin-tight
black, gyrating hips, direct eye contact with the audience, all accompanied by the most pulsating, orgasmic score. In a black-box set with the orchestra on stage throughout, Chicago relies on the performers’ sexual allure and the interesting activities you can do with ostrich feathers and a stepladder.
About the power of sensational reporting and media hype, Chicago features cross-dressing journalists, a dykey prison warden with her bevvy of fawning females, as well as an unrepentant chorus of husband killers.
Kansas City-born John Kander and New York-born Fred Ebb began working together in 1963 on their first musical Flora The Red Menace, marking the Broadway debut of a young Liza Minnelli. Their indictment against intolerance and bigotry Cabaret became a world-wide hit, and proved musical theatre can tackle serious
FRENCH FILM FESTIVAL GFT, Glasgow/Filmhouse, Edinburgh; Fri 16-Thu 29 Nov.
The French Film Festival is back in town bringing with it a plethora of great moyies. French films have an ability of taking audiences somewhere that other European and Hol|y\.'./ood films don't go. Is it because philosophy is part of the countc '5; school curriculuin and so encourages the art of conversation?
At first glance there seems to be a ‘.'./hole rash of inoVies focusing on young ‘.'/on‘»en questioning their sexuality. These include Our, mars . . . '.'/ith the Belgian star of Rosetta. Emilie Deguenne. l_a Rapehtion has the face of Dior. E'itn‘anuel Beart. as the object of desire for her oldest childhood friend Pascale Bi ssieres in Catherine Corsini's brooding drama. Les til/es he save/it pas nagei' has two teenage girls on a beach. ain explores what happens when one of then» falls in love ‘.’.’llfl the other. It also sounds like a feii‘ale version of the big hit of the lesbian 8. Gay liI'n Festival Presgue Hie/i '.'.’fll(lli is about to come to the l-‘iliiihouse from Thursday 29 November. If you liked Stéphane Rideau in that film and in The l’.'f///(//1)(,)(3(/$, he can f)‘: seen in Loin this year. Directed
70 THE LIST "Z I”: '1’
Sex, heat, gyrating hips and an orgasmic score
subjects, and indeed is often the best medium for such issues. Their musicalisation of Manuel Puig’s Kiss Of The Spiderwoman about the relationship between a gay window-dresser and a Marxist revolutionary had songs about torture and a police state. It’s for the tune ‘New
York, New York’ written specially for Minnelli that they
are best known.
by Andre Techine and shot on Betacam Video in Tangiers. it makes references to gay nomadic writers. Paul Bowles and William Burroughs.
Following Ill the fo.)tsteps of Gallic camp comedy classic La Cage Aux Fol/es. which v-Jas made into a Broadway musical and The Birdcage With Robin Williams. comes The Closet. Two of France's lie—men, Gerard Depardieu and Daniel Auteuil star in this comedy set in a condom factory where a straight worker pretends he's gay so he can claim un‘ai" dism ssal. Two of
AbFab French-style with
Like the music of those other two gay composers, Jerry Herman (Hello Dolly and La Cage Aux Folles) and Stephen Sondheim, Kander and Ebb’s songs have passed into the collective consciousness. Their songs are sung in showers as folk wake up in the morning, as people make their way to work, as they fall in and out of love. Here’s hoping this touring production of Chicago retains the energy and sexual bravado of the Broadway production. (John Binnie)
Nathalie Baye and Josiane Balasko
French cineina's great actresses. Nathalie Baye and Josiane Balasko. take on the roles of Patsy and Edina in Abso/urnent labu/eux. Apparently Jennifer Saunders approves of this new version but it will be very interesting to see how British humour adapts.
As always the OFT and Edinburgh Filmhouse have a Wide selection of films that you can dip into in searcn of challenges. laughs and hopefully some surprises along tne way. So go on . . . buy yourself a season ticket. iJane Hamilton;
Scene and not heard
A BITTER ARTISTIC DISPUTE has blown up over copyright between Turner prize nominee and filmmaker Isaac Julien and Venezulan nude choreographer Javier de Frutos. his former friend and collaborator. Both artists worked on the video The Long Road To Mazatlan. featuring nude cowboys and drag queens. which is part of the body of work for which gueer artist Julien got nominated. Now de Frutos is claiming copyright for himself. The New Tate where the work is exhibited refuses to comment on the ex-friends' tiff.
SCOTS-BORN GRAE Cleugh has his first play Fucking Games on at London’s Royal Court Theatre, about four gay men who meet in a Chelsea flat one evening. ‘I suspect that sleeping around is a little more prevalent in gay relationships than straight ones,’ says the 33—year-old playwright, ‘but I’m gay and I wanted to write about the experiences and cultures that I’m part of.’
Ellen Sheean at the Citz
LOOK OUT FOR
Tennessee Williams' higth atitobiographical confessional Sudden/y Last Summer at the Citizens' Theatre studio in Glasgow. It has the most cannibalistic gay death imaginable. See how plausible Daniel Auteil is as a gay man in the condom comedy The Closet as part of the French Film Festival in both (:ities. Finally Glasgow novelist Joe Mills has edited an anthology of Scottish gay writing Borderline which includes work by Jackie Kay. Bill Douglas. Irvine Welsh and James Kelman.