MUl ll SHOT.


Counting House, Edinburgh, until Sat 16 Feb .00

Fringe theatre. The term might have been coined in Edinburgh but, outwith August, you don’t see much of it here. Edinburgh’s menu productions has set out to change that. It’s roped together three actors and three short European plays, staged them on a shoestring budget and is playing them back to back with drinker- friendly intervals in between. It even throws in a spot of comedy or music for the same price.

The chief strength of the evening is its variety and its healthy spirit of let’s—do-the-show- right-here. Picked apart on a play by play basis, it doesn’t stand up so well.

Anyone aware of the reputation of Manfred Karge’s Man To Man

Mixed dish

after the Traverse production with Tilda Swinton more than a decade ago will be bemused by the revival here. Given a mechanical performance by Lynne McCallum under Gowan Calder’s direction, this tale of a woman who poses as her dead husband in Nazi Germany should be a clever parable about assimilation. Instead, it’s an inanimate piece of storytelling quite the opposite of Swinton’s dynamic performance that simply

doesn’t hold your attention.

Pirandello’s The Man With The Flower In His Mouth is a twenty-minute encounter between two men on a railway platform, one with a deathly secret. Director Kate Nelson draws out solid, straight-forward performances from Tom Freeman and Robert Read; something more stylistically adventurous might have better reflected the tensions of the


Full marks to Nelson for discovering Spiro Scimone’s La Festa, an Italian slice-of-Iife comedy; the best fringe theatre is built on such enterprising finds. It’s a jolly character sketch, breezin performed by the three actors, involving a married couple and their grown-up son. But, diverting though it is, it’s also rather pointless. Something’s been lost in

translation, no doubt.

So an uncertain start, but nothing so uncertain as the Skitters sketch troupe, a finale that is as reactionary in its politics as it is retrograde in

its comedy. (Mark Fisher)



Citizens‘ Theatre, Glasgow, until Sat 23 Feb .00

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The Gaiety Theatre, Ayr, until Sat 16 Feb, then touring I...

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Dundee Rep, until Sat 16 Feb, then touring 000.

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3--z THE LIST 59