Corn Exchange, Edinburgh, until Sat 6 July I...

COMEDY COMIC POTENTIAL Byre Theatre, St Andrews, until Sat

29 Jun 0..

A GSOH can play a vital role in helping you find Mr or Mrs Right. Just skim through any page of personal ads. Everybody wants someone with a Good Sense Of Humour.

It's on this basis that Jacie and Adam (Nicola Keen and Dominic Gray) find themselves romantically entWined in Alan AyckbOLirn's comedy set in a television studio of the near future. Adam is an aspiring writer. while JaCie is an actoid. a robotic performer who

What makes Dickie run?

‘What happens when you become a slave to freedom?’ The question, asked midway through this compelling piece of physical theatre, is one that’s likely to remain with you long after you leave it. Paul Pinson’s production of Gary Young’s script for Boilerhouse has profound and disturbing ramifications for an entire generation of hedonistic twenty and thirtysomethings.

In it, the title character (Kate Dickie) takes to her heels after a household contretemps induced by an excess of everything intoxicating, and runs into unfamiliar streets of her own city in the dead of night. Placed on a mobile treadmill and surrounded by equally movable cinema screens which accompany in film the live action, Dickie continues to run throughout the show, an astonishing physical feat when combined with a strong performance.

Her run takes her past a psychotic who threatens to jump off buildings every now and then (Robert Vestry), a couple who enliven the sexual games they play with Russian roulette (Lee Hart and Cait Davis) and the injured victim of a car crash (Christina Cochrane). Beyond these, there’s a half- demonic, half-angelic philosopher (Robin Sneller) and a religious zealot (Joy McBrinn). Can Running Girl find her way through this gallery of rogues, back to her home in Jericho Street and her beloved - and ostensibly wounded - boy, Danny?

Young’s script is a superb accompaniment to the physical spectacle. Full of social observation and delivering wonderful streetwise aphorisms, it makes rigorous observations about the lifestyle of booze, drugs and pointless sex chosen by many of our nihilistic generation; a cautionary tale about the dangers of replacing ‘why?’ with ‘why not?’. There’s also an eerie, Twilight Zone-style denouement, which is spotable midway through, but still chilling.

Pinson creates a wonderful pace to complement all the running, and draws a stunning performance from Dickie, as well as some engrossing support acting, especially from Hart and Davis as the disturbed young couple who attempt to draw her into their injurious erotic games. There are some flaws with sight lines, but it should be said that I saw the show on a preview night at Tramway, and this might well be ironed out by the time you read this. This show comes highly recommended as an astonishing metaphor of our times. (Steve Cramer)



Tron Theatre, Glasgow, Fri 28 & Sat 29 Jun 00

Vanishing Point is a company to be admired for the spirit of adventure with which it approaches its theatre. But as with any adventurer, it's entitled to find itself in a sticky patch now and then. Kai Fischer and Matthew Lenton's production is a piece not over- burdened with dialogue that tells. rather too elliptically. the story of a

does her scenes exactly programmed. Her emotions look and sound authentic. but they're all computer generated. When Adam finds that malfunctioning Jacie has a sense of humour. he also discovers a capacity for love that many real humans lack.

Comic POlO/llh’l/S second act is Ay(:kl.)()urn writing at his very best. and Keen and Gray capture perfectly both the human comedy and tragedy of the text with strong and energised


Tart humour

performances. But to get there you have to wade through the Quagmire of act one. which, with so many dramatic premises to establish, feels like an extended. and not very funny. stage direction.

'If it makes you laugh,‘ one character says. of people. things. and life in general. ‘treasure it.‘ Treasure this production, if only for act two.

(Gareth Davies)

Byre Theatre, St Andrews, Thu 4-Sat 27 Jul

If you can meaSure an artist's popularity through the amount of space they take up On an HMV shelf. then the extensive number of CDs by the late opera diva Maria Callas reflects her wide following even 25 years after her death. Of course. it isn't just her powerful music that people have such an interest in; her difficult personal life is so theatrical that to not stage her story would be like refusing to

stage Ewta.

Terrence McNally's play follows Callas" thriving professional world while showng glimpses of her less Successful personal life: it‘s the conflict between these two separate worlds that eventually leads to her downfall. Her broken family. her loveless first marriage. her love for Aristotle Onassis who later rejects her for Jackie Kennedy and her inability to accept Onassis' death have all been said to contribute to her death: cause unknown.

But unlike some West End shows of the same nature. artistic director Ken Alexander stays away from unnecessary sentiment. 'MoNally's approach is very sympathetic towards Maria while not being uncritical of her.‘ he says. ‘He shows her being a diva. losing her temper. embellishing the truth and shows both sides of her nature. But it is clear that he had a certain affection towards her.‘ As do

many. (Mererid Williams)


Dundee Rep, in repertory until Thu 8


At the end of three years as Scotland’s

only official repertOry acting company,

Dundee Rep can look back With pride

on its achievements. Artistic director

Hamish Glen has assembled a

talented bunch of actors who've. on

the whole. done the company proud. This summer season WI“ replay

Dundee Rep’s The Seagull

violin maker who leaves his Wife in their remote cottage for greater fortunes in distant lands. He comes to a bad end. but his place is taken by an escaped convict who aSSumes his identity among the locals. at least one of whom is a sinister inguisitor from the state. It's a kind of Return of Martin Grrr, for it is liable to irritate here and there.

The three performers - Keith McPherson, ltxaso Moreno and in a cameo. Lenton himself are all skilled. and fully use the res0urces of the

Burning issues

theatre: from puppets to a table which doubles and trebles as everything from a cell door to a tunnel. The problem is the fable or parable at the centre. which serves little instructive pouit. becoming a too-simple hook on which to hang various bits of admittedly clever theatrical trickery. There are some nice moments. but the final ponit of it all is not clear. (Steve Cramer)

several of last season‘s more successful pieces. Rimas Tuminas' production of The Seagufl remains the highlight of the last year or two from this company. a piece which reconfigures how we think of Chekhov. and contains an immense emotional power. Some fun can also be had at the second and third parts of Forbes Masson's trilogy of Falkirk life Mince and Pants. The first is the story of an advertising executive 0n the brink of a breakdown. and the other a tale of adventures in the music business from a group of has-been musicians who never even really made it to the wannabe stage. Each is notable fOr grande guignol bad taste and rowdy. boisterous satirical music.

Also on show are Marcella Evaristi's Nig/itf/iglits. a fairy tale-like musical fantasy. and a much acclaimed reVival of Enda Walsh's stunning Edinburgh Fringe success of 1998. D/sco Pigs. a two-handed poetic journey through the dark side of Irish youth culture. Catch them if you didn't during the main season.

(Steve Cramer).

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