THE BLIND A sight to behold

A 'technological phantasmagoria' is how one enthused reviewer described Theatre Ubu's video-art installation,

The Blind. presumably not the response Maurice

Maeterlinck had in mind while writing the original play back in 1890. And yet. you somehow feel the visionary Maeterlinck (or Count Mooris Polidore Marie Bernhard Maeterlinck to give him his full Flemish title) would have approved of the groundbreaking techniques employed by this internationally renowned French-Canadian company, Formed in Montreal in 1984 by respected practitioner Denis Marleau, Theatre Ubu quickly gained notoriety for‘ their merry disrespect for classic texts. Among the well- known scribes to have their work deconstructed, hacked to pieces and reassembled by the company are Alfred Jarry (whose plays inspired the company’sUbu Cyc/ein 1989). Samuel Beckett (Cantate Grise, 1990) and George Buchner (1994'sWoyzeck). Over 20 years and some 15 major productions and co-productions,

the company has built a reputation for strong/y

provocative work, distinguished by extremely stylised

performances and harsh, often uncomfortable,

lighting and musical effects.

- The Blind applies such an uncompromisineg irreverent approach to Maeterlinck's work while

retaining the playwright‘s central themes of fatalism, mysticism and the inevitability of death. In the original play. a group of six men and six women. all blind and immobile. reach the end of a dark forest, only to find that their guide has conveniently ceased to cooperate with them. In order to ward away the endless darkness and hush. the group members talk incessantly, each one gradually revealing his sense of despair and isolation. The inevitable twist in Theatre Ubu‘s version is that all 12 of the group members are played by two actors, both of whom only ever appear on film and never onstage, in a wonderfully perverted production that, once again, challenges the very essence of what theatre is and can

be. (Allan Radcliffe)

I Festival Theatre, 529 6000, 24-30 Aug (not 25,28) 7pm 8 9pm. £10 (limited availability).


Am I watching you? II...

Masturbation should be made a sport: an

Eccentric Acts, a tribute to vaudeville

obseixation made by a recluse from his apartment In New York. ‘i.'/ll(}l'(} he snokes fags. eats cheese crackeis, befriends a neu’xsreader


and '.'..'at<:hes p 2op|e ‘.'.’|IIl()llI them knowing. Sometimes he visits children. A disturbing factor if H: wasn't so likcaliie

\‘liitten by l i'ic

dance and great gusto. The production certainly has its strengths. the cast are all strong movers and speakers. and the choreography and direction is confident and ap(_)ropriate. But what this production lacks is an understanding of how irrelevant these stories are for today.

While the iiioi‘al of them remains true there is nothing better than love . these Edwardian morality tales are too wordy. With no lightness or touches of humour. boring children and adults alike With their dosts. wouldsts. and thines. They belong firmly in a more innocent. or maybe

Hogosian and inspired I)‘. [)ostoe‘.'sk\,. this soiiloqii. "(}\./(3lf;(l-f; paranoia to create a new kind of trauma. brought to life by recent graduate Wolf l. Harris' performance. \.vhich ianges from the frantic to the smooth to the bloody hilarious. Gritty. recognisable and a touch unnervnig for being so. Don't m ss. ilvlererid Williams)

I Pleasance Dome. 5556 (5:350, until 26 Aug. 1 1.50am. 5‘6—5‘8 {ill-4‘0).


TALES. ignorant. era. Oscar Wilde’s fairytales adapted O.

(Gareth DaViesi

I Souths/do. until Sun four of Oscar Wilde's faii‘ystoiies for children aie di'ainatised and perfoimed with music.

25 Aug, 4pm, £7.50 (ff/1.50).


Music-hall back in town .00

In her own personal tribute to the golden days of vaudeville. Sue Broadway launches into a mixed bag of vaudeVIlle acts. anecdotes. and history. Descended from an Australian family of touring vaudewllians. Sue is well-placed to recount the glory days from this once popular form of entertainment. and for the most part it is both fun and interesting. at times engaging and deliciously good fun. However frequent lapses frustratingly detach the audience from the performers a little. making it difficult


to know if it's merely a selection of ‘eccentric‘ acts she wants to show. or a full-on tribute to a once prevalent art form- come-lifestyle.

(Gareth Davies)

I Pleasance Courtyard and Over The Road. 556 6550, until 26 Aug, 4.30pm, £7.50 (86).


15 for the price of 1 O...

lt's little wonder that Kerry Shale is BBC Radio's voice of Bill Bryson; he has a remarkable ability to create a world bubbling with characters. This is seen in Caveman Inc. a captivating adaptation of George Saunders novel Pastoral/a. a satire of the American work ethic.

Shale plays 15 members of Historical Funland. an attraction employing people to adopt primitive lifestyles for the entertainment of viSitors. Cleaning out their own shit is the least degrading factor the workers face: as they look Out at the glitzy world of the funfair. they are trapped in both their 'assigned areas' and their economical vulnerability as the managers manipulate the hell Out of them. A brilliant intilti-fz.icete(.l penonnance.

(Mererid Williams)

I Pleasance Courtyard and Over The Road. 556 6550. until 26 Aug. 6. 70pm, {IQ—£70 (EB—£9).

5678 Put the blame on Fame .000

It's not uncommon to want to kill acting students. And much to the ioy of some. this is precisely what happens in 5678. Young company Angel Kitty's piss-take of drama school sees the ‘Fame' luvvies embark on their first term, only to be killed off one by one by a mysterious murderer. As the Queens camp it up and bitch like only actors can. we watch then most random song and dance routines while they try their hardest to reach for the stars. Dry wit. sarcastic obseivations and flamboyant performances: this is