the chastity belt sends the temperature soaring. And when the Space Cowboy shoves a red neon light down his gullet and rubbery Captain Frodo performs the full shoulder dislocation/relocation. you won't know whether to applaud or hurl. Excellent!
I Assembly Rooms. 226 2428, until 26 Aug. 7 7.45pm, in—Ei I (29—270).
Do your very West 0...
Martin Webb's new angle on Steven Berkoff's not-as-well- known-play is a sleazy affair set in the London gangster underworld. It explores the themes of courage and anger and questions whether revenge is as satisfying as one might think.
A live jazz band contributes to the subdued atmOSphere created by the smoky lighting and skimpy dancers. The acting itself is stylised and would be hard to swallow if we hadn't grown to expect this from a Berkoff piece. It goes from being Lock Stock-ish to EastEnders-ish to being a big show off of lead actor Oliver Lansley's versatility. And quite impressive it is too. as is the production as a whole. (Mererid Williams)
I Assembly Rooms. 226 2428, until 25 Aug, 72.45pm, £70.50 (£9.50).
THE BLUE ORPHAN
Posh Spice, the musical 0..
You know that experience of seeing the most beautiful person at a party. and waiting all night to talk to them. only to find that when they open their mouth. you know they're a numpty in ten seconds? If you do. y0u don't need to see this.
Joey Tremblay and Jonathan Christenson's musical fantaSy. telling
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the story of a town's last day before it's swept away by a mighty tempest is stunningly costumed. beautifully moved and cleverly designed. but has nothing to say for itself. An affected fairy tale approach doesn't help. and the old po- mo cliche abOut butterflies flapping their wings. running through the show. merely irritates. This more than outstays its welcome. A beautiful idiot of a show.
I Traverse, 228 7404. until 24 Aug. E 74 (£78.50).
WHO’S HARRY Who cares? O.
In the sweatbox theatre of Pleasance Dome 3. Who Harry? filled the house on the day I saw it. and was greatly appreciated by its audience. So perhaps the problem is mine. The play tells the story of a yOung woman who tells her therapist that she has a compulsion to become whatever the men she meets want her to be. This rather Sartrean dilemma is then demonstrated with a disparate group of salesmen from a stationer's firm. There‘s a good deal of undergraduate humour to this. and a not entirely consistent quality of acting. before a romantic resolution that takes way too long. This revue-like play needs a year or two to mature. (Steve Cramer) I Pleasance Dome. 556 6550, until 26 Aug. 3.2z’5pm, [7—578 (EB—537).
SLIPPING ON SKIN
Going bananas .0.
Imagine if bananas were the new cigarettes. ‘Who's
NEXT ISSUE OUT THURSDAY 5 SEPTEMBER
coming out for a banana’?‘ ‘Not today. thanks. I'm trying to give up.‘ In Slipping on Skin. this is pretty much how it is.
A writer sits in his office all day and night trying to find the right words for his new play. Surrounded by peOple who remind him of how little control he has over his life. he
battles with his Subconscious until, at last. he takes a bite of the banana and realises what must be done. Surreal. unsettling and. above all. a lot of fun. ilvlererid Williams)
I C. 0870 70/ 5/05. until 25 Aug. noon. 576.50 (513.50).
BEASTS OF HOLM
Scottish historical drama 0..
Over 200 soldiers were drowned just yards from home on the Isle of Lewis when their
Mantra for a state of mind 00..
boat struck rocks returning from France in 1918. tvlairi Morrison's play. under the direction of .John Binnie. profiles the events through an unmarried mother whose v-iould- be husband and father both died in the tragedy.
Despite some pacing problems. Morrison's performance is heartfelt and sincere. although the depth and extent of the material cannot be fully explored through a single character. The
social and personal devastation would perhaps be more effectively conveyed by a larger production. but still this is a sensitive and emotional treatment of an almost forgotten episode from Scottish history (Gareth Davies) I Venue I3. ()7074 20/313. 24 Aug. times varv, f‘b‘ (5‘4).
for GLASGOW THEATRE see page 100.
At first glance, you assume the university lecturer protagonist of Don Nigro’s Cincinnati is merely having a bad day, particularly when she stomps into the theatre, red-faced and flustered, opening her address with a wonderfully barbed diatribe against the impertinent administrator with whom she has
just had a run-in.
Our sympathetic laughter quickly gives way to discomfort, however, as Susan’s babbling gradually transmutes into manic rage and the anecdotes within her lecture on the philosophy of literature become increasingly, explicitly personal. The source of Susan‘s anguish is eventually revealed to be the violent death of her daughter, a calamitous event that destroyed a happy family life spent in Cincinnati. Now alone and obsessed with grief, the philosophical ideas that Susan once comfortably dealt with in her academic career seem now to be torturing her to the point of insanity while Cincinnati, the place, has become for her a mythical symbol of an impossibly Utopian future.
Nigro’s play — here receiving its European premiere — is a beautifully structured, poetic exploration of madness as both horrible nightmare and potential release. Though intellectually provocative, the playwright never allows his work to become too schematic and the production wisely focuses on Susan’s ‘erratic’ character to create a show that is tough and harrowing but also funny and stimulating. A large measure of the credit for this is due to actress Nancy Walsh, utterly believable and heartbreakingly compelling as this smart, witty woman, cleverly choosing madness as a place of refuge from herself. (Allan Radcliffe) I Assembly Rooms. 296 2428. until 26 Aug. l lain, 5‘8 f‘fl (53' i‘fi‘r.
it : :l-I: .‘ .' THE LIST FESTIVAL GUIDE 79