Royal Lyceum. Edinburgh, Fri 14 Feb-Sat 15 Mar, then touring

Yasmina Reza's celebrated comedy of manners needs little introduction these days. Several years on, the play has commanded grand box office wherever it's been performed. and Kenny Ireland's production. boasting a cast of Andy Gray. Forbes Masson and James MacPherson. looks likely to continue the tradition. But what has made the play so timely in our era?

My guess is that its discusscn of male friendship. and the role of men in a recently emerged. more gender- consCious SOCIer is at the root. Andy Gray. a delightful companion over a pint at the Blue Blazer. concurs. The play. which centres on a massive fall out between three male friends over the purchase of a painting. is really all about men and their relationships to one another. according to Gray. ‘These guys are ostenSibly talking about the painting. but actually. they're talking ab0ut their friendship,“ he says. ‘My character. Marc. is hurt. because his friend. who used to consult him on everything, has gone off and bought

this painting. Without dismissing it. He feels let down.“

The play's observations are appealing to both genders. says Gray: ‘Women come along and are fascmated by what it tells them about men. and men recognise something in the characters. I mean. men often have to go all around the houses before they'll talk about anything important. and finally.

Sofa so good

usually after a few pints. they'll say all that "you're my best mate and I love you" or “you know what she's done to me" stuff. The thing about it is. we're all taking it very seriously. not playing for the comedy. because there’s a lot of emotion involved'

And that. deSpite how it sounds. should make it all very funny. (Steve Cramer)



Tron Theatre, Glasgow. Tue 18—Sat 22 Feb, see listings for details

Once again the RSAMD is returning to the Tron for this year's student showcase. Among the productions to be staged is the latest from the pen of Iain Heggie. Hanson is a modern reworking of Shakespeare's Como/anus. charting the life of chat show host Ross Hanson. as he both publicly and privately falls apart. After Heggie's previous treatments of plays by Moliere and Marivaux. we can expect more edgy humour and Sidelong looks at contemporary life.

Also featured is Fassbinder in FOCUS. a celebration and investigation into the life. works and legacy of Rainer Werner Fassbinder. performed by second year BA (acting) students. Until his death in 1982. Fassbinder was an often- controversial figure who shaped and influenced many aspects of German Culture and politics.

The name Tremblay is fast becoming synonymous with great French-Canadian drama. Larry Tremblay's latest play. Soap. a Surreal. darkly comic look at Our obseSSion with celebrity and identity. is performed by the final year BA (acting) students. under the direction of John Mitchell.

With these productions and more to choose from. you can catch the casts of tomorrow today at the TrOn. The series precedes RAW (Thu 27 Feb—Sat 1 Mar). a promising series of readings from the best of Europe's rising theatrical stars. (Gareth Davies)

#1 Iain l-Ieggie takes a Hanson approach

SCOTTISH PREMIERE VICTO Gateway Theatre, Edinburgh, Tue 18-Sat 22 Feb

Victoria victor: David Greig

Those clever old clogs at Queen Margaret University College drama department - did I mention I teach there? - have done more than just attract the formidable talents of former 7:84 artistic director Iain Reekie into the Gateway's Creative melting pot. Now they've scored the Scottish premiere of DaVid Greig's much admired Victoria so far seen only in a production by the RSC in London.

The play is a typically complex and engaging musing on belief structures and faith. Built from three interlinked pieces. it features three women. all called Victoria. in the same remote Highland region in the 305. 70s and 90s Reekie is directing and his take on the play is characteristically lUCId. ‘lt's all about behef.‘ he says. ‘In the 305. the choices were simple. yOu were a fascist or a communist or whatever. When a big iSSUe came up. you had a stance. In the 705 we were witnessing the beginnings of Thatcherism. Ideas ab0ut individualism came up. The final play. set in the 905 sees things as much more complex. Belief has changed. become more diffiCult. I'm an optimist. though: I see this period as a rebirth.'

The skilled yOung actOrs of Queen Margaret '5 sh0uld do Justice to the epic themes. but it's a shame the reguirements of cast alone appear to preclude a production by a professional company in Scotland. (Steve Cramer)



T STEPPENWOLF Tramway. Glasgow. Fri 14-Sat 15 Feb

There's something a little unsettling ab0ut the thought of a ‘work in progress'. like stepping Out the house and realismg you've only put half your clothes on. Bearing this in mind. perhaps Treatise on the Sfeppenwo/f is better described as a prologue to 12 Stars' forthcoming production of Hermann Hesse's novel a theatrical trailer. so to speak.

When it comes to adapting classics. there are certain expectations that can leave even the most intrepid directors hesitant to make that first Biro mark. Director Gerard Mclnulty was well aware of this when he began work on Hesse's psychological tale of Harry Haller. half man. half wolf. ‘l have taken a more impreSSIOiiistiC approach to the text; the production is both text-based and dewsed.‘ he says.

Originally intended as a director's reading set

' to mUSIC by the Durutti

Column, Mclnulty has developed a more Visual presentation of his embryonic piece. The re3ult is a series of micro-scenes punctuated by intervals. lending a dream-like quality to what is essentially an incomplete production. Still in its early stages. Mclnulty's Steppenwo/f. like Haller himself. may not be qwte Sure what it is yet but that makes it all the more interesting. (Corrie Mills)

Caged heat

13-27 Feb 2003 7H5 US? 61