Edinburgh Festival Theatre. Edinburgh, Tue 13-Sat 17 May

Three sailors arrive in New York City on leave; they're young, testosterone-charged and have only one thing on their minds - women. Sound familiar? Fans of trad musicals will recognise the template for On the Town, conjuring up images of Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra stepping off the boat in starched white uniforms. The rest of you obviously have something better to do with your Sunday afternoons.

But while the film is part of Hollywood legend, its humble beginnings are less well known. Choreographer Jerome Robbins and composer Leonard Bernstein have since become giants of the musical genre, but in 1944, they were two ambitious 25-year-olds looking for a break. They both found it with Fancy Free, a ballet Robbins choreographed and performed at American Ballet Theatre, where he had been languishing as a junior soloist. An overnight sensation, the piece was soon turned into a Broadway show before being snapped up by movie executives, propelling its young creators to stardom.

Almost 60 years on, Fancy Free is headed for Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre, in the capable hands of Birmingham Royal Ballet. Under the banner Way out West, Robbins' piece will be joined by Balanchine's Western Symphony - a lively, cowboy-inspired ballet which has ‘crowd-pleaser' stamped all over it and BRB artistic director David Bintley‘s classical new work, Concert Fantasy. Bintley has had his eye on Robbin’s debut ballet for some time, keen to slot it into BRB’s rep: ‘l've wanted Fancy Free ever since I took over the company, but unfortunately we had to wait for Jerome Robbins to die before we could do it!’ he laughs. ‘What I find very touching about it is that it was made in 1944 and it really is a window on that world. Essentially it‘s a comedy, but the piece was made when those guys really were going up Broadway, picking up girls and then going out to the Pacific and getting killed.’

Ml Jl.I IMLDIA WORK DOMESTIC AFFAIRS II Tramway Theatre, Glasgow, Wed 14-Sat 17 May.

Pig forker

60 THE LIST 8 Ma.

There's something about the word ‘multimedia' that strikes fear into the heart of many a theatre practitioner. In the same way that CGI technology was thought. at first. to threaten the future of ll\'(} actors in film. there used to be concern that 'multimedia' work was fSl'l‘j)|\ another may of easing live- action theatre into non performer based art forms. And in fact. Dutch company Theatre Espace has done Just that -- <:-r'adic.'ited the actor il’Oll‘ its work. Some directors have been keenly a\.'.'aiting this dexeropment for 1. ears. The shots: 's the second pa". ot’ a oos‘Sible tf'lng‘, o" work. The origxta; Dcrrrestxo Affairs staged 2" the Nether'iands. September 2C. a 28- minute plai. with no actors. set 1" ar‘ abandoned house through which the audience WON-E led in groups of too“.

guided by musac. sounds and :ghtrng. It

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Taking the pas de deux

Having wowed Edinburgh audiences with its stunning Carmina Burana last June, BRB is further demonstrating its versatility by splitting this year's programme into two. As Way Out West closes on Wednesday, that time-honoured classic, Coppelia, opens on Thursday. The eternally popular tale of eccentric toymaker, Dr Coppelius and his beautiful ‘living doll’ has had many incarnations, but for Bintley’s money, Sir Peter Wright's is the best.

‘We dance all of Peter's classics - he’s a master at them, they’re very fresh, very clear and the dancers enjoy performing them,‘ says Bintley. ‘This is Peter’s third Coppelia and this time he‘s inserted a nice little twist at the end. I’m not somebody that has a great interest in remounting the classics, but these pieces are still fantastic and Coppelia is just one of the sunniest ballets ever made.’ (Kelly Apter)

world around us becomes the stage. the set. the performers and the stOry it's what Espace call a 'sensurround experience. To Quote from the show‘s publicity material: ‘Suddenly yOu disappear. Ferever. You don't take anything With you. The Muse. With all the furniture. remains. Arid nobody Will ever enter at am.‘ Nobody except the audience. that is. Devised by Theatre Espace t’cunder Judith Nab. and With an original spundscape composed by Jacob ter Veidhuis. the piece also combines lighting and film projection to create a series of dramatic effects *.-.'hich results in the space completely EZT‘i‘.’Cle)Ing the audience. There's no Simple detachment from the stage for audiences here.

Most 'ftIf'gUlligly, Theatre Espace promises us that 'what you see is what you get. V.’ th a twist'. All in all. it seems in for a unique and highly unusual conceptual performance production Gareth Davies


Stage Whispers

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The Cast of Purple

THE GRADUAL INFUSION OF eastern European theatre into British forms has formed a vital part of the development of our theatre over the last decade or so. The latest experiment in creative cross-fertilisation comes from Bulgaria and Macedonia respectively with the visit of directors Dimitar Nedkov and Dean Damjanovski to Queen Margaret University College’s Gateway theatre. These two will collaborate with local directors Lizzie Eldridge and Ali de Souza in developing a series of events and workshops over the next couple of weeks, culminating in a collaborative venture, a work in progress utilising the talents of QMUC's students on Fri 23 May. Several of the events over the period are free to the public, so if you're interested, contact the Gateway, or e-mail leldridge©qmuc.ac.uk.