ou‘ermc ISLANDS Traverse Theatre. Edinburgh, until Sat 10 May. then touring 000.

What intrigues about David Greig's acclaimed Fringe hit of 2002 is its continual but compelling ambivalence. Even its own form - on the face of it, quintessential British naturalism - is open to question, as events such as deaths are enacted before us then reinvented, questioned, alibied and rendered ambiguous by the characters. The only definites in the subtext to this reviewer are repression and Britishness. Perhaps this last term seems controversial, yet there is a link between all of the characters - be they from Hampshire, Edinburgh or the Outer Hebrides - which hinges on the repressions of the outlying island you’re reading this on, rather than other places.

In the play, two young Cambridge ornithologists Robert (Laurence Mitchell) and John (Sam Heughan) arrive on a remote Scottish island on the eve of the World War II to document the local winged fauna before the island is taken over by the ministry of defence for an anthrax experiment. Kirk (Robert Carr) - the island‘s curmudgeonly and rapacious owner, a stern wee free - and his niece Ellen (Lesley Hart) - a young woman with a penchant for


Macrobert, Stirling, Thu 8 May, then touring 00

'Due to an oversight on the part of the management. I shall be playing all the parts." announces Andy Gray in his introduction to this solo show. Written and originally performed by Nobel Prize-Winning Italian satirist Dario Fo. a wandering minstrel's solo rendering of tow stories from or inspired by the New Testament is seen here in a modern


'Laughter wrth anger' is how Fo describes his dramatic ideal. and though there's plenty of laughs. if you like Andy Gray domg what he does best. there preCious little anger ll‘. Borderline Theatre's production; more than anything. it's

Half nelson, half something else: David Greig’s classic of ambivalence

the cinema and an attraction for Stan Laurel that illustrates the subjectivity of human sexuality - accompany them. Kirk comes to a bad end, and sexual tensions between the voyeuristic social Darwinist Robert, the straight-laced Edinburgh boy John and the flick- smitten Ellen play out through multifarious erotic possibilities.

It’s remarked by Robert that ‘things at a distance are always more attractive’ and we are drawn to these distant places. It’s hard to resist the conclusion that these areas are distant parts of the inner self, the outer reaches of our psyches, dark places left unvisited

borderline patronising. Each story is introduced by Gray Out

of character, telling some feebly glib 'satirical‘ JOKGS ab0ut Messers Bush and Blair. to help us understand how the stories apply to today like we're the unwashed.


Carnegie Hall, Dunfermline, Wed 21 May and then touring 0000

uneducated masses to whom medieval wandering minstrels

originally played.

Gray is confident With the material, thOugl‘. it doesn't really give him a chance to show his true colours as a serious actor And despite seeming to draw an important and inSightful bond between the Bible and contemporary tabloid newspapers in relation to the way events are reported by the popular media. the overall effect is of this beiitg a platform for Gray to turn all pai‘to on us at a most unseasonable time of year. (Gti'eth DavieSi

Andy Gray: Fo pas?

except in extremes. And through often very dark comedy, this is precisely where we go. On the way, there are observations about whether science has become a demonic, voyeuristic grand narrative of our century, as well as some comic questioning of the world’s previous grand narrative, religion. Philip Howard’s production shows an admirable sensitivity to a many- layered text, and the performances are tight and have run in nicely in front of Fiona Watt's atmospheric set, recreating the burrow-like dwelling of the island’s early inhabitants. Highly recommended. (Steve Cramer)

Alice. '.vhat’s the matter? This is the irresistible question

begging to be asked of bencht0urs and Theatre sans Frontieres' latest collaborative creation that fuses Lewis Carroll's tales of wonder. Bringing together both nonsense stories. the conceit of the looking glass nicely frames the psychedelic action Within that Alice spins giddin through her adventures. The White Rabbit. the smoking Caterpillar. the sneeZing Duchess and the Cheshire Cat (among others;

propel her on her dim, way. as the bizarre logic of other


people's rules engender the surreal worlds dreamed up by

Claire Lamont. playing Alice. holds the illogical thread together fantastically, conveying utter common throughout the demanding two-how show. Performing on a tilted. giant-Sized chess board. the characters spring fron" and duck into trapdoors lying Within the board's squares. Creating a wonderful sense of depth and movement. phySically echOing the non-linear ‘arn here or there’? Forwards or backwards’?‘ spell of Wonderland.

Physical and verbal play. energetic performances. elaborate costumes and demish Jazz-like mUSIC hole the piece together almost. Despite its tightly worked scrrptirig there are some moments that lose us. that ramble. and c0uld benefit from a bit of Shipping here and there. Or is that there and here? iRuth Hedgesi



The Arches. Glasgow. until Sat 10 May. then touring. O...

be". 3:? '3‘“ .ifi' .".""’...' . |.'.t"‘:". "Kr-.1: .ltlt‘” .It‘l‘f’“; I 0" "\l '3‘" ammo ti- Amer soc et‘. Anna. .imt C .i w sum M‘Can". h’it“\'l.l'e‘.‘. .t'i“‘.ll1.l.i 'l‘.."t? T".l" 1‘

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style of more words {1w- ininute than the infinite


monkeys' typewriters. Though bordering 0" being over-stylised. Michael Eriians' production reveals these women for what they are: like two g!orious|y camp. gay air-stewards fighting over who has to wear the demonstration life-belt; bitchy. bitter. and best 0‘ friends. ‘You have fucked my life into a cooked hat.’ Claire tells Anna “Go away Or I'm going to have yOu killed_' Anita tells her Scots heusemaid lCaririen Pieraccinii. Ma'net's Joy of words is mfGCIICLJS and laughs come from Wer leve, from Sophisticated verbal punnery to Carry Orv-style muff Jokes. There's a deep senSuality here too. together nth some Mameteerue pSyChO- sexual musings: ‘Meh live but to be deceived. They WOuld rather be deceived than sated.‘ Hone/er deceptive a ‘Boston marriage' may be. Mamet suggests. the one thing it truly IS. lS satisfying. (Gareth Davies;

Boston she party

8—22 May 2'71; THE LIST 83