BUILDING BABBLE Of mugs and men
Cutting the babble
It’s always going to be a problem, but at the moment we’re particularly in thrall to mad and grandiose empire builders whose plans are a threat to us all. Be it the disastrous consequences of Iraq abroad, or the privatisation of the trains at home, there’s always some highly placed muppet who we have
to pick up the tab for.
So this new project by Attic, a Paris-based, Le Coq-trained physical theatre company, seems terribly appropriate at this time. This young company has already garnered no shortage of acclaim at the Fringe through its 2002 show, Drip, which went on to tour internationally. Their new collaboration with director John Wright adds a new dimension to the company’s work. Wright’s work with English company Told By an Idiot, for whom he was joint artistic director, will by now be well known to local audiences. The sense of play and mythic subtext we associate with the Idiots, seen in such recent work as She’ll be Coming Around the Mountain and Aesop has become a brand for Wright’s endearing and approachable
Myth, indeed makes a significant contribution to this show, where the vaulting, but ultimately absurd ambition of the Tower of Babel is given a modern makeover. In it, we see a disparate group of workers at a contemporary building site, engaged in creating the tallest building in the world. As the days pass, each character undergoes the reifying process of becoming a tiny cog in a mighty, but absurd machine, an aspiration on the part of a faceless God, or politician, or president of the corporation. Slowly but surely all identity is lost, and folks become less than themselves, indistinguishable from the gigantic process they are engaged in. Thought provoking and entertaining, this one is worth a watch. (Steve Cramer)
I Pleasance Dome. 5—30 Aug (not I I. I8). 2.40pm.
THE SMALLEST PERSON!
Tiny Dynamite from Trestle
In the 18th century. 19 inch tall Caroline Crachami arrived in the UK and was whisked into a world of freak shows and instant celebrity. The Smallest Person.I retells her story from
58 THE LIST 7?. Jul 5) Aug 70"»:
the perspective of a if)-yezir‘~old girl in 2004. Overwhelrried by doctors keen to fix her epileptic brother. she seeks guidance in Caroline's brief but eventful life. Trestle Theatre's artistic director Emily Gray (formerly. albeit briefly. of Glz.isg()w's TAG) says: ‘Carolrne was this disabled girl who didn't have a life or a say or a voice. But is life very different now?‘
Gray inherited the fledgling show from her predecessor. ’loby Wilslier. who stumbled across an excerpt of Caroline's life story and w; s struck by the theatricality of it. Using puppets and masks. the show iri\./estigates medical ethics through the girls' parallel lives. But Gray is wary of becorriing too bogged down in debate and stresses that the show is far from sterile. 'lt rs very dynarrirc. Visual and hopefully enthralling." (Corrie lvlills;
I Pod [)eco. 4 25) Aug lnot It), 17 6’. 94), 33.20pm.
ALIENS ARE SCARY Apeshit alien puppets
Aliens Are Scary tells a stery redolent with the dynamics of the Aliens films. but without the special effects. In space. anyone can see it's a puppet. you might say. but these puppets are the rebellious extra— terrestrial inhabitants of a far-off planet. where the exploitative colonial masters. (Americans. by the way) have taken over their oil resources. Starting to sound familiar? But Keyworth's Irag analogy promises both horror and humour in a single package. so don't be deterred by the prospect of earnest moralising. Go see. (Steve Cramer)
The inventive. tiny and relentlessly youthful Lift at the Pleasance ceiirtyard will also be getting an early start. and one name to conjure with at this itsy-bitsy space is that of Stephen Keyworth. This young writer might be remembered for the warmly received Dog Well Done. a reflection upon the exploitation of a British asylum seeker in 2002. for which he picked up the Amnesty International Theatre Award in that year's Fringe. He's back with a darkly comical pastiche this year. which continues wrth the political thematic of the earlier piece.
I Pleasance Lift. 4-30 Aug. lnot 17, 24/. 8.30pm.
TWO MAN RUMBLE
Booze and sociology
‘lt's been a question of watching males and twigging to the fact that men are Just really stupid.‘ says Scottish writer Alasdair Satchel. who follows his Fringe hit One Man Rant with Two ll/lan Rumble. a comic look at that thing called masculinity . . . from a 'socroalcolrolic perspective. Eh?
'Well. the action takes place in a pub.’ says Satchel. 'The style of the piece is somewhere between sociology lecture and 70s nature documentary. It progresses from the walk to the pub to the fight at the end of the night. kebab in hand. by way of the torlets.‘ Ah. Based on personal experience? ‘Anyone who experienced a student's union will have an interesting perspective on male identity. I had to move to Paris before anyone tell for the charms of a spotty Dunoonite.'
So. will Bumble have a sequel. a menage a trios perhaps? ‘lt would be nice to do Three i'vi'an Riotf he says. 'But I'd also like to look at the world of women.‘ That'll crvrlrse things. ilvliles Fielder)
I (302. lpnr. 4-30Aug
Ir ' irramimmu '11,”?- ’.
What ales thee?
THE ANDY WARHOL SYNDROME Jenny Eclair returns to Edinburgh with reality TV play.
Jenny Eclair is not a hopeless reality TV addict. but she does admit to being a bit of a Big Brother lllllklO. Returning to the Fringe with The Andy Warhol Syndrome. Perrier award winner Eclair and co—writer Julie Balloo enter the fickle world of the 153 miniites-of-famers. This is the story of Carol Fletcher. a z’lit-year-old reality TV star who learns that farrre is as temr)eramental as life in the Big Brother house. "The idea has been mulling around for a whrlef
says Eclair. ‘I think it is very /eitgeisty. And
there is a big bit of me that feels like the fat northern worrian who should be working in a rriarket. l'm paranoid about work drying up.' So what is it that makes people risk all for fame? ‘I have a pathological need to be centre of lel(}llll()ll,' she says without hesitation. And it is her biting honesty that makes her so entertaining.
I Pod Deco. «1-95) Aug lnot 17;, f. l()pnr.