None = Unmissable
Page number refers to the Fringe programme
Electric Avenue (page 126)
Venue Underbelly (Venue 15)
Address Entrances Cowgate and Victoria St
Reviewer Thelma Good
Steel is a Brixton brother with a record and a skill, he makes masks, like his Zimbabwean ancestors did, masks to embody the spirits of the dead.
Sweeping the streets on the day World Champion Boxer Tyson visits the local mosque, he see Daryl a sharp, slick chick from a different place, NY. She's waiting for her nearly fiancéWhittier who unlike Steel was brought up in Zimbabwe, he too has an interest in masks. Niamh is Daryl's assistant she's seen what hatred does growing up in Northern Ireland. As the crowds starts to riot in Brixton the affluent black New Yorker Daryl finds her love for the white policeman Whittier maybe as breakable as a window. But Rosalie's script is not a one issue play, thankfully and its setting throws up some interesting light on Britain and peoples within it today.
The production is clear in design and tight in pace under Edward Vilga's direction. The script has some dangling threads - the effect of Steel's dead brother's mask and the feeling that the play stops mid way through the story. But the strong acting by these young professional New York actors, Donna Duplantier, Orran Farmer, Montgomery Maguire and Marion Wood as they speak those difficult Brixton, Zimbabwean and Northern Irish accents wholly convincingly is very satisfying. It's open ended as it explores questions of identity, where is your country or your culture. Questions all the more interesting because of characters playwright Rosalie O'Brien has chosen, reflecting the modern drifting peoples many of us have become.
Runs 1- 25 August not 6,12 or 19
Company UCLA MFA Theatre and Broadway Phoenix
© Thelma Good 09 August 2002
The Engineer And The Artist (page 123)
Venue Southside (Venue 82)
Address 117 Nicolson St
Reviewer Thelma Good
Terence Healy wrote and performs in this play whose full title is The Engineer and The Artist (And The Super Deluxe Giant Weenie Costume). And I'm so glad that after 50 years of ignorance I've finally found out what a weenie actually is. Healy's an engineer turned artist so he's qualified to write the play but is he able to act it? Yes. It's disarmingly played by a tall, thin man who takes us through his childhood challenges. We meet his eye surgeon father and he's his son with anophthalmia, (being born with one eye). In an hour that takes us by various routes including Michelangelo's ceiling and Robert Mapplethrope's controversial photographs we also meet Terence's class and workmates, yes this is a play based on the artist formerly known as engineer. His technique is deceptively simple but I've never seen it so well done, being convincingly yourself on stage, not with a forceful charisma but with a subtle, diffident charm.
© Thelma Good 05 August 2002
Runs 3 - 25 August not 18
Company Terence Healy
An Evening with Deacon Brodie (page 124)
Venue Craigmillar Castle (Venue 89)
Address Craigmillar Castle Road
Reviewer Max Blinkhorn
The world comes to Edinburgh as both audience and artist. Home grown acts are there but they're hard to spot. Denis Reid is not hard to spot and in his one man show An Evening with Deacon Brodie he's hard to ignore.
Reid is marvellously entertaining as Edinburgh's best known philandering, burgling city official. Anyone in local politics could learn a thing or two from Brodie. The Deacon strides through the audience, taking liberties with men's wives, waving his stick at likely looking victims and generally discomfiting the ordinary folk - to their great pleasure. The facade doesn't drop for a moment and Reid is clearly enjoying himself as much as the audience. He is in control.
The venue is exceptional too. Craigmillar Castle's beautiful Main Hall rings to the sound of audience laughter which must be a first, given it's history. Collaboration between Historic Scotland and others, smoothly orchestrated by Andy McAlpine have produced a show that tourists could beat a path to all year round. Scottish tourism gets a lot of criticism but if there were more of this kind of thing, it would improve Scotland's image no end. This is what visitors to Edinburgh want, Scots and Tourists alike. Full houses are testimony to that and the fact that Craigmillar is not easy to reach and away from the main festival venues, shows that audiences like what they see.
An Evening with Deacon Brodie isn't contemporary theatre - it's simply good entertainment from a finely portrayed historical character in an atmospheric venue. Even if the fringe and the festival are not your cup of tea, make an exception for Deacon Brodie. Go, see and enjoy.
© Max Blinkhorn 14th August 2002
Runs August 12th-17th 19:30 (20:30)