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(S) 18 out of 142
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= Unwatchable
Page number refers to the Fringe programme

Safety (page 146)
Drams  full glass
Venue Traverse  Theatre (Venue 15)
Address Cambridge St off Lothian Road
Reviewer Kenny Morrison

Safety is a harrowing, powerful and funny piece about the very difficult relationship that a celebrated war photographer has with his work and how that affects his relationship with his family and with himself.  How can a person spend his working life documenting death, and continue to live a normal and unaffected life elsewhere?  Statements are made about modern western journalism, it's connection with news - does it document it objectively, or does it actually bring it about - and about art.  The age old question of what art is.  Photographs are beautiful,  powerful images, but are they works of Art?

These very interesting topics are given a superb and thoughtful context in this play.  It moves at great speed, with frequent simple scene changes, and dialogue which is both snappy and reflective.  The acting is largely faultless.  For a while, the central character of Michael (Steven Dykes) is irritating, and at first I blamed the actor.  However, it becomes apparent that the character can only work if he is flawed in this way.  The point is that however his life has been affected by his job, he isn't the real war victim.  His wife's opening monologue was the highlight for me.  Bridget Escolm plays Susan with a remarkable sense of comic timing, brushed with the sarcasm and bitterness of the long suffering and depressed spouse.  Tanya (Louisa Ashley), Michael's loveless fling, is played with just the right amount of sass for a Sunday Supplement, hangover hack and Sean (Chris Thorpe), the young lad who, despite his obvious modesty, is essential to the narrative, is played by the writer with the utmost honesty and a feeling of someone wise before their years.

The set works very well within the dialogue.  A white constructed archway surrounds the action and lighting is used to change the colour of this, affecting the whole look of the stage, and feel of the drama.  The look of the piece is minimal, but with cluttered sound and visual effects that upset the audience when necessary. Safety is a play which deals with serious ideas without being self-conscious or remotely pretentious. Safety runs intermittently from 1st - 24th August

© Kenny Morrison 5 August 2002 Unlimited Theatre www.unlimited.org.uk

Scars of War (page 146)
Drams full glass and a half drams
Venue Demarco-Rocket@ Apex Hotels (Venue 15)
Address 31 - 36 Grassmarket
Reviewer Thelma Good

Catriona Evans (Sally McGann from High Road) is just like a 30s Movie star as Scotswoman Helen who meets and falls for immigrant Mario, played with charm by Carlo Iacucci. His sister Adele, Elena Masoero, falls for Hugh a man never able to cope with life. The two other characters the Young Boy and The Old Woman seem to come from their future though the programme suggest otherwise. In attempting not to be an entirely realistic play the three writers, Carlo Iacucci, Maggie Rose and Wgstark (sic), have not managed to create a coherent piece without the help of the programme's notes.

Italian - Scottish Connections' Scars of War goes from before the Second World War in Scotland to 1950 and contains a mix of Scottish and Italian actors. This play looks as though it was cut to fit into its fringe slot just too much, leaving 2 characters spend a lot of the time sitting at the side of the stage. Luckily the difficult sight lines in Theatre One mean you don't really see them till they stand up. Directing 6 actors on a tiny stage requires skill and Polish Director Aldona Figura and her actors do get the sense of the bustle of a railway station, or the city park, but the raw material they have to work with is too thin and overcut to hold together.
© Thelma Good 04 August 2002
Runs 5 - 10 August at 8pm 12 - 17 August at 7:15pm

Scotland in Love Again (page 146 )
Drams none
Venue The Netherbow Theatre (Venue 30)
Address 43 High Street
Reviewer Ksenija Horvat

It's tales of wars and precious peace, tales of love and love of whisky, tales of devils and brazen wives. Whit is oor Scotland like?

From its very beginning, Scotland in Love Again promises to be a memorable experience. Its simple staging (an armchair, a small table and a harp) and lighting are quite misleading - there is nothing simple about this show. It is an intricate mélange of folk tales and music that have long become famous landmarks of Scotland's history and lore.

David Campbell's witty and enchanting storytelling and Katie Targett-Adams' lyrical and mischievous interpretation of aul' and well-known songs take you on a journey through Scotland's glory. They will make you laugh and cry in turn, they will make you sing alongside them, and they will ensure that when you leave the theatre you will take away with you some of their magic. They will ask you to share it with the others. I wish to share it with you today. Go and see this show.
© Ksenija Horvat 23 August 2002 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs until 31 August

The Seagull (page 147)
Venue Bedlam Theatre (Venue 49)
Address 11b Bristo Place
Reviewer Max Blinkhorn

This is an excellent and concise version of The Seagull from the Alabaster Theatre Company. The players overcome the Bedlam Theatre's poor acoustics and the dialogue is clear, as it should be with Chekhov. Accepted wisdom is that The Seagull is about unfulfilled desires and their consequences but in these cynical times, it could equally be said to be about the behaviour of well off people trying to find something worth doing. Whatever, it’s very lucidly written and is still relevant more than 100 years after it was first presented.

This was The Seagull's first night in Edinburgh but the performance was near flawless. The scenery is simple and has some surprising effects. Though stylised to suit the play, the quality of the acting was as good as I can recall seeing and it’s truly impossible to pick anyone out for a special mention. The whole cast are obviously comfortable with their roles. The dialogue flows smoothly and has a near musical quality. Unfortunately, near the end of the performance, a lighting change seemed to cause the audience a little confusion. Then the very last scene was cut too quickly. Just as I was looking at each character, thinking how they’d played their part in Konstantin’s death, the lights went out and I lost the link with them. Three more seconds and a slower drop of the lights would have been more satisfying.

If you enjoy Chekhov, this will be an excellent night out. If you’ve been meaning to go to a Chekhov play but never quite made it, this is for you too.

© Max Blinkhorn 5th August 2002.
Runs 2nd - 26th August 2002 20:30 (22:00)
Alabaster Productions.

The Secret Death of Salvador Dali (page 147)
full glass
Venue Assembly Theatre (3)
Address Assembly Rooms, 54 George Street
Reviewer Jackie Fletcher

This is a roller coaster of madness, mayhem and masturbation (both literal and figurative) recounting the fixations and fantasies of Dalis life. But if you are expecting a straightforward piece of biography, you will be flummoxed. This is a tantalising series of titbits (with quite a few bare tits as well) supported by excellent music and visual metaphors. Julie Eckersley and Trevor Stuart invest everything in performances of quite amazing intensity, playing a host of Dalis acquaintances and including some gender-bending in the process. Eckersley, as the young Dali, is just divine and Stuart, as the adult Dali (if he ever grew up at all) is superb. Its a scintillating script, though there are a few moments of banality, and this pertains to minor characters, such as Lorca, Breton and even Gala, who fall into clichéd comic figures at certain moments.

Nonetheless, for fans of Dali, this is a real treat in its verbal and visual surrealism and grotesque comedy. But there is a pathos when Dali, on his death-bed, meets his hero, the Renaissance master Raphael, who accuses him of pandering to the market place, wasting his life and art, and failing in the Renaissance ideal of inspiring spirituality. This is hardly fair if one considers The Temptation of St Sebastian, or the magnificent crucifixion of Christ, among many other works. No doubt this is a projection of Dalis own final self-accusation after he has won all the fame he had ever desired in his life.

In a stunning finale, the stage is filled with a massive Pollock-like balloon, and Dali is crushed by Abstract Expressionism. It is a supremely ironic and moving image. The writer, cast and director have made a theatrical gem out of the life of a man of such considerable complexity that the project would daunt many a less courageous team.

Until 26 Aug (not 12, 19).
Different prices.
© Jackie Fletcher

Shakespeare For Breakfast (page 148)
Dramsfull glassfull glassfull glassfull glass
Venue C (Venue 34)
Address Chambers Street
Reviewer Garry Platt

Shakespeare For Breakfast has become something of an Institution on the Fringe. Not going to SFB is like eating your chips without vinegar, it’s like trying to eat soup without a spoon, it’s like trying to smoke crack without a lighter; it just isn’t done. It’s a hardened audience who turn up for these shows, cynical critics still hung over from the overnight drinking session over at the Pleasance or half dead wino’s who were given free tickets the night before from do-gooders who thought Shakespeare might help put them back on track or just plain nutters who think that Shakespeare is some form of Scottish breakfast cereal. Actually that last sentence was a lie, the audience demographics seems to fall into 3 groups: 1. School children getting their cultural injection; 2. OAP’s doing Shakespeare on the Fringe and; 3. University Students out to spot the Shakespearian references and nuances this years current production brings, anyway, enough of this, what about the show?

It’s OK, Romeo and Juliet as a Pantomime. The actors are extremely professional, they hit their cues on time, deliver their lines with gusto and work the audience for all its worth, so why is it just OK rather than ‘Brilliant’ or ‘Superb’. The approach is very formulaic, the atmosphere is cosy and the results insipid.

Plus and negative point: You get a free coffee and croissant, the former being delivered in a sterile and plastic container the latter being bland and soft, a bit like the show - it’s OK.

Runs Until 25 August not 13

© Garry Platt 5 August 2002

Shut Eye (page 149)
Drams full glass only to loosen you up
Venue Traverse Theatre (Venue 15)
Address Cambridge Street, off Lothian Road
Reviewer Thelma Good

They wash the floor in some theatre traditions before the Performance. In Shut Eye from America's Pig Iron Theatre the stage is already set with ladder reaching up into the flies and hospital bed with unmoving body in it but the cleaner comes in to clean round it in the opening and closing moments of the play. The body in the bed is Matthew, he's in a private room but somewhere near by is a sleep lab and a woman appears repeatedly looking for it. But it's Matthew's state we first become interested in as his sister Judy comes to sleep the night in a hard hospital chair. Before she settles down she gives Matthew a Morning Glory Muffin placing it on his inert body almost like a primitive offering. Then in her dream, Matthew sits up in his bed.

Conceived and created by Joseph Chaikin and the company we're soon in the surreal word of dreams and unconscious states, where office meetings happen round beds, bad backs cause eating problems and medical terminology fuses with business speak. We slip in and out of peoples' dreams, the logic is very fuzzy but it has a lyrical humour and lets us look obliquely at that philosophical question, "How do you know you are not dreaming?" Full of imagery which makes sometimes a rather whacky sense. Shut Eye also contains in Matthew as played by Geoff Sobelle a fascinating central performance, some actors shine on stage this is one, Dustin Hoffman intensity but better looking. We're more used to the US's old enemy countries using imagery and movement to make epic, dramatic theatre here is a softer edged, looser interpretation from the Land of "Have a Nice Day". Entertaining and thoughtful rather than angst ridden, the style suits the gentle state of the unconscious Matthewand sleep itself, recalling in tone a piece of UK's Improbable Theatre - Coma.

There's a lot of live music and singing in Shut Eye performed by this strong talented cast. I really liked this piece despite its slightly over long length and slight over use of hospital screens and mobile phones, it's funny how we rely on them in theatre pieces as in real life. American theatre is more varied and physical than I thought, has "what's my motivation" theatre started to run its course? It's theatre with a feel good factor and it's rather likeable - you can have too much angst.
© Thelma Good 04 August 2002
Runs till 24 not Mondays at various times

Silent Engine by Julian Garner (page 149)

Drams none
Venue Gilded Balloon Cowgate (Venue 38)
Address 233 Cowgate
Reviewer Thelma Good

As a couple of actors and a tightly written multi-layered script bring the audience to the edge of their seats and to the verge of tears. Set today, it's not a one-issue play, though one incident, the death of a baby in an ICU (Intensive Care Unit) is the trigger to their being on a beach at the bottom of a cliff in the ruins of a once busy fishermen's' seaside hamlet. The gulf between them is palpable, with two strong performances from Cathy Owen as Anna and Robin Pirongs as Bill, they get every pitch and toss of this script as it voyages across the turbulent waters of surviving awful things.

Moving between lightness and darkness, from pain to trying to lift the pain it's an acute study of being a couple. Always difficult, we're now in a world where we struggle to find our own real worth while around us the cost of being a modern person rises daily. It moves an audience, there were hands reached out for and held during it , and most of the audience after prolonged applause, walked out hand in hand or touching one another, on the day I saw it.

It's a script which weaves in imagery and symbols, lifting it buoyantly clear of the turgid traps many writers fall into. A two person play ideally suited for good actors and companies to perform in and tour. Julian Garner is a writer I for one will be looking out for- he has a well developed dramatic voice.
© Thelma Good, 25 August 2002 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs until 26 August at 12.15
Company - Pentabus Theatre
The play text is published by Oberon Books and I highly recommend it too.
Transferring to London 3 - 28 September at the Arcola Theatre 020 7503 1646

Single and Searching WLTM (page 149)
Drams full glassfull glass
Venue C o2, Oxygen (Venue 202)
Address Infirmary Street
Reviewer Shona Brodie

As the title suggests, with this play you know exactly what you're getting. A Bridget Jones-esque tale of a single and searching female as she explores the down side of modern-day dating.

"Love at first sight is just mutual stalking" says Suzie as she takes us through her dating disasters. Played by its writer, you get the feeling that C Byrnes knows what she's talking about. Although its theatre listing left me unprepared for the musical sections, they seemed to fit in. Not that they were particularly wonderful arrangements or sung to perfection, but they complemented the play's characters - they were real. Jim Hartley who is the entire dating circle that Suzie describes manages to differentiate these men enough that you warm to them, you can imagine them, and have probably gone out with some of them.

Nothing too earth shattering or unexpected is unearthed and glancing round the room, made up of mostly women, this is definitely one for the ladies. I think with the right audience, maybe loosened up with a few drinks, this Kipper TIE production could get all the laughs they are looking for.

Play seeking audience: Short musical play WLTM lively Festival goers to share evening of clever takes on familiar themes. Probably female, friends encouraged. GSOH essential.
Until August 25th at 21.00
© Shona Brodie 14th August 2002


A Slight Tilt to The Left (page 149)

Drams none
Venue Assembly Rooms (Venue 3)
Address George St
Reviewer Thelma Good

When we enter the Drawing Room theatre space we find Lenny Pearson tending a grave, on a stool a silent ghetto blaster. It contains his last ungiven Christmas gift to his father, a tape of Desert Island Derbys featuring Peter O'Sullivan voice and Lester Piggot's rides. Dad liked to back the horses rather more than Lenny knew.

Michael Mears not only performs, he wrote this one man play, and it is a play, not a monologue. Full of humour, marvellous character actor Mears gives richly populated performances. Not only of Lenny but his thespian older brother Matthew, who's resting in a different way from their father, the gravestone maker Mr Nigley and his wife with her special cushion, sundry mourners and Lenny's insurance colleagues who offer tea rather than sympathy.

It's also a play about grief and its seven ages, sibling rivalry which can get worse when parents die and finding out more about yourself and the person who's gone. And it's superbly realised by Michael Mears with a mordant humour, underlined by Guy Masterton's direction. If you've lost a parent, have a sibling and a sense of humour this play is an fine hour's entertainment which fascinates as it digs into the underground of grief and choosing a headstone.
© Thelma Good 2 August 2002
2 July - 26 August at 17:10 not 12 August
Guy Masterton Productions & TTI www.theatretoursinternational.com

Snatches (page 149)

Drams none
Venue Assembly Rooms (Venue 3)
Address 54 George Street
Reviewer Max Blinkhorn

Monica Lewinsky is a memory in the U.K. The unfortunate butt of a few smutty jokes, a half pretty face on the t.v. news, way back one of Bill Clinton’s little indiscretions that spawned a political pantomime. Nowadays, she’s only an occasional face in O.K. or Hello! Magazines here. In the U.S. however, and New York in particular, she still attracts significant media attention. In part, that’s because there is more to her tale than meets our eye at 3000 miles distance.

Snatches, from New York’s 78th Street Theatre Lab, puts a telescope to our eye and lets us take a good look at Monica through the transcripts of telephone conversations with Linda Tripp, her "friend". Monica and Linda talk - a lot - about the president in one sentence and the merits of their hair stylists, the next. Their conversations reveal them to be innocents abroad in the Presidential world.

While banal, girly phone conversations alone do not make for great theatre, as scripts, they can give scope and ideas. In Snatches, using only two chairs and two screens, a simple wonder is worked. Actors Patricia A. Chilsen and Jean Taylor position, sit in, on and around their chairs so we see them from many unusual angles - plan, rear, even from underneath. Their superb performances supplemented by video projection and clever lighting changes, yield a result that is near cinematic.

Don’t be fooled by the unassuming publicity material; this is excellent, innovative and above all, entertaining theatre. At an hour, Snatches is just the right length. In the U.S. it lasts 90 minutes which is too much Monica for U.K. audiences. Snatches gives an insight into the Lewinsky affair that we didn’t get from "the news". It makes me want to see more 78th Street productions.
Runs 2nd-26th August (not Tuesdays) 14:15 (15:15)
© Max Blinkhorn, 10th August 2002

Soho Storeys - Young Pleasance (page149)

Drams It's a champagne of a production
Venue Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33)
Address 60 The Pleasance
Reviewer Thelma Good

Set in the new immigrant communities after World War Two this highly professional production has stacks of talented young performers whose energy and sheer professionalism has the audience delighting in fresh performances carried out with considerable skill. All the more astonishing when I learnt for some it's their first time on stage.

Smoke hangs in the auditorium and on stage there are dim outlines of people waiting round the edge. The sound of the sea and the steam and noise of steam engines bathed in a blue light gives way as the cast all turn to look at us. The first of all the well choreographed and directed moments in this play containing well sung songs and music by Ned Bennett are redolent of the period in the early 1950's when sweets at last came off the Ration.

Daisy Smith's Dolly is an East-end girl working with her friend Dora, Lara Haworth in the Pepper Club in the basement of a Soho building. Above the club are the flats crammed with people from all over, Italy, Jamaica, Greece, Russia and France. Tyrone, Will Carabine-Glean is a singer keeping his family his sisters always studying though Uncle Winston, Abdoulie Mboob, can't see the nesscessity. Tony, Lewis Young, a barber has a sideline, but his wife Elena, Megan Fisher, has only just arrived from Greece, scrubbing the Club's floors when she hoped to be sitting at a desk. Valerie and Delphine Du Pain, Katie Robson and Natasha Pearlman, from Paris are waiting for Victor, still after ten years as they make patisseries with Olympe, Tara Brown. And almost stealing the show are Ivan, Peter Munro and Sacha, Aaron Safir Kominski, shy tailors from Vladivostock, their song as they practise wooing with one another is one of the many highlights of this exceptional good show.

Written by Tim Norton, who directs it with his sister Kathryn Norton and choreography by Neil Fisher, this production delights with 26 good young actors making full use of Pleasance Two. The set, by Christopher Richardson, (better known in Edinburgh as the guy with hat and oioe who runs the Pleasances venues), enables all the actors to wait visible to us round the edges of the cleverly conceived stage so we see them react to the action on stage, adds to the seamless flow of the many interweaving stories. This is great to see ensemble work, amongst the best at this years Fringe. I awarded them all a Good's Great.
© Thelma Good 17 August 2002 - published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs till 26August at 15:00
Company - E-mail Young Pleasance

Solemn Mass for a Full Moon In Summer (page 149)
Drams full glass
Venue Gateway Theatre (Venue 7)
Address Elm Row
Reviewer Thelma Good

This is a shorten and reduced version of Michel Tremblay's play, translated by Bill Findlay and Michael Bowman originally premièred in its longer form at the Traverse and the Barbican Centre. This version has only five characters but I think it all the better for the changes. The widow is facing her first full moon without her husband, Catherine Owen shows her transparent with joy for what she had. Gerald, Ali de Souza in a fine portrayal of physical weakness, and Gerald's partner Yon, Thomas Newman, are the male couple preparing to let go of one another but not because they want to. While Yannick, David Fitzgerald and Isabelle, Suzanne Donaldson, are hot and soon sticky from the rush of love which has them unable to speak except in a kind of mutual song of desire.

Based around the stages of the Roman Catholic Solemn Mass even irreligious me got a sense of religious awe, reverence and questioning and of progression towards a resolution. I still don't think the play quite achieves what it sets out to do but at least this time I could hear the tune it wanted me me to more clearly, now the cacophony of voices had been reduced to a far more reasonable five.
Runs until 26 August not Weds at 22:00
Company- Big Wood Productions
© Thelma 11 August 2002


The Split (page 150)
Drams full glassfull glass
Venue Pleasance Dome (Venue 23)
Address 1 Bristo Square
Reviewer David Stanners

In Las Vegas, it's now possible to get married and divorced within the space of a day. Frank Strausser's humorous satire, The Split, takes that absurdity one step further. How about getting a divorce, splitting the house in two, and living under the same roof. This is Hollywood's latest saga.

Martin and Justine's marriage seems to be doomed, so they file for divorce. Unable to settle their assets amicably, they decide to partition but share their Hollywood house together, along with their English au pair and their baby daughter. Inevitably this leads to all sorts of shenanigans; arguments, one-night stands, and an eccentric nanny desperate to emulate the life of Jean Harlow, the world's first platinum blonde, who apparently used to live in the house.

All this is treated in a breezy, light hearted sort of way. There are some funny moments throughout, but the pace is pedestrian, and the lack of action frustrating. It is only towards the end that The Split shows its true colours, with some hilarious, but long overdue interaction between the two leads.

The acting is good from all angles, but Justine played by Mabel Aitken shines most brightly. She balances delicately the over the top, postmodern Hollywood drama queen, full of affectation, with the fundamental desires of a human being: to be loved and appreciated.

The result is a crafty satire; a tongue in cheek glance at another of Hollywood's possible fads. It's just a pity the pace was jolted through the centre stages.
© David Stanners 23 August 2002 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs until 26 August at 14.15 Company Strausser Productions

Stitching (page 151)
Drams full glassfull glassfull glassfull glass
Venue Traverse Theatre (Venue 15)
Address Cambridge Street, off Lothian Road
Reviewer Daniel Winterstein

Stitching is a good example of bad shock tactics. The language is foul, but worse still is the imagery - which drags in every vile thing writer-director Anthony Nielson could think of (including, but not limited to, prostitution, pornography and violence). Even Auschwitz gets included in an unpleasant and entirely gratuitous way.

It's all a bit pointless, leaving me disappointed rather than outraged. The only reason for it is to bolster an otherwise inconsequential play. Behind the swearing and the nastiness there is nothing that's genuinely controversial - because there is nothing here to make the audience think.

The story is of a failed relationship. It's an unromantic comedy, told in a clever structure of flashbacks and flash-forwards centred around an argument over having a baby. The production isn't bad. Selina Boyack and Phil McKee are very convincing in challenging roles. Nielson directs well, there are some good jokes and the play moves along at a fast pace. A shame that it's such a pile of ****.

Runs 2nd - 24th August, except 5th,12th & 19th.
© Daniel Winterstein, 4th August 2002

Stomach Ache (page 151)
Drams full glasshalf glass
Venue Venue 13 (Venue 13 )
Address Lochend Close, off the Canongate
Reviewer Thelma Good

With a opening video projected on the backwall of the set Stomach Ache begins. A man, actor John Kazak, weeping, lost in distress fades away, the sound of lovemaking comes up. Then a women rushes in the doorway at the back of the set. She turns towards the sound and starts back, "In our Bed" she shouts, "me scarely cold". It's soon clear that the woman has returned to give her former partner hope, but she hasn't come from another part of town. She's stuck in limbo, a ghost stuck and has come make to make ammends. As actor Robyn Cruze continues we follow her story and find ourselves understnading what happened to make this ending.

Cruze also wrote the script which isn't quite tight enough to wholly work. Alan Dunnett directs Cruze so that she looks and talks to us as if she sees us a device that works well for as she is a ghost we can believe she can do this. But too much of this peice has a tendency towards being static which works against it being really dramatic.
© Thelma Good 20 August 2002 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs until 24 August

The Story of Love and Hate (page 152)

Drams 4
Venue C Venue (Venue 34)
Address Chambers Street
Reviewer Daniel Winterstein

In this one man show Andy Fox tells us about Robert Mitchum. He was a hard man. A drifter before he was a movie star. Fame it seems was not good to him. There were drink problems, and the womanising; like so many others. His story is told in the tones of penitent hangover. Unfortunately though this is essentially a tribute by a fan to his idol; an indulgent project that doesn't ask any difficult questions.

The Mitchum anecdotes are roughly joined together by references to Fox's own life. A mistake; Mitchum's dry style - straight out of a film noir - sits uneasily with Fox's stand-up comedian patter.

Michelle Forster's excellent set creates an air of seedy decadence from a few parts carefully chosen and arranged. Unfortunately Fox fails to fill it. Out of his depth as an actor, his Robert Mitchum lacks presence, and his Andy Fox lacks interest.
Runs until 25th August, except 13th. 3pm. £6.50 (£5.50)
© Daniel Winterstein, 9th August 2002

Such Stuff As We Are Made Of (page 66)
Drams full glassfull glassfull glassfull glass
Venue St Stephens/Cafédirect-Aurora Nova (Venue 8)
Address St Stephen Centre, St Stephen Street
Reviewer Ksenija Horvat

Lia Rodrigues Companhia de Danças' promenade show isn’t an easy viewing. Despite the company's international acclaim, the production is a bit of a let-down.

There are some beautiful moments in the show, certain images stick in one's mind for their poignancy and fragility, and the performers certainly need to be applauded for their enthusiasm and determination. Unfortunately, the show on the whole is neither innovative nor provocative enough to sustain one's attention. Many have done experimenting with naked bodies in space, let's just mention amazing work of The Living Theatre in the sixties and seventies (I believe they visited Brazil on one of their international tours). All of these years ago the Living Theatre achieved what Companhia de Danças could not, a genuine integration of the performers and their audience where all demarcations were off.

This production, on the contrary, is too controlling, too safe. If you wish to see some truly exciting ensemble work that explores sound and movement, that is socially relevant, and politically and philosophically challenging, I would suggest to catch one of Fabrik's, Do Theatre's or Company F/Z's performances. But if your idea of political protest is watching a company of accomplished dancers march up and down St Stephens promenade studio along the sounds of "Let the Sunshine In" and "Imagine", in a neo-hippy fashion, then this is the show for you.

Surely we have gone beyond this stage by now. Haven't we? Is it possible that yours truly has missed some hidden metaphysical, profoundly significant point and is very much mistaken in her judgment? All I can say is, go and see for yourselves.
Runs until 26 August (not 19) different times, check with the venue
© Ksenija Horvat 13 August 2002

(S) 18 out of 142
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