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(C) 14 out of 226
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Page number refers to the Fringe programme



Catastrophe at Culloden. (Page 135)
 Drams  full glassfull glassfull glassfull glassfull glass, a half a bottle please
Venue  C Cubed. (Venue 50)
Address   Brodie's Close, Lawnmarket.
Reviewer   Ksenija Horvat.

Telling Tale's second visit to Fringe is Graham Macdonald's teen road movie Catastrophe at Culloden which tells a story of Bonnie Prince Charlie's and his reluctant sidekicks' flight from Scotland after the infamous battle. At first sight, this is an overwritten, ineptly directed and gawkily acted piece that would work much better as a short film rather than a theatre performance. However, behind clumsiness and endless mistakes, there are enthusiasm and genuineness that are totally disarming. The Company's young actors remind one of the magnetism and spirit of the early days of the Fringe: the magnetism that was born out of the fact that these were students and amateurs acting their socks off, and the spirit of adventure that has been stifled by the ruthless commercialism.

That is all well and dandy, you may say, but is this show any good? Artistically? It is dreadful. Actors move around the tiny black box whether they need to or not. There is no sense of them being directed, though the production shows off two co-directors on the bill. The lighting is iffy, some of the times the actors act in semi-dark without any apparent reason. On occasions shouting is mistaken for projecting. Has all this put you off yet? Yes? Then go to Traverse. No? Then spend a few pounds and go up Brodie's Close to see this show. They might be loud and callow, but they are a real hoot to watch, and they bring with them the freshness and the spirit that I thought Fringe lost long time ago.

So, here I raise a dram for the aul' spirit of Fringe and to those in whose hearts it is still remembered fondly.
© Ksenija Horvat, 5 August 2004 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to 30 August, 12:15 (45mins), tickets £7.50 (£6.50).
Company Telling Tales Theatre Company.

   

Catching Dust. (Page 135).
Drams full glass.
Venue Sweet on the Grassmarket. (Venue 18)
Address Apex City Hotel, 61 The Grassmarket.
Reviewer Marisa de Andrade.

Tangled Feet have themselves in a twist as they take on the tangled intricacies of life in Catching Dust. Through a web of captivating conversations, perfectly selected music, precise movement routines and projections, they're defining the future of theatre. Gone are literal texts and realism. In come abstract concepts echoing existential despair.

Catching Dust explores the potential of a park bench as it seats strangers day in and day out. Each one with a story to tell and secret to hide. Delving into the minds of strangers is a mammoth task, which Tangled Feet takes on head first as actors throw themselves to into fast-paced, piercing physical movement. They do well to contain their dynamic choreography in a miniature space, using the clear disadvantage to their advantage as they create a sense of claustrophobia. Amidst abusive relationships, intrusive friends and random acts of love, is an untimely confusion that sets in like a cloud of dust. Intentional? Perhaps, but a little too abstract for some to follow. Speedy scenes only add to the obscurity of the piece.

Quit questioning its intentions, sit back and allow yourself to be inspired by the imaginative engagement before you, and decoding its connotations won't seem as important. Flipping light filters of green and red and frozen moments of truth and familiarity propel Catching Dust to a dazzling place. A captivating experience.
© Marisa de Andrade 19 August 2004 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs Aug 5-22, not 17, at 14.55.
Company Tangled Feet.


   

Chaucer’s Cock Tale (Page 135)
 Drams  No drams
 Venue  C Venue (Venue No 34)
 Address Adam House, Chambers Street
 Reviewer Vivien Devlin.

Last year Another Midas brought a touch of glamour to the Fringe with Dirty Little Secrets, a visually stimulating, operatic and erotic dance. This sensational physical theatre company is back with a mesmerising modern interpretation of Chaucer’s The Nun’s Priest’s Tale, a beast fable in which Chanticleer, a vain, pompous, pink-rouged rooster is seduced by Dawn, a sly young fox.

Set in the 1950s, Chanticleer’s buxom hen-wife Pertelot, in shocking pink wig and lace housecoat, is the domestic goddess baking sponge cakes to entice her Cock to stay home. Away from this cosy marital bliss, his wild fantasies take hold and he pursues the ravishing raven-haired vixen, a vision in black stockings, corset and killer heels. “Dreams come true if you believe them” he sings, as they tango in a lustful embrace. While he binges on sexual pleasure, the deserted Pertelot binges on cake. With a hint towards the alleged Beckham/Loos encounter, the ‘kiss and tell’ tabloid gossip begins to destroy the romantic dream.

This is a potent cocktail, blending Chaucer and Noel Coward, song and dance with a fabulous Broadway musical-style soundtrack by composer Jim Fowler. Harper Ray, Lucinda Ryan and Helen McManamon perform with their inimitable style: they prance and preen with precise animalistic characterisation. While outrageously, grotesquely camp on one level, this is above all an intelligent re-working of Chaucer’s morality tale dramatised with passion, humour and wit.    
©Vivien Devlin, 4 August 2004 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
 Runs to 30 August
Company -Another Midas.
Company Website www.anothermidas.com
   

The Clink. (Page 136).
Drams full glass
Venue Quaker Meeting House (Venue 40)
Address 7 Victoria Terrace
Reviewer Neil Ingram.

Politics is a dirty game, and people often gets hurt, usually for no good reason. If you’re a fool (professionally that is) it’s no more than you should expect. Lucius Bodkin’s father was a fool, but he’s moved on to be part of a double act with his brother. They’re stand up comedians, all the rage in the late 16th century, but bookings are getting thin and fooling is a good standby. So when Lucius is asked to entertain a group of visiting Dutch businessmen, performing his "alternative" comedy, he jumps at the chance, not realising quite what he is being drawn into.

Stephen Jeffreys’ play is set in 1603, and Good Queen Bess’s long reign is coming to an end. Having managed to stay alive through nearly 50 years on the throne, she’s finding it difficult to die. Ironic, really, considering how good her advisors are at getting rid of each other and anyone else who gets in the way. The Queen of course has no heir, and the naming of her successor is a very political issue. Plot and counterplot unfold, and through all of this Lucius stumbles, at first unknowingly, but later with a growing understanding of how to survive.

Edward's Theatre Company have brought to Edinburgh a lively and yet thoughtful production of a complex and fascinating play. There are many fine performances, notably from Russell Jackson as Lucius, Briony Bowe as Queen Elizabeth and Aryan Ramkhalawon as Zanda, a Moorish woman saved from slavery. The whole young cast have captured the essential spirit of a crucial period in our history, and brought it vividly to life.
© Neil Ingram 10 August 2004 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to August 14 at 20.15
Company – Edwards Theatre Company.
Company Website www.edwardstheatre.co.uk

   

Cloning Adam. (Page 136)

Drams full glassfull glassfull glassfull glassfull glass or more.
Venue C Cubed (Venue 50).
Address Brodie’s Close, Lawnmarket, Royal Mile.
Reviewer Georgina Merry.

Human cloning is a hot topic and has been one of the most controversial speculations in contempory science. The mere mention of it can cause uproar – excitement and passionate opinions fly up and temperatures rise. Unfortunately Cloning Adam does none of this.

This serious and complex subject matter is condensed into a one hour play that is entirely dependant on dialogue. The actors rarely move, and when they do it’s disjointed and stilted. As the acting style is mostly realistic, with only one vain attempt at symbolism throughout, it can be gathered that this is not intentional. They regularly stumble over their words, which are spoken in monotone. All in all it makes for very dull watching. Some lines are delivered competently, namely by Stephen Blake Andrew Shepherd and Verity Williams Carly Ramsdale. These do not compensate for the lacklustre performance.

It's a shame as this flatly directed creation has the potential to be an exciting, brave and pioneering project. Instead it falls to the same old unimaginative conspiracy with characters that no one cares for or about. Perhaps if more time was taken to produce this piece it could break new ground.
©Georgina Merry 6 August 2004 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to 15 August at 10:30am.
Company – ACS Random Productions.

   

Cold Light Singing. (Page 137).
Drams full glass.
Venue Sweet on The Grassmarket, Apex City Hotel (Venue 18).
Address 61 The Grassmarket.
Reviewer Ellie Fazan.

Cold Light Singing is the story of three women caught in the shadow of Pendle Hill. This chilling play examines the function of myth and ancient superstition in society. Yet this play is not formed from myth but is based on true events - the Lancaster witch trials of 1612. The stunning script is written by Yvonne Pinnington, who penned it after moving to East Lancashire. She claims that her inspiration came from the myths and legends encapsulated in the brooding local landscape. Indeed, the play, effectively directed by Russell Tennant, captures all the elements of that landscape and casts a chilling and mountainous shadow over the audience. Both lighting and music help to build our picture of the landscape, yet we, like the inmates of Lancaster Castle can see no light beyond. The opening of the play is dark and foreboding, as the action began the woman next to me literally jumped out of her seat and remained on the edge of her chair throughout.

The maturity of all the actors makes this an absolute pleasure to watch, and only actors of this level of maturity could do justice to such demanding subject matter. The performances of 'the three witches' ( Mary-Ann Coburn, Yvonne Pinnington, Sarah Oldknow) is emotionally charged and bewitchingly special. The opening of the play - the three witches crouching together in the dark whispering, chanting - you later realise praying - conjures images of Macbeth's three witches. Yet these women are very different and the play explores their courage, strength, naivety, madness. There is a feeling of real electricity in the tiny theatre, created by the bond of these three. The tiny space they perform in does not hamper the performance at all, but helps to create a real feeling of claustrophobia and an intensity which might not have been possible otherwise. The feeling that beyond this small dark space, beyond the imposing walls of Lancaster castle are the rolling hills of Lancaster is present throughout.
©Ellie Fazan 24th August 2004, published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs until 29th August daily at 17.15.
Company: Function Factory Theatre.

   

A Comedy Of Arias. (Page 137).
Drams full glass.
Venue Pleasance Dome (Venue 23).
Address Bristo Square.
Reviewer Thelma Good.

This humourous, well acted and sung opera/play had me laughing and also discovering the delight of being just a few feet away from beings that can sing in ways I can't. Working in lots of opera songs we know, from either the operas themselves or from the commercials, football competitions etc. that have used them, Opera on the Run's could switch people on to an art form that can leave some of us cold or lukewarm at its grandiose accoutrements. Unlike many opera singers these classically trained singers can act (it isn't part of their training normally) and more than cope with an audience almost sitting in their laps. The result is a fun and pleasurable time, there's a lot to be said for these small companies who bring their joy of this art form in such an engaging way, Tete a Tete is another.

In A Comedy of Arias, Reality TV and opera singers collide in a failing restaurant, The Opera Cafe. The owner, Rodger Bravado, Ian Bloomfield, has never quite popped the question to his assistant, Miranda, Sophie Juge. They both were at Opera School with one of the surprise singers booked to revive the eating establishment, the international renowned tenor Orlando Blaize, Suni Muliaumaseali'i. Also there are Taylor D, played by actor Fred Perry, the ghastly demented TV producer who talks at his unseen techie as his headphones' integral mike waves above his head making him look like a disturbed enormous insect and the glamorous pianist is Gitanjali Ram. Arriving last, but no means least on the scene, is Orlando's wife, an American opera singer played by Lori Lynn.

Unlike some operas A Comedy of Arias actually has a pretty believable script, considerably adding to its appeal. They sometimes sing where we would talk, but there is also witty spoken dialogue co-written by the director, Jonathan Guy with Bloomfield who had the original idea. It's already had a rural tour in England, looking at the enthusiastic audiences who react with positive pleasure to the informal style where interaction with us in our role as the studio audience also features. If you're an opera fan there are in-jokes, if you aren't you'll get most of them just from watching the cast anyway.
© Thelma Good 24 August 2004 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to 29 August at 17:25.
Company – Opera On The Run.
Company Website www.acomedyof arias.com
   

Confetti and Confusion. (Page 138).

Drams full glassfull glassfull glass.
Venue Jurys Inn Edinburgh. (Venue 260).
Address 43 Jeffrey Street.
Reviewer Marisa de Andrade.

Confetti and Confusion is an appropriate title. Ophelia throws confetti about amidst her emotional breakdown and confusion sets over the audience. This is a play about Ophelia and Katherine. Shakespeare's women. However, it reveals only their essences in abstract, modern monologues, which make more sense with some Shakespearean knowledge. But even then they come across as bewildering.

This perplexity does not lie in Pam Ryder's interpretation of her characters. Her focus is astounding considering the complexities of the texts. The audience is captured by her immense energy and concentration, but baffled by her intentions. Even with the knowledge that Shakespeare's women were mere objects of beauty existing to be possessed, the pieces lack substance. As these women explore the intensity of their love and lust, something goes missing. Motivation perhaps, charm definitely.

Nevertheless, both women explore their confined spaces with much admiration, filling empty frames with reflections and swinging park benches to tell the tales of desperate lives. At the end of it all lies an enduring, unanswered question - what was it all for?
© Marisa de Andrade 24 August 2004 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs Aug 23-27 at 18.15.
Company Triplash Theatre Co.


   

Cowboy Shakespeare. (Page 138).
Drams full glassfull glassfull glass.
Venue C Chambers Street. (Venue No 34)
Address Chambers Street.
Reviewer Georgina Merry.

One of three Best of the West shows this fringe. This helping is a combination of informative lecture by Joan Oviat, film clips and country and western music. However, it has very little to do with Shakespeare. And not very much to do with cowboys either. The programme note submitted for the show is misleading to say the least.

This one woman show is relatively fascinating when hearing her own personal background and how she struggled to be an actress. However, the piece as a whole lacks continuity. The audience are subjected to slightly interesting film clips bearing no relevance to the performance. And what the Charlie Chaplain footage has to do with it, no one knows.

Joan Oviatt is intriguing and a talented actress. She appears to have lead an interesting life. Perhaps if this had been made into a play about her experience growing up in the Wild West it may have been more exciting. Hopefully the other Best of The West show The Sixth Wife will be a more satisfactory display of her talent.
©Georgina Merry 6 August 2003 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to August 30 at 5:30pm every day.
Company – Best of the West.
   

Crave. (Page 138).
Drams full glass .
Venue Diverse Attractions, Riddles Court (Venue 11).
Address 322 Lawnmarket.
Reviewer Alex Eades.

Sarah Kane’s Crave was first performed almost six years ago to the day at the Traverse Theatre, right here in Edinburgh. Crave comes across as being a tremendously personal play that can be quite distressing, especially for those who are aware of Kane’s mentality and the tragedy that followed. Edinburgh Graduate Theatre Group have created a chaotic and heartbreaking production that captures Kane’s hell frighteningly well, glimpsing her soul in the eyes of each and every one of the actors.

Apart from the actors and the audience, the room is empty. But as the words fly from the actors’ mouths in such a fierce and cold manner, the room suddenly seems strangely overcrowded.  The performances, which range from both the young and old, are extremely powerful making the heart ache at their endless pain and suffering. Their eyes watered, their flesh trembled and their legs turned to jelly…..and that was just the audience.

There is not a drop of blood spilt in this production, which is quite refreshing for a Sarah Kane show, yet the content and its delivery are enough to disturb even the most unflinching audience member.  It can sometimes be hard to follow, but I guess that is kind of the point. Both beautiful and horrible, this is a show that you are unlikely to forget in a hurry.
© Alex Eades 17 August 2004 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs until 21st August – 10.30pm
Company: Edinburgh Graduate Theatre Group.

   

The Crimson Corset.(Page 138)
Drams full glass.
Venue C Central. (Venue 54).
Address Carlton Hotel, North Bridge.
Reviewer Georgina Merry.

Miss Crimson’s husband-to-be likes women in corsets. The tighter the better. After they marry it becomes clear that this fondness goes a bit beyond the norm…This dark tale of intrigue immediately draws you in – the tighter the corset is pulled the thicker the plot gets, and Crimson is driven to the brink of madness by her husband’s obsession. This pre-first world war drama explores the relationship power balance at a time when inequality between the sexes was taken for granted. Crimson’s role is contrasted by that of the maid, Merry, a suffragette, who narrates throughout in an amusing and intimate way. The audience feel as though they have been let in on a dirty secret, one that compels them to discover the outcome.

The perversion of Crimson’s husband is reflected in the dark and sensual nature of the set. The heavy red velvet curtains, the white marble mantel above the black fire place give the black-curtained stage a brooding and sexually charged atmosphere. But there is nothing in the play that is overtly sexual, which makes the piece all the more poignant.

For those with a passion for historical dramas, The Crimson Corset should satisfy your appetite. The two female actors work very well together and manage to convey the passage of time effectively and subtly, without resorting to obvious tactics and remarks. Crimson’s pain for her husband’s pleasure speaks volumes.
© Georgina Merry August 8 2004 - Published on Edinburghguide.com
Runs to August 30 at 20:15, except Aug 17
Company Scarlet Angel Productions.
Company Website www.imaginationproductions.co.uk
   

Curry Tales. (page 139).
  Drams full glassfull glassfull glassfull glass.
  Venue  Traverse 4, The Raj (Venue No 312)
  Address The Raj Restaurant, 87 Henderson Street, The Shore, Leith.
  Reviewer   Vivien Devlin.

Curry Tales - Theatre at the Raj Restaurant, Leith
Curry Tales - Rani Moorthy
© Robbie Jack 2004.
This year the Fringe offers a plethora of shows in unconventional places from a bar, a car to an Indian restaurant. Well, a room above the restaurant. Imagine a Delia Smith-style TV kitchen, cluttered with pans, chopping boards and knives all ready to create an Indian feast. Over the next hour or so, solo performer Rani Moorthy introduces several cooks who will create their perfect curry. 

But who are these women, chopping and stirring.? It may be entertaining for a while as onions and chillies sizzle in the frying pan, but ultimately confusing and disjointed.  Rather like Macbeth’s witches, the cooks select the ingredients for the cooking pot as if preparing a black magic potion with frequent analogies between food and sex.  “To make a good curry you need a clear mind” says the first cook. To make a good play, you need clear characterisation and a plot. A touch of emotion is revealed in one scene where a harassed young wife is preparing dinner but her husband has failed to buy any meat so she improvises with eggs. But this only reminds her of her childless, eggless state. Will she ever conceive, she wonders.?    

Trinidadian Goat curry, savoury tomato soup and Malaysian Laksa are prepared with bowls passed around for the audience to sample.  But despite tempting dishes, it’s all rather tedious, bland and lacking in dramatic spice. Throughout the show you are continuously aware of the bustle of waiters downstairs. Forget about Curry Tales - book a table for dinner at the Raj instead. 
©Vivien Devlin, 7 August 2004 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to August 28 at 7pm every day except Mondays. Matinee Friday and Sunday, 2.30pm
Company-Rasa Theatre.
Company Website www.rasatheatre.co.uk
   

Cyclo-Analysis. (Page 139).
Drams full glassfull glass.
Venue Sweet of the Grassmarket, Apex City Hotel. (Venue 18).
Address 61 The Grassmarket..
Reviewer Ellie Fazan.
 
This was the first performance and it was almost totally sold out, the theatre was literallly buzzing for the opening of this exciting and well crafted play.  The theatre was however tiny, and the performers really could have done with a much larger space, especially considering their fast paced entrances and exits, and the colourful action onstage.

'Cyclo Analysis' is an hilariously funny romp presented by the Theatre of the Banal with a great script by Judith Batalion.  The individual characters are simply great - a disco king 'who needs attention', the almost silent Stu who obsessively cleansthe stage, the viscious, hilarious manic theif who has literally stolen a heart ('At least a slabby liver would have been more unexpected'). The characterisation, by both writer and essetially also the perfomers is spot on, and we are givena playful insight into the manias that in real life we try to keepunder control.  These characters play in almost monologue yet interact each other as the cycle of patients revolve.  Of course, they revolve around their psychiatrist who is himself one sandwich short, and professes to have lost the punchline. 

The play is about ego development, the search for self and the tricky relations and connections with others.  This is bought out in the style of the play, in parts monologue, in parts duologue, but never really more.  While I really enjoyed the action and the individaul scetches, the play was actually so fast moving that some of the deeper issues involved were literally swept over and the space was so small that action felt literally overwhelming (maybe this was actually part of the joy of seeing it).  Overall though this was a delighful performance, both fast paced and witty with great costumes and characters.
© Ellie Fazan 17 August 2004 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs unitl 29th August daily at 16.10.
Comapny: Theatre of the Banal.
Company Website www.theatreofthebanal.com


   

Cyrano de Bergerac. (Page 139),
Drams full glassfull glass.
Venue Augustine’s (Venue 152)
Address 41 George IV Bridge.
Reviewer Bill Dunlop.

The Gascon Cadets make one appearance only this Fringe, courtesy of Old Dominion University Theatre and its students from Norfolk, Virginia. An opportunity for theatre students to show and test their mettle has long been a part of the Edinburgh Fringe, and the folk from Norfolk do their best to rise to its challenges. Rostand’s highly coloured text is at least an equal challenge of course, and Old Dominion’s students wrestle mightily to present a pared down, bare bones version which yet manages to retain the spirit and story line of the original. The translation used isn’t credited in the sparse programme notes, but did not seem to this reviewer to derive from Anthony Burgess’ well-known version (now over a decade old). Locally-based Fringe hands will probably be familiar with Eddie Morgan’s spirited translation into Scots, roughly contemporary with Burgess’ (Now gettoing their dentition round that really might be a challenge for a Virginia company ..)

Gentle baiting aside, Old Dominion’s company do their level best by whichever text they’ve worked on, and most of the time do it ample justice. Their production is very much ensemble, and effective use of one prop (door, gate, litter by turn) means every company member becoming involved in scene setting and chorus work. In terms of the professional development of these young people, the production has clear value and their own enthusiasm and drive carries its audience along with few if any qualms.

As an ensemble the company is, as has been said, highly effective, and in this context it's invidious to single out individual performances. However, it's to be hoped that this production helps launch the careers of at least some of the principal and supporting cast members. Career development, after all, is also part of the purpose of the Fringe. (But own up about that translation)
© Bill Dunlop 11th August 2004 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs : August 10-15, 17-21,. Time 17.30-19.00.
Company Old Dominion University Theatre (US)



(C) 14 out of 226
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