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(E) 7 out of 226
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Rating Guide
None = Unmissable

= Unwatchable
Page number refers to the Fringe programme



Each... and Every Inch. (Page 144).
 Drams  none (but not to everyone's taste).
Venue  Scotland's Theatre Gateway. (Venue 7)
Address   Gateway Theatre, Elm Row.
Reviewer   Ksenija Horvat.

Man and Woman with two cellos
Each and Every Inch
© Robbie Jack 2004.
Each... and Every Inch is not an ordinary theatre show. It is a sensual, sensory journey through language, music, sound, spatial and visual mindscapes of each and individual audience member. Based on the life of Elizabeth Smart, Canadian journalist, poet and novelist, and delineating personal experiences of her long passionate affair with poet George Barker, the production transcends its initial stimulus to become a formidable examination by Theatre Cryptic into the emotions and drives of any woman.

This is not an easy viewing, unless you are willing to let go of your inhibitions and allow yourself to soul search for an hour or so. It is not designed to be a group experience. Instead, it encourages one's solitary quest. Some parts of the experiment are more successful than others, and as you are gently guided through this promenade performance,  you are left to find your own favourite part. Cello music anyone? Or perhaps you like 3D visual experience?

As all of the diverse strands of this peculiar hybrid of performance art and installations come together, you find yourself not only liking that extraordinarily peculiar woman Smart, but also reflecting parts of your own lives, feelings and thoughts in her words. At which point does deliciously sensual voice of Veronica Leer become your own? When exactly do you begin to see yourself in Smart's character?  When does it all become ecstatic, orgasmic and unbearable?

Or perhaps you will walk out of the show feeling annoyed, untouched or even resentful. If this happens, ask yourselves if you can recognise the moment when you were locked into your own trap, when you stopped dreaming and began to contain the uncontainable passion of life.

Theatre Cryptic are no newcomers to pushing borders, with varied success. This time they have really put their finger onto something raw and vital.

The show lasts as long as you want it to. No one will rush you. Take your time, open up your mind, and let yourself float. You might remember something about yourselves that you have long forgotten.
 © Ksenija Horvat, 9 August 2004 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
 Runs until 29 August (not 10th, 17th or 24th), 14:00 - 18:00 continious performance, admission evry 10 minutes.
Company Theatre Cryptic.
Company Website www.cryptic.org.uk
   

Edgar Allan Poe: The Poets Journey( Page 145 ).
Drams full glassfull glassfull glass.
Venue Rocket at Demarco, Roxy Art House (Venue 115).
Address Lady Glenorchy’s Church, Roxburgh Place.
Reviewer Garry Platt.

Edgar Allan Poe is in many ways as big an enigma as his writing, and I was intrigued to see if this production would expose some hitherto unknown facet of this man. The year is 1849, we are told. "Edgar Allan Poe is 40 years old and remains unrecognised for his innovative literary genius. Mr Poe is touring in an impassioned effort to recruit subscribers for his new magazine, THE STYLUS. This is the reason for his appearance in Edinburgh. Little does Mr Poe realize that within months he will be dead." Poe, Tim Hoben, stands before us and gives a performance of a subdued but convincing nature.

The work portrays Poe as a charismatic, melancholic, but with a passion and commitment to better the cause and standing of writing in America. I have to say that I did not learn very much more about Poe either from the writer Bryan Willis’ interpretation or the actor’s portrayal and, for me, some of the poetry did not engage as it does when read from the page. Almost certainly with better direction more might have been achieved. Certainly a play for Poe fans but despite the promise of the concept the play achieves little - I wonder why they just didn’t have a reading of Poe’s greatest works? It could have achieved more and probably got bigger audiences.
©Garry Platt 14 August 2004 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to 14 August.
Company – Ocean Falling Productions.

   

Egg and Chips for Winston (Page 146).
Dramsfull glass .
Venue The Zoo, Kirk O'Field Parish Church (Venue 124).
Address Pleasance.
Reviewer Neil Ingram.

Written to commemorate the sixtieth anniversary of D-day, this fascinating musical play tells the true story of a remarkable woman, Eva Rowland. Set in wartime Britain, if follows her life in the Salvation Army, feeding the troops from Southampton to Thurso. We meet her husband and her first love, and see through her eyes the harsh reality of war brought to life on the stage before us. There are some harrowing moments and real sadness is evoked by several scenes, particularly those where we see the young men who went down on HMS Hood, and later when the first prisoners of war return from Burma.While clearly showing Eva's calling to serve, it also shows her compassion for the brave and vulnerable young man and women called to arms.

The simple staging and brisk direction lead the audience by direct experience through the excitement and sudden horror of war, intercut with scenes from Eva's life today, surviving failing health and being an assetive grandmother. The final scene has her addressing a Salvation Army meeting in June 2004, sixty years on but clearly recalling the time of her youth, and imploring us not to forget the sacrifices her generation made.

Written by Emmy Wilde who sings all the songs, and Paula Danholm, who also directed, with songs from the Forties and music from the Edinburgh City Band of the Salvation Army, this is a moving and entertaining piece. The ensemble cast of 10 play a wide range of characters, but as Eva Birdy Laws stands out for her commanding performance. This is an excellent demonstration of how to put on a successful show with limited resources.
© Neil Ingram 24 August 2004 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to August 30 at 21.30.
Company – OSCARS.

   

Endangered Species: Waking Up. (page 146).
Drams full glassfull glassfull glassfull glass .
Venue Sweet on the Royal Mile (Venue 39).
Address Radisson SAS Hotel, 80 High Street.
Reviewer Sarah Jane Murray.

Consciousness-raising theatre is tricky territory. Preaching must not get in the way of artistic endeavour. Unfortunately in the case of Endangered Species, the preaching is misguided, and there is little artistic endeavour in the first place.

The show attempts to raise awareness of the alarming number of young people infected with HIV. The story is set in a ‘normal, everyday Southern American school’ – which translates as an infuriating ensemble of squealing girls and handsome jocks. Their picket-fence dream world is suddenly shattered when one pupil is diagnosed as HIV positive. Almost immediately, six close friends are also diagnosed. Within minutes, one has contracted AIDS and – by the play’s end – the entire group are dead.

While it is admirable to present an under-publicised angle on the issue, the group would have done better to present a more accurate illustration of living with HIV. By showing the development of the syndrome into AIDS - or even to show that it is very possible to live with either HIV or AIDS – the play would have been far more worthwhile and informative.

The young cast seems unable to grasp the gravity of the issue at hand. This is not necessarily a fault of their own – such an issue must require considerable research to develop a character in a believable fashion. Hysterical tears seem to make a mockery of the subject – as does the awkward drum that is hit every time someone is diagnosed as HIV positive. Perhaps this is simply the sort of issue that demands life experience to respond to validly.
©Sarah Jane Murray 12 August 2004 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Run ended.
Company – American High School Theatre Festival.

   

Epitaph. (Not in Fringe programme)
Drams full glass.

Venue Gilded Balloon Teviot (Venue 14)
Address 13 Bristo Square.
Reviewer Kate Copstick.

Two men holding flowers in a graveyard
Epitaph
© Kevin Wilson 2004.
These guys are awesomely talented. Their show is a jawdroppingly impressive mix of words and sounds and physicality. And it is very, very funny. The phrase "tour de force" is arguably overused but it is, trust me, I'm a critic, entirely warranted here.

In fact it is doubly warranted.

The piece itself is ingenious - a theatrical chimera that is, at once a play, and a speciality act, now surreally hilarious, now daft clowning, now momentarily, strangely touching. And all balanced Blondin-like, on the finest, tautest of narrative lines. The performances are a thrill to watch. They are the first wonder of my Edinburgh Fringe this year. The closest comparison is to watching Jerry Sadowitz do close-up magic. Adrian Wenner and Ethan Sandler take a story and do astonishing things with it. Their writing is witty and the twists and turns in the form of the piece would shame Rubik himself. And Wenner and Sandler create fabulous, instantly recogniseable, engaging, hilarious characters in a breath, in the space between sitting and standing. They are even witty in body language, drawing a character sketch in the set of someone's arms or the line of their jaw.

Their story hurtles along a curve in time and space, making tangential leaps but ultimately always pushing forward. At its pounding heart are Warren ('from work') and Corey ('from college') who meet at the funeral of Georgia, a woman not seemingly given to requiting the powerful love she inspired in any man whose life she touched. But the weft and the warp of the narrative combines little imaginary orange men, stop smoking pills, apple tree costumes that grow real fruit, sex with a sofa, love starved travel agents and even a ukelele solo.

Fantasy is rarely this fantastic. Thank you, Karen Koren for bringing us this little masterpiece !
©Kate Copstick August 2004 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs until 30 August.
Company – Adrian Wenner and Ethan Sandler.
   

Equus. (Page 147).

Drams None - a very competent and emotive piece of theatre.
Venue  Rocket @ Demarco Roxy Art House (Venue 115).
Address Lady Glenorchy's Church, Roxburgh Place.
Reviewer Sophie Lloyd.

Trident Theatre bring an excellent production of Peter Shaffer's classic play Equus . It is a disturbing and highly emotional piece of theatre focusing on the relationship between a psychiatrist and his patient Alan - a mixed up teenage boy guilty of blinding six horses with a metal spike.

Sat at his desk on a dimly lit stage is Martin Dysart, the cool, calm and collected psychiatrist, who, through the course of the play explores the young Alan's mind pushing him to re-live various experiences and reveal some distressing truths. He discovers that Alan harbours a deep rooted obsession with horses, verging on the sexual, which has been brought about as a result of a combination of childhood experiences. A tense and complex relationship with his parents is simultaneously discovered. At the same time, incessant probing from the boy forces Martin himself to face things he has kept covered.

This complex, erotic and dark script with its riveting subject matter, explores very disturbing issues and here is supported by some moving and convincing performances. They are a talented cast, particularly, Rowan Bangs as Martin and  Robert MacPhereson as Alan Strang. Audiences are stunned as the actors leave the stage in a lingering dramatic silence. 
©Sophie Lloyd 19 August 2004 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
 Runs to 21 August at 13.00 daily.
 Company – Trident Theatre & Moment.


   

Escape in Chic (Page 146).

Drams None needed.
Venue ClubWEST at Edinburgh Theosophical Society.
Address 28 Great King Street.
Reviewer Lorraine McCann.

This is an audacious debut for Leeds-based escape productions, a company formed by a chic quartet of Lancaster Uni graduates who want to explore experimental theatre and bring its occasionally capricious delights to a wider audience. In this, they succeed, with a show that puts the audience in charge but no one in control!

As you enter the space, the performers are standing about as though at a cocktail party, murmuring asides, flashing smiles and bearing their long- stemmed glasses like shields. Bland piano music wafts through the air in a perfect semblance of decadent conformity. But then it stops and we’re told that the show is based on answers received to a questionnaire about life, death and escape, and that we, the audience, must choose of what the next 31 minutes will comprise. To help, we are shown seven ‘days’ which represent seven life-stages. Obviously, this means that the exact content of each show will differ, but what I saw was funny, baffling, mystical, absurd, mindbending and full of life. The contrasts between the pieces were beautiful, and the sheer commitment of the performers was an absolute joy to see.

If I have a gripe, it’s that they should have printed off the questionnaire for the audience to have as a kind of programme, so that we could better understand the strands of dialogue. And, for perfection, I think a slightly later time-slot might have served better, atmospherically. The ‘cocktail hour’, perhaps. But overall, Escape in Chic has got looks, brains and shedloads of chutzpah. Devised theatre at its best.
© Lorraine McCann, 16 August 2004 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs until 28 August at 13.45.
Company escape productions.
Company Website www.mcgreavy.com/escape

(E) 7 out of 226
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