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(I) 4 out of 226
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Rating Guide
None = Unmissable

= Unwatchable
Page number refers to the Fringe programme



I Licked A Slag's Deodorant (Page 157).
Drams full glass.
Venue Venue 13.
Address Lochend Close, Canongate.
Reviewer Ritchie Smith.

Sitting on a wall in blessed sunshine (a unique experience - the sunshine, I mean) had already put me in a good mood. Okay, a student production... I was expecting something enthusiastic but rough and ready. Not so. I found something much better than that.

The play is an oddly-structured piece by Jim Cartwright, about the crazy interaction between a sad-case man played by Craig Gazey and the Slag, a crack whore with a delightful Welsh accent, played by Ffion Williams. The mournful-eyed Gazey struck me immediately as a talent, with a very characterful voice and a sad-sack comic persona oddly reminiscent of Tony Hancock. Then Williams appears, the wild crack-head tart spitting obscenities. Her giant stage presence, not to mention physique, certainly impressed this reviewer - I could imagine her going rounds with King Kong, and the ape losing. She certainly drags Gazey around the stage as if he's nothing! Endowed with a powerful and expressive voice, and a rough and ready sex appeal, she is undoubtedly a considerable actress.

And it's not just the acting, the staging, too, has obvious merit - thought has gone into the props, lights, effects and music. Wonderful!

Cartwright's play has his usual inventive language and lots of incident. It is excellent writing line by line, though the story sags a little towards the end. The real strengths here are in the two performances – Craig Gazey and Ffion Williams are the real thing thing - we should be hearing from them again.
©Ritchie Smith 11 August 2004 – published on Edinburghguide.com
Runs to 21 August at 4.15 pm, and 22 - 28 August at 11am (not 16,17,23,24)
Company - Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.
Company Website www.rwcmd.ac.uk

   

In A Month of Fallen Sundays. (Page 157)
Drams full glass (best not to actually drink, it's very emotionally charged and will have you in tears
without alcoholic assistance).
Venue Gilded Balloon Teviot. (Venue 14).
Address 13 Bristo Square.
Reviewer Ellie Fazan.

One room - doors locked, examines the intensities of the interior world. Based on the lives of women in the Magdalen Asylums, In A Month of Fallen Sundays, explores the depths of loneliness and insanity where sanity and clarity can finally be found. There is one footprint on the ceiling - and apples come from books. The mind is a place where things come from other things. Humor and hilarity are in this world as well as trauma. This is a really touching exploration of naivety and a madness that makes sense.

The script is strong and the performances tight, with an incredibly inventive use of props and of a simple stage. Girls come from beds, wardrobes, apples literally come from books and 1000s of paper ears take down all your secrets). The play plays literal games - a twinkle in your eye becomes a sparkler (and something to be shared). Words are made to be played with, but movement, music and most effectively silence touch this performance and brings the ends together.

The girls - who share a perceived madness are strongly individual as actresses - watch even how they eat their apples. Magic.
©Ellie Fazan 7th August 2004 - published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs until 30th August at 13.00.
The Paper Birds Theatre Company.

   

Incident At Vichy. (Page 158).

Drams None needed - it will haunt you.
Venue The Underbelly (Venue 61).
Address Entrances in The Cowgate and Victoria St.
Reviewer Thelma Good.

We look back 60 years and see our own present in Arthur Miller's Incident At Vichy. With identity papers on the cards in modern Britain and suspicion of difference and 'foreigners' spewing into our every life, it's not hard to put your self into the shoes of these ordinary men and one boy who decide to stay in Nazi occupied France or even into those of the German officer or the French policeman's. Directed by Philip Swan this school company of actors is impressive for their highly professional production where each character's personality and story lives in the memory.

Opening with the German officer, the doctor and the French policeman walking back and forth up the sides the auditorium so you have to past them to get to your seat, it creates an uncomfortable feeling which effectively establishes the strength and menace of a rule backed by laws you may have need to fear. On the stage are bodies, thrown into a heap as if they where were just rubbish to be disposed off. Then they slowly come to life and arrange the simple set of benches and boxes taking us back to when having been rounded one by one the detainees arrive till they all wait to find out what it going to happen to them.

Miller's characters range across age, professions and sensibilities, each young actor without exception convinces finding the core of these men caught up in an incident of war motivated by fear. No one performance stands out because all sixteen are pitched just right, the young waiter, the actor, the painter, the boy even the old Jew who never speaks. And the moment, when the Prince decides he will stay when he could go, sends you away humbled by those who change the course of their life when they could walk away.

Philip Swan has directed all the cast to pitch perfect performance, it's a considerable achievement in such large cast.
© Thelma Good 26 August 2004 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to 29 August at 15:55.
Company KCS Theatre Company.
Dicectors Website www.philipswan.homestead.com
   

International Festival of Lilliput - Madame Butterfly's Child. (Page 158).
Drams full glass.
Venue Venue 13.(Venue 13).
Address Lochend Close, Canongate.
Reviewer Thelma Good.

Greg Aston is the 2nd Japanese Villager in Puccini's famous opera staged at London's Albert Hall . It's his journey we follow in Lesley Ross's short 30 minute play. Appearing in front of 4000 people he doesn't except any one will notice him, he's dealing with bad news too in his personal life. Aston's engaging performance has you seeing the production, the leading diva and the life of those who only have walk on roles in life as well as on stage. But he's not a deeply gloomy guy and he tells us about his life and his more noticeable colleagues Ross's finds a new possibility in life when Madame Butterfly's child needs his help. It's a short tightly written gem from a writer who has two other short plays, Mad Margaret's Revenge and Manhattan Breast company.

© Thelma Good 14 August 2004 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
8 & 14 August at 17:30 only.
Company Ripley Theatre.


(I) 4 out of 226
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