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(N) 5 out of 226
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Rating Guide
None = Unmissable

= Unwatchable
Page number refers to the Fringe programme



The Night Train to Madurai. (Page 171).
Drams full glassfull glass.
Venue Greyfriars Kirk House. (Venue 28).
Address 86 Candlemaker Row.
Reviewer Georgina Merry.

When school leavers decide to travel during their gap year, they usually encounter a lot that they hadn’t bargained for. In this short tale of petty revenge, the travellers discovers that each of their supposed friends harbour dark feelings of resentment. Sometimes, as adults, we can look back on the past and disregard these types of incidents as childish mistakes. The four boys in Davis E Anson’s play take it to another level. What starts out as a practical joke intended to teach one of them a lesson turns into something darker that the boys will never forget.

The orange backdrop on the bare stage gives off a hot and arid atmosphere. When the four boys walk on stage, covered in sweat, you are instantly there with them. Each of the actors performs their roles well, even if the characters are somewhat stereotypical. Although the outcome is fairly predictable, the journey to it is not. The heated arguments are full of passion even though their basis is naïve. Although this play intends to explore the confusion that accompanies leaving school and discovering oneself, it seems only to depict four arrogant, immature and insincere young boys. Perhaps this is the point, but then, why would anyone care about their plight?

So much happens in such a short space of time and has little or no resolution, but it is certainly a thought provoking drama. Parents of gap year students will be biting their nails in angst, whilst youngsters considering travelling when they leave school, may give it second thought.
©Georgina August 2004 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to August 15 at 16:40.
Company Tiffin Players.

   

Nine Days Crazy by Chris Goode (Page 171).
Drams full glass .
Venue Pleasance Dome(Venue 23).
Address 1 Bristo Square.
Reviewer Neil Ingram.

Chris is an actor, he’s always been an actor, but an actor can only take so much. How often can you be a tree? Or an acorn? How do you feel when the director tells you to act less? And now you're rehearsing in a windowless room, and there's more money in the swear-box than there is in your pay packet!

He finally snaps and goes to celebrate his escape by drinking with his friends, one of whom bets that he couldn’t repeat Will Kemp’s feat of dancing from London to Norwich in nine days (originally done in 1599 by the vengeful Kemp to upstage the opening of Shakespeare’s Hamlet). It’s a crazy idea, so what does he do – he says yes!

Chris Goode's voyage of self-exploration is a delight- I felt every step as this "Contract Caperer" made his way across Essex and into darkest Suffolk Along the way, he rediscovers his fascination with his fellow man, and despite promising never to act again, he finds himself doing it all the time. His introspective style may take a while to engage the audience, but once it does they're hooked.

Chris has an impressive track record at the Fringe, with 2 Fringe Firsts and a memorable play (Napoleon in Exile) at the Traverse last year. This is a more subtle piece than that, but it’s grown on me ever since I saw it, and the memory still makes me smile.
© Neil Ingram 9 August 2004 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to 29 August at 19.00 , not 10,17.
Company – Festival Highlights.
Company Website www.festival highlights.com
   

Nineteen Eighty-Four (Page171 ).

Drams None.
Venue C, Chambers St (Venue 34 ).
Address Chambers St.
Reviewer Alex Eades.

Nineteen Eighty-Four was George Orwell’s final, and probably greatest, novel. A terrifying vision of the future, every aspect of life is under the control of Big Brother. To bring the greatness of the text to stage or screen must be a daunting prospect but, somehow, the Debut Theatre Company pull it off and provide a memorable evening in the play's world premiere.

The performances hold your eyes with such force that you simply cannot tear them away. Tim Hyam ‘is’ Winston! We feel his pain throughout and it is practically unbearable by the time he reaches the infamous Room 101. Surely the performance of the fringe! Elizabeth Park is also wonderful as Julia, so too Hamish Gray as O’Brian.

All of the anger, frustration and pain appears so genuine that you just want to tell them that it is okay. Instead, we are forced to take the seat of Big Brother and observe. The set is simple with only bare essentials provided, reflecting the minimalist ideology of BB. With language stripped to the likes of ‘ungood’, good’ and ‘plusgood’, the production reflects, in some ways, a life we are beginning to recognise as our own. As time goes on, more productions will follow, and that thin red line that exists between the audience and the stage will evaporate and be erased from our memory.
©Alex Eades 16 August – Published on Edinburghguide.com
Runs until 30 August – 10.30pm
Company - Debut Theatre Company.

   

No Exit. (Page 171).

Drams full glassfull glassfull glass.
Venue C cubed. (Venue 50).
Address Brodie's Close, Lawnmarket, Royal Mile.
Reviewer Marisa de Andrade.

Enter No Exit and prepare to be tortured. Intentional or otherwise, Act Provocateur International manages to recreate hell for its audience's pleasure or disdain. Three are thrown in the confines of a black-box-cum-theatre-in-the-round-ish type hell, where they unleash the tales of their past, tainted lives to an intrusive audience that sits at its feet.

The devilish content has an instant luring effect. In no time at all, we believe that indeed we are in hell. But when the provocative blonde, hardened brunette and explosive man realise that they are each other's torturers, the hellish experience hits unreasonable heights. Soul-destroying screams swiftly penetrate the black box for little purpose. Angry outbursts reach deafening highs and barely audible, menacing lows. Hell becomes a circus of unholy lust, insane jealousy and an excruciating series of argument upon argument. The entire ordeal finally comes to close with one sentence at the very end.

In context, it makes sense. No Exit is award-winning director Victor Sobchak's interpretation of Jean-Paul Sartre's dark vision of human nature. But the melodramatic acting undermines the truths that Sartre attempts to convince us of. The production goes for build-up followed by breakdown all the way through, forcing the actors into a downward spiral of doom.
© Marisa de Andrade 22 August 2004 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs Aug 5-30, not 17, at 20.20.
Company Act Provocteur International.


   

Not I – By Samuel Beckett (Page 172).

Drams
None needed.
Venue Assembly Rooms (Venue 3).
Address 54 George Street.
Reviewer  Ritchie Smith.

"Can you stage a mouth?" – Samuel Beckett.

What – (I hear you ask in amazement) just stage a woman with a spotlit, painted mouth, and have her recite a monologue about basically the cheerless subject of dying, and expect this to entertain?

Well, Beckett's words are spoken by Pauline Goldsmith of Bright Colours Only fame, who's at the top of her game here, and whose Irish voice is a truly wonderful instrument. In these 20 minutes there are moments of incredible loss and sadness, softly expressed, and of ear-splitting screaming. The sheer oddity of the highlighted mouth soon vanishes, and you are inside this woman, “coming up to 70”, an “old hag already”, and approaching death. She's confused and frightened, with no love in the life that's coming to an end, and doesn't understand what's happening, “the words flickering about in her brain”.

So, not many laughs in Beckett's monologue, as (I presume) the old lady dies from a stroke. But I was moved. I was, to my own surprise, very moved indeed. I thought of my own father, struck down by a stroke and unable to speak, prisoner in his own skull. I think you might be very moved, too, by Goldsmith's performance here. For me it was a privilege to be in her audience.
©Ritchie Smith, 11 August –  Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to August 30 (not Mondays 16 or 23) at 2.10.
Company –  Arches Theatre Company.
Company Website www.thearches.co.uk


(N) 5 out of 226
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