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(R) 3 out of 226
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None = Unmissable

= Unwatchable
Page number refers to the Fringe programme

The Real Inspector Hound/Audience. (Page 179).

Drams None.
Venue Rocket @ Demarco Roxy Art House. (Venue 115.)
Address Lady Glenorchy's Church, Roxburgh Place.
Reviewer Marisa de Andrade.

There's an assumption in theatre that the audience is confronted by their own reflection in a huge mirror. Tom Stoppard deems this theatrical convention in The Real Inspector Hound, blurring the boundary between audience and actors and hacking at the fourth wall. Centre Stage Theatre Company takes his work one step further by presenting the hefty whodunit at the fringe, and complementing it with yet another such play by Michael Frayn, Audience. The result? An epic performance by fringe standards, coming in at almost two hours.

An enduring exploration of the theatrical process from an audience's point of view can be tedious for an audience expecting entertainment, but Centre Stage manage to keep them captivated. The audience faces the audience in Audience. This piece comes first and is not the ideal opener for a company about to present a lively interpretation of The Real Inspector Hound. It's witty with all the right characters in all the right places, but lacks the timing that its worthy counterpart has perfected. The gossiping, eating, sleeping, cheating, flirting audience members are more interested in each others affairs than the performance before them. They miss laugh lines, howl at lines which really aren't that funny, and then toddle off. The piece is charming and demonstrates lovely ensemble work, but leaves the real audience unsatisfied. Thankfully what follows is a splendid rendition of a classic.

Brilliantly cast and executed with a sense of fun and enjoyment, this murder-mystery, Mousetrap rip-off is much more than satisfactory. It lures its audience on stage and in the auditorium into a world resonating with truthful human conditions, and has a laugh while it's doing so. Two critics sit on stage watching the play from different points of view. And then there's a swift role reversal and they're on stage. The entire escapade seems like a farce, but proves to be so much more than one.
©Marisa de Andrade 25 August 2004 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs Aug 24-28 at 18.50.
Centre Stage Theatre Company.


Richard III. (Page 179).
Drams None - if there could be a -1, this is it!
Venue Venue 45.
Address Old St Paul's Church.
Reviewer Georgina Merry.

Terrific! This has to be the best production I have seen so far this fringe. It is not hard to see why this school group has received national acclaim in previous years. The contemporary 1980's business setting works brilliantly. It adds a certain ruthlessness to Richard, making him seem less of the melodramatic villain and a more of an evil, vindictive and merciless man hungry for power.

The superb direction has meant that each and every one of the young actors has been suitably cast, most notably the characters of Buckingham and The Queen. But as for Patrick Ferrante's Richard… now there is actor destined for great things. Never once did I doubt his malice, his inequity and even his disability.

The set design is ingenious. The sheer simplicity of the white screens is a success. These screens showed computer and text messages, news headlines and film footage. When they are not serving this purpose, they are moved about the stage, creating the effect of several different locations. It's a great production. Hopefully when they return to Fringe 2005 with their next project they will have a longer run. If you cannot wait, they will be showing Richard III down at Bishop's Stortford on September 18 & 19, and I would strongly recommend that if you are in the areas you should pay them a visit!
©Georgina August 21 2004 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to August 21 at noon.
Company Bishop's Stortford College.


Rosebud ~ The Lives of Orson Welles (Page 180)
Drams  full glass
Venue Assembly Rooms. Venue 3.
Address   54 George Street
Reviewer   Garry Platt.

This is a superlative production. The story of Orson Welles, who he was, what he did, what he felt about life; all in 60 minutes. I'd say it was a tour de force in biographical theatre and Christian McKay the solo performer in the piece is remarkable. He manages to capture all those tiny mannerisms that Welles had, the smile, the tilt of the head, the inflection in the voice, but it is not mimicry as the character lives and breaths before us.

Mark Jenkins has written a superb script that manages to touch upon nearly all of the key events in Orson's not inconsiderable life and the arc from young prodigy through to bitter later life is skilfully told. In fact at the end of the show you can buy a copy of script - I did! And the staging; black drapes, a simple desk and a few bits of furniture act in stark contrast to the rich performance that is given. As you can tell I'm impressed by nearly everything in this production. From the classic opening, the Harry Lime iconic first appearance begins the show and from that point on  the Welles magic - his voice, charm and character spill out from the stage.
©Garry Platt  18 August 2004 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to 30 August.
Company Rosebud Productions.

(R) 3 out of 226
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