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 Festival 2006
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Musicals & Opera

(N) 2 out of 156
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Rating Guide
None = Unmissable

= Unwatchable
Page number refers to the Fringe programme

The Night Before Larry Was Stretched. (Page 191).
Drams .
Venue Bedlam Theatre . (Venue 49).
Address 11b Bristo Square.
Reviewer Ariadne Cass .

The Night Before Larry Was Stretched is a big bawdy Punch and Judy style farce set during the revolution. It is performed with a large cast of young people who I presume are cast for their good looks but who in fact turn out to be very talented singers and good actors. This production is musical – it is well choreographed and the collective power of the cast voices is excellent.

It takes me some time to realise that the reason why I’m not really enjoying it is because the play is very ordinary. It gives them something to do, but is not in proportion to their potential. The plot is juvenile, and although it alludes to De Sade it is not nearly as filthy or as intelligent. The result is a piece which is not particularly moving or funny, but stylistically it is very well directed by Richard Fredman, particularly the sequence with Mr. Punch. This company has enormous potential and we should look forward to seeing the piece they perform next fringe.
©Ariadne Cass 12th August 2006 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Runs to August 7-12 at 19:40.
Company - Richard Fredman Productions.


Nora. (Page 192).
Drams .
Venue Hill Street Theatre (Venue 41).
Address . 19 Hill Street.
Reviewer Vivien Devlin .

Ibsen's play The Doll's House(1879) is a bold, forward thinking expression of women's rights, in which the central character, Nora, rejects a smothering marriage, in which she is protected, controlled and treated like a child. To the Victorians, a wife leaving her husband was scandalous. In Germany, theatres refused to stage the play unless Ibsen changed the ending. As Ibsen wrote in his initial notes for the play, "There are two kinds of moral law, two kinds of conscience, one in man and a completely different one in woman".

Set in present day Britain, Nora written and performed by Deborah Westrup explores the life of a young married woman whose husband is a business man and philanthropist. She seems happy enough, shopping for clothes and eating macaroons. The storyline of Ibsen's play is echoed in a similar scenario when secret events and forgotten people from her past are suddenly revealed. Her husband is away on business, communicating by phone, while Nora seems more and more isolated, depressed and trapped. She gets caught up in a complex network of serious financial problems and revelations of a criminal nature. In fact, there's enough of a plot for a typical 4 part Channel 4 drama series.

A modern day re-working of Ibsen's play is a smart idea. But Nora is overwritten and poorly directed. Westrup delivers lengthy monologues standing stock still at the front of the stage, or sitting on a large rubber ball (why?) staring into thin air. A second character, Nora's subsconscious, Heve Lucraft, wearing a white mask, dances around the stage at infrequent moments. She adds nothing whatsoever to the dramatic or emotional development of the story. Production values are otherwise quite good - especially the phone call recordings. There is a strong thriller of a play lurking here, but better suited to a full cast drama on radio or television.
©Vivien Devlin, 8 August 2006 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com.
Runs to 15 August at 5.35pm daily.
Company -Ether Theatre.

(N) 2 out of 156
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