Theatre, Issue 611

48 articles

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Fiddler on the Roof

21 Aug 2008

This new touring production of the much-loved Jerry Brock musical stars Joe McCann as Tevye, dairyman and father to five headstrong daughters in Czarist Russia, who becomes torn between Jewish tradition and the actions of his family against a backdrop…

365 - One Night to Learn a Lifetime

21 Aug 2008

Shock tactics

With 365, a series of fragmented narratives about children leaving care, Vicky Featherstone’s National Theatre of Scotland cements its commitment to telling stories of the people. Kirstin Innes meets the cast, writer and director. Lunchtime, and…

Regal king size

21 Aug 2008

Karol Szymanowski considered himself an outsider which is why he identified with Sicily’s King Roger II and why his opera has become a gay favourite, finds Carol Main The Edinburgh International Festival’s staged opera programme is swinging from one…

I Went To The House But Did Not Enter

21 Aug 2008

First person peculiar

Edinburgh favourite Heiner Goebbels returns to the Festival with the world premier of his collaboration with the Hilliard Ensemble, I Went to the House but Did Not Enter. Mark Fisher catches up with him The scene is Lausanne, Switzerland where a…

Once And For All We're Gonna Tell You Who We Are So Shut Up And Listen

21 Aug 20082 stars

Kids' stuff

OK, so enough with the sweet cheeky kids already. The audience pretty much obeyed the injunction in the title of this new piece from Belgium's Ontroerend Goed at the Traverse and came away amused, if not exactly enlightened. The piece essentially…

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Simon Callow - A Festival Dickens

21 Aug 20084 stars

A rich performance of moving, entertaining tales

Having taken his celebrated one-man show The Mystery of Charles Dickens around the world, British thesp Simon Callow is no stranger to the Victorian writer and philanthropist. Here, Callow performs his second solo Dickens show under the sure-handed…

Jim Rose Circus

21 Aug 20082 stars

Flat return for Fringe legend

The return of the Jim Rose Circus to the Fringe has been heralded with all the fanfare of a second coming - a strange deification, considering the show is set in Hell. Sadly, the carnivalesque sideshow atmosphere of yore has been obliterated in…

Greenstick Boy

21 Aug 20083 stars

Hearts and bones broken

In her one-woman show about falling in love with a heroin addict, Maggie Cronin of Doctors fame entertains her audience with winning, bittersweet humour. Entitled Greenstick Boy after a 'greenstick fracture', a slight and sometimes hidden injury to a…

Fawn

21 Aug 20082 stars

A muddled monologue

While perhaps the simplest form of theatre to stage, the monologue is not the easiest to pull off successfully. Fawn, a fantastical narrative about a girl transported from a forest into a netherworld of alternative realities, never quite rises to the…

Joan Rivers - Work in progress by a life in progress

21 Aug 20083 stars

New York's comedy diva explores the ageing process - again

It has fallen to Joan Rivers, the world's best-known female comic, to provide some much needed glamour at this year's Fringe. Clad in a black pantsuit and hot pink shawl, the crude magnetism of her celebrity status keeps the packed house fixed on her…

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The Terrible Infants

21 Aug 20084 stars

Edible dark fairytales

There are no happy endings in this collection of delectably dark fairytales: cannibal boy Tumb eats his mum, the unloved Thingummyboy evaporates and fibber Tilly grows a tail that lengthens with every tall tale she delivers. Writer Oliver Lansley’s…

Etcetera

21 Aug 20083 stars

Weird and wonderful - but what's it all about?

No strings attached (well, not many) in this experimental piece of puppet theatre from avant-garde Polish company K3. Three puppeteers, dressed from neck to ankle in black, animate a series of string-free two-foot tall magnolia-coloured cloth mannequins…

The Factory

21 Aug 20084 stars

Vivid Holocaust journey

'They came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.' Attributed to Martin Niemöller, this sentiment comes to mind during Badac Theatre's disturbing and compelling reconstruction of the death journey of so many of Hitler's final…

Lough/Rain

21 Aug 20083 stars

Quietly tragic relationship drama

This piece, co-authored by Declan Feenan and Clara Brennan, opens on an early morning scene involving a couple (Jot Davies and Kate Donmall) living in a rural Northern Irish community, which segues into a day sometime later, when the male half of the…

The Tiger Lillies' 7 Deadly Sins

21 Aug 20084 stars

You’re all going to Hell. That’s the message the Tiger Lillies are gleefully preaching with the help of a punk Mister Punch and his civil partner Jude. Gogol Bordello and Flogging Molly influence the Lillies’ distinctive sound, which flavours…

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New World Order

21 Aug 20084 stars

Neo-conspiracy crimes, Shakespearean-style

Fringe acclaimed over the last two years for Love Labours Won, West Yorkshire writer, director and performer Ryan JW Smith returns with a much more bitter pill. Smith loves Shakespeare. His is the cut'n'paste approach to the bard; his conceit here is…

Another Kind of Silence

21 Aug 20084 stars

Enviromentalist writer brought to compelling life

If the environmental movement in the US has a progenitor and figurehead it is marine biologist and nature writer Rachel Carson. Her writing and research in the late 1950s/early 1960s brought attention to the then unfashionable issue of conservation…

The Lie-in, the Itch and the Whore's Robe

21 Aug 20082 stars

Ikea-style physical theatre

This comment on the consumerist ideology that holds us all together like a gargantuan supermarket carrier bag, imparts the notion of an overly ordered life with a fairly diverting blend of dance and rhyme. As a shrieking, nagging housewife coerces her…

The Magic Tree

21 Aug 20081 star

No magic here

From the programme notes, Ursula Rani Sarma's play sounds a dark, yet passionate love story - which just goes to show how misleading a synopsis can be. The Magic Tree explores themes of murder and gang rape and how these experiences destroy lives…

Devil's Ship

21 Aug 2008

Renowned Iranian actor-director Attila Pesyani, founder of the Bazi Theatre Company, brings his haunting new play to the EIF for its European premier following a successful run at Tehran’s Fadjir International Theatre Festival. Performed in Farsi with…

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Elvis Hates Me!

21 Aug 20084 stars

Philip Stokes' play is set in a mental health ward where two patients believing they are Elvis Presley, are cared for by a disturbed nurse. The piece follows the nurse's fantasy about what she could have been and the world of celebrities. The cast not…

The House of the Grape

21 Aug 20082 stars

'People just look at the star rating,' says Patrick when his French café gets a one-star review. 'They don't read in between the lines.' Like the restaurant, which he tries in vain to save from ruin, this play is unsalvageable. Lifeless and irritating…

Padamme, Padamme

21 Aug 20084 stars

Monolingual Brits will inevitably miss some of Teatr Ecce Homo's captivating ensemble sequences while reading the (frequently frozen) surtitles, in this adaptation of Nobel Prize-winner Alexsandr Solzhenitsyn's Cancer Ward. Fluid movement work grants…

Loving Burns

21 Aug 20082 stars

Two female performers weave songs from the Bard of Ayrshire into a pretty thin story which connects the many women in Burns' life. I'm not sure we really need another play about the errant but lovable rogue, but if we do, this isn't it, for the longing…

The Self-Murder

21 Aug 20083 stars

This physical theatre show from Russian company Stop! See! Sense! Russia! is a well-intentioned attempt to address the problem of suicide among the nation's youth. The show, which employs a daily revolving cast and multimedia, dramatises an encounter…