Skip to main content

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2012 - Theatre Reviews 9


Monkey Bars – Traverse – 4 stars
With the pan-generational mix of teenage angst and impending death 
onstage at this year's Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Chris Goode's new 
verbatim piece taken from conversations initiated by Karl James looks 
to an even younger generation for guidance. Goode's own co-production 
with the Unicorn Theatre then has adult actors suited and booted in 
grown-up office and dinner-party wear. The juxtaposition between 
half-formed voices possibly learned from parents by rote and a 
presentation and delivery that givers the performers the air of 
politicians or bureaucrats is a fascinating one.

Talk of favourite sweets and playtime is subsequently given the weight 
by Goode's six performers of life-changing events that they actually do 
when you're eight years old. This avoids any Kids Say the Funniest 
Things style cutesiness, and is more akin to the very first series of 
Michael Apted's seminal and ongoing TV documentary, Seven Up. That 
crucial social document interviewed a group of seven year olds in 1964, 
and has filmed them every seven years since. While Goode and James' 
play is unlikely to have that luxury, it is nevertheless a telling 
insight into a generation who have been given voice for the first time. 
More importantly, perhaps, they've been listened to in a way that  
allows their un-studied wisdom to flourish. Until August 26


Just A Gigolo – Assembly George Square – 3 stars
The first rule of life, according to Angelo Ravagli in Stephen Lowe's 
solo vehicle for actor Maurice Roeves, is to never disappoint a woman. 
As the model for 'energetic' game-keeper Mellors in DH Lawrence's 
taboo-busting novel, Lady Chatterley's Lover, Ravagli was clearly 
talking from experience. Ravagli, after all, moved from being the 
couple's gardener to hitch up as Frieda Lawrence's third and final 
husband after the novelist's death.

As Lowe and Roeves' portrait of a penniless but still raffish widower 
Ravagli attempts to flog off nine of Lawrence's paintings to his 
hotel-owing chum, Saki Karavas, he gradually unveils his colourful past 
as only someone written into literary legend can dine out on. With the 
images projected behind Roeves as he sits at a cafe table relating his 
yarn as if rehearsing for a late night chat show, pearls of wisdom such 
as that above are reeled off like well-polished diamonds.

It's a fascinating if at time somewhat dense elongated anecdote, 
brought to life by Roeves with a dashingly charismatic sense of 
mischief that's worthy of an old-time matinee idol. It's fitting too 
that Lowe's play is being performed in what is usually one of Edinburgh 
University's modern lecture theatres. Before the bull-dozers moved in, 
Traverse co-founder Jim Haynes' original Paperback Bookshop was housed 
a mere stone's throw away. One of the few places that sold Lawrence's 
works, it was outside the premises where two disgusted ladies from the 
Salvation Army were captured on film setting a copy of Lady 
Chatterley's Lover alight, reducing it to the ashes of immorality. 
What, one wonders, would they think if they knew that a reincarnated 
Ravagli had been in the neighbourhood? Until August 27th.

Strong Arm – Underbelly – 3 stars
Explorations of machismo have been all the rage in the Underbelly’s Old 
Vic New Voices strand of new work. Finlay Robertson's new solo play, 
which he performs himself in Kate Budgens' production takes such 
notions to muscle-bound extremes in the cautionary tale of Roland 
Poland, the picked-on fat kid who starts pumping iron, but who gets so 
obsessed with his own image of being a hunk that he falls for his own 
reflection.

If Robertson himself doesn't physically cut it as Roland, his 
examination of the shy little boy that hides behind the chemically 
enhanced but increasingly tetchy Adonis the world sees is a telling 
one. Men, it seems, are under just as much pressure body-image-wise, as 
women. While Robertson has contrived to make an energetic study of the 
male psyche, for all his verve as a performer, the text needs more 
crafting to give it the weight, no pun intended – required. At the 
moment, Strong Arm has plenty of beef, but not enough muscle to pack 
the punch required. Until August 26th.

The Herald, August 21st 2012

ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Clybourne Park

Adam Smith Theatre, Kirkcaldy Four Stars
It’s a case of whoops, there goes the neighbourhood twice over in Rapture Theatre’s revival of Bruce Norris’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play, which opens in 1959 in the same Chicago suburb where Lorraine Hansberry’s drama, A Raisin in the Sun, which appeared that year, is set. Here, Robin Kingsland’s Russ and his wife Bev, played by Jackie Morrison, are preparing to move out of their now almost empty des-res following a family tragedy.
Unknown to them, the bargain basement price tag has enabled a black family to move in, with Jack Lord’s uptight Karl a self-appointed spokesperson for the entire ‘hood. Russ and Bev’s black maid Francine (Adelaide Obeng) and her husband Albert (Vinta Morgan), meanwhile, bear witness to a barrage of everyday racism. Fast forward half a century, and a white family are trying to buy the same house, albeit with a heap of proposed changes which the black couple representing the block’s now much more diverse community aren’t…

Big Gold Dreams – A Story of Scottish Independent Music 1977-1989

Disc 1
1. THE REZILLOS (My Baby Does) Good Sculptures (12/77)  2. THE EXILE Hooked On You (8/77)
3. DRIVE Jerkin’ (8/77)
4. VALVES Robot Love (9/77)
5. P.V.C. 2 Put You In The Picture (10/77)
6. JOHNNY & THE SELF ABUSERS Dead Vandals (11/77)
7. BEE BEE CEE You Gotta Know Girl (11/77)
8. SUBS Gimme Your Heart (2/78)
9. SKIDS Reasons (No Bad NB 1, 4/78)
10. FINGERPRINTZ Dancing With Myself (1/79) 
11. THE ZIPS Take Me Down (4/79)
12. ANOTHER PRETTY FACE All The Boys Love Carrie (5/79) 
13. VISITORS Electric Heat (5/79)
14. JOLT See Saw (6/79)
15. SIMPLE MINDS Chelsea Girl (6/79)
16. SHAKE Culture Shock (7/79)
17. HEADBOYS The Shape Of Things To Come (7/79)
18. FIRE EXIT Time Wall (8/79)
19. FREEZE Paranoia (9/79)
20. FAKES Sylvia Clarke (9/79)
21. TPI She’s Too Clever For Me (10/79)
22. FUN 4 Singing In The Showers (11/79)
23. FLOWERS Confessions (12/79)
24. TV21 Playing With Fire (4/80)
25. ALEX FERGUSSON Stay With Me Tonight (1980)

1. THE REZILLOS I Can’t Stand My Baby (Sensible FAB 18/77) If it wasn’t for T…

Michael Rother - Sterntaler at 40

"There's so much to do," says an uncharacteristically flustered Michael Rother. The normally unflappably beatific German guitarist, composer and former member of Neu! and Harmonia, who also had a stint in a nascent Kraftwerk, is packing for live dates in Russia and the UK, including this weekend's show at the Queen Margaret Union in Glasgow.
"It has always been my choice to take care of these things myself and not have a manager," he says. "Somehow for me the independent aspect of doing things is really important, but it has its disadvantages."
As well as playing selections from Neu! and Harmonia, the trio he formed with Dieter Moebius and Hans Joachim Roedelius of Cluster, Rother's Glasgow date will see him play a fortieth anniversary rendering of his second solo album, Sterntaler, in full. Rother will be accompanied by guitarist Franz Bargmann and drummer Hans Lampe, the latter of whose musical involvement with Rother dates back to Neu! days, …