Arts: EDINBURGH FESTIVAL '99: Fringe: Theatre

Looking for the Tallyman
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Looking for the Tallyman

The Observer Assembly, Venue 3 (0131-226 2428), 6.40pm, to 30 Aug

Monster-like, a woman waves her shears and crams a trembling naked man into a fairy-tale house. Her sadism is thrown into harsh relief by her childlikeness - only moments before she has been making him leap like a scared boy while singing harsh orders in a nursery-rhyme chant.

homes in on childhood fears of abuse and abandonment, and distorts their reality into a nightmare vision. Building on the bogeyman's potency in children's myth, it takes a series of intimidatory relationships and retells them in the language of fairy-stories. Written and performed by Carran Waterfield and Richard Talbot, the production feeds on the surreal qualities of fairy-tale to convey the confused and imaginatively heightened world of childhood terror. It occasionally suffers from opaqueness, but is otherwise an affecting, darkly subconscious voyage.

Rachel Halliburton