Arts: EDINBURGH FESTIVAL '99: Fringe: Theatre

Werewolves
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The Independent Culture
Werewolves

Traverse Theatre, Venue 15 (0131-228 1404), various times, to 4 Sept

With the exception of the subtext-free Mike Nichols film Wolf, werewolves in drama betoken big juicy metaphors. True to form, Teresa Lubkiewicz's increasingly bizarre play suggests potent ideas brewing beneath the darkly comic surface, but the longer you watch, the harder it is to see them.

Thrush (Andy Gray) wants his aged, grouchy, peasant mother (a delicious spirited Mary McCusker) off his back... quite literally in the scene where she leaps vengefully on to him, piggy-back style. He has, after all, murdered his brother and sister, an act which gradually consumes him with guilt, as evidenced by visitations from the dead. And then there are the wolfmen who indulge in rape and threat.

According to Helena Kaut-Howson's programme notes, events in Kosovo make this strikingly relevant. However, her tonally blurred production for Theatre Archipelago (nee Communicado) needs far more focus to make that connection clear. Despite the efforts of a committed cast, everything soon grows irritatingly opaque.

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