Edinburgh 98: Comedy - The engine of lurve stalls

CAR MAINTENANCE THE PLEASANCE

DONNA JACKSON is a woman of many parts. She was the lead singer of the Seventies girl glam band, The Sharons, and the founder-member of Melbourne's Women's Circus. She knows a fair bit about explosives, too, with a "shot-firing" certificate and a course in quarry-detonating under her belt.

And you could say this trucker's daughter had car maintenance in her blood. So great is her love of old bangers that she even once went so far as to marry one. Unfortunately, Jackson doesn't seem to know very much about making lively pieces of theatre.

Superficially, there is something to watch in this autobiographical monologue, as the shock-headed Aussie kangaroo-hops around in her orange overalls between the shell of a Chevy and the boot of an Opel, wielding her welder, shinning up ropes, tiptoeing around with a stick of gelignite before finally detonating a mouse-trap .

It's in her attempt to chart the course of a doomed love affair between her rough-and- tumble self and a woman of greater refinement that she begins to swerve uncontrollably between sentimentality and self-indulgence. The likening of carburettors to the engine of lurve feels forced ("I'm the positive, she's the negative, as we meet the circuit's complete"), while her rage at the stalled relationship seems too self-righteous to draw us in - the significant other never gets more than a thumbnail sketch. Her pitbull delivery doesn't exactly help. Her tips on car maintenance are either too complex or too simple to bother with ("Never lend your tools to anyone" - thanks).

"Car Maintenance" was apparently inspired by an article about Marion Sparg, a white South African who blew up police stations to protest against apartheid in the 1980s. The only direct action this inspires you to take is to get up and leave.

Runs until 31 August (0131 556 6550)

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