Edinburgh Festival / Day 8: Reviews

TARTUFFE

Liz Lochhead directs and performs in a revival of her 1986 version of Moliere's boisterous swing at hypocrisy and piety. Lochhead cannily transposes the action to a fictional 1950s-ish tartan era, rendering the dialogue in bawdy, colloquial, rhyming Lowland Scots, which breathes vitality into the slow 17th-century plot to reveal Tartuffe as one of the godfathers of farce. Lochhead directs with comic vigour, Tony Cownie's tortured Orgon giving Basil Fawlty a Stoneybridge home address.

Richard Loup-Nolan

Gilded Balloon Theatre (venue 38), 233 Cowgate, 031-226-2151. 5pm. To 3 Sept (not 30 Aug)

RHONA CAMERON

Two years ago, she won the 'So You Think You're Funny?' talent show. Now the scourge of Musselburgh is back with her first solo show. She's a hard-drinking tyke, a demon little sister. It's impossible not to be charmed by her mix of worldliness ('Anyone here from Musselburgh? I've probably shagged you then') and ingenuousness: 'I can't do grown-up things, like accounts and buying a car.' Her greatest regret is being unable to grow sideburns, but she amply makes up for this inadequacy in the final five minutes when she spectacularly metamorphoses into Elvis.

Clare Bayley

Assembly Rooms (venue 3), 54 George St (031-226 2428). 10pm. To 3 Sept

ONE SHOT

People have been mimicking Hollywood villains in their bathroom mirrors since cinema began, but not many become full-blown obsessives like Mark Kilmurry's disturbing creation Charlie Murray. Charlie has felt alienated all his life, has just been jilted and is a very deep admirer of Robert De Niro, to whom he describes his dilemma in a long, dictated letter. Kilmurry is a first-class mimic of De Niro in all his major psychotic roles (Charlie felt betrayed by Rupert Pupkin, needless to say), slow- motion sequences included, and his solo show is an unnerving English twist on King of Comedy.

Richard Loup-Nolan

Assembly Rooms (venue 3), George St (031-226-2428). 4pm. To 27 Aug (not 22 Aug)

THE BIG BOOK FOR GIRLS

The gym-slipped world of schoolgirl 'pashes' and clipped vowels is here re-created with a fiendish dedication to the ridiculous. Iain Ormsby-Knox directs and choreographs with the eye of a demented Busby Berkeley, and the 13-strong cast performs with a commitment that would gratify any 'hice mistress'. The intense merriment and plentiful double entendres throw into relief the stifling class- consciousness and xenophobia of the Thirties, and there is an unexpected and chilling ending. Accomplished, entertaining and as camp as a bottle of coffee-and- chicory essence.

Ian Shuttleworth

Hill Street Theatre (venue 41), 19 Hill St (031-226 6522). 9pm. To 3 Sept (not 30 Aug)

THE COUNTESS

There is savagery and grace in these vignettes from the castle of the 16th-century lesbian vampire Erzebet Bathory. Yvette Bozsik, whose dance-play Soiree won the Independent Theatre Award in 1993, combines a fabulous sense of colour and design with a shivering feminine sensitivity. Soiree dramatised the living hell of Sartre's Huis Clos. The Countess treads the knife-edge that divides barren isolation from ghoulish desire. Sexy, strange and image-rich.

Tom Morris

Demarco's (venue 22), St Mary's School, Albany St / York Lane (031- 558 3371). 8.15pm. To Aug 24

CRUMBLE

Rejects Revenge is alive and happy and living in a little village in England. A delightful spoof of everything English, from Coward to Bulldog Drummond, the play tells of two barn-stormers who fall from their aircraft into the village of Crumble, only to find that the villagers are being incarcerated by the evil lady of the manor. Exuberant physical comedy is boosted by a sharp script, packed with one- liners, contrived punning, and an appearance by Sooty as a deus ex machina. Unflaggingly dynamic, the cast of three play psychotic chefs and architectural grotesques with equal verve. Lightweight, bright and witty.

Richard Turner

Bedlam (Venue 49) 2, Forrest Road. (031-225-9893). 4pm. To 3 Sept (not Suns)

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