Edinburgh Festival 1994: Theatre: Fringe

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The Independent Culture
Abducting Diana (Pleasance, 031-556 6550, 15 Aug-3 Sept). British premiere of Dario Fo's high-financial farce, with Susan Penhaligon and Benedict Taylor.

Actress (Church Hill Theatre, 031-447 0111, Fri-3 Sept). Josh Lazar, winner of the 1993 Connecticut Playwright's Festival, presents his play about a runaway girl who returns home a successful actress, seeking recognition from the father and sister who shunned her.

A Kiss in the Gutter (Traverse, 031-228 1404, 23 Aug-3 Sept). An outsize can

of Brazilian worms, opened by one of Latin America's most prolific playwrights, Nelson Rodrigues.

Babel (Pleasance, 031-556 6550, Thurs-3 Sept). Our critic Robert Butler described The Acting Initiative's 1993 show, Othello, as 'exhilarating', so check out this play about a civilisation on the brink of destruction.

Blue Helmet (Assembly Rooms, 031-226 2428, 15 Aug-3 Sept). Jack Klaff and Mark Arden man a UN outpost in a three-faction Balkan civil war. Richard Llewellyn boldly lists his play as a comedy. See panel, page 36.

Bow to the Beast (Traverse, 031-228 1404, Thurs-21 Aug). A one-man show from Scotland's Boilerhouse theatre company suggests the saviour we deserve: the Christ Psychopath.

Conventional Demons (Pleasance, 031-556 6550, Wed-27 Aug). After the breakdown of his marriage, a man returns from America to his native London. By Richard Davidson, the author of last year's acclaimed Storybook.

Darkness at Dawn (Theatre West End, 031-228 9292, 15-20 Aug). Kuwaiti citizens recount their experience of the Iraqi invasion. Production by the Kuwait Drama Group.

Denial of the Fittest (Theatre Workshop, 031-226 5426, 22 Aug-3 Sept). One-woman show by New York actress Judith Soan combining comedy, theatre, juggling and about eight characters as she tries to exorcise the ghosts of her Jewish past.

Dermott (Roman Eagle Lodge, 031- 225 7995, Fri-3 Sept). A Fringe First winner last year, Sladjana Vujovic returns with a comedy about one man's investigation into his wife's infidelity, and his best friend's loyalty.

The Donahue Sisters (Hill Street, 031-226 6522, 15 Aug-3 Sept). Childhood violence returns to the attic playroom in this sinister comedy by Geraldine Aron, 1992 winner of the British One Act Play Festival.

The Duchess of Malfi (Greyfriars Kirk House, 031-225 3626, Fri-28 Aug). Praised last year for its high-tempo interpretation of Marlowe's Dr Faustus, Polkatz returns with more souped-up Jacobean tragedy.

The Erpingham Camp (Gilded Balloon, 031-226 2428, 15 Aug-3 Sept). Joe Orton wrote nothing funnier than this fascist holiday-camp farce, now revived by the Arches Theatre Company.

Diary of a Madman (Assembly Rooms, 031-226 2428, 15 Aug-3 Sept). British debut by leading Ukrainian actor Bohden Stupka in this theatrically foolproof Gogol story.

Fallen Angels (Bedlam, 031-225 9893, 15 Aug-3 Sept). Regulars at the festival, John Keates and fecund theatre, round off their soul-baring, physical trilogy (Face to Face, The Pleasure Dome) with a commentary on a generation that will do anything for excitement, set, appropriately, in a nightclub.

Four Letter Word (Over-Seas House, 031-225 5105, 28 Aug-3 Sept). Written before Oleanna hit the headlines, this short play from Ben Brown was inspired by a real date-rape incident during the author's time at Oxford and won the 1994 Cameron Mackintosh New Writing Competition. The author compares the play's style to that of What the Butler Saw and Dead Funny.

Groping for Words (Greyfriars Kirk House, 031-225 3626, 15-27 Aug). Further education is full of pitfalls if you can't read. Socially wide-awake comedy from Sue Townsend.

Happy Birthday Mr President (Hill Street Theatre, 031-226 6522, Wed-31 Aug). Nick Bird probes the mystery surrounding Marilyn Monroe's 'probable' suicide. The play takes the form of a fictional trial held just before J F Kennedy's death, in which Jackie spills the beans about the Kennedy clan.

Hare and Burke (Bedlam, 031-225 9893, Fri-27 Aug). A 'gruesome' promenade performance - with torches, candles and all that spooky stuff - enacts the last days of William Burke, and the release of his companions in murder, Margaret and William Hare.

The Hostage (Assembly Rooms, 031-226 2428, 15 Aug-3 Sept). Stealing a march on the RSC, the Arches Theatre Company celebrates the 30th anniversary of Brendan Behan's death with a revival of the great anarch's most exuberant work.

How to Live (Theatre Workshop, 226 5425, Thurs-27 Aug). They've already turned the works of Shakespeare, Sophocles and Marx on their heads; now Ibsen gets the Volcano treatment, in a physical theatre piece directed by DV8's Nigel Charnock.

Iago (Infirmary Street Swim Centre, 031-557 4963, 15 Aug-2 Sept). Set in a swimming pool, this villain's-eye view of Othello marks the return of the acclaimed Theatre-on-Podol from Kiev.

I Love Living in Paris, But Then Again Maybe Not (Randolph Studio, 031-225 5366, Fri-27 Aug). Voyage of discovery from Poland to Ellis Island with Georges Perec, cult author of Life: a User's Manual. Performed in French.

It Had to Be You (Netherbow, 031-556 9579, Tues-3 Sept). George Rosie, whose Carlucco and the Queen of Hearts won the 1991 Independent Theatre Award, is back with a play about the world of the gangster.

The Laird of Samoa (Cafe Royal, 031- 556 2549, 15 Aug-3 Sept). One of several premieres by Fringe First-winning John Cargill Thompson: a biographical one-man play written for the centenary of Robert Louis Stevenson.

Liberty, Oregon (Traverse, 031-228 1404, 16 Aug-3 Sept). Steffen Silvis was nominated Best New Playwright at the 1994 London Fringe Awards for this journey from Main Street, America, in search of a new frontier.

Linnaeus - Prince of Flowers (Royal Botanic Garden, 031-225 5199, 15-27 Aug). The Scandinavian botanist reveals the darker side of plant life, as puppets and dragons invade the Royal Botanic Garden.

Lonely Hearts and The White and Colourful Box (Southside, 031-667 7365, 14 Aug-3 Sept). A double bill from Kevin Tomlinson, who first came to attention in 1992 and now has a clutch of awards under his belt. Both plays are gentle studies of people who never quite fit in.

The Man at the Top (Church Hill, 031-447 0111, Fri-27 Aug). Saviour turns dictator in Atef El Ghamry's allegory on the birth of tyranny. Edinburgh's first British-Egyptian co-production.

Meeting Cassandra (Demarco European Art Foundation, 031-558 3371, 15- 27 Aug). The visually inventive TMU- NA theatre from Tel Aviv presents a one-woman show exploring the Greek myth of the prophetess Cassandra, fated never to be believed.

Meeting in Rome (Pleasance, 031-556 6550, Fri-29 Sept). If Ibsen met Strindberg . . . Imaginary conversation by Michael Meyer, translator-biographer of the two Scandinavian lions.

Men - the Musical] (Randolph Studio, 031-225 5366, 15 Aug-3 Sept). New York's Playful Theatre company with a 22-song show in which different men examine the joys and fears of manhood.

Merlin (Theatre Workshop, 031-226 5425, Sat-3 Sept). A highly visual Polish version of the Arthurian legend using performers and puppets.

Moscow Stations (Traverse, 031-228 1404, Fri-3 Sept). Tom Courtenay resumes his alcoholic odyssey in this adaptation of Venedikt Yerofeev's novel which packed the Traverse in 1993.

Nancy Sleekit (Netherbow, 031-556 9579, 15 Aug-3 Sept). Donald Campbell claims to have unearthed the first one-woman show: a piece of Victorian popular theatre in which Ms Sleekit - billed as a female Sweeney Todd - rails against the shortcomings of men.

Playing for Time (Bedlam, 031-225 9893, Fri-27 Aug). British premiere of Arthur Miller's stage adaptation of his moving screenplay about Fania Fenelon and the Auschwitz Women's Orchestra.

Playboy of the Western World (Traverse, 031-228 1404, 16 Aug-3 Sept). Synge's masterpiece revived by Scotland's pioneering Communicado Company; directed by Gerry Mulgrew.

Poor Super Man - a Play with Captions (Traverse, 031-228 1404, 16 Aug-3 Sept). Love triangle for five characters by Canadian underworld specialist Brad Fraser (acclaimed author of Unidentified Human Remains).

Portrait of a Nude (Adam House, 031- 650 8200, Sat-20 Aug). A study of censorship by the Californian Fringe First Award-winning playwright Laura Shamas deals with attempts to censor Goya's Naked Maja from the days of the Inquisition to the present.

Seance (Hill Street, 031-226 6522, 22 Aug-3 Sept). First staged at the National Student Drama Festival last year, this erotic, dark piece certainly caught Alan Ayckbourn's eye: he's commissioned the author, Eric Prince, to write a play for him.

Sermon (Greyfriars Kirk House, 031- 225 3626, Fri-3 Sept). The American critics loved this staging of James Dickey's May Day Sermon to the Women of Gilmer Country, Georgia, by a Woman Preacher Leaving the Baptist Church, performed by Bridget Hanley.

She'll Be Coming Round the Mountain (Southside, 031-667 7365, Fri-27 Aug). The co-founder of Trestle Theatre, John Wright, directs this study of love and survival in a refugee camp which won a National Student Theatre Company award for Imagination and Outstanding Performance.

Size 12 (Marco's, 031-228 9116, Fri-28 Aug). The possibilities are endless for this black comedy which aims for an easy target: a glossy magazine.

Sons and Lovers (Rifle Lodge, 031-226 5425, Fri-3 Sept). New adaptation of D H Lawrence's novel of his Nottinghamshire upbringing, with passages from his letters.

Tartuffe (Gilded Balloon, 031-226 2151, Fri-3 Sept). Moliere in Scottish rhymed couplets stands a better chance than usual in the accomplished hands of Liz Lochhead. See panel, above.

Waterhole (Church Hill, 031-447 0111, 15 Aug-3 Sept). Desert recluse confronts a mission-driven Hollywood star in Kendrew Lascelles's story of love and courage. British debut for South Africa's Gylkor Theatre.

Window Dressing (St Bride's, 031-346 1405, 15-27 Aug). Twins search for a lost mother in this fable on media exploitation from the Trestle Theatre Company, Britain's leading mask and mime troupe.

What Have Bluetits Got to Do with It? (Jericho House, 031-229 3555, 21-27 Aug). A group of former psychiatric patients explore 'reality contradictions' - where one has a vivid yet unacceptable vision of the world.

Wrench (Adam House, 031-650 8200, 14-19 Aug). Double Edge Drama was highly commended by the Independent for last year's interpretation of Caligula. This black comedy is one of three plays they're taking up this time, and turns on a haunted man who rebuilds the car that killed his violent brother. Their version of Buchner's Woyzeck might also be worth a visit.

Yes (Church Hill, 031-447 0111, 15-28 Aug). Two ideas of the eternal feminine converge in this one-woman portrait of Joyce's vulnerable Molly Bloom, performed by the invincible Eartha Kitt. Devised and directed by Steven Rumbelow.

Yoho (Festival Club, 031-650 2395, 22- 27 Aug). A cast of 14- to 18-year-olds highlight the misery of young people who can't go home in this musical by Nottingham's Lace Market Youth Theatre. All proceeds go to charity.

Yours Ever, Virginia Woolf (Roman Eagle Lodge, 031-225 7995, 15-27 Aug). From the University of Illinois comes an original dramatisation of Virginia Woolf's correspondence.