Edinburgh Festival '99: Fringe Comedy and revue - Cookin'

Assembly Rooms, Venue 3, 10pm (0131-226 2428) to 30 Aug
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The Independent Culture
The two-minute preview looked enticing. Four Korean dancers-cum- martial arts aficionados known as Crazy Beat transform such mundane tasks as chopping vegetables, sweeping floors and food-tasting into an extravaganza of drumming, juggling and choreographed madness. And for a while, it is. But for the performers, the hour-long edition is a struggle to maintain.

As long as they are chopping, drumming and engaged in choreographed activity, Cookin' is impressive enough. Vegetables and splinters of wood fly across the stage as knives move faster than the eye can see. And the sound is extraordinary, as if the flying splinters have somehow found their way into your ears.

The scenes that link these high-energy outbursts are the problem. As if their poor acting wasn't bad enough, Crazy Beat have alighted on a plot that makes Little and Large look revolutionary. Four unruly chefs - who might as well have been called Stroppy, Sexy, Sleepy and Stupid - must prepare a four-course meal under the direction of an imperious maitre d'.

Cookin' cannot decide whether it is slapstick or dance, and while the atmosphere is genial enough, their zaniness soon becomes tiresome. Their relentless grinning seems more to do with the fact that they are at a loss for what to do with themselves when the chopping, bashing and slapping runs out. Sometimes two minutes is all you need. .CAPT: `Cookin'': if in doubt, smile Geraint Lewis

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