Edinburgh Festival Day 16: Reviews

MONROVIA MONROVIA

Karl MacDermott's dramatic monologue-cum-stand-up routine concerns Roddy Ryan, 'Ireland's only ex-home-based anti-Irish stand-up', who links up with Terry Waite and other hostages upon their release to tour Eastern Europe in the Hostage Impro package. Ryan's descriptions of growing up with an implausible band of Italians, Jews and Poles in Western Ireland are rich in comic potential, but rarely realised. Many of his gags were lost on an audience who recognised Hollywood references to Mickey Rourke but who struggled with those to Meg Ryan and the Robert De Niro character in Cape Fear. MacDermott's affability, too, seems to work against him, blunting his comic edge to the point where the many grins his show supplies rarely break out into real laughs. Ian Shuttleworth

The Gilded Balloon (venue 38), 233 Cowgate, 031-226 2151. 3pm. To 5 Sept.

LES ELEMENTS

Students from Britain and France present warm, direct and nave mime sketches, directed by Claude Chagrin, whose ex-pupils include furious Steven Berkoff. But this is workshopped theatre for the softer- hearted fringe-goer. It's a homey mixture of cloying gags and delicate ensemble playing. Most impressive are two sketches in which a man and a woman get out of their beds. As the man gets up, three women play his trousers, his sheets, his bedroom door and his toothbrush. The combined acting is proficient and highly inventive, even when it is sickly sweet. Take some Rennies and a pinch of salt and you'll come out smiling. Tom Morris

Richard Demarco Gallery, 17-21 Blackfriars Street (venue 22), 031-557 0707. 3pm. To 5 Sept.

LOVERS

Brian Friel's chronicle of a death foretold gives the audience a ghoulish insight into the fate of two blissfully unaware young victims. You watch with morbid fascination as they chatter together on a sunny, sheltered hillside revising for exams and planning their forthcoming marriage. Director Cathie Boyd heightens the paradoxes of Friel's script: two grey, stony-faced adults remain to tell the tale in stark contrast to the exuberance of the doomed lovers. A haunting score for harp and clarinet adds to the sinister atmosphere of a fine production.

Clare Bayley

Theatre Workshop, 34 Hamilton Place (venue 20), 031-226 5425. 3pm. To 5 Sept.

THE ISLAND ON THE EDGE OF THE WORLD

Tragic Carpet theatre company tells the story of the island of St Kilda from the Jurassic period to 1930. It's a subject unlikely to cause a box- office stampede, but the company manages transformations between the craggy coastline and the simple puffin-eating folk with winning grace. There's some nimble storytelling too (as there would have to be), spiced with moments of sharp humour. But the story's darker sides are inevitably limited by the company's happy-smiley-people performance style. Tom Morris

St Columba's by the Castle, Johnston Terrace (venue 4), 031-225 7993. 8.30pm. To 5 Sept.

THE THRILL OF THE CHASTE

Seventeen-year-old Lisa, who has always refused to have sex with her boyfriend, becomes pregnant. Not surprisingly, he doesn't believe her story of being visited by an angel, but her mother reveals that Lisa herself was conceived in the same way. The Poor Fools company is determined not to slip into a mire of portentous symbolism. Richard Hollis, in particular, amuses as a batty naturalist who believes males are becoming evolutionally obsolete and chills as a violent sexual hustler. As Lisa declines into anorexia the play lurches off on a tangent, but the company still manages to make its audience think and smile at the same time.

Ian Shuttleworth

Theatre Workshop (venue 20) 34 Hamilton Place, 031-226 5425. 1pm. To 5 Sept.

Arts and Entertainment
Just folk: The Unthanks

music
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne with his Screen Actors Guild award for Best Actor

film
Arts and Entertainment
Rowan Atkinson is bringing out Mr Bean for Comic Relief

TV
Arts and Entertainment

Theatre

Arts and Entertainment
V&A museum in London

Art Piece taken off website amid 'severe security alert'

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Reese Witherspoon starring in 'Wild'

It's hard not to warm to Reese Witherspoon's heroismfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Word up: Robbie Coltrane as dictionary guru Doctor Johnson in the classic sitcom Blackadder the Third
books

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Hacked off: Maisie Williams in ‘Cyberbully’

Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challenge

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything and Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game are both nominated at the Bafta Film Awards
Arts and Entertainment

Academy criticised after no non-white actors nominated

Arts and Entertainment
Damian Lewis shooting a scene as Henry VIII in Wolf Hall
TV

Arts and Entertainment
A history of violence: ‘Angry, White and Proud’ looked at the rise of far-right groups

tv

An expose of hooliganism masquerading as an ideological battle

Arts and Entertainment

art

Lee Hadwin can't draw when he's awake, but by night he's an artist

Arts and Entertainment

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Michael Keaton in the 1998 Beetlejuice original

film

Arts and Entertainment

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman and David Tennant star in 'Broadchurch'

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Michael Kitchen plays Christopher Foyle in ITV's 'Foyle's War'

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Downton Abbey star Joanne Froggatt will be starring in Dominic Savage's new BBC drama The Secrets

Arts and Entertainment
Vividly drawn: Timothy Spall in Mike Leigh’s ‘Mr Turner’
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

    Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

    One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
    The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

    The enemy within

    People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
    Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

    Autumn/winter menswear 2015

    The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    Army general planning to come out
    Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

    What the six wise men told Tony Blair

    Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
    25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

    25 years of The Independent on Sunday

    The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
    Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

    Smash hit go under the hammer

    It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
    Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

    The geeks who rocked the world

    A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
    Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

    Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

    Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
    Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

    Growing mussels

    Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project