Edinburgh Festival / Day 2: Reviews

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The Independent Culture

The title could be the Fringe's longest. It is also one of the more helpful: gentle equivocation hinting at the delicacies served up by Yves Barbaut's one-man adaptation of the autobiographical work of Georges Perec. The author was a Polish orphan, and Barbaut's monologue is a beautifully crafted essay on displacement. His Perec, pottering around and eating breakfast, is a performance of understated observation.

Richard Loup-Nolan

Institut Francais (venue 55), 13 Randolph Crescent, 031-225-5366. 6pm to 27 Aug (not Suns)


In a quasi-academic address Ben Moor, 'dream broker' and amateur genealogist, crosses the world to find the Orbely dynasty - a motley crew of dingo criminologists, Communists, metaphorical black sheep and a panda, Wee Wee Orbely. Moor has just enough winsome gangliness to mitigate a joke about 'the McVitie's factory robbery, a job that really took the biscuit' and can be excused the worst excesses of his pun-filled monologue with a series of brilliantly imagined sequences - among them the exorcism of a Parker Knoll chair. It sparks off in as many directions as Moor's elbows.

Adrian Turpin

Pleasance (venue 33), 60 The Pleasance, 031-556 6550. To 3 Sept (not 23 Aug, 1 Sept)


Jack Klaff is a past master of the anecdotal one-man show. In the Eighties, he charmed packed houses with insights into Kafka, the sub-atom and South African politics. Now he is back with a love story so open-hearted that the most hard-bitten spectator will leave glowing. Klaff's lovers are thirtysomething media drifters, spurred on by the demons of love-longing and ambition. He switches characters with ease, his minute social observation slowly hardening into satire.

Tom Morris

Assembly Rooms (venue 3), 54 George St, 031-226 2428. 12noon to 3 Sept (not 19, 20, 26, 27)


'Well,' Chris reasons to his father, Ansel, 'is she doing anybody any good?' His mother, Ansel's ex-wife, is worth dollars 50,000 dead, which would do both of them some good. Tracy Letts's black comedy dissects depravity on a Texas trailer-park as a desperate family eviscerates itself with the help of a hit-man. Few performances invite spontaneous applause, but so it is with Chicago's Hired Gun Theater. The timing is sublime, and in Wilson Milam's production, the observed details (joint-rolling gear in the Frisbee, the TV never off) mirror Letts's precise writing.

Clare Bayley

Traverse (venue 15), Cambridge St, 031-228 1404. 11pm to 21 Aug