Edinburgh Festival Day 3: Reviews

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The Independent Culture
HUGE

Huge] Massive] Incredible] Those epithets normally applied to rock stars now adorn superstar stand-ups, and Warren and Clark, furiously writing and rowing in their seedy flat, know it. Their dreams of coke-snorting megafame are marred only by their inability to get on together, or to be funny. But if Warren and Clark aren't funny, Ben Miller and Simon Godley certainly are, performing this easygoing two-hander with a perfect deadpan wryness. It's the Fringe commenting on the Fringe of course, but it also makes a valid comment on selling the sizzle of stand-up. Nick Curtis

Pleasance (venue 33), 60 The Pleasance (031-556 6650). 2pm to 4 Sept.

THE TENDER MERCIES

Yugoslav writer Sladjana Vujovic sets out to broadcast both the barbarities of the Bosnian war and the erosion of human dignity. But against the real- life tragedy of Irma Hadzimuratovic its message is obscure. Vujovic's attempts to portray psychological terror in a tale of two young men, imprisoned by one-time neighbours, who turn on each other in order to survive, is all passion, no narrative. Like the recent introspective Sarajevo this is another botched opportunity to render Yugoslavia's plight in dramatic terms. But there's every reason to keep on trying. Graham Hassell

Roman Eagle Lodge (venue 21), 2b Johnston Terrace (031-225 7995). To 4 Sept (not Tues).

MIRJAM / MENGELE

'Coming back was not the end,' says Mirjam, the sole survivor of a group of Auschwitz women. Written and choreographed by Mariela Stevenson from the testaments of Holocaust survivors, the Gut Reactions company expressively deliver the distressing material against the odds. The cast's four young women don't look like concentration camp internees, they speak execrable French, Italian and German, and the singing is frankly inept, yet their artistic achievement is considerable. In Mengele, a meditation on the life of the Nazi doctor, Marston York in particular is impressive as the middle-aged, medal-bearing doctor whose parodies of tenderness towards his violin-playing victim are odiously cruel. Clare Bayley

Rifle Lodge (venue 101), 32a Broughton St, 031-557 1785. 10.15am to 22 Aug.

ON THE VERGE OF EXPLODING

John Wright, co-founder of Trestle, has set up his own company for parallel projects in unmasked theatre. His first production takes a brief tale from Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude and transforms it with beautiful simplicity into a poignant tragedy as young Meme's mother fiercely (and ultimately unsuccessfully) guards her from contact with men. Spellbinding. Ian Shuttleworth

Pleasance (venue 33), 60 The Pleasance (031-556 6550). 5.25pm to 4 Sept (not 23, 31 Aug).

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