Edinburgh Festival / Day 4: Reviews

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The Independent Culture

Richard Burton's nephew, Guy Masterson, performs Dylan Thomas in a pair of pyjamas, solo. From an over-stately beginning, he builds a performance of gentle and humorous assurance, most at ease when presenting the village's numerous characters. Audience rapport creeps up unexpectedly, and by the end Masterson has persuaded you that Thomas's play is better suited to solo performance than to a grander staging.

Ian Shuttleworth

Assembly Rooms (venue 3), 54 George St, 031-226 2428. 12noon to 3 Sept (not 24)



Graham (Mother Teresa) Norton follows last year's attack of Karen Carpenter-itis with his funniest, most assured show to date. Explaining that 'For me, being single is a choice - it's my second choice', he recounts one Cork boy's sexual awakening on a San Francisco hippie commune. Along the way, he hears voices, those of his Seventies television heroines, symbolised by a sensible jumper, a crash helmet and a hairdryer. The shift from psycho-fantasy to psycho-autobiography agrees with Norton, whose break-out from cult status looks increasingly imminent.

Ian Shuttleworth

Pleasance (venue 33), 60 The Pleasance, 031-556 6550. 8.30pm to 3 Sept (not 22 Aug, 1 Sept)


It's hard now to see bebop as subversive, but in the early 1950s the white jazz establishment did their good ol' American best to keep the jazz pianists Thelonious Monk and Bud Powell without green cards. Laurence Holder's tight three-hander exposes the personal and artistic consequences of this oppression on Monk and Powell. Tony Jackson is outstanding as the stoned, self-destructive Powell, whose emotional dependence on Monk drags Monk's career and marriage perilously close to the edge. Snatches of Monk and Bud's music coolly counterpoint the heat of their relationship.

Richard Loup-Nolan

Gilded Balloon (venue 38), 233 Cowgate, 031-226-2151. 1.15pm to 3 Sept


Last Edinburgh, Richard Herring was just averagely chubby. In 12 months he's piled on the pork and turned himself into a right lardy boy. 'Hello,' he begins, proudly holding his new gut. 'I'm Richard Herring and this is my fat.' In the Fringe's first Method comedy, Herring charts his five-year descent from 'bitch magnet' to 'rebel without a corset'. Revolving round the God of Fat, Mr Kipling ('we must not question his cakelike ways'), the show is an infectious mix of stand-up and knockabout comedy playlet.

Mark Wareham

Pleasance (venue 33), 60 The Pleasance, 031-556 6550. 7pm to 3 Sept (not 31 Aug)


In Depression-time Oregon, Nadia's Polish-American father is carried away by racists, with a sack over his head. Steffen Silvis's play follows Nadia through the next 12 years, as she searches for her father's bones. A sense of drifting is poignantly conveyed by the episodic structure and lyrical language, which only rarely slips into verbosity. Sarah McVicar's Nadia grows in confidence as her hard- bitten charm emerges, and in Natasha Carlish's atmospheric production, each scene is peopled with eccentric, amusing, unpredictable characters.

Clare Bayley

Traverse Theatre (venue 15), Cambridge St, 031-228 1404. 3pm 18, 25, 30 Aug, 2 Sept; 12.30pm 20, 27 Aug, 1 Sept; 8pm 19, 26, 31 Aug