Edinburgh Festival Day 5: Reviews

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

George Dillon, self-styled godson to Steven Berkoff, is playing in four shows at the Pleasance Theatre. All are performed with technical brilliance and punishing ferocity in the grand Berkoff manner. The biggest crowd-pleaser is Berkoff's 1980s social satire Decadence, which also features a superb performance from Denise Evans, spitting snobbish fury at the audience like a cross between Joyce Grenfell and Dracula. The best and newest of the four is Dillon's own The Remembrance of Edgar Allan Poe, which details the consumptive story-teller's obsessive loves in life and literature. He has custom-built it for his mastery of gothic theatre and it contains an unforgettable rendering of Poe's classic poem, 'The Raven'. Tom Morris

Pleasance Theatre (Venue 33), 60 The Pleasance (031-556 6550). Dillon's shows are in rep at 1.30-2.30pm and 2.50- 4.30pm to Sept 4.


Bosnia's Moon Theatre company tells a simple tale: man and woman meet, marry, hit the rocks and part. The style is simple, too, with the gentle directness of Eric Sykes' best silent films. A cartoon-like set is littered with the baggage the characters have brought with them, both metaphorically and literally - they eat off a suitcase, live out of one and even their children arrive ready packed. The audience, having been drawn into this cartoon world, are then carried through a vortex of increasing darkness as love breaks violently down, to an elegiac ending. Ian Shuttleworth

Demarco European Art Foundation (venue 22), York Lane (031-557 0707). 8.30pm to 21 Aug.


This zany US import has no political axe to grind, it is just made up of hilarious observations about temp agency slaves. Lisa Kotin's one-woman show tells it how it is for those unsung heroes of the New York office world. Kotin's blend of film, comedy and mime produces memorable madcap characterisations. Jeanette is the 'temporary girl', taking her early morning agency call, sniffing through knickers in the laundry basket for the freshest pair, arriving at a new job, learning the ropes and avoiding the workload. In a marvellous high-speed sequence Jeanette whizzes through an office hour, keying her WP at 2000wpm, taking 50 phone calls and even squatting for a manic moment on the loo. Kotin offers tart vignettes too of a power-dressing prima donna corporate head; the boss's PR, an ageing crone who can't hack the new technology; and an office bimbo obsessed with diets and sex. An original show played with panache. Graham Hassell

Assembly Rooms (venue 3), 54 George Street (031-226 2428). 2pm to 4 Sept.


Nobody does enthusiastic girlishness better than Emily Woof. In this slight but hypnotic show she's a posh chick being doubly shafted by her boss on an arts programme. This story is intertwined with a Sixties teenager's fixation on John Lennon (hence the Beatles album title) and Valerie Solanis's murder attempt on Andy Warhol, to make a subtle mood-weave about obsession and empowerment. Touting a revolver as a blunt metaphor, Woof is excellent despite a leg injury which made her 'rechoreograph' the entire show. Nick Curtis

Assembly Rooms (venue 3), 54 George St (031-226 2428). 6pm to 4 Sept (not 24, 31 Aug).


There's many a deadly serious 'Lecoq-trained' physical theatre company that could learn a thing or two from Lee Evans. Starting his set with a 'How to Be a Stand-Up Comic' record, he makes valiant attempts to force a rebellious body into the contortions demanded by the silvery voice on vinyl. In a suit which is too tight, with a mike-stand which is too high, out of synch with the instructions and sweating profusely, Evans encompasses the frantic, the neurotic, the pathetic, the furious, the crazed and the just plain uncomfortable. Words are an added bonus, but they too have something extra, slightly surreal, coming from a man out of step with the metaphysical as well as the material world. Clare Bayley

Assembly Rooms (venue 3), 54 George Street (031-226 2428). 10pm to 4 Sept.