Edinburgh Festival day 8: Face to face

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The Independent Culture
Confrontation underpins this female counter-attack in the sex war. The opening music is cut off by a rape alarm, and the young company batter the audience's sensibilities with their raucous verbals. They also kick, slap and punch hell out of each other. The words, at first, are as taxing as the action: a yelled monologue on blood, death and freedom has you wincing. But gradually the company settle into an easier tone, ironically debunking their own semi- poetic script. Their explorations of sex, sexuality and gender could be given a firmer framework, and their volatile physicality could be better focused. But this gang of five tough Amazon-punks and their single male sidekick win out through sheer energy. Nick Curtis

Marco's, 51 Grove Street (venue 98), 031-228 2141. 1.55pm. To 5 Sept (not 26 Aug).


Edinburgh University Theatre Company's audacious show mixes the Brothers Grimm's tales with an examination of their motivation. On a fantastic set composed largely of books, the actors throw themselves into the tales. These are not sanitised versions, but the originals with their rapes, mutilations and horrible deaths. A magnificent percussion ensemble accompanies the action in a variety of styles from West African drumming to gamelan. Even the Napoleonic wars through which Jakob Grimm lived are transformed into a folk-tale. Masks and whiteface are underused, but the show simply doesn't need them; this is student theatre at its best.

Ian Shuttleworth

Bedlam Theatre, 2 Forrest Road (venue 49), 031-225 9893. 8.15pm. To 29 Aug.


Risk Theatre Company presents a delightful comic reworking of the Pygmalion story. A mumbling Scot gets lost in London and ends up as the pet of a hideously wealthy couple who live at the top of the Canary Wharf tower. Inside, the mumbling Scot reads the Tatler, learns the nicknames of the famous and becomes a society darling. Then his world is turned upside-down again. Ian Angus Wilkie is a treasure in the Eliza Doolittle role and the rest of the cast perform John Random's mustard-sharp script with just the right amount of ham. Tom Morris

The Roxy, Roxburgh Place (venue 27), 031-650 8499. 2pm. To 5 Sept (not Sun).


Sandra Duncan steps between the creations of Canadian novelist Margaret Laurence with impressive ease. A maid, robustly evangelical, gives her five-year-old charge an insight into hell; Noreen, spreading into middle age with a straying husband, converses with a cold God who tells her, 'To hell with you'; a 90-year-old remembers her uncouth, foul-mouthed husband with an ambiguous passion. The writing reveals much by giving away little and Duncan matches this subtlety with an exquisitely sad rendition.

Clare Bayley

The Pleasance, 60 The Pleasance (venue 33), 031-556 6550. 12noon. To 5 Sept (not Sun).