Edinburgh Festival Day 9: Reviews

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Two years ago the Moscow State University Student Theatre was one of the hits of the Fringe with Blue Nights of the KGB, a hilarious, frenzied cabaret peppered with great running gags and visitations from sinister men in grey macs. This year the company's target is Russian kitsch and the show revels in ridiculous build-ups and lavishly presented non-events. It lacks the precision and the original content of Blue Nights and the sheer virtuosity of sequences like 1990's 'Siberian Glass Rap'. The frenetic pace is there again, however, as is the delight in absurdity that is the company's hallmark. See it for the Siberian tango and the Russian poet ('he's suffering; he's singing; he's washing - he's ready for love').

Sarah Hemming

Hill Street Theatre (venue 41), 19 Hill Street (031-225 7294). 11.15pm. To 5 Sept.


Earlier this year Ben Miller embarked on a voyage of rediscovery. For over 10 years, daredevil TV presenter Jonathan Wallace Noakes had been lost to the world. Many had given up hope of ever seeing him again. But not Miller. In March 1992, he landed on the Balearic island of Majorca where he made the first recorded sighting of Noakes in over a decade. The photographs resulting from that historic trip constitute the climax of Miller's meticulously researched slideshow. The pictures have been doctored to protect Noakes's exact whereabouts, ' 'cos he doesn't want some nutter coming along and making his life a misery'. Miller's intense hatred of Peter Purves simmers throughout: all Purves ever did was 'sit back on the sofa with the cats and let John do all the work'. And his comic timing is faultless as the nervy fixated librarian whose obsession borders on the psychotic. Mark Wareham

Pleasance, 60 The Pleasance (venue 33), 031-556 6550. 4.15pm. To 5 Sept (not 1 Sept).


Decadent Berlin cabaret ain't what it used to be. This grab-bag of German entertainment contains some fine clowning, bland singing and variety turns which miss more often than hit. The company, in clownish costumes, strive for both wit and weirdness, but the music hall mishmash adds up to considerably less than the sum of its parts.

Nick Curtis

Assembly Rooms, 54 George Street (Venue 3), 031-226 2428. 11pm. To 26 Aug.


An elderly Quijote dodders among his giant-sized books as huge candles cast eerie shadows and his puppeteers watch over him sympathetically. Bambalina Titelles puppet theatre allows humans to complement the puppets to intriguing effect. Sometimes the puppeteers' voices and faces express thoughts and feelings that the manipulated wood and cloth cannot; at others the humans become the malevolent forces of the Don's dreams. There is no dialogue as such but a constant, indiscernible babble as the characters squabble with each other. Surprisingly involving.

Clare Bayley

Traverse Theatre, Cambridge Street (venue 15), 031-228 1404. 6.30pm. To 30 Aug (1.30pm 1-5 Sept).