Edinburgh Festival Days 13 & 14: Reviews

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The Independent Culture
SAY A PRAYER FOR ME and HELL

Back with more Berkoff, fringe regular George Dillon this year presents an ill-matched double bill of short premieres. Individually the playlets stand up well, but the first (the story of a man's soulless sex with his cleaner) is only tenuously linked - by the theme of loneliness - to the second (a static monologue on solitude leading to suicide). Say a Prayer is vintage Berkoff, brimming with spleen and self-loathing and focused on the sweaty minutiae of everyday life. Dillon here shows a subtle ear for stress and emphasis, while, in Hell, his hollow-voiced, sedentary figure rivets the attention. A nasty, seething scream against life. Nick Curtis

Various venues at various times: ring Fringe Office for details on 031- 226 5257. To 2 Sept.

BREAKING THE SOUND BARRIER

In the middle of Hanoch Rosenn's fast and funny mime show is a movement sequence of supreme tenderness. It's a love story between two flowers. Rosenn lies on his back on a bench. Slowly, his hands creep upwards into the light, they ripple and sway in the wind and then burst into open-fingered flower. Then the fun really starts. The flowers notice each other, court and embrace, before wilting and dying. It's virtuoso soppiness. The rest of the show is a mixture of gentle satire, audience participation and media games. There are some clips of Rosenn wreaking havoc on the streets of New York and a beautifully-timed sequence in which he shoots footballs at a filmed image of himself in goal. Tom Morris

The Roxy, Roxburgh Place off South Bridge (venue 27), 031-650 8499. 5.30pm. To 5 Sept.

WALKING ON STICKS

Australian Sarah Cathcart journeyed through the war zones of Nicaragua and New York. She here relates her experiences of meetings with war veterans, radical nuns and mothers of the disappeared in a worthy but flawed solo show. Although Cathcart does make her various characters physically and vocally different, they're not different enough, and she slides rather than snaps between them. Nor does she define her playing areas as she moves about the bare stage, switching scenes between, say, a hut in Managua and a bar on the Lower East Side. The resulting uniformity of tone and pace sells her powerful story short. Ian Shuttleworth

Assembly Rooms, 54 George Street (venue 3), 031-226 2428. 12noon. To 5 Sept (not Tue).

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