Edinburgh Festival / Final Day: Reviews


The multicultural company Union Dance presents a fluid and assured programme, opening with a revival of Jacob Marley's British Jungle Dances. This relaxed piece infused with folk references explores rituals of social interaction. David Nurse's Red, Blue and Ochre provides a neat contrast. Its mechanical shudderings and stiff writhings escape into joyous flight. The final piece, Delirium, is a restaging of Jon Smart's sassy choreography to Benjamin Zephaniah's poetry. Roberta Mock

St Bride's Centre (venue 62), 10 Orwell Terr (031-346 1405). 7.30pm. To 3 Sept


Holed up in his Sydney hotel room, littered with vodka bottles and old press cuttings, Tony Hancock gives his last performance before ending his life with a bottle of pills. Pip Utton gives a subtle impersonation of the comic legend as encapsualted in Heathcote Williams's play. He can't match Hancock's delivery, his one-liners falling limply on the stage, but he brings out the insecurity and isolation of a man plagued wherever he goes by the refrain, 'Go on, say something funny.' Matt Jenkins

Hill St Theatre (venue 41), 19 Hill St (031-226 6522). To 3 Sept


'Storytelling is what makes us human,' propounds one of the uprooted characters in Michael Bosworth's ambitious but flawed Bosnia drama. A PoW is forced to tell stories to rehumanise an enemy officer's daughter hardened by suffering. The only tales he can remember are of his family and friends, which are, of course, the most important stories of all. This is an disappointing offering from the usually excellent Plain Clothes. Both the writing and production lack the specific detail to make the play truly universal, and despite invigorating ideas, the execution confuses rather than clarifies. Clare Bayley

Traverse (venue 15), Cambridge St (031-228 1404). Tonight 5.30-7pm, Tomorrow 8-9.30pm


As a sequel to its bitterly brilliant Moscow Petushki, Poland's Theatre Kana returns with a superbly performed English-language adaptation of Eroveyev's play Valpurgisnight. The play unfolds like a drunken nightmare. Eroveyev's text is hacked and interspersed with improvised dialogue and excerpts from his essays to form a colloquy between Eroveyev himself, Gurevicz (the drunken hero), Satan, an Alchemist and the conductor of the train on which they are travelling. For raw comedy tinged with the philosophy of despair, this is unmatched on the Fringe. Tom Morris

Demarco's (venue 22), York Lane (031-557 0707). 8.15pm. To 3 Sept


Stewart Lee is radically different from his peers - particularly his usual partner Richard Herring. While Herring is irrepressibly cheery, Lee is morose, sensitive and thoughtful, a Morrissey to Herring's Marr. Just as with comic-turned-writer, Rob Newman, the audience gains an honest insight into the workings of Lee's obsessive mind. His endless pursuing of detail to its illogical extreme stands comparison with Rik Mayall's Kevin Turvey. Anyone attempting to prove that one belief system is akin to another by handing out peanut butter sandwiches with pictures of celebrities is fine by me. Mark Wareham

Pleasance (venue 33), 60 The Pleasance (031-556 6550). 9.45pm. To 3 Sept


'Anyone from Edinburgh in?' is a recurrent Fringe joke. Against the background of the English invasion, this showcase serves as a reminder that this is Scotland. John Paul Leach and Ford Kiernan are the supremely confident, regular comperes, whose Skinner / Baddiel-style routine on Wednesday upstaged the acts it was meant to set-up. Neither the observational humour of regular Allan Taylor (a kind of Caledonian Paul Tonkinson) nor the caricatures of Hugh Grant-lookalike Lewis McLeod could compete with the hosts' snug-bar banter. See it for Leach and Kiernan alone. And if that's not enough, Arnold Brown guests tonight, with Craig Ferguson tomorrow. Adrian Turpin

Gilded Balloon II (venue 51), Stepping Stones, West Bow Grassmarket ((031-225 6520). 11.30pm. To 3 Sept