Edinburgh Festival: Reviews

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The Independent Culture
BELOW THE BELT

Plays about domestic violence are two a penny at the Edinburgh Festival, but Daniel Scott's well-crafted Below the Belt stands head and shoulders above most. Bronwin is a rising television presenter, working hard to make it to national TV; Charlie has given up advertising to stay at home and write. At first everything is cosy, Charlie types his masterpiece and cooks sausage casseroles, Bron praises Charlie's scripts and revels in his domestic prowess. But as Charlie's muse deserts him and Bron's working hours lengthen, tensions erupt, and Charlie turns moody, then violent. The initial affection between the lovers is drawn with great warmth, making the souring of the relationship doubly effective. Scott details emotional wear and tear with disturbing accuracy and his ear for bruising rows is acute. The precise naturalism of his writing is matched by strong performances from Holly Aird and Trevor Sellers. Sarah Hemming

Assembly Rooms, George Street (venue 23), 031-226 2428. 8pm. To 5 Sept (not 27 Aug).

ALAN PARKER - URBAN WARRIOR: STOP THE FIBBING

Alan Parker. A post-punk Wolfie Smith for the Nineties. Shouts a lot. A series of slogans held up on placards. 'Be free. Be vague. Freedom through vagueness.' Subversive. 'Break the rules. Make your own rules. Then break them.' Yeah. He's a DIY anarchist, but remember . . . the revolution starts at closing time. Bring down the Government with a pint in your hand. There's practical advice. Don't pay the Poll Tax, obviously, but don't let that stop you applying for a rebate. And rest assured, Parker knows the enemy. 'Thirty million voted for Hitler. Thirty million buy Phil Collins albums. You draw your own conclusions.' Sinister. Mark Wareham

The Pleasance, 60 The Pleasance (venue 33) 031-556 6550. 8.15pm. To 5 Sept (not 27 Aug).

JOHN SHUTTLEWORTH'S

GUIDE TO STARDOM

Graham (Jilted John) Fellows's current incarnation is as a redundant security guard-turned-songwriter who takes the audience through his repertoire while dispensing tips on how to reach the showbiz tops. He should know - he has 'received a lot of airplay on the South Yorkshire hospital radio network' - and so he advises on microphone technique and how to receive news on the telephone. Part Ogden Nash, part Tony Hatch, Shuttleworth is a pop messiah in the making. Ian Shuttleworth

Pleasance (venue 33), 60 The Pleasance (031-556 6550). 7.05pm. To 5 Sept (not 27 Aug).

(Photograph omitted)

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