Theatre reviews

At a glance
Click to follow
The Independent Culture

Voices Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh (0131-226 5138) The after-dinner speech is not normally one of life's more galvanising rituals, but Voices - a show from Theatergroep Hollandia - uses this stuffy convention for a lethal exercise in subversion. With an intensity reminiscent of Wallace Shawn, Jeroen Willems stands at the head of a table littered with empty bottles and half-finished desserts, and delivers a series of soliloquies, mesmerically metamorphosing into different contemporary figures - a businessman, a criminal - for each. A vision of utter nihilism, performed with corrupt relish. Paul Taylor

Voices Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh (0131-226 5138) The after-dinner speech is not normally one of life's more galvanising rituals, but Voices - a show from Theatergroep Hollandia - uses this stuffy convention for a lethal exercise in subversion. With an intensity reminiscent of Wallace Shawn, Jeroen Willems stands at the head of a table littered with empty bottles and half-finished desserts, and delivers a series of soliloquies, mesmerically metamorphosing into different contemporary figures - a businessman, a criminal - for each. A vision of utter nihilism, performed with corrupt relish. Paul Taylor

Thunderstruck Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh (0131-226 5138) The four performers in Blake Brooker's compellingly peculiar (as opposed to peculiarly compelling) production of Daniel Danis's play narrate a story that's a cross between The Beverly Hillbillies and some immemorial folk tale. It is presented from the distorted perspective of three brothers - backwoods orphans whose adoptive parents were fried to a crisp during an electrical storm. When the story turns to how the brothers cope with their newly-comatose sister, you're left feeling that the show is a powerful promo for lightning conductors. PT

The Donkey Show The Pleasance, Edinburgh (0131-556 6550) A Midsummer Night's Dream, set to a loud Seventies soundtrack and performed in a club. It sounds ghastly, I know, but it's the kind of performance that you dream of at the Fringe. The gender-bending cast look fabulous in their glittery get-up. Titania, a masked fantasy figure done up in thigh-high boots, is drugged not by flower juice but by heroin cooked up on a giant spoon. Her love scene with Bottom is certainly climactic and possibly the filthiest thing the Festival has ever seen. Witty, smutty and inventive, it's a glorious overhaul of Shakespeare's sappiest comedy. Fiona Sturges

Barbaric Comedies King's Theatre, Edinburgh (0131-473 2000) The play's author, Ramon del Valle-Inclan (1866-1938), is still largely unknown in this country, but is now given the high-profile treatment in this new version by Frank McGuinness. Over multiple changes of location, we follow Don Juan Manuel de Montenegro (a powerful if uncharismatic Mark Lambert) on his epic journey from satanic tyrant to a sort of Galician Lear, who leads a band of beggars to the ancestral house that his greedy, vicious sons have taken over. A good production, but one that whets your appetite to see Valle-Inclan performed by his compatriots. PT

Comments