Dis­as­ter movies brought to life

The Scotsman - - Fringe Reviews -

par­adise who sud­denly, in soar­ing tem­per­a­tures, find their lux­u­ri­ous en­clave in­vaded by stink­ing sea­weed full of strug­gling tur­tles. Mean­while in Scot­land, hap­less cou­ple Jane and Grant es­cape on foot from the great Mo­rayshire floods and find them­selves in some North Sea no man’s land with a cou­ple of very or­gan­ised sur­vival­ist Swedes and their son, who even­tu­ally – some­what to his dis­may – in­her­its psy­cho­log­i­cal drama. Lucy Elzik and David Martin play a dam­aged woman and her ther­a­pist; as they talk they be­gin a stream of chore­ographed move­ment, un­pack­ing boxes lit­ter­ing the stage with books (a prom­i­nent copy of VC Andrews’s Flow­ers In The At­tic is the­mat­i­cally rel­e­vant) and kids’ toys.

The di­a­logue, too, has its own rhythm, breath­lessly de­liv­ered. The ac­tors’ in­dus­tri­ous ap­proach holds the at­ten­tion but the stylised di­a­logue keeps you at arm’s length and the play is hin­dered by a false re­cov­ered mem­ory res­o­lu­tion that would be be un­con­vinc­ing in a junky psy­cho­log­i­cal thriller let alone a se­ri­ous play. RORY FORD

Un­til 27 Au­gust. To­day 12.45pm. the dev­as­tated earth. It’s a show, in other words, that com­bines hi­lar­ity with dev­as­tat­ing po­lit­i­cal satire, and en­ables au­di­ences to con­front, laugh and cry over the des­per­ate fu­ture we face if we don’t can the stu­pid­ity and get our act to­gether. There’s a truly pre­pos­ter­ous set by Ulla Karls­son that the cast spend min­utes as­sem­bling and dis­as­sem­bling at ev­ery scene-change. By the end, though, even that comes which is to present a bunch of show­girls and al­low them to re­veal their true life sto­ries. There is Becky Lou – a pink-haired Mar­i­lyn, whose act in­volves an an­i­ma­tronic mouth stuck to her knick­ers. Frankie Valen­tine, a stat­uesque beauty, ex­e­cutes a full strip, swing­ing a shock­ing white fur around her ex­tra­or­di­nary body.

Chase Par­adise per­forms a stag­ger­ingly sexy lap dance on a mem­ber of the au­di­ence. Clara Cup­cake de­liv­ers comic songs in a squeaky voice and Anna Lumb closes with a bril­liant sparkling hula hoop rou­tine.

They are all ex­cel­lent at what they do and it is cer­tainly a novelty to see such in-your-face sexy pro­fes­sional nu­dity in the heart of the Fringe. But the sto­ries the per­form­ers tell about their lives are rather pale by com­par­i­son. They are not nat­u­ral racon­teurs and their ex­pe­ri­ences, although in­ter­est­ing and re­veal­ing, are not fully rounded into nar­ra­tives. Although each of them says they are proud of to seem like a per­fect metaphor for hu­mankind’s bum­bling in­ep­ti­tude; and with a bril­liant five-strong cast of two Scots and three Swedes belt­ing out the songs with ever-in­creas­ing comic fe­roc­ity, Let’s In­herit The Earth emerges as one of the most an­ar­chic, timely and mem­o­rable shows on the Fringe.

The War With The Newts, pre­sented in the base­ment at Sum­mer­hall by Knaive The­atre, is also a fierce dys- their skills and happy about their life choices, there’s a sad­ness about many of the sto­ries they tell which stays with you. The talk­ing gen­i­tals made me laugh a lot, but didn’t have many lines, mostly just scream­ing. I’d like to think if mine could talk they would have an opin­ion. CLAIRE SMITH

Un­til 26 Au­gust. To­day 9:30pm. thes­pace on North Bridge (Venue 36)

JJJ

A bold, al­most Soviet-style ap­proach to sto­ry­telling pays off in this true story of Rus­sian sniper Lyud­mila Pavlichenko. Cred­ited with 309 kills, the Ukrainian-born Pavlichenko was a sniper in the Red Army dur­ing WWII and earned the nick­name “Lady Death”. Writ­ten by Mark West­brook and per­formed by stu­dents from Glas­gow’s Act­ing Coach Scot­land school, it takes it’s cue from Soviet top­ian drama set in the near fu­ture; but here the tone is less ab­surd, and more se­ri­ous science-fic­tion with the odd light touch. Based on the 1937 novel by Karel Capek, di­rec­tor Tyrrell Jones’s adap­ta­tion of­fers a harsh satire on cap­i­tal­ism, in which hu­man­ity dis­cov­ers a help­ful species of in­tel­li­gent deep-sea newts which it can train to do all the phys­i­cal work of the world, en­abling rich peo­ple to be­come even richer, while the poor lose their jobs; the prob­lem is that the newts are even smarter than they seem, and when they rebel, hu­man­ity’s num­ber is up.

All this is con­veyed with im­pres­sive in­tel­li­gence and feel­ing by the cast of three, as they wel­come us to what they hope will be hu­mankind’s last safe place; and with the help of an orig­i­nal score by Rob Ben­tall and some en­ter­tain­ing screen-work from Luca Rudlin and Richard Wil­liams, The War With The Newts de­liv­ers its own brief dis­as­ter-movie, less am­bi­tious than Let’s In­herit The Earth, but just as full of po­lit­i­cal anger, with an added edge of sor­row.

JOYCE MCMIL­LAN

Let’s In­herit The Earth un­til 26 Au­gust, to­day 12:20pm. The War With The Newts, un­til 26 Au­gust, to­day 5pm and 8:15pm.

agit-prop the­atre. The large cast of eight women (and one man) each take their turn to play Pavlichenko, one some­times nar­rat­ing events when an­other acts out the scene.

The student’s ages and per­for­mances vary but the col­lec­tivist ap­proach fits the play per­fectly. It makes Pavlichenko a hero­ine for all women and it also al­lows her to age from a teenager to a mature woman re­flect­ing on her life. The ac­cents vary too – from a cou­ple of con­vinc­ing Rus­sian ones through Scots, Ir­ish and Amer­i­can; which im­parts a nice vari­ance of tone rather than be­ing dis­tanc­ing. The sole male cast mem­ber has fun, com­i­cally em­pha­sis­ing var­i­ous English re­gional ac­cents when tasked with play­ing yet an­other sex­ist Rus­sian army of­fi­cer.

This prag­matic pro­duc­tion, di­rected by Olivia Mil­lar­ross, may lack at­mos­phere (the light­ing de­sign varies from bright to very bright) but its lean aes­thetic serves its cast well.

RORY FORD

Un­til 25 Au­gust. To­day 2:20pm.

0 The War With The Newts of­fers a harsh satire on cap­i­tal­ism with some light touches

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