Disaster movies brought to life
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)
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.
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.
Until 25 August. Today 2:20pm.
0 The War With The Newts offers a harsh satire on capitalism with some light touches