The antipodean contenders in the big-top wars are less mad. bad and dangerous than their Gallic opponents. btit it would be hard to choose between the two in terms ofskill. Gamely shrugging offthe broken

strap broken neck calamity. they combine clownish send-ups of Conventional circus (a man balancing a ball on his nose instead of a seal doing it) with traditional. impeccably executed. feats of tumbling. juggling. trapeze and so on. There's also a strong theatrical. mime element and a slick live band to provide the music. Highlights include acrobats tumbling through hoops with astonishing speed and precision. a Bogart-Marlowe routine performed by a man hanging upside down high above the ring. a cello duet on one cello. and five people doing incredible things hanging off a very long pole. A must for

' disillusioned BillySmart

fans. (Sue Wilson) I Circus Oz (Fringe) The

. BigTop.Assemblyatthe

Meadows(\'enue 116) 220 4349. 23—25.30.3l Aug. 2pm; 27-—29 Aug. 6pm; 25 Aug also 7.30pm. £7.50 (£5).


D.|.V.0.R.C.E. The tear-stained world of (.‘&W is the setting for this thoughtful play about female disillusionment. Weaving together at least three parallel stories a six-times-married Queen ofCountry. a star-crossed couple whose love turns sour and a hospital secretary full of rhinestone dreams who decides on a local singer as the man to stand by.only to end up with a monosyllabic marriage and a pile ofconsumer durables- it illustratesthe bitter reality behind the various romantically-packaged myths women are

encouraged to swallow. Not a new message. but still a valid one. conveyed through effective performances and strong characterisation . with plenty of humour extracted from the more ludicrous country cliches. Though it would benefit from a slightly tighter pace and some all-round economising. it's an imaginative and engaging show. (Sue Wilson)

I D.I.V.0.R.C.E. (Fringe) Roaring Girls Theatre Company. Calton Centre (Venue 119)6(i19121. until 31 Aug(not Weds). 2pm. £3.50 (£2.50).

.. ' ..

MAKING SWIFT Peter Quilter has taken a tolerany interesting idea Swift in conversation with his most famous creation Gulliver - and

failed to develop it.

i wastinganopportunityto : explore the relationship

between author and text.

? The script is tortuous and

the attempt at postmodernism buckles under the weight ofits own contrivance.

Felix Mcdive and Richard Gallagher

. struggle bravely. but with i no impetus from the script

there‘s precious little they can do to keep us awake. The unaccommodating

seats. however. perform that task with ease.

(Aaron Ilicklin)

I Making SwiMFringe) Edinburgh Playhouse and Studio (venue 59). 556 0461.until31 Aug.2pm. £4.50(£4).



In this bizarre black comedy from Bunbury Theatre. a day out at the seaside turns into a bloodbath when two middle class couples with a dotty great aunt in tow encounter a female tramp.

The characters are sketchin drawn a stockbroker obsessed with money. a sexy French girlfriend the stereotypes of farce. What gives the play momentum is the chain ofludicrous events that followed one from the other asthe

Shades oi1984 and The

andmald’s Tale overhang this hard-hitting tragi-comedy about two gay couples posing as husbands and wives to avoid persecution in an oppressive right-wing iuture US. All aspects ot life are rigorously policed by an otiicious apartment warden who regularly barges in demanding urine samples, checking ior dark roots in regulation blonde hair and inspecting the women ior signs oi pregnancy. Given the erosion at individual ireedoms in


post-AIDS America, none at it seems excessively lar-ietched. Unashamedly polemical, this energetic production rises above mere propaganda thanks to strong characterisation and quality periormances, eliectively conveying the stilling tension at living without privacy and in constant tear. (Sue

Sweet Land oi Liberty (Fringe) Consentlng Adults Theatre Company, Greytriars Kirk House (Venue 28) 225 3626, until 31 Aug, 2pm, £5 (£4).

tramp gains ascendancy over the holiday makers.

Although the programme boasts that the attitudes in the play might be thought shocking. the tone is indelibly that ofa Radio4 Afternoon Theatre Home Counties gone mad. The actors enter into the proceedings enthusiastically. however. and some fine character acting from Cindy Graves as the Tramp carries the day. (Frances Cornford) I The Last Picnic (Fringe) Bunbury Theatre Company. Celtic Lodge (Venue 6).until’31Aug. 12.10pm (in double bill with Happy Days). £4 (£3).


Taking the drama and excitement of a typical cricket match for a minor Yorkshire trophy asa

starting point. this pacy comic-strip comedy takes the male ego and kicks it all over the field. The team of three lads and a lass. in matching day-glo tracksuits and T-shirts. give tight. slick performances. switching seamlessly between scenes and characters. strikingthe perfect balance between ridiculing male machismo and sharing their love of cricket.

Although there is no socio-political comment of any great resonance. there are plenty ofhilarious images which will remain with you long after the show's end. Excellent execution of their material will ensure that this dynamic production remains a front-runner at the Fringe. (Robert Alstead).

I State oi Play (Fringe). Yorkshire Theatre Company. Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 220 4349. until 31 Aug(not Tues). 1.30pm. £7/£6 (£6/£5).


The performers ofan excellent Faustus last year

company creates superb

have not disappointed with their version of Richard 111. a compelling exploration of that same Faustian territory one man‘s losing battle with his God.

Drawing inspiration from the circus and the silent movie. Cambridge Experimental Theatre presents Richard‘s rise and fall as a grimly comic parade. in which the characters revolve as ifon some sinister merry-go-round. Turning the wheel is Richard himself. a delighfully endearing rogue whose clowning commands admiration even while he plots the deaths ofhis opponents.

By using the limited space and their one prop to its full potential. the

illusion. while the choice of music fully offsets the sense ofspeetacle. This is a production which cannot be faulted and deserves to be seen. Shakespeare made enjoyable and accessible by one of the best companies on the Fringe. (Aaron llicklin) I Richard III (Fringe)Tic Toe at Marco‘s (Venue 98) 229 8830. until 31 Aug. 2pm. £5 (£4).






The List 23 29 August 1991 31