Reviews & features: Issue 583

201 reviews

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La Didone

16 Aug 2007

‘I developed special software for the last couple of pieces,’ says Elizabeth LeCompte, artistic director of New York avant-garders the Wooster Group. ‘Final Cut Pro and Isadora, you know, I was the initial developer.’ Actually, she was nothing of the…

Billy Brag

16 Aug 2007

Billy Bragg was described by The Times as ‘a national treasure’. That particular phrase would surely bring a wry smile to his face, not least because the topic currently vexing the lifelong political campaigner and singer-songwriter is the fundamental…

Impressing the Czar

16 Aug 2007

‘You’re going to get really lost,’ predicts Aki Saito, principal dancer with the Royal Ballet of Flanders. She’s talking about the average person’s reaction to William Forsythe’s three-act extravaganza, Impressing the Czar. ‘You won’t know what to…

School of Comedy

16 Aug 2007

In this age of Asbos, hoodies and teenage gang warfare it’s probably illegal to encourage youngsters to swear and be rude in front of adults, but this is exactly what the grown-ups behind School of Comedy plan to do. The show is billed as ‘an adult…

In control

16 Aug 2007

Samantha Morton

Samantha Morton is in control. The critically lauded, hard working and in-demand British actress plays the long suffering wife of troubled singer of legendary Manchester band Joy Division in the Ian Curtis movie, Control. Fresh from winning the Best…

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Ratatouille

16 Aug 2007

The adventures of an aspiring rodent chef whose gastronomic endeavours make him the toast of Paris is hardly a conventional dish to serve up to audiences. But Pixar’s attention to character and detail has already created such unlikely characters as…

The Elves and the Shoemaker

16 Aug 20075 stars

When it comes to classic tales, The Elves and the Shoemaker is high up on most people’s lists. Just picturing those little elves beavering away, creating tiny shoes, is enough to excite little ones, and send big ones down memory lane. Well you don’t…

Adam Bloom

16 Aug 20074 stars

The concept of downtime is unfamiliar to Adam Bloom. After charging onstage and whirling through five minutes or so of funny, friendly, filthy audience interaction, the act proper begins without a wasted nanosecond. Bloom has a sort of sunny fury…

A Different Kettle of Fish

16 Aug 20074 stars

Irreverent, witty, surprising, mischievous, and overacted to great dramatic effect, this was an hour spent in wonderfully silly company. The troupe – four men and one woman – rattles through sketches so fresh they ought to patent them. JK Rowling…

Age of Angels

16 Aug 20073 stars

This piece explores one cataclysmic moment during which ten lives collide. The school kids’ ball goes over the fence and across a busy road, beginning an unstoppable chain. One actor tells the story from multiple perspectives, creating each character in…

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A History of Scotland (In 60 Minutes or Less)

16 Aug 20073 stars

The avowed intention of this whizz through Scotland’s turbulent past is to bypass the usual cheesy tartan and shortbread stereotypes in favour of something altogether grittier. While this is a noble aim, the trio of performers initially struggle to get…

Alan Warner

16 Aug 2007

When the movie of Morvern Callar opened the Edinburgh International Film Festival back in 2002, there was much talk that this would be the first of many film adaptations of Alan Warner’s work. Frankly, the thought of anyone trying to get a script out of…

Alex Gray

16 Aug 2007

5 Questions

5 words to describe The Riverman? Taut, pacy, atmospheric, warm, believable (my editor’s words, not mine; I’m too modest). 4 authors who you think should be more famous than they are now? Alanna Knight, Deryn Lake, Lin Anderson, Suhayl…

Alistair Barrie

16 Aug 20073 stars

For someone who describes himself as a ‘twat’ and claims to suffer from low self-esteem, Barrie exudes a reassuring confidence that draws you into his world and holds you there. His show hangs around the loose theme that we’re all going to hell in a…

Al Pitcher

16 Aug 20074 stars

He’s been called unpredictable and divided audiences with his ad hoc ways, but happily for Pitcher, his celebration of saying precisely whatever pops into his head could earn the recognition he deserves. Never a dull moment, this walking, face-pulling…

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American Poodle

16 Aug 20073 stars

Miles Johnson

Guy Masterson is, as ever, a man with his fingers in many pies at this year’s Fringe, working on no less than six shows. This particular outing, billed as an exploration of the ‘special relationship’ between Britain and its American chums so discussed…

A Mighty Heart

16 Aug 20074 stars

Prolific, versatile British director Michael Winterbottom’s film about the kidnapping of Wall Street journalist Daniel Pearl by Pakistani militants in Karachi in 2002 is at once a riveting political thriller and an enormously affecting human drama.

An Air Balloon Across Antarctica

16 Aug 20073 stars

We all cope differently with grief, however we can probably assume that very few of us are likely to grab a hamster, jump in a hot air balloon and journey across Antarctica in the style of this slightly surreal play’s protagonist. Talking hamsters with…

An Audience With Adrienne

16 Aug 20073 stars

This show makes for an endearing evening with an extremely personable performer, which, within Theo Clinkard’s fluffy, camp lounge room set, is likely to bring you some pleasant memories and the odd melancholic thought. In it, performance artist and…

Andrew Marr

16 Aug 2007

Andrew Marr has always used his vast intellect with such wit and verve that he has always come across as a political pundit real people could enjoy. It’s hard to imagine David Frost interviewing Gordon Brown on a Sunday morning, as Marr did last month…

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Anita Loos Retrospective

16 Aug 2007

Name Anita Loos. Born 26 April, 1888, California. Died 18 August 1981, New York. Who was she? Loos was one of the most celebrated US screenwriters, playwrights and authors of the last century. Over her long life she experienced several…

Anti-Ageing, Look Better, Feel Better, Live Better

16 Aug 20073 stars

Has Scotland spawned its next Gillian Mckeith? Join Elizabeth Roddick for this seminar that tells you all the things you know already and choose to ignore about living a healthy life. It’s not easy to take what someone says seriously while they’re…

Apollo/Dionysus

16 Aug 20073 stars

‘Naked’, is the first word that springs to mind but prurience is slowly replaced by curiosity as philosophical questions are posed; about right and wrong, good and bad, religion, love and family. This piece examines the age-old relationship between man…

Attempt 3.4

16 Aug 20072 stars

A group of enthusiastic young actors attempt to create their own city from nothing. Their high energy levels and creative characters are fun to watch for the first ten minutes, but you can’t help but feel they are enjoying themselves more than we are as…

The Bacchae

16 Aug 20072 stars

There have been many and varied interpretations of Euripedes’ classic over the years. There’s the conventional reading, contrasting the straight-laced and controlling personality against the sensual hedonist (witness the various productions of the 90s…