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Edinburgh Fringe 2005 Diary #2 - Emotive drama and painful comedy



Feature by Hannah Powell

YESTERDAY (Friday, August 12, 2005) was christened 'weird theatre day' by Dan and me.

First of all, there was no flyering due to Robin Cook's funeral - shame on the companys' that ignored this!

Having become so used to having millions of people bombarding you with information on their shows, it was quite eerie to walk down an almost desolate Royal Mile.

This feeling was quickly heightened when going to watch Beastly Beauties, by Kindle Theatre, at 12.05pm in The Iron Belly. (Warning - do not do this if you are really hungover - it is loud!)

The all-female cast create a vibrant and magical piece. The characters are all part of the British Tree Society and set in the round you become less of an audience member and more of a possible society member.

Worthy of mention is Flo, who reminded me of my previous Weight Watchers leader - eccentric and almost squirmingly embarrassing; as an actor she has a wonderful sense of comic timing.

The combined voices of Kindle are beautiful to listen to and the movement is dryly humorous - often a rarity in a piece which 'seems' to take itself so seriously.

However, the piece could do with editing, the scenes are often slightly over long and contain less impact because of this.

During the next piece, I fell in love with the script. Hospitals and Other Buildings That Catch Fire (pictured), by Royal Holloway and Inform Theatre (Smirnoff White Belly 2.15pm) is beautifully written.

The idea of a sick child and the question of euthanasia hangs over the cast as they jump in and out of character.

The script is stronger than the actors as they lose a lot in terms of projection.

Some of the physical movement is unnecessary and the puppets are positively superfluous - far more interesting is how they use each other as puppets but it is such an enagaging piece of theatre that this is almost forgotten.

The characters have a real truth about them, because we see them so separately from the actors - and there are lovely moments of light relief within such a dark subject matter.

This really is a production which should not be missed!

The Boy Who Cried Whale, by Los Albatross (5.30pm BellyButton) should be utterly avoided, however.

Dan fell asleep in the middle of it. It contains puerile, easy humour which made me laugh only twice during the whole show - during the opening song about why men don't ask for directions - 'I might as well hand him my balls' - and when describing The Da Vinci Code, as 'so close and yet so wrong'.

Having just given you the only two jokes that are worth hearing, please feel free to save your money on a ticket, and send it to me.

However, other people did seem to love it - I guess I just like my humour with a bit more bite.

That all for now - Hannah

Related stories: Edinburgh Fringe Report 3 (Greek and The Lost and Lonely Rebels)

Edinburgh Fringe Report 1 (BBC Comedy and Being Charlie Kaufman)

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