Magazine article The Spectator

Theatre: Edinburgh Round-Up

Magazine article The Spectator

Theatre: Edinburgh Round-Up

Article excerpt

Let's start with a nightmare. Wendy Wason, an Edinburgh comedienne, travelled to LA last year accompanied by her husband, who promptly succumbed to a fainting fit. Wason called an ambulance, unaware she was in a hospital car park, and was handed an £8,000 bill to cover the 15-yard trip. By the time her husband had been cured, the invoice had risen fivefold. As comedy Wason's show (at the Gilded Balloon) is wry, downbeat and hilarious. It also has a Wider Purpose. She believes that US-style healthcare is about to engulf Britain and she wants us to help her save the NHS. Always a dilemma, I find, when stand-ups dabble in politics. Is the comic promoting the cause, or the cause the comic? As we left we were handed tin badges with the legend 'Wendy Wason' printed in far larger letters than the campaign slogan. Which was a relief. No dilemma there.

The Trial of Jane Fonda (Assembly Rooms) is based on a true story. In 1988, Fonda was about to shoot a movie in an American backwater but a group of Vietnam veterans vowed to run her out of town. She agreed to meet them. Their encounter is interesting, rather than gripping, and the play is short of suspense or high stakes. The characters seem to have been rustled up from the Cliché drawer. The soldiers are sweary, inarticulate lunkheads who wear baseball caps and combat fatigues. Fonda wafts about in a lovely combination of upmarket summer casuals. And she never once loses her poise, her articulacy or her apple-cheeked forbearance. The show's highlight is a great performance from Anne Archer. She's pushing 70, but not very hard. She could pass for 40.

Pushing 70, but not very hard: Anne Archer as Jane Fonda

Mark Farrelly's one-man show about Patrick Hamilton (Laughing Horse) offers a horrifyingly funny snapshot of the wit, novelist and playwright. He was at his best when satirising his father. 'I served on the Somme. Well, someone had to do the catering.' Later he imagines his father, as a hostage of old age and incontinence, complaining, 'A nurse has to hold my manhood with cake-tongs.' Hamilton was among the greats of the 20th century but success couldn't protect him from the lure of the bottle. This brilliant hour-long show, hidden away on the free fringe, deserves amplification and a wider arena. Probably television.

It's amazing how many performers treat Edinburgh as a suburb of London.Rosie Wilby: Nineties Woman (Voodoo Rooms) is a scrapbook of student memories that would go down well at a lesbian refuge in Peckham. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.