The Ballad of Crazy Paola

Playwright - Arne Sierens, adapted by Stephen Greenhorn
Company - Royal Lyceum Theatre Company
Director - Philip Howard
Venue Traverse Theatre Cambridge Street, EH1 2ED. 0131 228 104

Serge was the passion of Paola's life. A drummer, whose career took a cocaine nosedive. Many years later his younger brother Raymond - also a drummer - enters her life. Raymond has a chip on his shoulder. He wants to exhume the past and cut it to pieces. The result is a battle over the true version of Serge and Paola's relationship.

The Ballad of Crazy Paola is infused with drumming. The fusion of music and text works to great dramatic effect. So it is strange that, as a whole, the play has no sense of rhythm. It's tone is inconsistent, with jarring jumps of style. The script is stylized one moment and natural the next. Raymond and Paola's conversations swing from banal to heavy handed and back, and the quality of writing is not up to the Traverse's usual high standards. The overall effect is a disjointed mess of a play that never really goes anywhere.

The production however is good. A stylishly minimal set, based on a sumo wrestling ring, gives the freedom of movement the play demands. Kathryn Howden and Billy Boyd
Runs until 20th October at 8pm (9pm). Post show discussion with Stephen Greenhorn on 18th Oct. On tour until 10th November. Tickets £9 (£4.50)
Daniel Winterstein, 9th October 2001