Festival art see page 71


Brel~influenced singer-songwriter

With his fourth visit to the Fringe, Philip Jeays continues his musical love affair with Jacques Brel. His theatrical, flirtatious performance manner is based on the style of the Belgian singer, an artist he first came across during the 805 while living in Paris.

Jeays was immediately captivated. ‘His lyrics and physical approach were unlike anything I had ever seen,’ he notes. ‘He was very poetic, but unlike many of today’s singer-songwriters, immediately understandable. He threw himself wholeheartedly into living his stories on stage. The effect was one of intense passion and emotion, sometimes funny, sometimes sad, but always intelligent and erudite.’

While Jeays acknowledges this debt, his songs’ colourful cast of characters is very much his own. ’The songs are my own, but the inspiration is from him. I see Brel as the greatest singer- songwriter ever, and I want to show English-speaking audiences that there is something different but there.’ (Kenny Mathieson)

I Songs (Fringe) Philip Jeays, Café Royal (Venue 47) 556 2549, 4-27 Aug (not 8, 74—15, 22) 9.45pm, £6. Preview 3 Aug, free.


Studied, scatological travelogue Never one for eschewing the big topics, Stewart Lee's fourteenth festival show on the trot covers pretty much the whole damn shooting match. Bad/y Mapped

World is a strange travelogue

studied and begumng humour. Behind a slightly self- deprecating manner lurks honed comic intelligence that sneaks up behind you rather than hitting you squarely in the face. He toys with his audience now in a way he hasn’t done previously and the hour-long show format, in which the material builds slowly, suits him well. His self-expressed opinion of the show as ’obscene and scatological issues dressed up as if they were I somehow clever’ is

Mr Lee has it all mapped out

6m- | ODM

perhaps a little harsh as World has so much mbre to offer. It encompasses such myriad and wholesome themes as space exploration and The Owl And The Pussycat, as well as the areas of obscenity and scatology: anyone remember Gaz Top? (Ross Holloway) I Stewart Lee's Bad/y Mapped World (Fringe) Stewart Lee, Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550, 5—28 Aug (not 8, 22) 8pm, £8. 50—£9.50

(£7. 50—£8. 50). Previews 3—4 Aug, £4.


The Visit

Modern fab/e with conscience

Fast gaining a reputation as a company with an all-pervading social conscience, the Wales-based Touched Theatre returns with an intriguing fable about the perils of money- grabbing. ’lnitially, Iwas attracted to it because it’s a wonderfully told story,’ explains Touched’s Steve Marmion. ’l’ve never directed a show this easy to get from page to stage. It begins as a black comedy but then you get to see how people are drawn down. It’s dark, but it’s also funny to watch.’

Set in a non-specific European town, The Visit follows the story of a group of impoverished townsfolk whose lives are turned upside down by a mysterious visitor offering to save their beloved homes. At a price, of course. ’One modern example that it relates to, is 0.). Simpson buying justice. It’s all about the fact that these days, money can buy anything. Everything seems to have a price.’ (Olly Lassman)

I The Visit (Fringe) Touched Theatre, Harry Younger Hall (Venue 13) 07050 767320, 4-12 Aug, 8.15pm, £5 (£4).


John Hegley

Pooch poetry and canine comedy What have I done? Within ten minutes of chatting to Luton's most hallowed product since Lorraine Chase, I've convinced him that he’s doing the wrong show, at the wrong time, on the wrong kind of animal. This is just the superstar modesty oozing from him. Despite the high way he rates his sing-song outside Simon League Against Ted/um Munnery’s front window at Sam last year, it still can’t beat his own idiosyncratic rhymes.

A veteran of thirteen Edinburgh Augusts, Hegley can regard these streets as his own. ’Technically, this is the place where l have spent the third longest period of my life; four weeks of every year.’ This year with Dog, he investigates and debates, through his poetry and stories, the facts, figures and foibles of man's best friend.

’l’m not anti-cat,’ Hegley declares. ’l’m pro-dog.’ If only he was from Barking and not Luton.

(Mark Robertson)

I Dog (Fringe) .lohn Hegley, Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428, 4-28 Aug (not Mon) 9.40pm, £10/£1 1 (£7/£8).

You don't need a Gallic parent to enjoy this show, but it may help

COMEDY PREVIEW Priorité A Gauche

If you caught Ben ’n’Arn’s Big Top last Fringe, you may recall part of the show being dominated by French rapping duo, Priorité A Gauche. The double act who scooped 1999's Perrier Best Newcomer Award have now devoted a whole hour to their Gallic alter egos.

Jean-Francois and Didier will entertain you with Euro-rap, acoustic numbers and their unique look at British culture. There's even the promise of free wine for two lucky people. ’There's a drinking song that involves the audience.’ says Arn/Didier. 'I would imagine that a couple of them will be a bit tipsy by the end.’

Didier speaks no English at all, and relies on Ben/Jean-Francois to translate for him, but speaking in another language for an hour is no problem for Arn. ’My mum's actually French, so that’s why it’s so good,’ he notes. ‘If it wasn't, she would have something to say about it.’ But don't worry if you haven't the advantage of a Gallic parent as Arn insists their act is designed to be enjoyed irrespective of your level of French.

Although the show is not solely about music, it's a part that Arn enjoys, allowing him to live out his desire to be a musician. ’What I've found in Priorité A Gauche is a happy balance. I can try and be a musician as much as possible, but I've always got the excuse that it’s only comedy.’

(Kirsty Knaggs) I Priorité A Gauche (Fringe) Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550, 5-28 Aug (not 8, 22) 9.05pm, £8-£ 9 7—£8). Previews 34 Aug, £3.