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Robert Newman

Political humour and jungle camouflage kilts

For a man who spent a large portion of the 905 in the public eye and on the nation's boxes, it's highly unlikely you'll have seen much of him on TV recently. In fact, Robert Newman won't have seen too much of anything on TV, having chucked his licence in the bin some time back. 'The annoying thing is that I threw it out the week after I’d renewed my licence,’ he recalls with a sanguine edge. ’I must be the only person in Britain not watching a telly having paid their licence. But it's just not worth having one for the amount of time you waste and the number of lies on it.’

Way long gone are Newman's days as David Baddiel's glamorous sidekick and one famous evening rollerskating onto the Wembley stage with screaming teens all around. That happened at the

height of the 'comedy is the new rock ‘n' roll' hyperbole but now, Newman is focusing his attention towards the injustices of modern life. With Bill Hicks in his grave, Red Wedge a hazy relic and Mark Thomas sharing terrestrial space with Davina McCall, political comedy seems to be as dead as a democratic dodo.

Not so, claims Newman. ‘We’re told by Blair that the ideological battles are over, that history has ended and that people don't think about things passionately any more. Fashions may have changed but people don't; they still care enough to hear opinions from outside the extremely narrow band of views we‘re allowed to hear. Everywhere you go, people are angry and pissed off, working longer hours for less money while trying to pay the bills and send the kids to university.’

If you think that Newman isn’t serious about comedy and the potential to change people, he will also be delivering a series of lectures to hammer home his

MUSIC PREVIEW Mozart Piano Concertos

German pianist celebrates the genius of Wolfgang

'When Mozart gets a little more complicated, people quickly lose interest'

theatre comedy dance music books

'I’m not going to be like some English twat on a stag night'

very threatening.’

Birthday presents become increasingly problematic as you get older, but German pianist Christian Zacharias knew exactly what he wanted for his 50th. His long-term love affair with the music of Mozart has spawned one of the most exciting events in this year’s International Festival. Spread over seven concerts, Zacharias will be performing all 21 of Mozart’s piano concertos, accompanied by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. ‘It started like a dream,’ he says of his birthday wish. 'To do one of the most satisfying piano cycles, and to do it for this event.’

Despite being robbed of the Musician Of The Millennium title by Bach, his elder and (arguably) better, Mozart remains one of the most important composers of all time, and his piano concertos in particular are seen as some of the most accessible

message. He certainly won't be sitting at home surfing upon another web of lies. 'The internet may possibly work as an alternative for getting information and co- ordinating things, but I can't see how people split up in their little rooms, tapping away at their keyboards, is

As well as brushing up on new material for his Resistance Is Fertile run, he will be ironing out the creases on his garment. But there is little of the patronising sassenach in Newman's choice of outfit. ‘l've got a black kilt and a jungle camouflage one, but they’re very 21st century. I’m not going to be like some English twat on a stag night who once had a great- great grandma who went to Scotland once. I have to say, they're very good for striding in.’ Another giant leap forward for humour with a purpose.

(Brian Donaldson) a For details, see Hit/ist, right.

in the classical repertoire. In reality though, only a handful are regularly performed. 'About fifteen are so rarely done, people wouldn’t even know or recognise them,’ says Zacharias. ’It’s always the same ones, the D minor and C minor because they’re tragic, the A major because it has the most beautiful tunes and the C major because it’s nice and slow for he films, but many of the others are ..ever played.’

But all that’s set to change, as Zacharias opens up the full genius of the Austrian composer to Festival audiences. ’When Mozart gets a little more complicated, people very quickly lose interest, so I try to programme one well known piece together with two lesser known ones or a young one with a later one.’ (Kelly Apter)

m For details, see Hit/ist, right.

You'll be left breathless by these hits

Robert Newman

See prevrew, left. Resistance Is Fertile (Fringe) Robert Newman, Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428, 72—77Aug, 8.25pm, £70 ([5);

The Robert Newman Lectures (Fringe) Robert Newman, The Stand (Venue 5) 558 7272, 74—78 Aug, 7pm, free.

Ladyboys Of Bangkok

Thai trannies give it laldy under the big top with a cabaret extravaganza that will make your eyes water. See review and Freeloaders, page 94. Ladyboys Of Bangkok (Fringe) Meadows Theatre Big Top (Venue 789) 667 0202, until 25 Aug, 8. 75pm; 26 Aug, 7pm, {IO/£72.50 (f8/f70).

Ross Noble

The wildest hairdo in comedy drags out ideas from the surrealist of minds and spins the funniest yarns on the Fringe. He’s the Chickenmaster, you know. Ross Nob/e (Fringe) Gilded Balloon (Venue 38) 226 275 7, until 28 Aug, 9pm, £8.50 (£7.50).

Mozart Piano Concertos

See preview, left. Mozart Piano Concertos (International) Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Usher Hall, 473 2000, 74, 76, 78, 20, 22, 27, 30 Aug, 8pm, £5—f37; Discover Mozart’s Piano Concertos (/nterna " val) Christian Zacharia; (k, Reid Concert Hall, 473 I0, 79 Aug, 9.30am, £8 ([4).

Jerry Sadowrtz

The master of the card trick and genius with a cutting insult is on the toppest of form with his fingers as nimble as his tongue is sharp. See review. Jerry Sadowitz (Fringe) Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428, until 28 Aug, 8pm, £70/f77 (f9/f70).

10—1 7 Aug 2000 THE LIST FESTIVAL GUIDE 57