explains the softly spoken Mace. who you may recognise as the hapless (‘raig from Johnny Vegas’ drug sitcom lrleul. ‘lt was fine for me. because I used to be a clown so I know how to talk to children.‘

For several years. Mace was in a street theatre group frotn Bath called the Natural Theatre (‘ompany which specialised in improvised characters and visual imagery. After one venture in an amusement park in Japan. Mace was invited back for six months where he learned the craft of clowning. ‘ln this country a lot of people think that it's just people dressing up in a big wig and handing otit balloons. But if you go around liurope. clowning is an art form and respected in a way that it‘s not in this country. The stuff 1 did was all about character and it doesn‘t really matter if you can‘t juggle or ride a unicycle. as long as you have that essential pathos.‘

The route taken to arrive in lidinburgh for Penny Spubb‘s Party is marginally more traditional. While Wix has been at the Fringe before. in 200] for a physical theatre group show entitled Dystopiu which had Mikhail Baryshnikov in one night. (‘rilly has furrowed the more lonely path of the stand-up comic. The pair met during the Babycham liunny Women competition in 2004 in which (‘rilly wound tip in third place (‘I prefer to see myself as a runner-

up: that's what the audience would have wanted' ). (letting to know each other over (‘hristmas dinner (though we‘re not sure whether this was actually. strictly true) the pair soon developed the wonky routines and mad old hatters that they are putting before us now. Though one thing was still to be resolved: getting the publicity picture right. They ended up with a family portrait style of the women crouched beside an Alsatian. Wearing an eye patch.

‘lt's stuffed.‘ bombshells (‘rillyz ‘But the paws have been put on the wrong way round. so they're actually facing up. You can't quite see that in the picture. There was a real look in his eyes that said: "I’d love to still be alive. running around the park." It cost £250 to hire for the day. We wanted a Labrador but they were £400. 1 mean. why'.’ Surely Labradors are more common‘.’ If I was to set tip a taxidermy shop I would choose an Alsatian over a Labrador.‘

The name. of course. is another element which needs to be right. The women just liked the look and sound of the name Penny Spubb and thought that a party was an engaging prospect. But don't criticise Seymour Mace for going mad on a weird stage name either. For that is his birth title. Seymour Leon Mace. to be exact. 'According to my dad. who‘s a bit of an idiot which is where I get my silly nature from. it was a choice between Seymour. Horatio or Cornelius. l like the fact that a lot of Seymours in the media are funny characters. Seymour Skinner in 7710 .S'iiiipsmis. the central character in

Little Shop (it‘llnrmrs. and one guy in Last of

the Summer ll’iiie.‘

Of course. Seymour Mace and Penny Spubb‘s Party have yet to reach that kind of iconic stage btit for now. we are just glad they‘re around. lighting tip the fringes of lidinburgh‘s comedy month.

Penny Spubb’s Party, Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 29 Aug, 5.45pm, £8.50—29.50 (£7428); Seymour Mace, Assembly Rooms, 226 2428, until 28 Aug, 9.30pm, 2950—21050 (28.50-29.50).

Seymour Mace: formerly a clown. Now a dodgy impressionationist

Brian Donaldson picks out some bubbling under sleeper-type hits from folk you may not yet have heard of.

Pool of Life Three funny fellas from the mind and body of one man: Mr Keith Carter. That compererminder of his is a bit scary. though. See review. Cale Royal, 556 2545). until 28 Aug (not 23). 9.20pm, £7 li‘b‘i.

Omar Marzouk You'd have to be a true cynic to suggest that material for this show landed right in his lap but this Egyptian-Dane has made the most of it by placing a Jihad on stupidity. Pleasance

Dome. 556 6550. until 28 Aug. 9pm.

£‘8.:3()——5.‘9.5() {EV—Y8).

Reggie Watts Tangent It‘s Seinfeld. No, it's Emo Philips. Wait a minute. can he be Chuck D? Or Prince? Or Hendrix. even? This law comic is pretty much the lot. Underbelly, 08 7 O 74 :3 3083. until 28 Aug,

IO. 30pm, $79—$10 ll‘7.:3()-l.‘8.50i.

Jason Manford He

may have been given the thumbs up from the likes of Peter Kay and Johnny Vegas. but don't necessarily let that put you off. Fearful tales of urban legends have never been this droll. See

review. Plot’isance Courtyard. 6:36 (5:350. until 29 Aug, 9.40pm, 1‘8—4‘960HTS—536%.

Paddingtons Crack It starts off with gruesome death and lust gets bloody funny as two ladies called Sophie and Emily bring us characters of truly dark whimsy. Underbelly: ()8 70 74:3

3083. until 28 Aug. 2.30pm, 5.71-5.19 (VG—5‘7).

Dan Tetsell Previously a member of the truly appalling Club Seals. even his past isn't as dark as his gianddad's. He was a Nazi. you see. Not exactly obvious material for killer comedy lOl' maybe it is) but this show is putting Tetsell on the

map. Underbelly. 0870 74:3 (3083. until 28 Aug. 13.25pm. i7. 50—478. 50 (51560—57. :30).