Political rhetoric made fun .0000

When Robert Newman performed with David Baddiel, Steve Punt and Hugh Dennis as one quarter of the Mary Whitehouse Experience, there was little to indicate that years later people would flock to him for his wise words of political rhetoric. But that’s what they are doing now and it’s easy to see why. His latest show begins with the first of many excerpts from his apparent forthcoming publication, a kidnap and hostage survival guide beginning with what to do when faced with Chechen rebel captors. Handy advice if you can speak the lingo. It’s the first indication of the clear effort that has been put into this show: whole sections are translated into Arabic or Latino Spanish where it is required for emphasis or the sake of a joke. Accents are meticulously mimicked and there are amusing impressions of John Lydon and Bjork. Then there is the mammoth amount of information that has been researched down to minute detail. Blink and you’ll miss something important; Newman has the ability to make you feel quite stupid though happily, he never talks down to his audience. The first section on British military occupations inevitably progresses into an attack on America and

JASON MANFORD Urban legends with a twist 0000

Jason Manford‘s Fringe debut is a trawl through those apOCryphal myths that people recount as having happened to ‘a mate of a mate of mine' which have. in fact. survived down the ages. with only the names and style of garments adjusted to suit contemporary fashions. Everyone has heard the one about the woman alone in bed. comforted by the licking tongue of her faithful dog. only to find the hound dead in the morning, with a legend written in poor pooch's blood on the bathroom mirror: ‘Humans

Britain’s occupation of Iraq though he doesn’t just offer

the obvious facts of the oil issue, instead looking from a

different perspective such as America’s long term plan

the joke.

can lick too.‘ The conscientious Manford has unearthed a Victorian diary entry that tells a strikingly similar tale. and also traces other familiar urban legends back to the Bible and classical mythology.

Of course. an entire hour of debating whether the famous stomach-pumping episode should correctly be ascribed to Marc Almond. David Bowie or Elton John would quickly become tedious. But Manford varies the pace. offering a particularly fascinating segment in which he pinpoints the weird. eerie and downright silly extraneous film moments (remember the ghostly figure of a little boy in Three Men and a Baby?) Manford is a sharp host with an engaging, effortless style and a quirky. original show that's bound to have you running Google searches for weeks to come. (Allan Radcliffe)

I Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 29 Aug. 9.40pm. 28—2950 (ES—E8).

MARK WATSON Let's talk about death, baby on.

Last year at the Fringe. Mark Watson staged a 24 hour gig, garnering him a


‘to bring democracy to the Middle East’. Although the subject matter is serious, the gags are plentiful and are cleverly weaved in without demeaning the subject. On mentioning the former CIA agent Kermit Roosevelt he pauses to note: ‘I hope you noticed how I avoided an obvious Muppet Show gag there.’ Then proceeds to milk

In the second half he warns against the danger of saying those who have nothing to hide have no need to fear ID cards with a story of Wordsworth and Coleridge and how they came under suspicion at the end of the 18th century when the country was as paranoid about the French as it now is about Islam. Later, he leads into an apocalyptic vision of the all-too near future where we have run out of fossil fuels, having drained the planet of its natural energies.

Possibly the only flaw in this brilliantly executed show is the fact that he has no answers to the problems he raises. But then maybe we should be looking for those ourselves. (Marissa Burgess)

I The Bongo Club, 557 2827, until 28 Aug (not 79), 8pm, BIO—E 72.50 (88—69)

place in the Guinness Book of Records. and a fiancee. as he chose to mark the end of the show with a proposal. The

? publicity the stunt achieved appears to

have had a knock-on effect this year

too. But that attention isn‘t going to ; waste. as he indeed lives up to the : hype.

This year, 50 Years Before Death and

. the Awful Prospect of Eternity is only 50 minutes long. but those 50 are used to

good effect. standing in for half a

century. This relates to the exact

amount of years. he explains. he has left to live he is 25 and the average life

expectancy of men is 75. Forced to

skip the first ten years from 25 to 35.

Watson bumbles along, prone to faffing about with the audience. But. he concludes. that is an apt analogy of

; how he was likely to spend those years

j and off he trots into middle age to face

certain death. But the only deaths here are fictional ones as Watson‘s combination of a shambolic character

3 from whom there are plenty of astute . observations and gags amongst the ; daftness. makes for a very funny show

indeed. (Marissa Burgess) I Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 29 Aug, 9.30pm, 88-6950 (£5—E8).

WE ARE KLANG Silly sketches with a singalong finale 0.”

Comedians. a word of advice: if you

I don't find your own material funny.

there's little chance the audience will either. We Are Klang clearly believe that their high-energy romp through the irreverent. the dodgy and the just plain silly is absolutely hilarious and their occasional difficulties in controlling themselves only makes the whole process funnier.

Imposing and manic Greg Davies. bulging-eyed simpleton Marek Larwood and master of the crap accent Steve Hall blend their disparate styles to

create moments of nonsensical genius

and silly punnery with some of the fastest costume changes ever witnessed by humanity. The audience is

happy to participate from the start. which leads to suspicions that the trio

have retained a few loyal fans from their Fringe visit last year. This is no surprise

, considering inspired characters such as

an unintentionally rhyming sheriff. a pair

I of competitive beggars and a rapping

horse bound together by a booming voiceover. An extended song about the

f experience of a first kiss falls flat and

the link to the final sketch is pretty stretched but despite the odd verbal

stumble. the overarching energy of the

show carries it towards its stomper of a singalong finale with ease. (Katy McAulay)

I Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until

29 Aug, 9.45pm, 28.50—89.50 (£7438).


Turning self-indulgence into an art form one

'lt's comedy gold, isn't it.“ declares Daniel Kitson, his voice trailing irony like a spider spins a web. The Perrier Award

7 winner is an arrogant sod. But you'd

also be cocky if you were this good. Kitson talks for almost an hour and a

. half. formidably articulate routines spilling from his mouth. The closest he

gets to a heckle comes when he pauses. wondering what the word ‘concurrently' means. ‘At the same time.‘ the crowd respectfully murmur.