WILSON DIXON Ride into a world of deadpannery OOO

Country and western star Wilson Dixon returns to the festival from his native Cripple Creek with songs from albums such as his debut. entitled Greatest Hits. and the subsequent Introducing Wilson Dixon. It's a mellow way to spend teatime. as he regales us with his stories of his family: his wife Maureen who left him for their neighbour Dwayne Richards, purveyor of ‘substandardly designed carpets'. and his uncle with the rather lengthy line in advice.

Some of the gags here are pitch perfect. A man with no name is described as arriving in town on ‘a horse as big as a bus. Actually,' Dixon reconsiders. ‘it might have been a bus.‘ Elsewhere there's a deadpan. surreal edge to lyrics like ‘ma was by

-' f

Lewis Schaffer

always has a valid point to make.

the river naked stinging herself with bees.“ Other jokes still feel like they

need a little work or. in the case of the pensioners mistaken for street : entertainment. less explanation. but this peek at Wilson Dixon's world is an enjoyable one that is guaranteed to elicit a titter. (Marissa Burgess)

I The Stand //I 8 /l/, 558 7272, until 24 Aug. 6pm, £8.50 (£7.50).

LEWIS SCHAFFER Having the ironic power to shock .00.

about yourself. (Tom Maxwell) ' I Baby Bel/y, 0844 545 8252, until 24 Aug, 9.50pm, 270—5377 (EQ—EIO).


' Turning slaughter into comedy .0.

A show with the title America is the Greatest Country in the World is probably ironic. but it‘s difficult to tell at first. What is for certain is that Lewis Schaffer has a talent for making people laugh. often at his own misfortune. The Jewish New Yorker. who now resides in Peckham. is in the perfect position to outline the differences and similarities between the US and the UK. also offering his opinion on the matter of Scottish independence.

Schatfer has a style of delivery that suggests he's always losing his train of thought. but that somehow adds to his appeal. It's refreshing to see a comedian who isn‘t just joining the dots. and while some of his views on certain news events might shock. he

There have been some odd subjects for comedy shows at the Fringe over the years. but the death penalty has to be one of the more unlikely ones. This show (Cruel and Unusual) came about when Irish comic Keith Farnan studied law and spent a spell in America interning at the Innocence Project working on Death Flow appeals. For those that weren't aware of the many : alleged injustices in the American judicial system. or the number of posthumous miscarriage-of-justice cases. this is an informative hour. Even if you that already had a good idea of the background. it's a fascinating insight from someone who‘s seen it first hand. albeit briefly. 1 Though Farnan‘s gags don't always match up to the stature of his subject ' it's still a show you should try to catch . ' this Fringe. (Marissa Burgess) I Underbelly, 0844 545 8252, until 24 Aug (not 78), 6. 70pm, 29—0050 (£849.50).

WIL HODGSON West Country boy with scabrous memoir 00.

You'll leave knowing all about the life and neuroses of Lewis Schatfer. but you might also learn a few things

' Wil Hodgson is sponsored by

: Chippenham Athletic Football Club. For now. anyway. Because if the

club's camel-coated directors ever make the Edinburgh trek to see the . pink-haired chubby-chasing punk-


geek tattooed love-boy. he might end up getting a kicking. Hodgson‘s latest outsider's rant against his less than idyllic home town takes stock of how he got here. from West Country misfit to third division pro wrestler to the most dolefully deadpan of top light- entertainment machine-gun raconteurs.

For an incisive and scabrous observer of a white-trash hamlet where a Boy ‘Chubby' Brown show is a rite of passage bonding exercise with your dad. this is pretty much business as usual. Hodgson‘s subsequent willingness to stand alone. possibly with Bull Mastiff shit on his shoe. makes for a state of the nation address Five documentaries can only dream of. Where Hodgson goes now remains to be seen. although he really should think about reviving his wrestling career. Or maybe just leave town. (Neil Cooper) I P/easance Courtyard, 556 6550. until 25 Aug, 9pm. BIO—£72 (28.50—00.50).

SEYMOUR MACE Bible stories told by an idiot

An hour with this Geordie comic won't leave you any the wiser about his love life or neuroses. That's not his thing. He doesn't want to offend his crowd. brag at them or sleep with them, he just wants to share his oddball little world. It's a son of comedy Never Neverland where eagle-penguin cross-breeds roam (that's Seymour Mace‘s explanation of owls) alongside kidnap victims and Santa. with a slightly absurd whiff of Vic and Bob wafting over everything. His follow-up to last year's superhero show is a Bible-based flight of fancy. like a surreal Sunday school lesson with an enjoyably grown-up. potty-mouthed twist. After declaring God the world's biggest stalker. probably sharing heaven with Asian and Peter Pan. Mace (who claims. falsely. to be an idiot) then acts out the stories of Moses. Noah and the 12 apostles using sock puppets and drawings. There are a couple of dips in Mace's energy levels when the crowd don‘t let out many big laughs. but when he Springs back. his smart. escapist fantasies can't help but suck in new converts. (Claire Sawers) I The Stand H, 558 7272. until 24 Aug, 7.25pm, £8 (£7).