We meet some of the comic talent at this year‘s Fringe.


‘I see mysell occupying the middle ground between Bernard Manning and Ben Elton'. smiles Liverpool’s 23-year old black poet and comedian. CRAIG CHARLES.

Don'tworry. he‘s not likely to strike you as anything like Bernard Manning when he appears onthe Assembly Rooms' stage lor his lirstone~man show in Edinburgh. It isjust that. as he puts it. he won't be ‘brandishing his intellect like a sword. like some alternative comedians.‘ And he won’t be overly concerned about making ‘right on. socialist points'.

What he’s after. is something more alternative than alternative— ‘conlrontational theatre.‘ That means thatas wellas introducing topical material every night. he'll be keento take his cue lromthe audience's reaction—and hecklers? ‘Well. I'm hoping it'll be a bit easierwith people having paid to see me . . . or paid to scoll’. says Craig who is hoping alsothal he might be ablelo ‘hide behind the piano’ he plays in the show. Besides.

his most embarrassinu moments have always been

back in his home town at Liverpool. ‘They can’ttake

you seriously. i meanthere I

are people there who‘ve known you lrom when you bought yourlirst pair 01 Levis aged 16. . .'

Happily poetry gigs in Liverpool did at leastserve one purpose. Craig met his wile actress Cathy Tyson ot ‘Mona Lisa’ lame. when she went up and asked him lor his autograph. (Herversion ol the story is that she asked him to write a poem lorher cousin and he wouldn’t).

“is . .'

.3 V .3"

Craig Charles


With so much success already in shows like “Saturday Live and ‘Wogan'. Craig is himsell setto become Woganesque in his ubiquity. It you don't catch him in Edinburgh. you’ll scarcely be able to miss him on TV; he'll be starring in ‘Red Dwart’. a new sitcom from the ‘Spitting lmages' team. then as a deliberately under-researched chatshow host on the new night-time TV network. and. most intriguingly olall. asa mass-murderer gangster in a lorthcoming BBC drama

series. ‘The Marksman'.

(Stephanie Billen)

0 Craig Charles, Assembly Rooms (Venue 3). 54 George Street. 226 2427/8. 729 Aug. Midnight. £4.25 (£3.25) [Fr]


ltyou thought drag was just a drag, think again. BLOOLIPS are a lully-tledged and long-established theatre company who—celebrating thelrtenth year inthe business- are linally making their Edinburgh debutthis year at the Assembly Rooms.

Variously described as ‘gay clowns in lrocks’ (The Guardian) and a ‘troupe at British music hall

. merrymakers'(NewYork - Times),Bloolipscomprlses

actors with such unlikely names as Bette Boume (lounder and leader at the group). Diva Dan. Lavinia Co-op. Phil Harmonia and Precious Pearl (‘l was once described as the dumb soubrette oi the company’). These characters are carried lrom show to show. in which we see them confronting dillerent situations and attacking ditlerent targets. This includes themselves: ‘we send ourselves up for getting involved in this ridiculous prolesslon in the lirst place.’ Unlike a total gay entertainers. they

preterto send-up rather than put-down. Also. theirs

\ s

.3 a‘ ‘1 y _. . I s M

are theatrical shows-not lust acts.

Ultimately it's about ‘celebrating cissles’ - which doesn't mean it's just



tor gay audiences. ‘Anyone who can pay.’ they say. ‘can come.’ (Mark Shenton)

o Bloolips. Assembly Rooms (venue 3) 226 2427/8. 7—29 Aug (not Mons) 10pm. £4.75 (£4).


Unlike some olthe androgynous otterings at this year‘s Fringe. THE FAlRER SAX are not only genuinelytemale, but consider it fascinating to be completely and utterly leminine.

Sporting at least live dazzling changes ol costume in their show. the loursaxOphonists have perfected the art of looking cool. calm and collected while dancing round the stage and blowingtheir hearts out in a series at pertectly arranged classical. jazz and ragtime numbers.

The FairerSax was tormed live years ago by Australian sisters. Anne-Louise Lane and Gabrielle Lane. and only discovered its successlul method at pertorming alter walking down a CGA catwalk modelling and playing the saxophone at the samelime. Nowthe team is in demand by everyone—TV. radio. and eventhe Royal

Shakespeare Company.

But in the eyes otmusic graduate. Anne Louise. the saxophones are still the real stars of the show: ‘It has become a reallytrendy instrument. We attract people olall ages. those who are into nostalgia, but also very young people like children taking up the saxophone atschool.’ (Stephanie Billen)

o The FairerSax. Pleasance Theatre (Venue 33). 60 The Pleasance. 556 6550. 742 Aug. 8.30 pm. £4.50 (£3.50) [Fr]


With a double act partnering Roger McGough at the Assembly Rooms. you‘d think comedian Pete McCarthy had enough on his plate.

Not so. Earlierthis year he surprised the sleepy seaside town at Hove near Brighton. with an anarchic series at tourist coach trips. Now he is planningto surprise Edinburgh residents.

Says Pete. ‘We‘ll meetin the Pub in Rose Streetand go along to your house.‘ He’s not chatting me up. just explaining the idea behind THE PETE McCARTHY LIVE IN YOUR LIVING-ROOM WORLD TOUR 1987.

Apparently all you need is a bedroom. a bathroom. living-room and kitchen. as the set and the venuelor audiences at between a

dozen to titteen people per performance. ‘lt‘s a play based on what happens in people’s houses. . . like coming back drunk and disorderly during the Festival.‘ says Pete. The very idea. (Stephanie Billen)

o The Pete McCarthy Live in YourLiving-Room World - Tour. In assoc with The Zap Club. Tickets on the ‘Zap hotline'.2201227.19-29 Aug. [Fr].


lt's achingly hot and sweaty in some grisly Covent Garden basement: Bunjy's Vegetarian Restaurant to be pedantic about it. An aggressively unlunny and dislikeable Canadian comedian takes the stage. Listeningto this dull colonial bang on aboutthe dillerneces between North American and British culture. an old jokes swims into my ken: Canada is like Basildon New Town on ice.

It‘s with a heartlelt sense olrelielthatthe undernourished compere do his bitlorthe MOIRA ANDERSON EXPERIENCE. Tim Berrington and Matt Bradley. the two ‘resting’ gigolos who composethe act. represent the hottest new duo on the London Cabaret circuit. lknowthis because they boughtme halla pint otbitteranda packet at crisps last week andtold me so. Tim isa lormer bricklayer; Matt has never done any real work in his lile.

Press interest in the Moira is intense. The South China Morning Post didn’t quite make it but there is a bloke in the audience lrom Time Out who had been trying to catch up with them torages and someonelrom the Evening Standard arrives at Bunjy’s hallway through.

There’s a snap. crackle and pop about the Moira. but unlike the well-known Kellog product it does not go soggy. Their act. written by themselves in the longeurs ol atternoons in a Dog Kennel Hill council tlat avoids many at the clichés and pitfalls ol the Cabaret circuit.

Brielly, it divides into three segments: a savage swipe at the sick joke olour Parliamentary Sham; an assault on the pea-brained automatons who have been in control olAmerican loreign policy and an ollensively snide piss-take olCaledonian culture. sheep-herdsmen and balin twine advertisements. tailor-made lorthe cosmopolitan alicionados olthe Edinburgh Fringe. The latter routine contains an epic enactment ot eroti v

perversionwhichisquite' a he


the sickest— and tunniest- thing I have ever seen on the London Stage. (John Sweeney)

0 Moira Anderson Experience. Honest Percy's Discount etc. Calton Road (venue 71) 556 7066.10-29 Aug. 1.15pm. £3(£2.50) [Fri


Earl Okin is back. doing yet more horny things with his mouth every night atthe Fringe Club. Now in hislltth year at delighting Fringe audiences with songs bythe jazz greats. improvised trumpet solos (sans trumpet) and engaging comedy routines. he has watched contemporaries like Mayall and Sayle shoot to tame while he remains little known outside the Festival audience. A possible future TVshow may remedy the situation. butwhat worries him more than lack ollame is ElDS- Edinburgh lnduced Drop Syndrome-which takes hold in about the second week at the Festival. ‘About two years agol made the mistake ol holding my show at about quarterto midnight. and several times lound my eyes closing during the show.’ He wasn’t the only one. A stagehand was behind the curtain to press a button on cue. but no etlect came. The singer wisely decided to brazen it out. ‘I went to the curtain to se what had happened and he was standing there with hislinger on the button. last asleep. Earl Okin is playing much more civilised hours thi week. 0 Earl Okin. Fringe Club (venue 2). 667 2091/226 5259. 7-29 Aug. 8.15p .

£3.50 (23). Also on Late’n’ '

Live, Gilded Balloon Theatre 8 G15Aug.

12 midnight (226 2151)and the lap Club Rose Street. 19 Aug. Alter11 pm.