I MILES AND MILLNER in THE MAD MUSICIAN'S GUIDE TO FAME Classy classical music with classic comedy of an unclassitiable nature.

Pleasance (Fringe Venue 33) 556 6550. Until ZSept (not 24 Aug). 10.50pm. £4.50 (£3.50).

I COMIC ABUSE Compare Ivor Dembina returns with some hotshoot London comics. including the very funny Patrick Harbor. to

take Edinburgh by storm tor

a third time.

Pleasance (Fringe Venue 33) 556 6550. Until ZSept (not 17. 24 Aug). 9.15pm. £5 (£4) weekends; £4 (£3) weekdays.

I CPDGAN AND HAYLEY in SEASIDE SPECIAL Double act lrom two up-and-coming solo stand-ups. Radical without being right~on; very funny.

Edinburgh Playhouse and Studio (Fringe Venue 59) 557 3807. Until 2 Sept. 8.15pm. £5 (£4).

I LIVE BED SllDW Thirty-something satire from Arthur Smith and Caroline Duentin on the right-on approach to sexuality. Astute and daring.

Pleasance (Fringe Venue 33) 556 6550. Until 27 Aug (not 21 Aug). 9.20pm. £4.50 (£4).

I WILL DURST in HAPPY COMEDY Up-to-the-minute international satire from stocky San Franciscan stand-up. Barbed black comedy aimed at the bulls' eyes.

Edinburgh Playhouse and Studio (Fringe Venue 59) 557 3807. Until 2 Sept. 10pm. £5 (£4).

Andrew Burnet selects his top cabaret shows. Below and overleaf— round-up of the best and funniest.

I PAUL 0. DAVIES AND FRIENDS- A ONE-MAN SHOW Inventive. surprising and intelligent comedy about a comedian talking about comedy.

Tic Toc at Marco’s (Fringe Venue 90) 229 7890. Until 27 Aug (not 20 Aug). 9pm. £4.50 (£3.75).




Andrew Burnet looks into the heart of good comedy, and finds some performers sustaining its lifeblood.

Laughter is a capricious and subjective thing. Once I shared a veggie lasagne with three friends

and we all ended up on the floor in convulsions of

mirth. tears streaming down our faces. Cross-examination of the chef revealed that the most exotic ingredient ofour repast was banana. So we must have just been in the mood.

Being cabaret editor here is a bit of a sweat. There are hundreds ofshows that deserve coverage. and there‘s no way we can write about

(or even see) all of them. If you‘re the funniest act

in the galaxy and we‘ve missed you this time. I‘m sorry. That‘s entertainment. as they say in the

entertainment trade.

But the worst thing is when you go to see a show you think is predictable and unfunny and everyone else in the audience is undergoing the

banana lasagne effect.

That‘s happened to me twice this week. and it‘ll happen again before the leaves turn golden. It happens every time I watch a television sitcom. and every time I know what the punchline is going to be before the feedline‘s passed the straightman‘s lips. Ultimately. my opinion matters no more than that of the guy in the next seat who pays for his ticket (and his television licence). but I hate safe. predictable comedy.

That‘s why I like God and Jesus. who have the knack ofsubverting those tedious. tired old jokes. It‘s why I like Kit And The Widow. who

produce an almost-all-new show every year. And it‘s why I like Emo Philips most of the time. I’ve heard some of his gags before (the guy can‘t create a 75-minute script every time he steps on stage. for the Lord‘s sake) and certain of them have appeared in more than one publication (no names). but unpredictablity is a large part ofhis large appeal. In any case. his jokes become no less predictable by being quoted. so I’m not going to reproduce any here. Take my word for it

they‘ll surprise you.

Emo‘s a funny-looking guy and no mistake, with his gangly figure. his haircut and his ill-fitting clothes. His squeaky voice. his jerky body language and the disgusting streak running through much of his humour don‘t help. nor do the lecherous looks he gives the young women in the front row. but he comes over so cute and pathetic onstage that you can‘t help but love him.

But what really counts is that you don‘t know what‘s coming next. Try it and see.

I Emo Philips (Fringe) Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428. Until Aug 19. 9.30pm. £6.

! withthe fantastic asthey


Across the British Isles in sleepy commuter-belt towns there are many. many people like Les and Robert. They‘ll have cornered you at parties and forced you into extensive conversations about railway time-tables or climate changes. But they are likeable. well-meaning souls and you‘ll never have had the heart to shut them up.

So it is a great reliefthat Robin Driscoll and Tony Ilaase have at last brought their patent Cliffhanger eye for detail to creatinga send-up of all the Les and Roberts of this world. Using the format ofa lecture about life in Lancing. one ofSussex‘s less-memorable dormitary towns. the two

old chums mix the trivial

take us through their lives

front the age ofsix onwards. Never dropping from character. they

mutter and shuffleor

become passionately

involved in their stories.

straightening their tank-tops or playing another slice of background music.

It‘s silly. surreal. trivial and very funny. (Mark Fisher).

I The World of Les & Robert (Fringe) Robin Driscoll & Tony IIaase.

1' 4. A“ . hle- t y 2'


Assembly Rooms (Venue 3). 226 2428. until 2 Sept. 10. 15pm. £5 (£4).

FREEK DE JDNGE Consider all the foreign comedians you know. A small list. isn‘t it'.’ Now. name the Dutch comedian on your list. This. of course. is the problem with Freek De Jonge and his audience. While it's difficult enough to catch everything thrown by Americans or Australians. at least most ofthe words and timing are recognisable. Jonge tries hard. very hard. He is very theatrical. but is he a comedian? No. De Jonge is really a storyteller and the stories demand a very long attention span. A strange mixture of Danny Kaye and Sigmund Freud. his

tales carry the heavy psyche that many Northern Europeans seem to lug through life. Sadly. though De Jonge‘s show opened and closed well. the rest was strain. II this is Dutch humour. it‘s no treat. (Kerry Napuk) I Freek De Jonge (Fringe) Tic Toe at Marco‘s (Venue 98). 229 7898. Until 2 Sept (not 21.28 Aug).9.3(lpm. £4(£3); Assembly Rooms (Venue 3). 226 2428. 20. 27 Aug. 6pm and 21.28 Aug.8pm. £5 (£4).

WILL uunsr

Billed accurately as

f America‘s‘thinkingman‘s

comedian.‘ San Franciscan Will Durst was caught in a transatlantic cultural. language and symbol gap. Nevertheless. he walked brilliantly through a show-cum- workshop. writing down all non-responses as ‘NF‘ not funny. IIis commentaries on flying. smokingand presidents were hilarious.

Durst is small. very animated and all i professional. He even I brought along hisown props: a world map I shower curtain and blow-up globe. At times I

' Durst looked like a living

(iary Larson cartoon. Speakingtoanon-existenl American audience. he ' befuddledaclutchof I

French people who must have wondered where they were. Durst‘s wrap up also was very clever. In fact. he was very good throughout. staying intimate with the ‘audi' every step ofthe way. But. like Nigel said. he‘s definitely not for dickheads. (Kerry Napuk) I Happy Comedy (Fringe) I See Ilitlist for venue details.


A funny thing happensto this comedian on the way here. and his audience is waiting. so warm-up conrichmmy Stilton

keeps everyone‘s spirits

up with hisloveable Northern repartee. and all this \\ liile the comedian's getting talked at bythe J

cabbie all cliche and

The List 18 24 August 198913