malapropism — so eventually he gives in and starts revealing unexpected things about himself. his childhood. his school and being middle-class. and somewhere in there there‘s a kind oftinned spaghetti western. and meanwhile. back at the minicab controller’s desk. The Voice has died . . . The man who was Brogue Male is back with another one-man tour-de-farce. full ofthe special brand ofsurreal observation and characterisation which made his earlier shows such fun. This one’s a bit overlong. and parts ofit struggle to sustain momentum. but the creasing absurdities and depth of perception which spark up every other line make it a very enjoyable evening. (Andrew Burnet) I Paul 8. Davies and Friends— A One Man Show (Fringe) I See Hitlist for venue details.
_ FRANK cmcxrus
The two chickens have recently relied heavily on audience participation. This time however they have taken it to ridiculous extremes. One ofthe pair having been plucked from the show due to illness. a young history student from Tokyo stepped bravely into the breach.
Her performance on the opening night was nothing short of amazing. Cynics may argue that such a faithful reproduction in three days merely highlights the dominant role taken by Kazuko Hohki. however this cynic has only admiration for the way Sonoko Sasaki slotted in. Whilst their repartee is hardly dazzling their singing and dancing sparkles and the Karoke competition provided a marvellous opportunity for several Fringe performers to get in a plug. The latter was to be frank. the most enjoyable part of the briefset. (Ross Parsons)
I Klub Karaoke (Fringe) Frank Chickens. Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428. until 2 Sept. midnight. £5.50 (£4.50).
; Wigan‘s George Formby i dominated one instrument. the ukelele.
as no-one has before or since. Droylsden’s Derek Filey found his perfect role-model decades after Formby's death.
With his little ukelele in his hand. Derek keeps his upper lip stiffin 1980s Lancashire. just as George. Gracie and Arthur did in the movies ofthe 1930s. Singing as he goes. Derek‘s nostalgia for those better black and white days helps him overcome his many troubles with a shrug and a grin.
Written and performed by Paul Brophy. this isa little gem of a show. You get to know Derek Filey well. He is a funny. nervous. optimistic. luckless. perky bantam of a man who talks to you as if he‘d run into you in the street as he goes to sign on. You may need a northern English accent to catch all the jokes and observations. but this detailed characterisation shouldn‘t be missed. It‘s worth it just for the songs. (Jon Webster).
I Flley, the George Formby ot the 19808 (Fringe) Ukelele Productions. Pleasance Theatre (Venue 33). 5566550. until 27 Aug (not Suns). 4.30pm. £3.50 (£2.50).
MILES 8r MILLNER
From their triumphant entrance. Miles & Millner assault the pomp if not the circumstances of classical music. Long haired and formally attired. they start slow but build to a sustainable madness which is original and. at
times. brillant. Their show .
is a class act made all the
better by being performed :
by accomplished musicians. singers and clowns. Miles 8; Millner work well together. displaying a nice line in chat with each other and the audience. Watch out for their renditions of Masterclass. Oedipus Rex and Mozart with Four (really three) Hands. The Silent Movie numberis wonderful. All in all. this show is really what the Fringe is meant to be. The audience demanded more and was rewarded with three encores. Don‘t miss this one. (Kerry Napuk). I See Hitlist for venue details.
Dave Cohen gives an amiable one-man show — a fairly gentle comic monologue interspersed with songs on guitar. A self-confessed ‘bourgeois bastard' in dapper Armani suit. he is laid-back. self-deprecating. and very funny. He ranges farand wide from the dreary Edinburgh weather (very topical) to Gibraltar (not so topical) to Northern comedians (always topical). “c is particularly engaging when talking of his Leeds childhood and his Jewish heritage — ‘land ofmy foreskins‘. He cndsona cracking song. ‘Things we don‘t say anymore' — such as ‘coming down the pub. Salman'?. and other newsy one-liners. lmpeccable comic timing and a pleasantly ribald relationship with his audience make Cohen one of the most enjoyable acts on the alternative circuit. Definitely worth seeing. (Lily MacGillivray)
I Dave Cohen (Fringe)Tic Toc at Marco‘s. Marco‘s Leisure Centre (Venue 98). 229 7898. until 2 Sept (not 20. 29 Aug). 10.30pm. £4 (£3).
AL AND GEORGE’S UNSCHEDULEO STOPOVER
This show opened with a very promising busker scene. Unfortunately. the rest of the act looked like an ECG from a heart attack victim. There were a few noteworthy songs like ‘Working for the City‘ and an Iggy Pop number. During the singing. George. a youngTutti Frutti. almost popped his eyeballs but was too weak as the straight man. So their act very much rested on Al. who looked at times like a demonic alien or someone missing a rail connection from
Transylvania. We had Al the clown. Al the giant. Al the poet. etc. Still not enough to sustain an hour long show. leaving Al and George‘s debut a bit cute and far too bland. Besides. the Panic Brothers already made the same stopover much better and a lot funnier. (Kerry Napuk)
I Al & George (Fringe) Assembly Rooms (Venue 3). 226 2428. 11Aug—2 Sept. midnight. £5 (£4).
COMIC ABUSE The secret of good comedy is timing and brevity is the soul ofwit. Now lvor Dembina is a short man who has been doing comedy for a long time and is very very good at it. Once again he and his Comic Abuse team are packing them in down at the Pleasance Bar. an excellent venue for stand-up comics. This year the Abusers arc Patrick Marber. the fastest impersonator on the Fringe who plays with his audience as easily as with his toy props. Jim Tavare. a tall sombre double-bassist whose humour is as dry asa critic‘s mouth in the morning and Jack Dee a stand-up without props but with just the right speed of patter. Individually they leave you wanting more from each act. collectively with lvor‘s skilful compering. they provide a fine blend of humour not to be sniffed at by the Fringe-going punter. (Ross Parsons)
I See Hitlist for venue details.
_ SEASIDE SPECIAL
‘A show that proves you can be radical — but still wear a sweater'. So claim Coogan and Hayley about their evening sojourn at The Playhouse.
The fact that they bound onto the stage in Ben Eltoncsque suits immediately throws into doubt the authenticity of the duo‘s press release. If the sweaters were absent. so too was any semblance of what we‘ve come to expect from ‘radical' comics. Not for these two the pseudo-socialism of Elton (did someone shout
‘sell-out'?) or the comic abuse of Sayle. The only thing that‘s right-on about Coogan and Hayley is their ability to parody targets ranging from Wilfred Owen toJames Bond with such comic deftness that the audience is reduced to a mass of perpetual gigglers.
All I can say tothcse two solo performers is ‘keep the double act going but for God‘s sake get a new press agent‘. (Philip Parr)
I Seaside Special (Fringe) Coogan and Hayley.
I See Hitlist for venue details.
Johnny Immaterial begins his act with a blustery session ofwhat he terms ‘dickingaround‘. The trouble is that it's hard to distinguish it from the act proper. This man brings high accolades with him from London. but such meat as there is to his act seems to derive from the traditions ofcomedy in his native Yorkshire. He may be tongue-in-cheek when he introduces his catchphrase and demands ‘What'?’ from everyone who laughs out ofturn. but his comic material is pretty sparse. Only the Bros routine — hardly devastating in its originality or topicality - really offers belly laughs.
Ofa 45-minute set. around half is given over to songs. which are performed with some gusto. both by Johnny. who has a strong if unsubtlc singing voice. and by pianist Spencer. who doesn‘t. But the songs aren‘t funny (I presume most ofthem aren‘t meant to be) and the linking material isn‘t slick.
Kit And The Widow it ain't. (Andrew Burnet) I Moonthlnos (Fringe) Johnny lmmaterial.Thc Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550. Until 2 Sept (not 21. 24). 8. 15pm. £3.50 (£2.50).
A BIT OF FLUFF IN YOUR GUSSET
There‘s nowt as queer as folk. The Wild Women of
. Brixton bring this maxim
to life with their adept. ingeniousobservations of both the absurd and
3 mundane preoccupations of ‘folk’. They take no
Sindy. ‘Big Dick‘ male rappers to the dreaded new women come under their close. clever scrutiny. You may just spot yourself.
Always amusing. this show occasionally verges on the hilarious. For instance. the portrayal of Janet and Christine: presumably founder members of the Jesus and Cliff Richard loves ya appreciation society. But on the whole. this is a show that is clever and perceptive rather than uproariously funny — although the comedy improvisation section provides evidence ofjust how sharp and talented these Wild Women are.
The fainthearted need not be alarmed. as a huge amount of audience participation is not demanded. However.A Bi! ()fHuffln Your Gusset is a show that can only really succeed ifthe audience are willing to become a little more than spectators. From opening canapes to closing credits. this is essentially a pleasant and entertaining way to spend an hour. (Vicky Senior).
I A Bit Of Fluff In Your Gusset (Fringe) Wild Women Of Brixton. Pleasance (Venue 33). 556 6550.11-27 Aug. 9.30pm. £3.50 (£2.50).
GOD AND JESUS
God and Jesus are comedy's answer to Gilbert and George: poker faced. morose and cxasperatingly intriguing. Half the attraction is trying to fathom whether they‘re for real. Their humour ranges from the surreal to the puerile. delivered with deadpan panache.
’._ I; ,' K II
To wander intotheir show unawares would be a pleasant suprise. but after all the hype. l was rather disappointed. The much publicised violence was non existent. and their alter egos. Alan and Ray. ruined the second halfof their set. The first halfis as distinctive as it is zany. the second. a muddle. God and Jesus would work much better in a compilation show. Here. there‘s precious little atmosphere for them to kill. When they‘re being themselves. God and Jesus know noequal. They'll do better shows than this. (William Cook) I God & Jesus (Fringe) Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550. ltlAug—Z Sept. midnight. £4 (£3).
The List 18—24 August 198915