Phil Cool and Craig Ferguson spout their comic philosophies (below) with new playsin Clydebank. Glasgow and Edinburgh (overleaf).
LISTINGS 48 CABAHET 51 DANCE 52
Ross Parsons swaps a grimace or two with old pliable pus, Phil Cool.
With a face as ﬂexible as a lump ofwarm plasticine. Phil Cool was a natural for a mimic. Not unnaturally. he prefers to see it a different way. ‘I had the (mis)fortune to be born looking like Patrick McGoohan of The Prisoner. It were good though. 'cause when The Prisoner were showing and l were on holiday in Wales. I could really freak them out. I‘d just go down the chemists and say. ‘Give us a packet of razor blades please.’ and then yell. ‘and how do I get
It is his expansive and imaginative range of impersonations (McGoohan included). limited only by the need for the audience to have some universally recognisable characters to identify. that has fulfilled the quiet ex-electrician‘s ambition ofbecoming an entertainer playing in mainstream theatres. Now people are paying just to see him. a great improvement on the old days when he faced the possibility ofdying on stage in
unsuitable club venues.
For someone in the often glib world of showbiz
he comes across as a particularly thoughtful individual. That he has an unusual commitment to his political beliefs was underlined by the donation of the profits from his last tour to Greenpeace. However he insists that he gets in
: 7. 30pm.
only a few digs during the show and does not indulge in tub-thumping or finger-waving. ‘Mv problem with politics is that I tend to go in at the deep end. I find all politicians are ridiculous. I follow the maxim that to want power is in itself corrupt. I suppose being an entertainer I do get more time to ponder on these things. But I'm not sure that it‘s really the sort of thing that lends itselfto comedy.‘
Now nearing the end of another mammoth tour | of Britain. the comedian. who leaves a deeper impression than most. has been contorting his pliable pus to resemble the features of(‘live James. James T. Kirk. Rolfllarris and Arthur Seargill. some ofwhom have been to see themselves being mimicked. ‘Rolf l larris came to see me in Reading. He was great. we went for a curry after. He didn’t mind the impersonation at all. We ended up talking about gigs he‘d 'done in the Outback. Rik Mayall came. and I did my impersonation of him - his kids said they liked it anyway— and Mike Harding. I‘ve known for ages. I did him once on TV. but he never really mentioned it.‘ An avid tourer. though avowedly unenthusiastic about TV appearances. his shows in Glasgow and Edinburgh provide a chance to see him at his best. (Ross Parsons)
I Phil Cool wi/lbe Glasgow Pavilion 2i). 2/ Nov. 7. 30pm and Edinburgh King '5 Theatre 26 .\'oi'.
In a hotel room in Stoke-on-Trent, Craig Ferguson is getting evangelical about comedy. ‘Stand-up is about glory,‘ he says. ‘lt’s like seeing Firhill lull - like yellow and red scarves— it’s as glorious as that. It should be about that and not about table-and-chair gigs. ldon’t like the word ‘cabaret’. I like ‘comedy’. Comedy’s got to be special. It cannae be somebody who just walks up on the stage with jeans on. I want a big shiney suit— a big showbiz introduction. I used to hate all that, now I really love it.‘
‘lt’s a piss-take oi showbiz as well,‘ Ferguson concedes, ‘but I do like making an event. Everybody has a good time.’
He promises good times a plenty when he arrives at the Pavilion on the last night oi his current tour— his lorth outing in two years. ‘Glasgow's got to be one of the maddest and wildest gigs ever,' he says. ‘I can getaway with nothing in Glasgow. I have to keep working all the time. At the same time
the kind at aliection you get there is something to behold — I don‘t want to get all wanky about it, but it's true, you can tell a Glasgow audience.
‘I’ve got a very special surprise coming up iorthe last night,’ he promises secretively, so I make a guess at Paul McCartney. ‘That big,‘ he says, ‘a bit at a corker. Like Paul McCartney, but much lunnier.’ (Mark Fisher).
Craig Ferguson is at the Pavilion, Glasgow, 12 Nov.
The Traverse Theatre has, lor the past lew seasons, been trying to put meat on the bones at its reputation as a showground lor new talent by sponsoring the theatrical ellorts of young playwrights underthe banner at ‘Springboard Productions’.
The latest of these is the Greenawayesque titled ’Beverly’s Butcher’ by Mary Cassidy. Cassidy has been conlident enough not only to write but also direct heriirst play. A Welles in the making?
‘The people at The Traverse have
helped me a lot with the development at the script. They originally had doubts about me directing because it’s difficult to be objective about your own play; but I managed to convince them that I could do it.’ After mulling over The Traverse‘s publicity blurb for a day
or two, lwondered it anyone otherthan the author could successlully interpret Beverly’s Butcher. I asked Mary just how weird her play really is.
‘lt’s got very surreal aspects to it. There‘s a dream sequence running through the whole play which shows the grotesque aspects ol the characters. I enjoy having the lreedom to develop my own ideas like this. Acting is a very passive part at the process whereas writing and direction
gives you much more control over creativity.‘
With Mary already having had an alter tor a translation ol her play lrom a German theatre company it looks as it she’ll be able to exercise her imagination tor the loreseeable luture. (Philip Parr)
Beverly's Butcherwill be at The Traverse Theatre Tue 21-Sun 26 Nov 7.30pm.
The List 10—- 23 November Nb“) 45