‘Let (ilasgow flourish by the preaching of the w ord.‘ goes St Mungo‘s civic motto. and the word as far as Mayfest is concerned is ‘popular'. A people‘s Festival is the idea. apparently. or as the Festival Director Bill Burdett—(‘outts more grandly puts it: ‘Mayfest is a symbol of the city‘s creative energy. founded on people. artists and public alike. and one which ex'tols our ‘popular’ title.‘

Reading between the lines. of course. when they say popular they‘re meaning ‘not as snooty as that Edinburgh Festival.” Well. comparisons are invidious. but there is no comparison in this case. Mavfest is not an event that takes over the whole city in a way that the Edinburgh Fringe does. This has its blessings. You are unlikely to he accosted by a unicycling ()xbridge student in clown‘s costume thrusting leaflets at you as you walk down

Buchanan Street. On the other hand Mayfest lacks the ‘in the naked city there are eight million shows‘ aspect ofthe Fringe that makes it such an Event. So ifanyone tells you that Mayfest is (ilasgow‘s answer to the Edinburgh Festiyal. laugh politely. and Check the programme.

You'll find theatre that looks. well. interesting enough I suppose. without aspiring to anything as ridiculously ambitious as last year's Philip Glass folly [000 Airplanes ()n The Roof. Slightly worrying is the post-.S'Ieamic obsession with plays about working-class (ilasgow life. (.‘ommunity productions are particularly guilty in this respect. It seems that a general attitude that Glasgow is the centre of the universe and a fondness for dialogue along the lines of ‘lt wiz the heyvy that dun me in. so it wiz. pure mental by the way. come oan the ‘(iers' has the critics scurrying to admire the writer‘s

gritty depiction ofgrim reality and their ear for the rhythms of language.

Rather holder is Mayfest‘s coverage of dance. With no less than British premieres. and some of the most innovative new liuropean dance troupes performing. Mayfest can be proud of its dance programme. Unfortunately. the terpsichorean art has not always been the most ‘popular’ of attractions. ‘1 ley Shug. 'l‘he 'tic won today. d'ya fancy celebrating with a spot of the old Desiree Delauney and Boris (iet'rets in lei. .llainmmnr ()11 1111711115. Apparently it's a seductive. enigmatic. intriguing duel.‘ Maybe not.

(‘omedy offers rather more for the masses. Mayfest promises plenty to laugh at. in a programme that looks somehow familiar. limo Philips. Stephen Frost and Sean llughes. Will Durst. Julian (‘lary. Pieter l)irk

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Wim Vandekeybus: The Barers of Bad News. itchetl Theatre. Sun 13 May.

Uys oh yes. the Assembly Rooms last August. Bill Burdett-(‘outts’ dictum seems to be ‘Why book ‘em for one Festival when you can hook em for two'." Still it would be churlish to knock such a programme. which offers (ilaswegians the chance to see some of the best in comedy. at prices rather cheaper than the Assembly Rooms were Charging.

Ignore the hype. forget the comparisons with Edinburgh. and accept Mayfest for what it is: a relatively cheap and cheerful event offering plenty of opportunities for a good night out. and a few interesting new works. Let's face it this ‘popular' tag is a red herring. Every time (‘eltic play Rangers they attract a popular audience beyond Bill Burdett-(‘outts‘ most optimistic projections. That's true (ilasgow popular culture. ('l’om Lappin)

The List 4 l7 May 19909