Ennio Marchetto appears as a grotesque figure in black lycra and heavy make-up. His act consists ofa series ofquick changes into a variety of ingeniously devised paper costumes to mime to voice-overs of the great camp icons ofthe 20th century. from Mae West to Madonna (so that‘s what she’s aiming for) with a few ofthe more effete male pop stars thrown in for good

Although the costumes are wonderful and some of the visual gags are good. most ofthe pleasure derived from the performance comes from the brilliance of the songs rather than the brilliance of Marchetto. In the end watching him is like watching the Joan Collins Fan Club without the repartee. (Frances Cornford)

I Ennio Marchetto (Fringe). Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550. until 1 Sept (notThurs). 11.30pm. £4.50 (£3.50).


This group bounce onto the stage in the manner of some of the worst ofthe student reviewites. There the comparison ends. for whilst displaying little more polish than a GPO mail van. Spontaneous Combustion have the talent to keep their constantly evolving script constantly funny.

There is a neat division ofthe show into the familiar games and a lengthy play. The latter gives the five cast members a great chance to ' show off and they grasp the opportunity with delight. A seemingly incongruous group of characters. sketched by the audience. are relentlessly drawn together. This

accomplishment takes supreme ingenuity and merits applause in its own right. The fact that the one-liners come thick and fast and the pace never slackens is awe-inspiring. (Unfortunately. there‘s little chance for you to appreciate your awe being inspired for you are too busy laughing). (Philip Parr)

I True Confessions (Fringe) Spontaneous Combustion. The Gilded Balloon (Venue 38). 226 2151.until l Sept.4pm. £4.50 (£3.50).



Without doubt. one ofthe


funniest acts onthe fringe.

John Hegly unassumingly ambles up to the

microphone and mumbles

‘ahmm' in a way that no other comedian could get away with. Heckles abound and suddenly he is transformed from train spotter to mass murderer. heeklers destroyed so

completely and instantly

as to make them wish they had never been born.

Then.having achieved

; complete silence from a

' packed late night

audience. he opens with a

poem about the Glasgow Suspension Bridge. Consisting of approximately two-thirds new material. this show comes highly recommended to

newcomers and fans alike.

the only possible criticism

4 being that it is too short.

Someone give this man a Perrier award. (Paul Maverick)

I John Hegly (Fringe). The Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428. until

2 lSept. 10.15pm.£6(£5)-


There is much to enjoyin Mark Steel‘s relaxed yet

relentless repertoire. His subjects are personal and

political and his humour

often strikes close to


His impersonation of


First there was ‘At Home with The Hardys' and now ‘The Hardys' Caledonian Adventure'. The alternative Terry and June? Well, not quite but Hardy and Hollerbach do seem to be veering increasingly towards a

homely, comfortable ieel. This would seem to indicate that the dominant partner is, against the odds, Jeremy, whose cherubic iace and smart attire camoullage wit (and politics) of steely


j Shacklng up with that altematlve comedy woman probably provided his mom with her greatest shock since he announced the inialllbillty of perpetual revolution theory. But she'll be pleased to see that they are both doing well enough for themselves virtually to give Edinburgh a miss this year. (Philip

Jeremy Hardy and Kit Hollerbach I (Fringe) Assembly Rooms (Venue 3), 226 2428,16-18 Aug, 9.15pm, £6 (£5).

the Labour leader is a highlight and anything is possible from the animated characters and accents at which he excels. Will the second-hand car salesman convince you about the health ofthe economy"? Seaside entertainers and pub singers are convincingly sent up when he takesto the piano keys.

Time. not energy. is the only thing which brings his inexhaustible solo set to a close. Mark Steel offers more than most stand ups and is a master of mimicry. (Konrad Manning).

I Mark Steel (Fringe)The Gilded Balloon (Venue 38) 226 2151 . until 1 Sept. 10. 15pm. £5 (£4).


Aland George. who were 5 originally billed to appear

with Ron Vaudry. are. according to their press release. too busy

respectively. selling coffee beans in Nicaragua and preparing an ‘Elvis Lives In My Guitar Show‘. to make it.

Devastated as l wasto hear this news. the show has its compensations in the form ofHartland Williams laid back manner. ‘Guaranteed to offend'. he considers nothing sacred. covering topics as diverse as sex. religion. politics. ecology and Elvis and pauses only to display his hate of heeklers.

See it! (Paul Maverick) I Stand-Up Canada (Fringe) The Gilded Balloon (Venue 38) 226 2151.until 1 Sept. midnight. £5 (£4).


Whoever put David Baddiel on to open for Denis Leary has an eye for contrasts. Baddiel delivered a polished set packed with British preoccupations like football. Germans and Henry Kelly. All fairly prejudiced stuff but no preparation for the chain-smoking American whose dictionary doesn‘t contain the word ‘taboo'. Jerking off in front of the Queen, Barry Manilow's sexual predilections, and the contents of the Queen Mother‘s colostomy bag are just some of the topics offered for inspection by Leary, a man seemingly

I obsessed by tumours. cancers. death and ' disease. He has an ability

to tune into his audiences‘ taste for sickness and depravity that causes instant suspension of right-on attitudes. He is also very. very funny. Nasty as well, with his cracks about Teddy Kennedy‘s driving and the Queen's unattractivencss. (‘Do you reckon she straps on a black dildo and dances naked around Buckingham Palace singing. ‘l‘m the fucking Queen"? No, I guess not.‘). Leary admits he‘s going to hell. Catch him en route. but leave your finer sensibilities at the door. (Tom Lappin)

I No Cure For Cancer (Fringe) Denis Leary. Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428. Until 18 Aug. 10. 15pm. £7 (£6).


The Australian Invasion continues with Fringe first-timers Blind Faith. at the Comedy Room. Liz Sadler and Simon Thorpe (the policeman from Flying Doctors) combine character and stand-up in intelligent. original and wickedly funny performances.

Sadler‘s guru gives wheelchair incantations. answers questions and sells merchandise, to enlighten the mysteries of the New Age, while ‘Blind Boy Billy‘ proves that man‘s best friends are the

slide guitar and a guide dog on wheels.

The duo charm and captivate with a brand of sardonic eloquence that

shows there is still life outside the Assembly Rooms. Puts your faith back in the Fringe! (Adrian Searle)

I Blind FOIIII (Fringe) The Comedy Room (Venue 67) 556 0499, until 1 Sept. 9pm, £4 (£3).


Sean Hughes again has the courage to try something different on the Fringe with One Night Stand, a bold stream of consciousness, reminiscence and neurosis. with a hungover and lovesick Hughes offering us some glimpses of his relationships with loved ones past present and future.

This could have been frustrating for devotees of Hughes’ straight stand-up style. where surreal one-liners are interspersed with hilarious anecdotes, but he never allows the format of the show to become too restricting. instead using it as a platform for some brilliant routines about his childhood. and particularly his relationship with his father. There's always been plenty oftruth in Hughes‘ best jokes, and some of this material manages to be simultaneously slightly disturbing and uproaringly funny. More than once he achieves a degree of poignancy before pulling us back from the edge with a nicely-timed touch of bathos. One Night Stand is a bold new venture in Fringe comedy. and Sean Hughes a star. (Tom Lappin)

I A One Night Stand With Sean Hughes (Fringe) The Gilded Balloon (Venue 38) 226 2151, until 1 Sept (not Mondays). £4.50 (£3.50)


Pete McCarthy has got hold of an infallible source of good comic material with the pain. the shock. and the horror ofthe morning after. Those cringing moments of embarrassment when you remember the drunken abandonment of the night

The List 17 - 23 August 1990 31