before, or waking to find your face in last night‘s carry-out pizza.

After fixing a round of Bloody Marys for sufferers in the audience. the charming McCarthy gives us the medical facts about booze and its effects. offering tips, (from the practical to the ridiculous) about the prevention and cure ofthe hangover. There is an irreverent and amusing look at some ofthe historical. cultural. social and medical attitudes to alcohol (‘all doctors are pissheads. . . they need to do something while they're smoking‘). Spiced with personal anecdotes of binges abroad, from having his legs run over while comatosed in Corfu to a Mescalin ‘trip‘ in the Grand Canyon. there‘s never a dull moment.

lntoxicating humour for dipsomaniacs everywhere who are suffering a thick head from the night before. (Robert Alstead) I The Hangover Show (Fringe) Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428. until 1 Sept (not 20. 27).12 noon. £5 (£4).


The Cambridge Footlights have everything going for them a reputation. a good venue. a receptive audience, talented comedians and polish. But they have had all this for a long time. What they

' really need is something

It‘s all very well being directed by John Dryden. but he was a 605 Footlight,

, now he's a90spro.

Student and synthetic humour sit unhappin together. Jokes about Berkoff and mockery of the Royal Family both miss the target.

Tame when it comesto

f satire the show is best ' when it exploits the basic

comic abilities ofthe performers. It goes well with a

- couple ofdrinks. It's slick

cabaret. It‘s the Footlights. It just isn‘t that funny. (Harriet Swain)

I Absurd Persons Plural

l (Fringe) The Gilded

Balloon Theatre (Venue 38) 226 2151 , until 20 Aug, 9pm. £5 (£4).


From the moment Tom Robinson walks on stage , one instinctively knows he is a friend. Ironically, the man who shocked the Establishment in the 705 with his self-assertive, aggressive renditions of ‘Glad to be Gay’, is as mild-mannered and self-effacing a musician as one could find.

In the audience there is a feeling of camaraderie as Robinson tunes up, passing comment on whatever springs to mind.

The audience love it, and by the end we are all

clapping away to some of i

his best songs: War Baby, Blood Brother, and of course Glad to be Gay. Part of the pleasure of watching Robinson is derived from his versatility. In this show, with the talented Janette Mason on piano, he found room for everything, from : covers of Cole Porter and Lou Reed to a country and 1 western number. This is entertainment at its finest. (Aaron Hicklin) I Moonlightlng -Tbe Tom Robinson Show (Fringe), Assembly Rooms (Venue 3), 226 2428, until 18Aug. 11.45pm, £6.50 (£5.50).



Alternative comedy has never been lacking on the fringe, and The Gilded Balloon Theatre has without doubt become one ofits permanent homes, this year hosting the excellent Jo Brand and' her colleagues Patrick Marber and James Macabre.

All three provide an evening that is funny, perceptive and relaxed. creating an atmosphere that'wouldn‘t be out of place in a unisexjacuzzi. This sort of humour is not only liberating (whoever you are) but also very funny. inveighing heavily against the middle class, the English and men, from whose ranks many ofthe ‘right on‘ audience are likely to be compiled.

A few ofthe lines are ageing. but the delivery is as fresh as ever and watch out for the kazoo in the nostril. I guarantee. one ofthe most arresting. if not revolting, sights ofthis year's fringe. (Aaron Hicklin)

I Brand, Marber, Macabre (Fringe) The Gilded Balloon Studio (Venue 38) 226 2151. until 1 Sept. 8.30pm, £5 (£4).


The seductive love songs and suggestive facial expressions of Earl Okin leave you wondering whether to laugh or cry. or both. The sophisticated English eccentric once again offers a calm, safe port in the choppy, uncharted seas of the Fringe night or day.

Earl has a silky smooth voice and a vast musical knowledge, which he demonstrates on guitar, piano and his infamous vocal/nasal trumpet. Between songs he chats about his musical exploits which began in the 605, and some of the drawbacks of life at the


piano stool. With jazz standards, a comic Cockney ditty and an angry version of My Way the man in spats is a truly unique act. (Konrad Manning)

I Earl Okln Sex Symbol ol the 908 (Fringe) Greyfriars Kirk House (Venue 28) 225 3626, until lSept. 8.32pm.£4.50 (£4).

I Earl Okln's Altemoon Allair (Fringe) The Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550,17—19,24—27,31 Aug-l Sept, 3.35pm, £4 (£3).


1990, and The Oxford Revue has got a woman! The joke has not escaped them. She is given a whole sketch to exploit it!

Though favourite characters reappear with a regularity that has implications other than mere affection, this is definitely better than the average revue. It is coherent sketches loosely on a theme of ‘faking it’ are tied together by a variety of neat links; and clever - scenarios quickly built up, held just long enough to grab you, and then smartly undercut. The emphasis is on perceptive probing rather than tastelessness and cheap tricks.

It is pretty funny too. . . (Catherine Fellows) I Thrash (Fringe) The Oxford Theatre Group. Overseas House (Venue 19) 225 5105), until 1 Sept (not Tues and Aug 30), 10.15pm, (17—19. 24—27 Aug, 11.30pm). £4.50 (£3.50).


As one of London‘s most respected comics, Bob Boyton brings his first solo show to an unsuspecting Fringe. The boot certainly goes in with brutal honesty of the type unlikely to receive a Perrier nomination. While other comedians are liable to compromise their material, Bob remains the most challenging and risk-taking.

With an engaging and sometimes dramatic style , he is constantly checking the political tolerance, level of the audience. He explains his Marxist view of football, how there are more demands made on comedians than any other artistes and deals with racism, sexuality and

homophobia passionately and sensitively. He makes no bones about who the enemy is. Other comics will seem pale by comparison. (Konrad Manning)

I Bob Boyton (Fringe) Hill Street Theatre (Venue 41) 225 7294. until 25 Aug

(not20),7.05pm,£4(£3). ; _ i FRIENDS OFTHE


Humour is hard at 3pm,

when the majority ofthe

audience is sober. But Friends ofthe Famous survive, with occasional flashes of brilliance. in an otherwise ‘workmanlike


Using sketch ‘n‘ song format. the main

characters, Derek and

Dierdre, dominate with

love-hate middle-class

hysterics reminiscent of French and Saunders. The players, Alastair Collingwood and Gerry McNulty. are better known for their BBC Radio comedy. and won a Fringe First last year.

But the show loses something in the visual translation from radio toa live act. Close your eyes and it might be funnier. (Adrian Searle)

I Friends oi the Famous (Fringe).The Gilded Balloon Theatre Studio. 233 Cowgate (Venue 38) Until 1 Sept. 3pm.£4.5() (£3.50).


Mary Lou Fallis returns for another year still . touting the fact that she is ‘Canada's best loved comedienne‘. Has this been proved? Has there been a Gallop poll? lsthis merely a wild figment of Ms Fallis' publicist?

The only affirmative answer to any of the above posers would seem to be applied to the last one. It is stretching truth a little even to describe Ms Fallis as a comedienne. She ;

1 makes some wry observations on the world of opera but no more than one would receive as incidental anecdotes in an evening of light music at The Savoy.

So, comedienne she is not. but beautifully polished and professional performer she most certainly is. Her attention to the slightest details of gesture and enunciation are a delight and she picks some of the most accessible operatic pieces to sing. Don‘t go expecting rip-roaring comedy but go nonetheless. (Philip Parr) I Primadonna (Fringe) Mary Lou Fallis. The Pleasance (Venue 33). 556 6550, until 22 Aug (not 16, 20). 8.30pm. £6 (£5).


After the first few minutes of Fanshawe. you get this nagging question at the back of your mind: ‘Who does this man remind me of'?‘ It‘s closely followed by surprise at how mainstream his act has become. He sets up an early rapport with the audience. by having a gentle go at Keith and Sheila in the front row. and keeps it going with plenty of that ‘l lello. what‘s your name. where are you from?‘ stuff. that has your mind telling you ‘it'sJim Bowen. it‘sJim Bowen‘ but then he says something about not fancying being fucked by men with tattoos so you think again.

Fanshawe talks about his sexuality in exactly the same way asJim Davidson. except with the gender and body parts reversed. so we get lots of ‘l'm no good at football, but I can score in the changing room' type of cracks that you either find

disappointing or subversive. but either way, rather tedious after a while.

Fanshawe is glib. reasonably amusing. and just occasionally. very funny indeed. Somehow, though. there is something distasteful about the way he feeds off his audience. something slightly smarmy and insincere about his banter with the unemployed lads. Then you get it: Simon Fanshawe is Leslie Crowther. (Tom Lappin) I Simon Fanshawe's Headlines (Fringe). Assembly Rooms (Venue

3) 226 2428. until 25 Aug. 8.30pm, £6 (£5).

32 The List 17— 23 August 1990