them, and did this Andrews Sisters routine with three guys. On the night this one guy got cold feet and pulled out. I wasn’t about to have all my time and work wasted so I stood in for him. It was a phenomenal success, and we went on to form an act called The Disappointer Sisters which was very popular.’

The secret of success, thinks Bundy, lies in the ability to enjoy being the character. ‘I co-presented a television series called Club X,’ he says. ‘It started off being rather wonderful, but after 22 weeks of not being allowed to be myself it became a nightmare. I became a man in a dress interviewing people. That doesn’t work. That’s not what it’s all about.’

Ofthe two, Bundy’s show is the less contentious. although he’s prepared for a lively Festival audience reaction. ‘It’s basically this woman telling her memoirs,’ he explains. ‘If there is something that a member of the audience doesn’t understand, I hope they’ll feel relaxed enough to say so, and then I can try and explain it again.’ Savage, meanwhile, despite building an ever-increasing following, still has her critics. The act has been accused of sexism, a view he fiercely disputes. ‘I don’t consider Lily to be offensive to women. I am not a misogynist,

and I refuse to use offensive phrases such as “fish”, a slang term for a female, in the act. As far as I am concerned, Lily Savage is a woman. She is a character I play. How can a man talk about a coil? It’d be stupid, and just wouldn’t wash, I have to make people think that I am this “cartoon tart” called Lily Savage?

This cartoon tart’s coil antics were, however, inspired by a very real lady. ‘Oh yeah,’ laughs Savage, ‘my aunty, she was a wonderful woman. I remember I’d gone to visit her one day, and found her lying on the couch, with her curlers in. I asked her what was wrong, and she said that she’d just had her coil out. I roared with laughter at the thought ofthis coil being about ten foot long or something, and she screamed “What’s funny about that? I’m in fucking agony here”. I had to include it in the act.’

By nature ofthe character, the limitations placed on Regina are more stringent than the anything-goes approach of Lily, but he too is aware of the charge of sexism. ‘I don’t like blue stuff, nothing racist,’ he says. ‘I don’t think I’m sexist. I like everyone to be able to have a good time, without anyone being upset or offended.’

In contrast, Lily has the edge in the vulgarity stakes, but even she, er, he has limits. ‘There’s only really one taboo subject

AIDS,’ says Savage. ‘I refuse to do AIDS jokes, although there are a lot of acts who do. Any one of us could have it tomorrow, and people don’t want to hear about that. They want to be taken away from it. I’ve stood in the audience and heard an act ask, “Do you think I’ve lost weight? I’m slimming with Ayds” What’s funny about that? Acts with material like that should be booed offthe stage.’

What, then, do audiences find attractive about Lily? ‘I think they feel they can trust her, some even believe that she is “real”,’ he continues. ‘I’m always being asked if Bunty and Jason. my imaginary kids, are OK. One person once asked me if I could shoplift them a microwave for Christmas I’d drop dead ifI had to go shoplifting, but they still think, “Ask Lily, she can get you anything”.’

The Live Experience (Fringe) Lily Savage, Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 220 4349, 9—31 Aug, midnight, £6/f7 (LS/£6).

Regina Fong, Last ofthe Romanoffs (Fringe) Traverse Theatre (Venue I5) 226 2633, 15—17, 22—24, 29—31 Aug, midnight, £8 (£4).

La Gran Scena Opera Company (Fringe) Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 220 4349, 9—31 Aug, 6pm, £7/£8 (£5.50/£O.50).

The List 9— 15 August 199119