For a relatively fresh face on the stand-up scene, Karl MacDermott has already collected some impressive plaudits. ‘Shades of Woody Allen, Groucho Marx and Lenny Bruce‘ according to the Irish Press; while the Irish News
compared his ‘manic delivery’ to that
of Robin Williams. It‘s a combination which has won MacDermott the enthusiastic support of Perrier-man Sean Hughes, not to mention a three-week run at the Gilded Balloon for his first Fringe visit. MacDermott describes his new show as ‘sort of a hodgepodge of Ireland, Hollywood. Bolivia and old war criminals. About a third ofit is new material.‘ he explains. ‘along with bits from my previous two shows. One involved a guy in a bed-sit talking about his life in Ireland, the other was about a guy in a toilet. I‘ve mixed the two of them up and sent him to Bolivia to stay with his pen-pal Klaus Barbie in his toilet.‘ The visit coincides with a birthday party for Klaus‘ brother Bobbie, ex-singing cowboy and 305 movie star. and provides the springboard for bathroom musings
on shredded wheat. Chad Everett
and growing up in Ireland.
The idiosyncrasies of Irish life provide a rich vein of inspiration for MacDermott‘s shows. although he sees many ofthem as far from funny in actuality. ‘lreland is the Albania ofthese islands; it‘s so backwards. It‘s just a joke — we still don‘t have divorce over here, we still have trouble with bits of rubber - it‘s almost too ripe for ridicule. That‘s one reason we‘ve never had home-grown comedy on TV. because people are still so sensitive about attacks on the Catholic Church. or on the incompetent way the government runs the country.‘
In common with several other shows on offer from Fringe comedians this time around. MacDermott‘s is a comic play rather than a pure stand-up routine. He
sees this as a developing trend in cabaret/comedy, and one he welcomes. ‘Stand-up comedy in itself is very limiting — you have to make sure you get a laugh every line. With a longer, more theatre-based show you can develop themes, there‘s more breathing space to build up gags, and a lot more chance to act; it‘s a different set of rules. There are an awful lot ofstand-up comics who are great for ten minutes or so, but you wouldn‘t want to watch them for an hour. Theatre-based stand-up shows give you the freedom to go all over the place. you‘re not restricted to being one man and his mike.‘ (Sue Wilson)
I An Aiternoon With Klaus Barbie’s Penpal (Fringe) Karl MacDermott. Gilded Balloon Theatre (Venue 38) 226 2151, 9—31 Aug (not Mons). 1.30pm, £4 (£3).
based in any kind oi objectivity. The establishment newspapers have their own interests and they tend to write trom that perspective —I don’t think I’m
Sue Wilson surveysthe cream oi aiter~lunch entertainment.
I Tomorrow We Do The Sky Acclaimed actor Michael Meats makes his first foray into writing with a comic tale oflife in a factory canteen. in which he plays all five characters.
Tomorrow We Do The Sky ( Fringe ), Michael Mears, Traverse Theatre (Venue15), 226 2633, 2pm (13—18Aug); 7.45pm (20—25 Aug); noon (27—31 £4).
l Normal: The Dusseldort Ripper Continuingthis year's fixation with serial killers. Anthony Neilson‘s grimly intense drama focuses on the 1931 trialof anti-hero Peter Kurten.
Normal: The Dusseldorf
Ripper (Fringe) Psychopathia Sexualis, Pleasance ( Venue33), 556 6550, 7—31 Aug (notll, 18,27), 2pm, Mon—Thurs £4 (£2.50); Fri—Sun £4.50
being unkind or overly cynical to say (£3)- h that a lot at critics would rather be :x‘iwepmllnl‘r'll‘hx'aus F 0 m e - writing about Barabara Cartland. So mam :1: £58“? 173i)!"
; no, ldon’t agree with that entirely. . . . Finished your
- . MacDermottas he b me? Good ‘ , l However, I do know that when you wrlte narrates a weird and ' at o “'8' An entire communirygas shattered, | 5 about people, you do it as iaithiully as wonderful tale from the 1M know 010000"! Who dled from i you can. You don’t make them toilet of Barbie's Bolivian mm m: heartbreak, people who committed ; statements at some great truth you hideaway. . Remember, suicide. Those who survived carried ‘i believe in, you write about them warts An Afternoon With Klaus nothing aids
the scars oi what happened ior many years.’ Writer Bonnie Govender is recalling the evictions irom Cato
and all.’ While agreeing that much has changed since the Cato Manor
Barbie's Penpal (Fringe), Gilded Balloon Theatre (Venue38), 2262151, 9—31Aug. 1.30pm, £4
digestion like a
spot oi culture.
worship. At the end oi the day what
-' happened there showed a total
disregard ior human lite. It’s happened
all over South Airica, the same scenario repeated, and a lot has been
3 written about it, but I had iirst-hand
Manor, the Durban suburb where he was born. It was declared a white area during the 503, whereupon more than 160,000 people were uprooted and scattered throughout the townships. Govender’s play At The Edge
evictions, Govender remains somewhat sceptical about talk oi a ‘new South Airica’. ‘The devastation lingers,’ he says. ‘In the townships you have a legacy oi massive poverty, illiteracy and homelessness, so irom
I Circus OZ Thrills, skills and hopefully no spills with the sensational talents of this new-style (no animals) circus from
commemorates the community and its destruction in a series oi iour short sketches, using characters and incidents he remembers irom his youth.
‘The people in Cato Manor were descendants oi indentured labourers who had come over irom India,’ explains Govender. ‘They had somehow created ior themselves a little niche, a viable community despite the tremendous odds against them. They were paid a pittance ior working on the sugar plantations— I’m talking now about my grandparents, and great-grandparents’ generations- but they managed to build solid homes tor themselves, they built all their shops, schools, their places at
1 experience oi this instance; I’d known
those people, so I decided to write
: about it.’
The tour scenes in the play highlight various aspects at community liie — a drunken argument between brothers, the exorcism at a woman possessed by spirits (Govender witnessed such an incident as a boy), a challenge to the boasttul local strongman and one man’s last stand as the bulldozers iinally move in. The Eastern Province Herald described the play as ‘essentially light-hearted’. A iair assessment? ‘I don’t agree with a great deal oi the criticism which is written,’ says Govender somewhat wryly. ‘One oi the problems we have in South Airica is that we don’t have a critical tradition
i that perspective things haven’t
5 changed that much. Where they have
changed is in the sense that people are
now acknowledging the tact that they
have destroyed lite, and also that the political struggle is no longer
underground. These are good signs, at
? course, but I don’t think we should get carried away by them -you just have to
look at what’s been happening
. recently. In many respects, although
i the scenario has eased a bit,
' iundamentally we still have a long way
' to go beiore we can talk at any real
: change.’ (Sue Wilson)
At the Edge (Fringe) Baxter Theatre, | Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 220 4349, 1 9-18 Aug, 2pm, 26m (25/26).
I Circus 02 (Fringe), 1 Assembly at the Meadows
(Venue 116), 220 4349,
9—31Aug, 2pm (9—11,
16—18. 23—25, 30, 3] Aug);
Aug); 7.30pm (11, 18, 25 Aug). £7.50 ([5). lAtThe Edge Baxter Theatre from South Africa present stories of an Indian community torn apart by the Cato Manor evictions in 1958. leaving scars which still linger today.
At The Edge (Fringe).
Baxter Theatre, Assembly
Rooms (Venue3), 220 4349, 9—18 A ug, 2pm, [O
The List 9— 15 August 1991