‘We’ve done San Francisco, we’ve done Los Angeles, we’ve done all of these places,’ says Bob Mlllner, ‘but he had to put in Moscow, didn’t be. It’s so funny, he just has to exaggerate.’
Millner sees something else awry in the press release for his new show with
/partner, Tom Miles, Legends On The
Edge of The Millennium. The press
officer has latched onto the tact that the
boys have been commissioned to write
a musical version of Somerset Maugham’s Three Fat Women Of Antibes. Unfortunately the agent has called the show, Three Fat Ladies 0t Entlbe and presumably thinks that it’s the story oi a feminist commando mission into Uganda.
In spite oi the successful radio show, the torthcoming nights on (or, at least,
just off) Broadway and the Cailtornian gigs, Rob Millner does not come across as the archetypal ‘made-it’ comedian.
‘l'm hopeless at selling myself because I think we’re shit. I can’t understand when people start laughing orwhat the hell they’re laughing at really.’
This may be the last occasion when Edinburgh audiences can catch Miles and Mlllner. Not expeciaily because they are carving out success elsewhere, but more because the latter hall of the duo is losing his eagerness. ‘The less ambitious I get the more things seem to go right. When I started out I wanted to be a star and all that, but I’m sick oi it now. The last thing I want to do is go on stage. That’s what’s strange about comedy, the more you hate it the more you make people laugh, it’s ridiculous.
Ominous words indeed. Tom Miles, take note. (Philip Parr)
Legends on the Edge of The Millennium (Fringe) Miles and Mlllner, The Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550, 9—31 Aug (not 13, 29), 10.15pm, 26/2650 (25/2650).
Arthur Smith has a line, ‘You know ’what I really hate?’, and then, pointing at some poor sap in the front row, ‘You, I really, really hate you!’. it gets a laugh every time, but Arthur is having less and less opportunity to practise it. 1990 saw the premier ol The Live Bed Show and this year, in addition to that show’s return, he has two new comedies, Trench Kiss and An Evening With Gary Lineker on the Fringe. The stand-up seems to have, temporarily, sat-down. His comedies are said to embrace sex, death, war, drinking and iootbali but not necessarily in that order. ,
‘l've cast my net quite wide,’ explains Smith. ‘The Gary Lineker is really what you might call an alternative larce, but Trench Kiss is a more experimental play. I’m aiming to get laughs in both oi them but it’s sort oi deeper.’
“Caroline 0uentin’s in both oi the plays,’ he continues, ‘and is very beautiful, she's just reminded me; tucked it I can see it myselt. That football game, 27 million people or whatever, it was extraordinary the amount of emotion it generated. I thought it you set live people watching it in a room you could have a series oi relationships being played out that are mirrored in some way by the game.’
Trench Kiss has a yet more surreal plot involving a time travelling World War One soldier and a mid-80s career woman. ‘lt’s set in 1988 not 1991 ,’ says Smith, ‘because lthink that, in a way, the First World War ended in 1989
when the Berlin Wall came down. Sol
Arthur Smith (lett)
wanted to compare those two worlds and to wonder what sort oi effect the First World War had on us now. I wanted to explore how our lailure to imagine those sort of things tucks us up. Now I’m sounding really
It not pretentious, then Smith is certainly beginning to sound like a ' playwright. But his closing comment on f An Evening With Gary Lineker gives a hint that not all ol his comedy has been lost in drama. ‘Caroline’s character has ianlasies about Lineker in the play. 3 There were a phenomenal amount oi women who said “I fucking tancy him” and all the ltalians as well, Giannini, they all tancied him. It was quite a sexy sort of event all those sweating thighs
and hot atternoons.’ (Philip Parr)
Trench Kiss (Fringe) Incidental Theatre, The Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550, 9—25 Aug (not 12), 8.10pm, 26.25/2675 (2625/2675).
An Evening with Gary Lineker (Fringe) incidental Theatre, The Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 220 4349, 9—24 Aug (not12), 10pm, 2650/2750 (25.50/2650).
V THEATRE )
A WATERMELON KILLED MY DAUGHTER
When a student company comes to the Edinburgh Fringe citing not Shakespeare. Berkoffor Brook as inspiration. but Them.’ . Horror Beach Party and Attack ofthe Killer Tomatoes. then the result is more likely to be teenage werewolves than teenage angst. This. in case you hadn‘t guessed from the title already. is the literary tradition
behind Cambridge BATS‘
production ofA Watermelon Killed My Daughter.
Not that it‘s a play as such— it is an archetypal 50s B-movie. complete with the music. the ads. the trailers and. ofcourse. the popcorn. Director and co-writer David Wolstencroft explains: ‘I wanted to write a film. but I didn‘t have any money. so I thought “Well. what about a show that‘s like a film?“ People often don‘t go to the theatre because it‘s seen as something middle class — you go in. sit down. the curtain goes up. actors prance about. and that's it.
‘This is a very technical show. particularlv with the pre-recorded soundtrack and sound effects over that. the lighting effects and slides— it‘s so fast it's more like choreography than blocking a scene. because the actors have to know exactly what second to step into the light to get the correct part oftheir nose shining. or whatever.’
Avoiding the hammy send-up ofthe ‘so bad it‘s good‘ school. Watermelon adheres to the genre rules and characteristics of the drive-in classics. Imagine the scene: it‘s 13 months. 13 weeks and 13 days since Mary Beth met her death at the hands ofthe Watermelon Killer. and now. as a macabre anniversary. it‘s time for her sister Emmy Lou to go to the high school prom. Will the killer strike again? Will the old c0p/young cop team patch up their differences and leave the coffee alone for long enough to catch him? Or will the quarterback boyfriend (played with appropriate lack of expression by a 7ft-tall cardboard cut-out) prove to be the hero? It seems that the BATS have a cult hit on their bands. which has all the drive ofan open-top Thunderbird. (Alan Morrison)
I A Watermelon Killed My
Daught8r(Fringe) Cambridge BATS. Pleasance Theatre (Venue 33) 556 6550. until 31 Aug(not 12. 19.29). 12.45am. £4—£4.50 (£3—£3.50).
l v THEATRE
in THE nums or sons
Eric Prince has never been
one to toe the
conventional line where theatre is concerned. The titles ofhis previous Fringe plays read like a catalogue of surrealism: Kafka’s Last Request. Wildsea-Wildsea and Nocturno have all received critical acclaim both for the power oftheir imagery and the boldness of their experimentation.
This year. a new company
founded by Prince. The Hidden Thea-Ire will
. presentln The Ruins Of Song.
‘A true theatre experience has got to finish by sending us away feeling honestly disturbed.‘ claims Prince. ‘We must be disturbed
; about our own lives. not in
a kind of hard provocative manner. but in a very gentle. tender way. The piece either works for the audience on that level or it doesn‘t. And that‘s where you take risks. you stand and fall by what you try to
i do. In The Ruins ()fSong
is very risky in some ways because I really try to explore a gentle. sentimental side in people and that's put against the opposite very hard. sensual. lustful side.
‘I certainly don‘t live in the world of neat stories with a beginning. a middle and an end.‘ he continues. ‘l‘m terrified of boring an audience so I have tricks to keep them interested. I‘ve got to engage people‘s emotions. That matters much more to me than engaging the intellect. A lot of people say that the
work that I do is fartoo
intellectual. but it‘s not. it‘s the opposite. Although things might seem complex. actually they‘re all about very simple levels of feeling.’ (Philip Parr)
I In The Ruins of Song (Fringe) Hidden Theatre. Richard Demarco Gallery (Venue 22) 5570707. 12—24 Aug. midnight. £3.50 (£2.50).
“MI. STOMP! "3‘.
Heard the one about the
'seven percussion terrorists. the dustbin lids, the set of keys, the broom, the tea towel and the Zippo lighter? Luke Cresswell has— it‘s his baby. so stifle those giggles before you‘ve heard the punchline. Cresswell and accomplices. under their latest Yes/No People guise. have been working on a show which incorporates the above elements in a variety ofset pieces. all propelled bya common rhythmic soundtrack. Stomp! is the name. performance drumming‘s the game. But Zippo lighters? ‘There‘s different trick ways of opening the Zippo lighter. igniting the ﬂames and then turning them off. And they sound really good. there‘s a different
twang to them because as : you ﬂick them they give
you that “chinkl”. then you light them. then “snap!” they're shut,‘ Cresswell enthuses. Oh well. only at the Fringe as they say. And there‘s
‘There‘s a lot of improvisation depending on the level ofskill on the instrument.'lfsomeone's particularly good on Zippos they‘ll do some mucking about or if someone else's forte is tea towelsthey‘ll do. . .‘ Cresswell tails off and checks himself. ’I know this sounds terrible.‘ he admits sheepishly. ‘I mean they all sound stupid until you see them . . . and then some ofthem are stupid but people will hopefully respect the amount of work that‘s gone into it. This particular show is “can you sustain rhythmic ideas and performance over an hour and ten minUtes without people getting bored?" That was the brief I was working to.’ (Fiona Shepherd)
I Stompi (Fringe) The Yes/No People, The Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 220 4349, 9~31 Aug (not 19). 11.45pm, £6.50/£7.50 (£5/£6).
The List 9- 15 August 199151