1* A.


Five young women in resplendently tacky oufits perform slick a capella versions of songs from

( 'llullunnugu ( '/t()r)-( ‘ltuo lo Respect Yourself. The only accompaniment is provided by a mean bongo player wearing a crash helmet (replaced halfway with a white feather wig and flippers on her feet. All five can certainlysing one in particular has a memorable Carmel-ty pe blues soul voice and they're not lacking in wit or confidence either. What they could do with (apart from a better name) is a bit more patter between numbers. a few more jokes to leaven the mix. But that should come with experience. and in the meantime there‘s plenty toenjoy. including the most desperately horny version of Fever you're ever likely to hear. (Sue Wilson)

I Gross Encounters (Fringe) Southside ‘9] (Venue 82)667 7365. until 17 Aug. 10. 10pm.£3(£2).



Dolly Parton fans steer clear. Philip Pope. Rory Mc(irath and Billy Jean

‘l lotbox' Cody gleefully hammer nails intothe coffin of twangy guitars and lonesome lyrics for nearly ninety minutes. with a string of hilarious and slickly performed

C& W travesties. Off-the-wall highlights include a track about a grandfather's sentimental homespun homilies which degenerate into sheer insanity as Pops succumbs to Alzheimer's— ‘Always kiss a fish when boiling mangoes. always shave your camel on a Tuesday". Deft inter-number patter (‘You're a nice audience; have I fucked anyone here‘?‘) and consistently high-quality material add up to one mighty funny show. (Sue Wilson)

IAt Last “The Death of Country' (Fringe) Gilded Balloon Theatre (Venue 38) 2262151 . until26 Aug. 10.45pm.£6.50(£5).



It is often said that Tennessee Williams' female characters are little more than men in drag. 'I'wmessee in the Summer seeks to dispel this theory. or at least clarify the source of Williams' inspiration.

In Joe Besecker's play. two Williams appear on stage simultaneously: the passionate often-whorish self-defeating female side of his personality. and the equally destructive manipulative poetic male persona. Despite emphasising his obvious schizophrenia inherent in multiple personalities which often squabble and bitch. they eventually merge into one pill-popping paranoic whole.

Fine performances all around from this California-based company. with Anne James as the delicious Maggie-like female Tennessee and James Taulli as the giggly male hypochondriac. This is a play which provides insight into a playwright who is both loved and loathed. wholly American and somehow un-American. androgynous and

ITennessee inthe Summer(Fringc). Los Altos Conservatory Theatre. Moray House Union Theatre (Venue 108) 5565184. until2l Aug(not 20. 27.29). 10pm. £4:‘£3.



Do I impart the details of this Texan group's tribute to Karen Carpenter. or just suggest that you'll never feel the same way about mayonnaise again? Best to leave it at that. I reckon. This is a mixed bag of musical and avant-theatrical lunacy. commencing with a discourse with slide show on chaos theory in weather patterns. the hurricane forces being set in motion by the belch ofa rather cute frog. Spunky the clown baptises us in preparation for the appearance of Three Day Stubble a group so weird that they can count The Butthole Surfers as fans and garb themselves from a thrift shop beyond Hell— and finally we're treated to Stu Mulligan and his unspeakable way with Carpenters songs and jars of Hellman's. You

probably do have to be sick to enjoy the capers of These Freedom Tourists. and I only stopped chuckling when the truth of the climacticjoke dawned on me. some hours later. (Alastair VIabbott)

I These Freedom Tourists (Fringe) The Arc (Venue 45) 557 9422. until 17 Aug. midnight. £5 (£3.50).



The moveable musical feast that is the Grand Union Orchestra makes it back to the Queens Hall for two nights this year. The idea offorminga band as a melting pot of the world's music is nothing new. but Grand Union carry it through with rare verve. enthusiasm and jazzy excitement. The commitment ofTony Haynes and the founders

of the band has borne complex. (Roberta Mock)

fruit. and the group comes to Edinburgh straight after their first visit to Spain.

lfthe resultant music leans heavily towards a

, Latin American/African ' synthesis. so what? Those -‘ continents might not have

the best tunes but they certainly carry the best rhythms. High powered music. and a floor full of dancers is the order ofthe night. and on stage the nine top flight musicians playtrumpet. pan pipes. sax. trombone. congas. drums. steel pans. charango. flute. guitars. bass. keyboards. vocals and percussion.

Go to the Mambo Club for world music and dancing. but don't miss the Grand Union live! (Norman Chalmers)

I Jazz and World Music Party Nighl (Fringe) Grand Union World Music Band. Queen‘s Hall (Venue 72) 668 2019. 16 and 17Aug. 11pm.£5 (£3.50).

I Mambo Club (Fringe) The Network (Venue 75) 228 3252. until 31 Aug. 11pm-4am.



A tender evocation ofthe tangled web that is family

relationships. ‘In the i Ruins of Song' it revolves around a grandmother and her two grandchildren. who have been deserted by their parents. The play relies not on plot but on creating mood and atmosphere. Nan. Sis and Lee live in a present that is so.overlaid by echoes of the past that it seems unable to move forward. Nan remembers 1 her father who was deserted by her mother. as the children's father was deserted by her daughter. Sis asks constantly to be told about her mother. while the ghost of her grandfather haunts the giant radiogram. Even Lee's incestous assault on his sister seems but a return to the original incest of Adam and Eve‘s children. The lateness of the hour only adds to the dream-like air ofthis imaginative and moving piece of theatre. (Frances Corn ford )

I In the Ruins of Song (Fringe) Hidden Theatre. Richard Demarco Gallery (Venue 22) 5570707. until 24 Aug (not Sun). 12 midnight. £3.50 (£2.50).



Alistair McGowan bounds on like an

over-eager puppy desperate to be loved. and more the most part succeeds in winning the audience's affections. The material. on English regional differences. living in Worcstcrshire. and the England football team. makes few concessions to an Edinburgh audience. but succeeds by virtue of actually being rather funny. His impressions are very accurate. but thankfully are worked intothe jokes ratherthan : the be-all and end-all. Henry Hall has less confidence but better material. He's the low-key miserable type. with himselfas the butt ofmost l ofhis gags. Alittle more I attention to the delivery I

and pacing would make him the highlight ofa

reasonably strong

. double-bill. (Tom Lappin)

I When Harry Met Ally (Fringe) Alistair MacGowan and Harry Hall. Festival Club (Venue 36) 6502395. until 24 Aug. 1 l .30pm. £4(£3).


Bahamian values are impressively explored in an ambitious production which allows Fringe audiences the opportunity to experience some superb a capella harmonies and a uniquely

. Caribbean perspective on

class conflict and family loyalties.

With a cast ofeighteen. the Bahamas Quincentennial Repertory Company have taken on a challenging task. requiring tight choreography and inventive use ofspace.

. They manage. however.

to maintain audience attention throughout. urging the action on with their striking a capella music.

Set in a court room gathered to pass sentence on a young man accused of murdering his mother. the play seeks to identify with the murderer by extracting the often painful details of his family life. Ultimately the


stage and sits in the audience confronting us with his interpretations of authority. art and society. What he has to say is frequently revolutionary.

3 but it all makes perfect sense. And it isdelivered

i with such passion that


even at this late hour.

f nobody in the audience came remotely close to nodding off. Contraryto

the somewhat off-putting duration printed in the Fringe programme. the

: running time is in fact just

one hour. and a well spent

one at that. (I .iilipl’arr)

jury's verdict isinevitable.

leaving the audience all too uncomfortably aware that crimes of passion are far more complex than a straightforward guilty verdict might imply. (Aaron llicklin)

I You Can Lead A Horse To WafeHFringe). Chaplaincy Centre (Venue 23). 5565184. Aug 16. 20. 22. 24. 10pm. £4 (£2).


PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST ASAYOUNG CONSERVATIVE Life as a gay artist in Birkenbead can be a bitch. Ask Harold Childs. he'll tell you. And he'll tell you in one the most riveting and exciting monologues you'll hear at this or any other Fringe. Simon Clark has created and performs as Childs. telling the story ofa loncr's life with no punches pulled and no compromise made (rather like the artist himself would like to be but. unfortunately. isn't). Clark wanders from the


I Portrait ol the Artist asa Young Conservative (Fringe) Theatre Works. Chaplaincy Centre (Venue 23) 5565184. 16, 19-23 Aug. midnight. £3.50(£2.50).


Assessing every object you come across for its potential as a percussion instrument must bean interesting way to approach things. if somewhat tough on your neighbours. l.uke Cresswell (ex. Pookiesnackenburgcr) and six other anarcho-hippy types employ brooms. keys. matchboxes. plastic bags. Zippo lighters. oil drums. hands. feet and just about any thing else that makesa noise when hit or shaken to create a succession of complex foot-tapping rhythms. The timing and synchronisation are spot-on. and the inventiveness and manic

energy of the performance

are guaranteed to get you grinning. Imagine a smaller-scale Test Dept with an insane sense of humour. let loose in a post-industrial kids' playground. and you'll have a rough idea of what Yes No People are about. Can I have sortie of whatever they 're on please'.’ (Sue Wilson) IStomp! (Fringe) Yes No People. Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 2204349. until 31 Aug (not 19) l 1 .45pm. {(i.51)L-'..5ll(f§.5 £6)



The List 16— 22 August 199157