Michael Harding is known for his controversial plays in Ireland and his latest, Misogynist, is no different, but the play has met with a mixed reception there and has been accused oi being ‘obscure’. When you see the

production, you can see what they mean. This one-man show stars Tom Hickey as an amorphous catch-all misogynist, but nevertheless, the clear intention is for him to embody a range oi recognisable ’types’. What actually transpires is that Harding -who also directs the play— has taken an idea, a notion of misogyny and made it abstract, distorting it In the same way that Francis Bacon might, to make it ugly. His misogynist yabbers and splutters, shrieks and shouts and runs about like a maniac.

man who finds women sexually threatening and reads innuendo into the plalnest ol remarks. The last misogynist is a hen-packed husband (I guess) who can no longer stand the mindless chatter of his wife with her friends and decides to punish her, with rape. But the transmogriflcations in '_,.,..., between are harder to pin down and, v.xgecause Hickey slips between them, it «3 ecomes dangeroust easy to stop

‘" 3‘ concentrating.

l was disappointed not to see, exposed on stage, the real, petty misogyny that is weaved into the grain oi everyday life. Harding’s characters presented little more than vague resonances for me. Only twice did I feel the uneasy feeling of being in the presence of someone who hates women. Once was obvious: it was when Hickey put a black stocking over his lace and started wielding a machete. The other was almost worse, it was in the horrible, hate-loaded way that Hickey mimicked women's voices. (Miranda France)

Misogynist (Fringe) Tom Hickey, Assembly (Venue 3) 226 2428, until 27 Aug, 4pm, £6 (£5); 21—22 Aug, £7 (£6).


Gone with


The irresistible surge to prominence continues in adulthood with Laurence Olivier cribbing tips on dramatic entrances from the young Guildhall drama student before Biddy Baxter linally sees the light and hires the greatest star that British television has ever seen. But soon afterwards things start to turn sour.

The first misogynist is a cleric, a silly .



Subtitled ‘Russian Lefty and his journey to Britain‘, Steel Flea promised to be a doom-laden piece of political theatre. Instead it is an exuberant celebration of traditional Russian life.

Igroky Theatre sings, dances and whirls its way through a 19th century fairy tale of a competition between Britain and Russia as to who can display the best craftmanship. There is minimal English dialogue but the emphasis is on comedy and Cossack song and dance, with over a dozen players on stage providing an impressive spectacle.

The tale itself is fairly simple~minded but the whole is executed with such infectious energy and professionalism that it makes ideal entertainment all round. (Frances Cornford)

I SIBBI Flea (Fringe) Moscow Theatre ‘Igroky‘, Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550, until 5 Sept (not 23 Aug, 1 Sept), 4pm.£6 (£4.50).



Henry Normal combines the art ofthe seminar with the pitch of a sales rep in this potted package tour of the poetic art. ‘You‘ll find all these poems have words,‘ says Normal thoughtfully.

The Greeks get a few oneJincrs, as do the Romans and Romantics. But really it‘s all just a flimsy excuse for Normal to treat the audience to his quirky view oflife, love and doom. The show isa mixture of the absurd and

Africa, collecting a number of buddies along the way. Meg Ryan marries him, Mickey Rourke steals his jokes and a couple of Middle Eastern hostages go on a comedy tour with him. With a running narrative, impressions and a few props, he comes over like Sean Hughes‘s more conventional elder brother. His delivery is understated and rather sweet. His gags, however. are clumsy and not particularly funny. One too many Black Bushes at the scriptwriting stage maybe. (Beatrice Colin) I Monrovia, Monrovia (Fringe), Karl MacDermott, The Gilded Ballon (Venue 38) 226 2151,14 Aug-5 Sept. 3pm, £5(£4).



Those of you too young to fight in the last war may be unfamiliar with the cheekier interpretation of the acronym ENSA. which properly stood for Entertainments National

g Services Association, but

those of you old enough to remember IrAin’r Half

Hot Mum will understand.

Melvyn Hayes was not, however. the closest thing the lads got to a lady performer. There were a number of them. and jolly popular they were too. Daisy Belle, the only human in Stella Pulo's play, is a former ENSA entertainer. nowadays a baglady. with no one to entertain but dustbins. a puppet called Regi and a


brood of toy rabbits. Though Pulo born in Australia but based in New York acts and sings beautifully, this is a short.

; sentimental and

somewhat inconsequential performance. I grew to like, even admire. the pathetic but by no means miserable Daisy. but before any real development could take place, the show was over. (Andrew Burnet)

I Every HightSomething Awful (Fringe) Stella Pulo, Theatre Workshop (Venue 20) 226 5425. until 5 Sept (not 23. 3()Aug). 5pm. £4.50 (£3).



The main action ofthis play takes place within a

circle ofsawdust. The props. mostly made of wood. include three elegant and over-sized chairs which are used functionally as well as

symbolically. The story is ofAnn Lee. an illiterate ; blacksmith'sdaughter

who founded a utopian religious movement in


The disarmineg stark style of the piece is as unnerving as it is intense.

' It employs skilful

economy and simple

: theatrical ideas to convey

deep felt emotions. Alison Edgar‘s brave performance explores the

, character‘s disgust ofthe

' flesh and the depravity of . being human with

strength and imagination.

(Michael Balfour)

3 IShakers(Fringe)Alison 7 Edgar, Pleasance (Venue . 33) 556 6550. until 5 Sept

(not 23. 1)3.ISpm.£5


Or should that be ‘away with the Miner can [33(er conceal his (naming the downright wacky, lairies’? Ben Miller is a man with an or peter panes-me man who drove exemplified m Such verses j ' obsession, a mission: to re-educate the the great Hoaxes (mm our screens as 1f Y0“ Lem Me Wa’,"

Our Back wards So I Think

masses in the glory that was John floakes. The story of the granite-laced and steel-hearted super-hero who

through his wearing of trendier clothes and his relentless chatting-up of Lesley Judd. A broken man afterthe death of

You 're Coming In. A gentle giant ofstand-up poetry. (Michael Balfour)

llefsuaded a OBhefaliOh OI misguided Shep, Noakes fled to Spain and I Encyclopaedia Poetics souls that they should be uarachulisls remained undisturbed there until (Fringe) Henry Norma'l istold in words. pictures and the tracked down by Ben Miller. And it is Pleasancc(V°nuc33>556 occasional sound-effect by his most the final,touching confrontation 655°tun‘"55°P‘("°‘23’ ardent fan. between hero and worshipper that truly 3"“ is (m

The how’s "88 '0 a 908"th When! he sets the seal on this show. It is only ' c 0 M E D Y I could exert more influence on young when we, the fans, see floakes's - mlndslhan Josef Goebbels could ever reaction that we feel we can follow suit MONROVIA dream OI. begins ih’HaIIIaX. Ben Miller and declare: ‘Ben Miller is a complete MONROVM . has some slides of Halifax - ol the nutter.’ But, that said, where else can . hospital When "(lakes was born. OI his you get to see an hour of devotion to the £333“? "‘c Wm“ 0f family home, of the public school at greatest daredevil who ever lived? scmcfyfaciyjnizsh comic which he still holds the 1500 metres (Philip Parr) Karl MacDErmott spinsa record and which was to be kept secret tale ofmind-boggling

from his adoring fans who were less fortunate than the man they came to worship.

complication. He travels from Ireland to London to , _, ' Eastern Europe and to I

Gone with Hoakes (Fringe) Ben Miller, The Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550, until 5 Sept (not 1), 4.15pm, £5 (£4).

" Shakers

50m.» List 21 27 August 1992