V COMEDY SIN
It does not augur well for a show when the performer arrives on stage saying that the last two nights have been ‘a nightmare‘. But then all the stage technique training in the world is not going to going to change Bruce Morton- he is honest. And while this honesty works against him in the beginning, once he is on a roll it is a huge advantage.
The show is very loosely based around the seven deadly sins. Bruce asks members of the audience to shout out one of the sins and he is off — for up to twenty minutes in the case of sloth - on a stream of consciousness. Anecdote follows anecdote (there is only one joke all evening and that is only used to introduce another story) as Morton captivates the audience with his life experiences. He is so caught up in his confessional that he over-runs by twenty minutes and apologises profusely. He needn't have bothered — this was a dream, not a nightmare. (Philip Parr)
I Slit (Fringe) Bruce Morton, Riﬂe Lodge (Venue 101) 557 1785, until 5 Sept (not Suns), 10.45pm, £5 (£3.50).
V THEATRE A HOPE FOR THIS WORLD
Having just witnessed George Bush‘s televised nomination rally, I watched this black comedy from New York with a sick sense of relief. The former shows how a manifestly corrupt administration can seduce the Great American Public into crazed adulation with a slick smile and some precisely pitched sentimentalism. The latter takes all that as read, but at least it doesn‘t rejoice in it.
Crackling with cynical wit and wisdom, Chris Boal‘s script is an Orwellian vision of power thriving on humiliation and exploitation. Diametrically opposed characters — the nuclear holocaust‘s PR man, blithely selling genocide as ‘the ultimate human high’, and his morbidly idealistic would-be assassin — meet in a torture chamber, where they play out a power game which can only have one ending. . .
Ably directed by Emily King, with gripping
performances from both actors, this is strong, subversive theatre for the Apocalypse era. (Andrew Burnet)
I A ilopo ior This World (Fringe) Bare Bones Productions, Randolph Studio (Venue 55) 225 5366, until 5 Sept (not 27 Aug), midnight, £3.50 (£3).
V THEATRE G-FORCE
G-Force is a hit-and-run at 9.8 metres per second. These four short plays by enigmatic New Yorker Annie G. are sharp, clever; and leave you squashed uncomprehendingly in their skidmarks by the time the G people explode into a manic rendition of ‘jump down turn around pick a bale of cotton‘. Images like the psychically hermaphrodite career woman, the plastic pilot who transforms himself into the archetypal aggressive ex-husband, and the restaurant at the edge of the world are quintessentially New York. They are also exquisitely executed. The Playful Theatre Company is thoroughly original, surprising, and professional with a polished P. You won‘t know what hit you. (Roberta Mock) I 84:0!“ (Fringe) The Playful Theatre Company, Randolph Studio (Venue 55) 225 5366, until 5 Sept (not 27 Aug), 10pm, £4 (£3).
GOO - PLUS SUPPORT
You had to feel sorry for these guys (the Trio Bothers Troupe, Jeremy Herrin and Kenny Harris); after a full house the previous night, at 11.30pm on Sunday they were confronted by a grand total of seven people. If that weren‘t enough, Herrin discovered half-way through his set, while doing the ‘so where are you all from then?‘ routine, that one of said seven had known him when he was knee-high to a grasshopper. All credit to them, then, that they managed to deliver a thoroughly enjoyable hour~and-a-half set, a lively mix of songs, sketches and Elvis impersonations from the Trio Brothers, Herrin‘s oddball urbanity and Harris‘s caustic cheeriness. And five for
- V CABARET STEVE COOGAN
Together with his lovely assistant John Thomson, the man behind the voice oi
; your lavourite Spitting Image puppets,
' has put together a show which stands head and shoulders above the usual character-sketch standard. Coogan and Thomson disappear into a series oi minutely-observed caricatures, careiul attention to the details ol voice, manner and dress bringing each hilariously to tile. In quick succession we are treated to a train-spotter-esque
I nerd trying to be lunny at an ripen mike spot, the drunken, obstreperous asshole who wanders into the Fringe Club so he can slag oil the Festival and, best oi all, a reconstructed Northern men’s club comic, still sporting the beer-belly and the dodgy dress-sense but telling right-on stories ratherthan racist or sexist gags. Polished, proiessional and very lunny. (Sue
Steve Coogan in Character With John Thomson (Fringe) Gilded Balloon Theatre (Venue 38) 226 2151, until 5 Sept, 10.30pm, £6 (£5).
less than the price ofone at the Assembly Rooms more than makes up for the odd rough edge. (Sue Wilson)
I 600— Plus Support (Fringe) Trio Brothers Troupe. Jeremy Herrin, Kenny Harris, Gilded Balloon Theatre (Venue 38) 226 2151 , until 5 Sept (not Mons), 11.30pm,£5 (£4).
V THEATRE APPEARANCES
Appearances by William Shakespeare seems a statement intended to confuse. When did the Bard ever write anything called Appearances? He didn‘t, but Iona Grant has moulded this performance out of extracts from Shakespeare and, in spite of the hour, she holdsthe attention. Rattling through a series of characters from Caliban to Prospero via Juliet and
Kate, Grant does not ‘ always settle for the
well-known soliloquys and speeches but rather chooses the pieces which most illuminate the characters. A constantly interesting and laudable performance. (Philip Parr)
I Appearances (Fringe) Appearances Theatre
Company, Festival Club
SSept, 11.50pm,£3.50 (£2.50).
v comrov ? v comrov
A big welcome to Andre Vincent. your host for the evening, who is not a
cheerful, chubby, chappy,
butfat and proud ofit. He‘s a dab hand at getting the audience going. introduces topical material, but fails to get quite as radical as he promises.
The first spot comes from gun-impersonator Al Murray, whose impression of a Klanger in 8 Russell Hobbs blender has to be heard to be believed. To dream up an act like this you have to be seriously warped. Buxom Gayle Tuesday with her one joke. she‘s a topless model for the Sun. is next up. She hopes to be a singer, ‘a bit like Kylie Minogue, but not so political.‘ Quite.
But the best is left to last: Harry Hill with his dry and dislocated gags about grandmas and other beasts. Surreal. A good enough evening of stand-up, but don‘t ever believe it‘s alternative. (Thom Dibdin)
I Comedy Zone (Fringe)
A new record - the Moscow State University theatre was one week and fifteen minutes late for its first performance. The bulk ofthis time was accounted for by problems in obtaining visas and the audience was sympathetic. In fact. [had the impression that the audience really wanted to like this show.
And then it started and any sympathy, optimism or support evaporated. Miming to dodgy. scratched records. sporting false titties under 1920s swimming costumes and feigning drunkenness may be at the cutting edge of comedy in Moscow but it's more than a little pathetic over here. The deafening silence which greeted each increasingly desperate appeal for applause was embarrassing, but it would have been a greater evil to clap. Unless you fancy squirming in your seat for over an hour. avoid. (Philip Parr).
1 I Moulin Russo (Fringe) Moscow State University. Hill Street Theatre (Venue 41) 225 7294. until 5 Sept. 11.15pm.£5.50
g The Pleasance (Venue 60) (venue 36) 650 2395mm” 3 556 6550. until 5 Sept (not
27) 10.45pm. £7 (£5.50).
TRIAL BY FIRE
This production has cured me of the spontaneous homicidal fantasies which
street theatre, whether it beinthcstreetor,asin
this case, in a theatre. It‘s alsoliberatedmefrom
certain inhibitions concerning the use of
critical cliches like joyous,
charming and wonderful. Due to some hideous planning error the show starts too late to catch many ofthose that it
would appeal to — which is
nearly everyone. as this slapstick re-working ofa Nibelungenlicd-type epic has camp knights and rapping villians with universal appeal.
It's the sort ofshow where a character says ‘you can hear the woodpeckers‘ and all the
other actors appear with ’ woodpecker hand puppets
on. What more can lsay'.’ Brilliant. (Stephen
ITrial By Fire (Fringe) N.N. Theater, Chaplaincy Centre (Venue 23)650 2428, until 3 Sept. 10.45pm,£4 (f3).
V THEATRE '
LA CAGE AUX ' FOLLES
If this script once aroused controversy, it was certainly on the
; Edinburgh Fringe, where
: risque theatre is just
another device to boost box office sales. For a late night show that over-runs
considerably, however, this version of La Cage
. deserves a large audience
l in its own right, recreating
the musical‘s natural
sensuality, with faultless
performances by Matthew
Mitchel as Albin and
Jonathan Taylor as
Byconcentratingonthe song and dance routines. dialogue has been slightly
forsaken. but Bernie Wilfrid‘s choreography is as competent as Les Cagelles are divine.
Caught up in the spiritof
the show. the audience enjoyed themselves almost as much as the cast, and we all lived happily, ever after. (Aaron
3 I La Cage Aux Folles
‘ (Fringe), MKM
l (Venue 82). until SSept.
44 The List 28 August - 10 September 1992