Give a big Leslie Crowther Come on down’ to the new kittens of comedy, Melanie and Susan. Ex-Footlights, ex- Radio 4 contributors and now Channel 4 commissioned writers, Melanie Giedroyc and Sue Perkins have created their own weird and wonderful cast of millions.

Thinly disguised as village idiots from those bastions of culture, Purley and Leatherhead, the duo find themselves trapped in a computer game. They embark on a ludicrous zoom, via Blandsville, PHstille and Sitcomville before meeting their fate in Daahlingsville at the Oscar ceremony MC ER II at the Steakhouse just off the North Circular.

Professing a passion for, ‘heavy 70s Dutch rock’ and an obsession with, ‘the tawdry middle- classes in lame suburbs like Purley’ these babes are either sad, mad or (as i suspect) on their own rib- tickling planet. Beam me up there, Scotty. (Ann Donald)

I $1.10 ad Susan’s Med m (Fringe) Hothouse Company, Overseas House (Venue 19) 226 5318, ll Aug—l Sept, 10.053111. £4 (£3).


A series of short sketches based on serious subjects but which smacked of a school project, Circumference consisted of some beautiful oboe playing. uncomfortable looking dance and jolly improvised mime scenes, performed with comitment but little zest by Performing Arts Walthamstow. The subject matter (set by the teacher or the curriculum?) was ‘changing relationships in adolescence and beyond’. Depicting children’s games, school playground cattiness, the

consequences of drinking .

and drugs, womanhood and manhood, a wide range of skills were employed, the most sucessful episodes being .the simplest with straightforward communication through facial expression. The short texts were well- spoken but their sophistication jarred



Ben Moor looks every lnch a cornlc, but don’t let that put you oil. Inside a contortloulst’s face, a stirred, inventive wind debunks science,

literature and religion.

The Philosophy lllvlslon oi the Police Force reasons that it only the Inysterles of existence were solved, burglaries would be a cinch. We hear of an Aquarian (who doesn't eat meat or vegetables, only drinks water); a rotarlan (who only eats round things) and a Bible containing not only letters, but also postcards, horn St Paul. In an enlarging ‘what-lt?’ parallel universe, it you draw a circle, you also have to draw little wedges to step it rolling off the page.

A neatly sewn-up script, well- executed, almost too clever 11y hall. Definitely a nane to look out tor.

(Babe Stewart)

it Tdres Forever 11 You Go By Inertia, (Fringe) Irrational Geographical Society, Pleasance (Venue 33) 556

Stureallst Ben floor 650, 11-19, n—zs, an Aug, 1-4 Sept, 12.30.... £4.50 (£3.50); 20, 21, 27-29 M. 12301.. £5 (£41-


uneasily with the limited movement vocabulary. (Tamsin Grainger)

I Circumference (Fringe) Performing Arts Walthamstow, Hill Street Theatre (Venue 41) 226 6522, 15—20 Aug. 12.45pm, £2.50 (£1.50).


. t x F

A middle-aged woman trips on to the stage and dances like a little girl in a new party dress. Embarrassing. She comes to a halt: ‘Wow, I'm puffed - that’s because I’m 50 years old!’ Phew.

This autobiographical one-woman show teeters precariously close to sugar plum, but for the most part just steers clear - thanks to touches of irreverent humour and some endearing characters. Trina Collins plays not just herself, a squeaky-clean child dreaming of man'ying Jesus, but also, with great conviction, adopts the

voices and gestures of the

two black maidservants who didn’t have it so easy. Ultimately though. this celebration of ‘women, dance and love’ was just too rose-tinted for me. (Catherine Fellows)

I Reminiscence at a Southern lilrlhood (Fringe) Danceteller, Theatre Workshop (Venue 20) 226 5425, until 4 Sept (not 22, 29), 12.30pm, £6 (£3).



A somewhat disjointed trawl through the history of science takes in quantum physics, anthromorphisms and other such lengthy scientific ’isms.

The old schoolmaster

delivery of Rick

Zoltowsky is frighteningly close to reality and brings back many a memory of tyrannical science teachers, right down to fine details like obligatory matching brown shoes and tie. This is offset by the insane ramblings and schoolboy antics of Gerry Flanagan, which at times become a bit wearisome. The highlight of the show was the quirky atom sketch, cue audience interaction and much mirth. Deathly slow at times, slightly amusing at others and on occasion absolutely hilarious. though the last come too few and far between, making it difficult to keep interest for any length of time. (Joe Lam ard) - u. m aim (Fringe) Commotion

Clown Company, Gilded Balloon Main Theatre (Venue 38) 226 2151, until 4 Sept, 12.30pm, £6.50 (£5.50).


This adaptation of Michael Rosen’s book hasn’t got a dull moment. Thirteen-year-old Frank sits in a cold museum. every Friday night while his single parent mum cleans. But tonight statues come to life, and Frank faces his fears about breaking free.

From a glitzy, tap-dance routine, to a tiger’s poignant protest, the action keeps going. Adults and children laugh out loud, but mostly kids just stare in wonderment

Everything (except professional writing and directing) is the work of students, aged 14-23. ‘The whole company's ethos is about leaming’ says director Deborah Fairlie. Or, like the museum’s logo ‘Learn and enjoy’. The chorus and skeleton deserve special praise for their self-assured performances. (Gabe Stewart)

I You’re Thinking About Doughnuts (Fringe) Nottinghamshire Education Theatre Company, The Nottinghamshire Venue (Venue 16), until 27 Aug (not Sun 22), 10.30am, £4 (£2).

The title says it all. Not only Diablos. club swinging and flower sticking, but also handy hints such as: ‘The most important thing about juggling is not the catching but the throwing‘. ‘When plate- spinning, use the same action as if you were stirring a cup of tea, pointing upwards’. and ‘The biggest problem in unicycling is conquering fear’.

lfyour kids say ‘l’m bored’ all summer, then get them hooked on circus skills. They’ll spend hours practising, you’ll get hours of peace.

Be sure and bring your camera. (Gabe Stewart) I Children’s Circus Workshop (Fringe) Marquee, FEAST at the Fringe, Edinburgh College of Art (Venue 73) 228 2234, until 26 Aug. noon, £3.50 (£2.50).


The risk of taking a role as a second-rate entertainer is that it may be exactly what you end up being. The Singer has wasted a lifetime being obsessed by The Voice aka Frank Sinatra, and now wastes 90 minutes of the audience’s time with uninspired renditions of Sinatra’s songs. In between numbers he re- enacts poignant moments from his life (eg the moment he realises he’s infertile) all acted with the pathos of a People ’3 Friend story. The Singer’s leaky Yank accent only accentuates the show’s crumbiness, totally imbued with a plodding staginess more associated with a school play. (Grace Hodge)

I First Base Theatre (Fringe) Being Frank, Diverse Arttractions (Venue 11) 225 8961, until 28 Aug (not 21,22)

11.15am. £3.59 (£1.75).


A show to be enjoyed on various levels. Four traditional stories from around the world share the theme of humanity’s relationship with the gods; our need to build ladders between the earth and sky.

The tone varies from a sombre tale of questing and treachery; to a comic tale featuring Pamplash of the Silver Teeth: when an ogre demands her hand, her father voices his doubts on mixed marriage. A North American tale re-creates a time when arrows didn’t kill buffalo, but merely released their spirits into the sky.

The audience participation was a bit of a trial, but full marks for inventive use of mime and enthusiasm. (Gabe Stewart)

I Ladders to the Sky (Fringe) Shoestring Players. Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550, 19, 22. 24—26, 30 Aug, 11.30am, £4.50 (£3.50); 20, 21, 27—29 Aug. 11.30am, £5 (£4).

HEE- wuo ARE WE?

Wieslaw Karolak says to the children, ‘Show me your body, what kind of person you are. You are strong? Happy? Sad?’ The children lie expressionistically on sheets of paper, and he draws around them; then the kids get to paint in the outlines.

The resultant masterpieces are on exhibition until 26 August, when each artist can take his/her work home. One strong-looking girl is entirely clad in yellow and red; a boy sees himself as a karate kid in white.

There were no theatrical techniques as promised in the FEAST programme, but the kids sure loved messing around with paint. Therapeutic not only for the little lambs, but also for the silence afforded their parents: a little oasis of peace in an otherwise hectic Fringe. (Gabe Stewart)

I W110 Are We? (Fringe) Wieslaw Karolak, Marquee, FEAST at the Fringe Edinburgh College of Art, (Venue 73) 228 2234, until 26 Aug, noon,


A gritty real-life American drama, I Pmspect, if it weren’t for

20 The List 20—26 August 1993