IiITHEATHEIII THE SAME our sronv
Dario F0 and Franca Rame’s three monologues — Rise and Shine, Coming Home and The Same Old Story - are strung on a thread of sex, pregnancy. routine. and their female protagonists’ desire for control over their lives. Marred by nerves perhaps. the first is rushed and garbled, its ﬂatness compounded by a dragging set change. The second is a delight: a housewife returns to her high-rise hubby after a day of liberating sex with a casual acquaintance. Tartly reminiscent of Bennett’s Talking Heads, it is ripe with gutsy humour. With the show now on the up, a macabre fairy-tale allegory makes for a strong finish. On the whole, an accomplished and engaging performance from the versatile Clare Austin. (Barry Didcock) I The Same Old Story (Fringe) Downtrodden Theatre Company. Southside ‘93 (Venue 82) 667 7365. until 4 Sept. 8.10pm. £4.50 (£4).
Fred W sell- ei‘i‘aclng Indest
Once Fred gets warmed up he’s a very funny man. the only problem being that it takes him quite a while to get warmed up. Accordingly you find yourself willing him on as he bumbles apologetically through knob-standard stand-up gags en route to the next minor gem. This is Fred's ﬁrst one-man slot, and you‘re left with the suspicion that he doesn’t have enough quality material to fill it. However, be emanates such self-effacing modesty throughout the act that it’s impossible not to wish he’ll go from strength to strength. (Stephen Chester)
I FM MacAulay
A Philadelphia-based company, the Melanie Stewart Dancers don’t so nruch tell the story oi llllth, exiled ilrst wiie oi Adan, but explore various ‘ irnages oi the ‘tallen wonran’. neptillan scuttles progress to leilne crawling which gives rise, literally, to ,1; -. prowling horuo sapiens and predatory 7 hovering; woman, in her many lornrs,
'- is empowered through her sensuality. ; __ Great costumes and an effective, , specially-commissioned score coniplenrent successful periornrances, I especially from the snarling wornen, ' though the final solo added little until ..
- [2; the triumphant exit. (Tamsln Brainger) ,5
" Lilith (Fringe) Melanie Stewart Dance (USA), Theatre Workshop (Venue 20) 226 5425, until 28 Aug (not Suns), 9.45pm, £6 (£3.50).
(Fringe) Gilded Balloon (Venue 38) 226 2151, until 4 Sept. 9.45pm, £5.50 (£4.50).
V COMEDY MY BOOZE HELL BY LITTLE JOHNNY CARTILAGE
It is 1973 and all is kitsch. Well, no it’s not actually. 1973 and all is duff— somehow, somewhere in the intervening two decades, ‘duff’ becomes an anagram of ‘kitsch’, via a stop-off at ‘ironic'. And comedians like Johnny Meres evolve. Bad clothes unfashioned from man-made fibres, only not enough of them. Memories of a 70s childhood in a TV sitcom, or even worse, a 70s adolescence, the pit of pitiability. Very funny, of course. in a schadenfreude kind of way.
But when he gets too carried away with the songly interludes, laughability bleeds into annoyability and Meres grates. Which, come to think of it, is testament to the success of his show. Only the greatest of losers can titillate and infuriate with equal aplomb. (Craig McLean)
I My Booze Ilell By little Johnny Cartilage (Fringe) Johnny Meres. Stepping Stones Theatre (Venue Si), until 4 Sept. 8pm, £5 (£4).
IiIiHEAIHEIII eroonv POETRY
Charting the relationship between Byron and Shelley from their first meeting in Switzerland to
Shelley’s death. Bloody Poetry (by Howard Brenton of Romans in Britain fame) was chosen by director Charlie Wood for its ‘sense of drama'. In his hands, it’s about as dramatic as a better-than- average school play. Which is, to be fair, just what it is. A school play, I mean, albeit from an impressive school. Eton, in fact.
From the unrestrained performances to the stumbling over lines, from the fumbling sound effects to the interminable scene-changes, the production is one long exercise in tedious poetic over-indulgence. Having said that, there are some fine light moments, but in its present form the show is most likely to appeal to Eng. Lit. students needing to brush up on the Romantics. (Gabe Stewart)
I Bloody Poetry (Fringe) Double Edge Drama. Adam House Theatre (Venue 34) 650 8200, 20. 23, 25, 27 Aug. 9.45pm. £4.50 (£3.50).
‘My show is a battle between good Mark and bad Mark,’ begins Thomas’s superb routine. if that’s so, then good Mark gets kicked in the teeth early on and hardly resurfaces throughout the rest of the show.
On the loathe list tonight are: old folks. John Major, kids and their parents, his parents. religion, John Major, homophobes, racists. John Major. Christianity and John Major. The evening is masterfully paced with outrageous outbursts of
abuse, perfectly interspersed with moments of calm comedy genius and, occasionally, moments of reflective seriousness.
Thomas can be rather obvious and (of course) extremely coarse, though you can’t help but feel like taking him home. washing his mouth out with soap and mothering him. Go see. (Joe Lampard)
I Mark Thornas (Fringe) Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428. until 28 Aug. 8pm. £8/£7 (£7/£6).
v THEATRE '
THE PLEASURE DOME
The focus was drugs, and consciousness, as suggested by the title. A pleasure it wasn’t; anarchic it was. Also at times slack and directionless. The aural
backdrop of throbbing
techno necessitated the use of mikes, frequently rendering the six performers’ speeches inaudible.
Like escapees from a Jamiroquai gig, they jogged and danced through a warren of deadends whose only legible signpost was the enactment of the Monroe/JFK story. Energy and charisma they had in bucketloads, but lack of substance and continual imitating nods to some inside-out theatre creed (‘Can we have some more music, Bev?‘) made this more Children’s TV on E than Coleridge. (Barry Didcock)
I The Pleasure nonie (Fringe) Fecund Theatre, Bedlam Theatre (Venue 49) 225 9893, until 4 Sept (not 22 & 29). 8.30pm, £7 (£5).
THE GHOST OF JOHN BELIISHI FLOSHED MY TOILET
Everyone's familiar with performing artists wanting to be ‘taken seriously’ — Patsy Kensit. Amanda de Cadenet, they‘ve all made the appeal. What is more bemusing is when stand- up comics start to go down a similar line. In recent years we’ve had Sean's poetry and Ben Elton’s polemics, and now Nick Revell has joined if not exactly a bandwagon then certainly a Ford Transit van with a conscience.
Peppen'ng Revell’s set are references to Dachau and his best friend’s heroin overdose. Although at one point he refers to himself as profane, there is no exploitation of these issues for comic gain which, of course, means
that there are lengthy periods of this ‘comedy’ show with no laughs whatsoever. As Revell has always been one of the more intelligent performers on the Fringe he can carry off such indulgence. Just don‘t go expecting knockabout hilarity: this is much more interesting than jocular. (Philip Parr)
I The Ghost of John Belushi Flushed My Toilet (Fringe) Nick Revell. Assembly (Venue 3) 226 2428, until 4 Sept, 8pm, £6.50/£7.50 (£5.50/£6.50).
HEW BOOK, NEW RECORD, BIG DRAWING SHOW
The title gives the plot away somewhat and there are no surprises from the Observer ’s C omedians' Comedian. This. naturally. is a huge relief to everyone who would be baying for blood if Hegley wasn’t quintessential Hegley. Ably accompanied by his mate Nige on guitar, the boy wonder wanders through his latest poetry collection and performs an unusually large number of songs to the evident rapture of the viewing public.
The only possible criticism is that he is too good too soon. The audience is weak with laughter after the first twenty minutes, and as Hegley ran over time by half an hour we were all in something of a giggling marathon. As that's the only fault, though. Hegley looks like retaining his title for some time yet. (Philip Parr)
I New Book, New Record, Big Picture Show (Fringe) John Hegley, Music Box (Venue 50) 220 4847, until 28 Aug. 9.45pm. £6.50 (£5).
John Hegley: elation "NJ The List 20—26 August 1993 51