Sorry Parrot. don't want to spoil anything but here's his best joke. Men/sex/need lots. Women/sex/don't. ‘A woman's like a camel. One hump and she can cross the Gobi.’ Belly laughs all round. men and women. This comes a few minutes from the end of the hour. after Parrot's built up a good head of Glaswegian steam. Steam arising from the fire of many swearwords and seething disdain for most things. and the water of fluent. inconsequential dribbling. Babies get a bit of a kicking. So does John Major Parrot would like to bugger John and use Mags Thatcher as a condom (as you do). not because he'd enjoy it but

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Parrot: builds to a John would hate it. Think i would too.

And generally Parrot is scabrous and scathing. even if his free-roaming havering could do with a bit of corrective punishment. A birch would suffice. (Craig McLean)

I Sick As A Parrot (Fringe) Parrot. Stepping Stones Theatre (Venue 51), until 4 Sept (not 2 Sept). 9.15pm. £5 (£4).




A comedy tour-de-farce from the duo who founded the London TBA comedy sketch club. writers for Smith and Jones. Spitting Image and Weekending. Widely diverse. well- paced sketches keep the audience on the edge of their seats, apart from one


'Efifiifi'r‘ Aug 23rd - Sept 4th £5.00 (3.50]

good head ot Glaswegian steam or two dull moments. Even these. however. are pointed out and incorporated into the set a final routine features Naylor praying for the rest of the Festival to go well and asking why God, in all his wisdom, didn't let them know that some sketches would go down ‘like a concrete balloon’. A times a touch slow and predictable. but on the whole thoroughly enjoyable. (Joe Lampard) I Parsons and iiaylor’s Rich Green Pageant (Fringe) Parsons and Naylor, Stepping Stones (Venue 51) 225 6520. until 28 Aug. 9pm, £6 (£5).



Claire is a wheelchair- user with MS. living with her overly protective and overtly religious mother.




A 10.45pm

Ken and Ard probany believe their show is sufficiently sophisticated to allow them to present ‘there’s a large organ in the back passage’ as a complex satirical comment rather than a crude double entendre. But a chronic preoccupation with sketches based on therapy, production companies and interior decor traps them in a twilight world oi weak satire


m a m: trapped. in a twilight world or weak satire and parody

- and parody. With Ard as straight toil to Ken’s passable impressions, they present a show that aspires to mock the milieu from which it cannot really escape, despite their obvious enthusiasm. lot sharp enough really to bite. (Grace Hodge)

Thus Spalte Ken & Ard (Fringe) Ken & Ard, Hill Street Theatre (Venue 41) 226 6522, until 4 Sept, 9pm, £5 (£4).

Frances. All is cosy in their little nest. according to Frances. with Claire (admirably played by Jacqueline Gilbrook) ‘accepting her place in the world‘ ie a confined existence until a catalyst appears in the shape of Tom. an amiable. at times naive. television repairman. who opens Claire’s eyes to the world beyond her cell of a room. A poignant. harrowing drama which tackles some difficult themes with stark honesty. sensitivity and a few moments of gentle humour. (Joe Lampard) I A lower Wilderness (Fringe) Tartan Rose Theatre Company. Royal Museum Of Scotland (Venue 43) 225 7534. until 27 Aug. 9pm, £5 (£4).



A mix of short plays by Caryl Churchill: Lovesick and Not Enough Oxygen are stage adaptations of radio pieces. while Three

More Sleepless Nights here sees its first performance since it was written in 1980. This last takes as its themes communication and vulnerability. with Churchill's eye for detail adding humour to a portrait of insecurity a couple settles down to sleep after a blazing row (convincingly portrayed by Tonya Haslett and John McEllroy); he asks if she’s set the clock.

A crowded stage and too rapid introduction of characters imply that Lovesick's transition from the airwaves requires further work. but the apocalyptic vision of 2010 London in Not Enough Oxygen is more successful. Collaborative work may have slowed down the directorial process. but Nicola Hem’s concentration on text. and Adam Kay‘s improvisation work. have paid dividends. (Gabe Stewart)

I Churchill’s Shorts (Fringe) London University-Theatre Company. Celtic Lodge

(Venue 6) until 28 Aug (not Mon 23). 9pm. £4.50 (£3).



Any stand-up comic who does a joke about stand-up comics humilating

7 audiences is on to a

winner as far as I'm concerned. Mark Steel might not be the sort of comedian who makes you want to sell all your belongings and become an acolyte at the Cult of Mirth. but he is one of the few who guarantees you an entertaining and fear- free night out.

His comedy is observational. astute and underwritten by the vast wealth of personal charm which permeates the show. And he’s pretty good at his imitations too. So get out there and fill up the front two rows sharpish. (Stephen Chester)

I Mark Steel (Fringe) Fools Paradise. Music Box (Venue 50) 220 4847. until 4 Sept. 8.30pm. £6.50 (£5).

52 The List 20-26 August 1993