Beatrice Colin gets into some cross-dressing and garbage mulching with the Brother Truckers.
it‘s late. l‘ve been here before. i know these shaky letters in spotlight on a screen and the hean-shredding wince of strings playing minor chords. it's the B- movie malaise where you fall asleep before the end; where the plot doesn‘t matter as long as there’s death and tears; where you don't remember anything next morning.
But as the lights come up on a Dr Seuss-style set, Brother Truckers puts Hollywood through the blender. A camped—up melodrama cocktail with equal measures of lemon one-liners and fruity visual gags, the Ridiculous Theatrical Company's production is intoxicatingly funny.
The plot follows the lives and loves of two brothers and their garbage hauling business. Lech and Flem are in love with their sweet-as-apple-pie partners and Lech plans to marry his ﬁancee, Billy. The plot twists, well slightly, when Flem loses an arm in a car crash and Lech has to go to his old boss Harry Balskin the garbage magnate for ajob. Harry is married to Lyla, Lech's old girlfriend, and when they meet again, Lyla decides she wants him back. ASAP. Harry‘s timely purchase
of a garbage mulcher leads to much mulching, tragedy and ﬂying limbs but true love, of course, triumphs.
Written by Georg Osterman, who plays Billy, and directed by Everett Quinton, who plays Lyla — Alexis to Ostemian’s Krystle — the play is more than gags in drag. Lines you'd love to have thought of but haven't the nerve to use, like, ‘i’d rather go to Hell in a paper dress.‘ come barbed and brisk. Timed to the split-second, Osterman and Quinton's performances are magical. Acting as the axis of the production, their mutual hate spins round with the spit and sparkle of a Catherine wheel.
Other parts are played by both sexes, some cross-dressed, others not, pulling the carpet of conventionality out from
under the audience. While the kitsch kitchen-sink glam of Judy Garland has
been thoroughly camped-up before,
".12.: \ Brother Truckers draws a larger net. Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Marilyn Monroe. Betty Boop as well as the classic, anonymous, wooden B-movie actors are all there, either in cheekbone. wrist flick or grimace.
For the required celluloid action, a series of painted ﬂats, fore-shortened props with two-dimensional movement, portray everything from the car crash to a cocktail shaker. in the same vein, Elizabeth Fried‘s costumes are gloriously exaggerated and copy in real form the camera angles (watch those hemlines) and sequinned glamour of Tinsel Town.
Marinated in venom and served up in allyoucaneat-style, Brother Truckers is a sizzling, seductive send-up.
I Brother Truckers (Fringe) Ridiculous Theatrical Company, Traverse Theatre (Venue IS) 228 1404, daily until 29
Aug (not Mon 23), llpm, £7 (£4).
The Good Gag Guide
if there’s one thing funnier than comedians it’s their audiences. For instance, halfway through The
. Emotional Collection a heckler made a
few bizarre conunents then proceeded to talk through the rest of iihona Cameron’s act. “You’re leaving’ she stated when he eventually went to the door. ‘it’s (ustl don’t find anything funny about the words “fuck” and “willle’,’ he replied, before leaving. So why come to see two late night stand up comedians in the first place? Rhona Cuneron, despite the pedal ballottlng (ie. voting with your feet) of Outraged From Bow C, is not the most risque of comedians on the circuit, and as she herself claims, she’d be
too embarressed to use the word ‘willie’ on stage. iler act is composed of sharp, acerbic observations that lead to imaginative leaps of logic and leave you asphyxiating with the familiarity of it all. She’s undoubtedly Musselburgh’s best-ever comic and with this degree of talent she’ll never have to go back there.
Mike llayley, the other bit of The Emotional Collection, spends most of his time telling a series of cat (okes. lie could probably do an equally brilliant series of jokes on anything else you wished to mention, but time being annoyingly short he only had space to introduce neg Baritone, presently resting between acting roles whilst promoting his new book, Shagglng Masterclass. llever has antiquated sexism been so funny or Terry-Thomas impersonations so cutting, and iiayley’s impressive anuoury of impressions gives his performance a memorable edge.
What marks both acts Is their
The Emotional Collection: “not hmny’ says Outraged or flow c
supreme self-confidence and pacey delivery - if a gag dies then they’ve moved onto the next before its stopped twitching. Catch them fresh, as Beg Baritone might say, and before they get their own television series etcetera etcetera. (Stephen Chester) The Emotional Collection (Fringe) Mike liayley and ithona Cameron, Gilded Balloon (Venue 38) 226 2151,
~ until 4 Sept, 11pm, £6 (£5).
Bleary-eyed and peely-wally, Craig McLean still hasn’t gone to bed yet.
I Sean ilughes Every mother’s favourite poppet returns, triumphant. Hopefully Hughes’s close-quaner, hang-dog humour can survive the stately formality of the Queen's Hall. Hopefully his international, multi- media career hasn't turned him from the Morrissey of the comedy world to its Peter Gabriel. Hopefully he‘s had a shag.
Sean Hughes (Fringe), Queen Is Hall (Venue 72) 668 2019, 25—28 Aug, 10.30pm. £8.50 (£6.50).
I Jesus Christ lmprostar! A squad of TV and radio lrnprofessionals descend on Galilee and discover Jesus was more than just a hippy carpenter. How about a sketch mixing The Last Supper and GoodFeIlas? ‘Okay, which one of you mooks turned me in?‘
Jesus Christ Improstar (Fringe) The ImprofessionaIs, Marco 's (Venue 98) 228 9116. 21—30 Aug. 11.30pm, £4.50 (£3.50).
I The Full Monty A one-off memorial to Pete Brown, the comedy manager and producer who died earlier this year. Along with one-time clients of his like Trevor and Simon and Griff Rhys Jones, Michael Bentine, Rory McGrath, Arnold Brown, Craig Ferguson and a clutch of other comedians will be performing.
The F ull Monty ( F ringe), Assembly At The Meadows (Venue 116). 226 2428, 22 Aug, 10pm. £10 (£8).
I Exhibit A Video projectors, computer graphics, animation, music — all come together in this Highlands-based company‘s hi-tech tale of the ﬁrst TV station to have its studios in space. Exhibit A (Fringe) Zoom Theatre, St Bride Is Centre (Venue 62) 23 Aug—4 Sept (not 29 Aug), 10.45pm, £5 (£3.50). I Dave Chappelle The wunderkind, with a cool line in sharp humour. Outta New York and hitting Britain for the first time, nineteen-year-old Chappelle has five years on the US comedy circuit, umpteen TV appearances, and two imminent ﬁlm roles behind him. Dave Chappelle ( F ringe), Assemny Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428. 22 Aug—4 Sept. 11.30pm, £7/£8 (£6/£7).
The List 20:26August 1993 53