Looking like a spruced-up Les Paterson, and sounding like a plummy David Attenborough voice-over, Desmond Olivier Dingle dons a ruff to read from his ‘forthcoming international bestseller‘ Shakespeare: The Truth. Like Sir Les, we want to believe he’s real, and we chuckle at him as much as with him as he launches into his revisionist version of the Bard's life.

But you can’t chuckle forever and, although clever and amusing in parts, its cock-eyed view of history starts to drag after a few chapters. Only the slide-show, acting masterclass (involving four hapless audience members), and Question And Answer session inject the proceedings with any comic verve. The send-up of the Stratford Shakespearian tourist scene hits the mark, but if the show’s foundation is humour, it's a shaky edifice. (Barry Didcock)

I Patrick earlow Presents (Fringe) Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428, until 4 Sept. 9.40pm, £8.50/£9.50 (£7.50/£8.50).


Appearance-wise, Brian Hartt looks a lot like Steven Wright and in some of the quieter moments of his act, there are similarities of mannerism and material. But where Wright stays relentlessly in character and would never be seen dead with a guitar, Hartt experiments with different styles ranging from manic monologue to low-key observational humour, and he even throws the odd song into the mix.

This is Hartt’s first time in Britain and he is playing Edinburgh as a last minute stand-in stand- up after American Rich Hall was made the kind of offer that Fringe


. PERCXIDE COMED “You’ve probably realised by now that I’m a bit of a sad, tired, tragic old slapper.’ No, it's not Margl Clarke, it’s Jenny Eclair, queen of the self-


abusing, us-amusing rant. Eclair, 32, is a mad old bat. She’s an in-bred cross- 2

breed of Miss Piggy, Bet Lynch and Fenella Fielding, with a dash of encroaching senility thrown in for good measure. Breathlesst she curses her own body, other people’s bodies, the ‘llueen mum’s qulm’. This latter, appuently, was responsible for starting the fire at Windsor Castle.

Don’t ask.

Peroxide Comedy is pure filth, drunk on love juices, garlanded with pearly necklaces, bedecked in sheets of flapping skin-parts. It comes from the most vulgar recesses of the most active imagination, and slaves off dull puerility M. Clarke 1993) by the clever device of Eclair‘s being utterly bonkers. When Alan Parker -. Urban Warrior and another raving fruitcake - drags his audience in from next door,


promoters can never hope to compete with. However, in America and his native Canada, Hartt is well established with regular TV appearances and a recent Emmy award. This is a good chance to see a big name playing much smaller venues than he’s used to. (Eddie Gibb)

I Brian HUI! (Fringe) Fools Paradise (Venue 108) 556 5 l84, until 4 Sept, 9.45pm. £6.50 (£5).




This production is based loosely on Macbeth, ‘the way it could have happened,’ according to the programme note. with elements of Lewis Carroll’s Alice, Faust and Edgar Allan Poe stirred in to produce a Gothic tale of murder and madness. At one stage the Duchess/Lady Macbeth/ Morticia Addams character asks ‘what‘s the point‘, though an answer is never offered.

But while the purpose of this play is obscure, there is nothing subtle about the way it is performed. The cast is obliged to shout, sweat and spit through long passages of Shakespearian pastiche which appear dramatic but do little do engage the audience. The excessively stagey movement and top- of-the-voice delivery quickly blunt the interest. (Eddie Gibb)

I Nervous - very, very dreadfully nervous (Fringe) Theatrestorm 60/40, Theatre Zoo (Venue 4) 228 9208, 28 Aug. 9.30pm. 29 Aug—4Sept. 6.30pm. £4 (£3.50).


This is, in essence, what the Fringe is all about: sitting in an audience rivalled in number by the performers onstage, and I don’t mean that this is a company of hundreds, not even a cast reaching double figures; in sad honesty, there are two of them.

Billing themselves as comedy, but painfully unfunny. the Human Twins’ delivery is extremely amateurish, with their jokes falling into two categories: old not-funny, and basic downright rubbish.

Add to this exceptionally off-key and badly sung songs and you’ve a good idea what this show’s all about. The Twins would be well advised to stick to their nine-to-frve jobs, which I think they mentioned were as taxmen. (.loe Lampard)

I Full SNOW, Io CHI! (Fringe) The Human

T\vins, Festival Club

(Venue 36) 650 2395. until 4 Sept, 9.50pm,

£4.50 (£3.50).


Song, satire, poetry, and

polemic make up this examination of the Scotland/England relationship. Symbolically

Def, daft and blonde the meeting of two loony minds and two hysterical audiences is terrifying in its possibilities.

llext week: Jenny Eclair keeps her gear on and the world breathes a sigh of relief. (Craig McLean) Peroxide Comedy (Fringe) Jenny Eclair, Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550, until 4 Sept (not 2 Sept), 9.15pm, £6.50


' is about as unfortunate as

he is. The script isn’t particularly interesting in any way, shape or form, with extremely heavy- handed humour based on the fact that most of the characters involved represent tired stereotypes. Combined with painful overacting from much of the cast. this makes for an exceptionally slow and tedious 90 minutes. (Joe

| Lampard) l I Cue Elephant Two

Elephant (Fringe) QMW Productions. Festival Club (Venue 36) 650 2395, until 28 Aug, 8.30pm,

| £3.50 (£3).



Once Chancellor of England, Thomas a Becket has fallen from favour with King Henry ll. As Archbishop he returns to Canterbury from exile in France to face the wrath of the King‘s supporters and probable death. According

joined by a length of cloth 3 to the programme,

bearing a faint Union Jack, two female performers construct a collage from a rolling series of characters and situations. The unaccompanied songs have a raw beauty, and the wit of the script is unrelenting.

One mention of ethnic cleansing is the sole nod to nationalism‘s ugly flipside, and the play disappoints with its predictable references to Culloden, and the Declaration of Arbroath. The self-mocking satire works best as, eyes alight, the performers recite the sweetie littany: ‘Tunnocks! Tunnocks’. Worth a visit. whichever side of the Border you live. (Barry Didcock)

I Scots Wahi! (Fringe) Gallus Playshed. The Whale Venue (Venue 35) 556 6780. until 28 Aug. 9.30pm, £3 (£2/50p).



It’s Simon’s 24th birthday party, and a motley crew of relatives and old friends have turned up to help him celebrate, thus setting the scene for the rest of the production, which also includes a couple of short sketches about his childhood for good measure.

Simon is a fairly sad little loser, and this show


Aethelflaed have give T. S. Eliot's drama a religious interpretation, but their overlong production makes this far from clear. Only the three members of the chorus realise that it's necessary to be clear when speaking Eliot’s poetry in the echoing space of a real church. Take a copy of the text or face murder in Old St Paul’s. (Thom Dibdin) I Murder In The Cathedral (Fringe) Aethelflaed, Old St Paul’s Church (Venue 45) until 28 Aug, 8pm, £3.50 (£2.50).



‘Do you ever wonder who got the stains out of Da Vinci’s overalls?’ From Eve to the present day. Rona Munro and Fiona Knowles’s script explores how women have been written out of history. Surreal oddities and poignant moments surface but mostly Knowles gently sideswipes: ‘Father Christmas? When have you see a man knocking his pan out getting ready for Christmas?’

Her working-class Aberdonian realism is Knowles’s strongest asset. Her children's complaint that 'Real mums know what’s for tea before frve o'clock’, rings true. The

MsFits have their own niche. it’s not exactly preaching to the converted, but their velvet-glove approach caters for the in-between feminists, whose ideals have to rub shoulders with real-life compromises. Knowles is on stage alone throughout the 90-minute performance, which is probably pushing anyone‘s ability to sustain an audience’s attention. Editing down to an hour would perhaps have revived a little lost sparkle.(Gabe Stewart)

I Rabble Burns Yer Tee‘s Cot! (Fringe) MsFits, Diverse Attractions (Venue 11) 225 8961, until 28 Aug. 8pm, £3.50,




Themmhe'f rimmed-Hobs

This promenade performance of Plan O’Brien’s classic comic novel about bicycles, murder and a philosopher called De Quincy is perfect for the Calton Centre’s village-hall-like space. it’s a knock-about production, going for maximum audience participation, chuckles and collaboration with the four actors’ able antics. The tone is set right at the start anyone arriving with a bicycle accessory gets a free drink. While time constraints have forced some of the book’s best jokes out altogether, and the Atomic Theory is not adequately explained, it’s a good introduction to the novel, which leaves you feeling quite satisfied. Dancing, bicycles and a free drink, it’s what the Fringe is all about. (Thom Dibdin) I The Third Policeman (Fringe) Ridiculusmus, Calton Centre (Venue 119) 661 9121, until 4 Sept, 8pm, £5 (£4).

40 The List 27 August-9 September 1993