When Stu Who, Fred MacAulay and Bruce Morton were rooting around for a suitable venue to host their Funny Farm comedy collective in 1988, Blackfriars bar came to the rescue and offered the young upstarts their basement. Six years later, when a fistful of similar international and Scottish upstarts were looking to premiere their verbal wares before venturing into the zoo that is the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Blackfriars came to the rescue yet again.
For the pub’s co-owner Clare MacAuley, their enthusiasm to embrace such acts as Parrot and American Scott Capurro is only natural given its status as the first comedy club in Glasgow. Despite having kept a pretty low profile recently, MacAuley says the heart of the comedy club is still there. ‘The people who started here still have very fond memories of it and tend to do one-off shows every now and then.’
One such Funny Farm stalwart who cut his teeth in Blackfriars is that caustic Greenock comedian Parrot, who returns with a Perrier Award nomination under his belt to premiere his show Parrot 0n Pain. Among the vanguard of hip gay comedians currently enlightening suburban America is Scott Capurro. Described as being a ‘personable, tart stand-up’, Capurro found time, in between his
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small role in Mrs Doubtfire, to write and direct his first one-man show, Risk Gay.
Also confirmed are Simply Cred, consisting of Ford Kiernan, John Paul Leach and Allan Taylor, a trio confidently billed as ‘the hottest new acts in Scotland.’ Kevin Kopfstein and David Cosgrove are the responsible parties for the Freddie Starr inspired show ‘Uri Geller Ate My Dinner’ in
‘ which Mr Kopfstein sets his flares on
fire and explores the world of weird show-business folk. Something for all the family then at Blackfriars, whatever your comic inclination may be. (Ann Donald)
Edinburgh Preview Hights, Blackfriars, Glasgow, Mon 1—6 Aug, see Comedy listings for details.
Watching us watching you
Dawn Hartley and Brigid McCarthy are lncognita. And lncognita are that rarest of things: an independent dance company with a Scottish address.
Back in February the Edinburgh- based pair staged the first leg of Spectator Sport at the Demarco Foundation. The full-length piece will run for six nights in early August and - if what was seen at the pilot is anything to go by — those of us who bemoan the absence of a vibrant Scottish dance scene may soon be eating our words.
You can forget all notions of booking front-row seats though: there won’t be any. Hartley and McCarthy take you the audience on a promenade performance: a journey through seven different spaces in the Demarco building - exploring seven aspects of love, and the relationship between an audience and its performers. Travel companions will be: the live local musicians from the February pilot, local dancers Aled Evans and Mark Hamilton, and Christine Devaney of V- Tol.
Hartley and McCarthy have carefully orchestrated the event to give real resonance to the twin themes of love and how ‘we see and are seen.’ In the section named Jealousy, the
lncognita's ‘Spectator Sport'
performers set up a kamikaze chase round the edge of the room. The audience stand in the middle trying to follow the action but are unable to catch sight of everything that is happening. ‘llot having the full picture,’ as Hartley says ‘is the one thing about jealousy that really gets you knotted.’
By the end of Spectator Sport it’s not clear who’s watching whom, which sounds intimidating, but works surpirsingly well. ‘Come and break yourself in gently to the festival,’ says Hartley. ‘Consider all the questions that theatre throws up and decide what kind of audience you want to be.’ (Ellie Carr)
Spectator Sport can be seen at The Demarco European Art Foundation, Edinburgh, 1—6 Aug.
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The List 29 Jul}. ll August I994 49