Greg Proops’ no-nonsense guide to Edinburgh 94

Greetings. beloved reader. You‘ve got The List in one hand. a cup of dreadful, instant coffee in the other. Your mind is reeling at the prospect of choosing which show to see out of a gazillion options. Come with me. friend, and 1'" show you around my burg. E'town.

Ground rules

1. Don‘t stop drinking. Day or night if someone offers to stand a round. go for it. You’re not at home are you? Besides, what‘s theatre without booze? 2. Don‘t try to see everything in fact don‘t see anything. Just say. ‘Oh, we couldn‘t get in' or ‘I heard it was crap.‘ 3. Pretend you know everyone. Say ‘Hi‘ to everybody and ifyou see a lovey you recognise. yell their first name. They‘ll be sure to turn around and then you can harass them.

4. Continue drinking. See number i.

5. Don‘t sleep what's the point? There are shows 24 hours a day and if you sober up you’ll still feel shit.

6. Don't eat (well) - eat only fish and chips with salt and sauce, black pudding, lager, crisps, pre-packaged sandwiches, chocolate and cigarettes. Repeat.

7. Be someone you aren’t if you‘re shy and intelligent act like a drunken swine. if you're a lout. well do what you do. Remember no one knows you here. it’ll never get back home that you acted like a pig.

8. Shag everything - see number 7. Warning: Don‘t shag anyone you might run into at home.

9. Shop Princes Street. Walk the length of Princes Street approximately from Burger King to Burger King. Go into

every store. Tussle with the hordes but never buy anything. It‘s all junk.

10. Don’t tip. You‘re in Scotland. A cab driver will weep openly ifyou give him 50p.

A comedian’s guide to judging comedy

The Festival features opera, classics. books, music, dance and innovative theatre. Ignore them. they‘re boring. You know what you want: To get blind drunk and watch alternative comedians berate the crowd for not being hip enough.

How to judge a comedy show i did my first Festival last year and

was nominated for a prestigious ‘Perrier‘ Award. 1 won a bottle of Penier. which makes me a fine judge of comedy and/or extremely bitter. Here are your criteria: a) Everyone but you is laughing. Either:

l. You‘re sober

2. The comic is a genius but you’re

a loser, or

3. You‘re a critic. kill yourself. b) The comedian says fuck. shit and cunt a lot he or she is edgy and hip and you’re hopelessly mired in your antiquated. bourgeois mores. Lighten up. c) The comedian is talking about personal pain and grief. Leave. You‘ve stumbled into a one-man show. d) There’s more than one comedian on stage yelling. screaming playing guitar and spraying you with beer. You‘ve stumbled into a ‘sketch‘ show. Stay. you'll see them all next year when they have their own Channel 4 comedy show. e) The comic is a Yank with horn rim specs it‘s obvious you tnust stay and enjoy you paid enough. Greg Proops is at the Assembly Rooms 12 Aug—3 Sept at 9.40pm.



A couple of blokes made it to the moon, J imi was sending a few thousand hippies far out into space at Woodstock and in Vietnam Ho Chi Min died. The year was 1969 and in Edinburgh the Fringe Society had just become a charity.

I Edinburgh needs a new theatre. ‘as a matter of urgency’ said Festival director Peter Diamand. who was finding it increasingly difficult to attract Opera's big names to Edinburgh. ‘If one is to wait too many years for this it might be too late for the Festival . l ant convinced that something has to be done in the near future.‘ he said. I The tone for the Festival was set by Malcolm Muggeridge when he gave a sermon at the opening service. ‘Have what pass for being art forms ever before been so drenched and impregnated with erotic obsessions, so insanely preoccupied with our amimal nature and its appetites. so remote from any other consideration. intellectual, moral or spiritual as ours today?’ he asked the congregation. I There were fourteen entries for the Fringe award for new plays. all of which were seen by the adjudicator, Burke Onwin, who was not altogether impressed. Having seen some 300 actors he said he had not spotted one who was ‘outstanding‘. The grudging prize was awarded by the leader of the opposition. Edward Heath. I The hagpipe made its debut at the lntemational Festival with an appearance at an Usher Hall concert given by the BBC Scottish Radio Orchestra and Choral Society. The


concert of Scottish light music was ‘wedged with pleasing effect between the intellectual heights and spirotic sonorities ofthe heavy weights of the classical world.‘ according to a snappy Scotsman review.

I Ian McKellen caused controversy with his performances of two Kings: Richard II and Edward II. Richard was fine. garnering praise all round bttt it was Edward that caused the stushie. The ‘controversial male embraces‘ between the king and Piers Gaveston passed ‘without a murmur' in the packed Assembly Hall on opening night. There may have been no murmur front local Conservative councillor John Kidd. however, but there was a full-throath roar of outrage which echoed round the letters columns for weeks. ‘Edinburgh does not want this kind ofthing.‘ he buffed. calling the play a ‘disgrace to the city‘.

I Sam Fuller was in town for the retrospective of his films at the Film Festival. He expressed a desire to make a film ofthe life of Robcn Louis Stevenson. his favourite author. Also present was Peter Fonda. for the UK premier of [Easy Rider. Poor Peter, who had just ntislaid a $1000. lZ-string guitar. was in sorrowful mood and couldn‘t make his mind up: ‘l drink a lot of beer and smoke a little grass.‘ he said. ‘Or maybe 1 smoke a lot ofgrass and drink a little beer.‘

I Gratuitous nudity and on—stage hanky panky should have been no problem for the press; this was still the end of the swinging 60s after all. Not so the Evening News however, which slated The People Show because its ‘nudity is used to no dramatic effect and succeeds in only being exceedingly coy‘.

I Fish supper purgatory was suffered by the cast of Frank Dunlop‘s production Of Zoo, Zoo, Widdershins. Zoo, starring Lynn Redgrave. The poor lambs had to consume one portion each during the show. tOpped up with lashings ofegg. bacon and beans. That’s one way to get over the starving artists syndrome.



The M usselburgh-born stand-up plans to check out the opposition when she is in Edinburgh. These are five shows on her list.

I Elvis is Alive and She’s Beautiful K.U.T.A. Theatre Company at the Pleasance. A play about a lesbian Elvis. I can’t miss this, a play about my two favourite subjects in the one show.

I Pub Internationale Harry Hill at the Pleasance. I like Harry, l've snogged him, he‘s inventive. unusual and i like it when the audience doesn‘t understand him. It serves them right. I Stewart Lee at the Pleasance. Stewart‘s got guts. he does unconventional comedy that‘s true to himself, he doesn‘t compromise. this makes me think about him. He‘s also an extremely nice chap, and we‘re both ad0pted.

I Phil Kay at the Gilded Balloon. l‘m jealous of boys whojump around and he certainly does this. His performance is inspiring in many ways. but most of the time he's childish and I think that’s

the quality I admire most in him.

I Donna McPhall at the Gilded Balloon. Honestly l‘ve never even so much as spoken to this woman but apparently her Perrier nominee show last year was brilliant. l also heard that she‘s clever, sophisticated and extremely good looking.

Rhona Cameron is at the Assembly Rooms from 12 Aug—3 Sept at 10pm.

The List 12—18 August l994 7