8PM 0m mm:-


From the moment the baritone saxophonist came on stage, blowing strange whale noises through her born to summon the rest of the sextet, until the end of the first half I was totally transfixed by this Californian ensemble.

The iiuciear Whales play wonderful music in a soft, easy-listening sort of way. Ranging in repertoire from Duke


uclear Whales: range and virtuosity Ellington to Bach, through a blistering

; Casbah Shuffle, they demonstrate the range and virtuosity of Adolphe Sax’s

wonderful invention. Only the

excruciating puns spoil an evening of . top-notch family entertainment. (Thom


The lluclear Whales Saxophone Orchestra (Fringe) Marco’s (Venue 51) 226 9118, until 3 Sept, 8pm, £6 (£5).


Oompere for this typically grab-bag evening was the inimitable lynn Ferguson, whose lively, coarse prelude was a difficult act to follow. But Hattie ilayridge’s opening was hilarious, setting up the rest of her routine, revolving around the Edinburgh weather, holidays, sex, marriage, more sex and shagging. llext up was lionna McPhall, by far the best of the bunch. iier delivery is slick and her material fresh, funky and very, very funny. After another short break in the company of Ms Ferguson (a few willy lokes) came linda Smith, whose set - a few hangover gags from last year's show - for numerous people signalled time to get drinks in

lynn Ferguson: incomparable compere

7 at the bar.

Finally we get dimlnuitive Porta- llican, Marga Gomez. lier stop-start

delivery was born by a desire to bridge



the transatlantic cultural divide, and once she got up a head of steam her material crackled and fined. A rollercoaster night, not without its depressing dips. For Week Three ‘Women In Comedy' moves to an earlier time slot with an extra 45 minutes - how about a bit more from the compere? (.loe Lampard)

Women in Comedy (Fringe) The

I Gilded Balloon, Main Theatre, (Venue

38) 226 2151, SO Aug—3 Sept, 8pm, £7 (26)-



John Maloney: Oeptford

deadpan Understated self- deprecation is the name of John Maloney's game and boy. does he self- deprecate. ‘I haven‘t got a lot of material. but I (ind it's alright when you‘re a bit of a looker.’ deadpans this self-confessed fattie from Deptford.

Quicklire. dryly- delivered gags (‘I got stoned last night. i told a Palestinian the West Bank did belong to lsrael') are interspersed with more involved reminiscences from his Jam-loving teen years and pre-comedy career as a put-upon school teacher.

Somehow. he manages to include a tin whistle. a bodhran. an accordian. and a guitar without coming across like a

l comedy Richard Digance. (Stan Ferguson)

I Only Maioney (l‘ringe) Gilded Balloon ll. Stepping Stones (Venue

37) 650 2001. until 3 Sept (not i Sept). 9.30pm.





A game of two halves

i this. with Pulling The

i Legs Off/(nix winning on

' points. An anecdotal.

§ almost casual piece that

weaves seemingly

unrelated talking head confessionals around a central. chillingly matter- of-fact narrative. it closes with an impressive. if

incongruous burst of contemporary

i choreography.

Bil. on the other hand. is a noisy. shamboiic attempt

at absurdism that chucks I everything it can into a - cartoon melting pot of ideas which ultimately disappear up their own conceptual back passage. Though played with a certain chaotic undergraduate charm. its

legs Off Ants/Bit: a game of two halves

overall obviousness grates in a way only the misguided and the smug can. (Neil Cooper)

I Pulling The Legs Off Ants/Bit (Fringe) Me Me Me Theatre Company. Roman iiagle Lodge (Venue 2 l ) 225 7995. until 3 Sept. 9pm. £5 (£3.50).


Stewart Lee. a self-styled ‘rigorously theoretical comedian'. prowls round a joke. holds it up for

inspection from many different angles. possibly even draws a couple of explanatory diagrams. Basically he'll do anything to delay delivering the punchline: Lee practises Tantric comedy.

And sometimes there isn‘t a punchline at all. In the taped disclaimer before the show. Lee warns that not all his material is funny. ‘There are no clues -- you must decide.‘ intones the voice- over. Which is half-true. Lee has stretched the stand-up form almost to breaking point. but the signposts which signal 'laugh now‘ remain. if sometimes partially obscured by philosophical foliage.

But Lee has taken more

risks than most in lidinburgh. making this a far more interesting show than his Fist (if/"rm radio comedy would prepare you for. Highly recommended for comedy scholars. (Eddie Gibb) I Stewart Lee (Fringe) Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 ()550. until 3 Sept (not 31 Aug). 9.45pm. 1.7/8


Stewart lee: theoretically rigorous

44 The List 26 August—8 September 1994