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The actor packed a mean plastic gun. So mean it failed to spark the caps. Trouble was, it was a deal more sparky than the acting. And even that old dodo ain’t as dead as this dumb show.

The dialogue was hot. Raymond Chandler hot. He wrote the words but not the plot: Chandler‘s life alongside Marlow's actions. Maybe the play is hot as well on the page. Who can tell?

The cast gave it their best shots. but just couldn‘t make the grade. Pity is no reason for buying two hours in hell. Not even with free gin gimlets. (Thom Dibdin) I Death By llalt Inches (Fringe) New World Theatre Company. Southbridge Centre (Venue 123) 556 3663. until 3 Sept (not 1 Sept). 11pm. £5 (£3.50).



imagine taking a trip back in time to the days before comedy was the new rock 'n' roll. Waiting for you would be those consummate old pros Willie Rushton and Barry Cryer. resplendent in white tuxedos and boaters. ‘Alternative comedy' never happened for the similarly well-dressed and respectful audience who laughed heartily from the off. Not much chance of a pissed-up heckler at this gig. where the typical chuckle was followed by a my-how-decadent 'oh dear' addressed to one's partner if thejoke was a bit saucey.

This was was rare. of course. but amongst the Radio 4-friendly rib- ticklers it was a musical ode to the (unuttered) f- word and an out-of-place cunnilingus gag that provided the night's only glimpse of ‘danger‘. Old school humour for G&T

P-ilamess are what Rod, Jane and

Freddy would be like it they hung

2 around with Phil Kay instead of

Bungle, and wore buttock-revealing Ieotards instead of primary coloured , dungarees. This Australian foursome have a pathetic puppet show and a

pitiable version of “Why Don’t You?’ called ‘How Things Work’. One of the girls does an unsettlineg convincing impersonation of a twitching loony


who likes cat-litter just a bit too

e" '. w) y

P-Hamess - arsing around for a good crack

much. Both the boys emerge with their wee willie winkies protruding from the front of their Ieotards. Why why why? Ito-one knows and no-one seems to care. So crap it’s funny? So funny it’s weird? So weird it’s crap? P-Harness

are all of the above. Post-midnight

madness ahoy. (Craig McLean)

P-ilarness (Fringe), Gilded Balloon (Venue 38) 226 2151, until 3 Sept, 12.15am, £5.50 (£4.50).

drinkers everywhere and that's definitely not of the adidas-wearing. ()asis-

' loving variety. (Stan Ferguson)

I DItI Farts II - The Musical (Fringe) Barry Cryer & Willie Rushton. George Square Theatre (Venue 37) 650 2001. until 2‘) Aug. 11.30pm. £8.50 (£6).


Like his sometime writing partner Sean Hughes. ()wen O'Neill is looking for ways to marry mainland comedy with the longer. looping story- telling tradition of his native ireland. For this show he‘s come up with a neat way of deconstructing the

Old tarts - flat and llatulent

traditional stand-up routine: ten minutes of

; jokes. then it's ‘thank you

and goodnight'.

()‘Neill reappears ‘at home‘ in a spartan living- room set and regales the audience with post-gig blarney about his family both as brother to fifteen siblings and father of a ‘)()s nuclear unit. He even reads a couple of his poems. taking this show

well beyond simple comedy toward one-man

show territory.

. Entertaining throughout. 5 but not always laugh-out-

loud funny. (Eddie Gibb) I Owen O’Neill (Fringe) Gilded Balloon ll. Stepping Stones (Venue 5i) until 3 Sept (not 22. 30) 10.30pm. £6 (£5).


Purple Pineapples: mistresses of cunning lingo You can‘t lick a good labiajoke. as these two

outragous Govan-esses know full well. Their obscene sketches and songs burst with reference to chap‘s lips on chapped lips. crabs. skid marks on your kecks. anti getting taken from behind after too much sun and sangria. Which makes the show long on gags for the girls night out but short on originality apart from one well observed lesson on keeping the lock-less toilet doors in the Fringe Club shut when you're having a pee. Good. base. toilet humour which doeer heat about the bush but gets the meat straight in. (Thom Dibdin) I The Purple Pineapple Show (Fringe) Purple Pineapple Show. Marco’s (Venue 98) 228 ‘)l 16. until Aug 2‘). 10.30pm. £4.50 (£3.50).



A rip-roaring. fast ‘n' furious comedy roller- coaster ride. this is not. But in my books Mr l.ovett is one of the flufliest. nicest and funniest observationalists on the stand-up circuit today.

A comedian who can create five minutes of hilarious material from a simple British Rail white plastic coffee stirrer is


llonnan lovett: groovy, laid- back and funny

pure genius. Along with this his relaxed attacks centre on. among other things. comedy improvisation. stress (something he has surely never encountered in his life). litter. Noddy. Postman Pat and barbecues. if this man was any more laid-back he'd need a bed to perform from. (Joe Lampard) I Norman lovett (Fringe) Cafe Royal (Venue 47) 556 254‘). until 3 Sept. it).3()pm. £6 (£5).


Years be fore comedy was ever invented in Scotland. Una McLean was on stage givin‘ it big lungs and gallus teeth. Jings. crivvens. help ma boab. forty years on she‘s still as professional and accomplished as ever. This is a no-holds-barred glorification of McLean's life in the theatre and as such you'll need a high tolerance for garish dresses. her speaking with bools in her mooth. and the work of Liz l.ochhead. Mentions of Hamilton. l’ollok. the ()1d Firm and Airdrie are (1e rigeuer. if you were born after 195-1 then this very traditional piece of Scottish repertory could leave you bewildered and bored. Strictly one for your ma and pa. (Philip l)orward) I I’m Still Here (Fringe) l'na McLean. Royal Museum of Scotland (Venue 43) 225 753-). until 3 Sept. l().3()pm. £6.



As a luvvies‘ after-hours haunt the lmproverts at the Bedlam is just dandy. Swathes of identical “come see my show‘ T- shirts adorn the more excitable members of the

I ll

audience while onstage the equally excitable members of the Edinbugh University Theatre Company ham it up in best Tony Slattery/Josie Lawrence fashion. The games they play tend to follow the by now hard- and-fast rules of impro- comedy. letting the audience choose a setting or occupation which the actor quickly ignores. steering the flow instead towards some favourite silly face or feed line. (Rory Weller)

I lmproverts (Fringe) iidinburgh University Theatre Company. Bedlam Theatre (Venue ~19) 225 9893. until 27 Aug. midnight. £3.50 (£2.50).


They play to full houses and people seem to love them. but what's all the fuss about? Seems to me. in their new emphasis on the musical side to their collective lunacy. Corky & The Juice Pigs have lost the wacky edge that their previous shows gloried in.

()K. their degenerate ‘Father and Son' chats are suitably surreal and some of the songs are quite amusing. You’ll probably know that they do fine piss-takes of REM and Neil Young. but my own favourite is their life Stinks” version of Lou Reed's ‘l)irly Boulevard'( ‘l hate New York. why don‘t I move‘." ).

All the same. if you want a bit of music with your comedy l‘d suggest you check out the homegrown talents of John Maloney or Dermot Carmody instead. Anyway. what is it with the glut of musical pastiches doing the rounds this year'.’ The Barron Knights and Weird Al Yankovic have a lot to answer for. (Stan Ferguson)

I Corky 8. the Juice Pigs (Fringe). Gilded Balloon (Venue 38) 226 2151.

until 3 Sept (not 2‘) Aug). 10.45pm. £6.50 (£5.50).

ul. .1

The Pigs: ham and cheese

48 The List 26 August-8 September l‘)")4