Richard Morton: Billy idol wild

‘The man once tnemorably

heckled as ‘Billy Idol's dad‘ bounds on in a lilac suit and a Geordie accent. There's an acoustic guitar back there. which is ominous. He embarks on a series of references to the peculiarities of his socio-geographic background. which is also ominous. But by the time we reach the halfway stage of Richard Morton‘s first solo show in Edinburgh. he‘s cooking. we‘re cackling. and any doubts that Morton isjust another regional wideboy with misplaced musical aspirations have long since left the building. With an adolescent's energy and gee-wow enthusiasm he darts about his space. engaging his crowd in free-flowing conversations about everything and nothing. Like he says. this is more like K ilmy or Oprah. but at least Morton‘s cult of personality is deserved. Even his finale out comes the guitar. aieee! is a laugh. (Craig McLean)

I llichard Morton (Fringe). Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428. until 3 Sept. £7/£8 (£6/£7).



In the world of drag a girl is only as good as her last costume change. Maggie Raye and her two little helpers have a full basket of dresses if not all in the best repair. at least glistening with diamante in the intimate light of lnsinuendos. it is a suitably dangerous act: you never know when you‘ll get inveigled onto the stage or what you might have to perform there. Maggie‘s lip-synch brings entertaining interpretations to songs you‘d never otherwise bear, but it is brother

‘What Makes A Man A Man'?‘ that steals this show. (Thom Dibdin)

I Mime’s a ladysham (Fringe) Maggie Raye. lnsinuendos Cabaret Club (Venue 66) 556 049‘). until Sept 3 (not Sun). 12.30am. £5 (£4).



l.eolo Ross‘s stage presence is large in every sense of the word and throughout her show she doesn't let you forget it for one second.

Her self-abasement gets some laughs. but after a while becomes wearisome. Her (well- justified) stringing-up of Peter Stringfellow is strung-out. and a small. timid audience doesn't help matters much either. This is comedy for a packed-out northern club. where she's from and no doubt goes down a storm.

Fat jokes can be funny at times. but when they‘re used as the premise for a whole show laughs. unfortunately. become a bit thin on the ground. (Joe Lampard) IFat&Sexy...Btrt legal (Just). Leolo Ross (Fringe) Southside Community Centre

(Venue 82) 667 7365.

until 3 Sept (not 25 and

l). 11.45pm. £5 (£4).




How about introducing a comedy quota system?

For every 200 potential Fringe-goers. one stand- up would be allowed to

Tom‘s live crooning of I bring their show to

Edinburgh. Not only would the spirit of competition increase an audience's chances of a quality laugh. it would also reduce the number of comedians forced to spend three weeks reciting their material to rows of empty chairs.

The New Kids (m the Block are four perfectly nice. not-so-young London comedians. each presenting a fairly polished. amusing set. But when half the audience was asleep. and the other three had secretly hoped to see the former American teen-heroes pop group. there was little they could do to sustain the illusion that any of us were enjoying ourselves. (Justin McKenzie Smith) I New Kids on the Block (Fringe) Hill Street Theatre (Venue 4 l) 226 6522. until 3 Sept. ll.35pm. £4.50 (£3.50).



Acting as though she's fired-up on a lethal cocktail of tartrazine and metabolic stimulants.

Mandy Knight‘s

hyperbolic rushes take in sex. shock. ‘dirty Gingers'

and character sketches.

Sex comes in the form of feigning blow-jobs with audience members and shocker! asking audience members if they‘ve recovered from their abortions yet. The gingerisms are vaguely amusing. setting up the carrot-topped ones as an underprivileged minority. But it’s the role-plays which impress most: an


inebriated. bitchin‘ Dorothy Parker-type socialite and a stroppy Vivien Leigh (playing Scarlett O‘Hara).

Forget the hackneyed sex 'n' shock stuff. Knight is best in caricature speeding out one-liners. (Bethan Cole) I Some Of My Best Friends Are Ginger (Fringe) Mandy Knight. Gilded Balloon (Venue 5 l) 225 6520. until Sept 3. llpm. £6 (£5).



Now here‘s a thing. in a hyperactive 24-hour festival where late night comedy tends to bully and

shove for a laugh. Ivor

Dembina‘s comfy hour of gentle Jewish stand-up makes for a bit of a change. The shoulder- shrugging. oy oy oying. cynical yarnspinner creates an amiable rapport with the audience that almost makes up for a lack of real belly laughs during his show. The subject matter covering such diverse topics as lsrael. being Jewish. lsrael and the local rabbi is a tad gentile-excluding. and his punchlinesjust that bit

too predictable. But still

it's a nice. easy-listening type of an evening out for the latent grandads in us all. Just try not to snooze in the back row. (Naomi Conran)

I Stand lip Jewish Comedy (Fringe) Ivor Dembina. Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550. until 3 Sept. llpm. £5.50/£6.50 (£4.50/£5.50).

? mam- ' NIGHT OF THE


Behind an unnecessary curtain of fishing nets. a

trioofsub-Cocteau siblings performa

complex ritual game. whereupon they wreak spiteful revenge on violent. indifferent parents. with malevolence and murder.

With its role-plays and constant references to the audience. this bitty.

I cluttered affair has all the hallmarks of 60s counter

culture. with the death of the family confirmed. This is no bad thing. though it never pushes far out enough for there to be any real edge. and ends tip garbled in its intent. This is a shame. as it is ftill of ideas that need to be allowed otit of exile. (Neil Cooper)

I Night Of The Assassins (Fringe) Demarco European Art Foundation (Venue 22) 558 337]. until 27 Aug. l2. i5am; 2‘) Aug—3 Sept. H). l 5pm. £4 (£3).



I don‘t know whether Wallace & Barber are students. btit there‘s no question that Snupt' l-‘rogs is a student revue. It's a string of comedy sketches. incorporating abstirdism (i la Python. the occasional topical reference. and a smattering of witty ditties. Wallace & Barber do not rank among the Fringe's most skilled or dynamic performers. Their material is decidedly hit-or-miss. and the formula is a tired one. barely surviving iii these days of stand-tip rock 'n' rolldom. For all this they're an amiable pair. with sporadic sparks of warped brilliance. If you‘re drunk enough a line like ‘hoot hoot hoot‘ can seem very funny. (Andrew Burnet) I Wallace & Barber’s Soapy Frogs (Fringe) Thirteen ()‘Clock Productions. Pianet Hollywood (Venue 116) 556 5044. until 27 Aug. l0.30pm. £4 (£3).


You could tell things weren’t going to work out

for the Bri-Nylons when the pianist walked on

stage. tripped over a cable and let out a vicious curse as he stumbled towards

, his keyboard. This brilliant moment of

unscripted slapstick that could have set all seven

'audience members alight

was passed off as a clumsy accident.

Sadly. when Gordon Dempster and Jem Paker took the stage. their material took a tumble. Both possess skills better suited to the unpredictable atmosphere of a comedy club. such as the one they've recently opened in Edinburgh. Btit here. they had a miserable time trying to squee/e some dilapidated sketches inside the tighter demands of a 50-minute show.

An evening all ten of us would rather forget. (Justin McKenzie Smith) I An Evening of Unprotected Sex (i-‘i-inge) Bri-Nylon Five. Festival Club (Venue 36) 650 2395. until 3 Sept. ll.~15pm (25 ~27 Atig. 7pm). £5 (£4).


Comedy Siren: Berger queen

Rachel Berger successfully warms the audience tip before even appearing on stage by playing her answer phone messages from maudlin ex-lays. Having made her entrance she launches into a vicious diatribe on the inadequacies of airline hostesses. then kills the atmosphere somewhat with some limp political jokes concerning the British Government. Fair game. btit you need a firm grasp of the details to carry it off.

Back on the more familiar territory of gender wars. Berger's

I material begins to sparkle. Why are there no male

hygiene products in shops'.’ Because mens' balls don't smell. of course. All in all. something of a mixed bag. (Jonathan Trew)

I Rachel Berger Comedy Siren (Fringe) Rachel Berger. Pleasance

(Venue 33) 556 6550. until 2‘) Atig. ll.45pm.

£5.50/£6.50 (£4.50/

Wallace & Barber: hoot hoot hoot , £5.50).


The List 26 August S September I‘M-1 49