; Ben Keaton ’
1986 - and Ben Keaton was in Edinburgh for the first time with a one-man comedy show, Intimate Memoirs of an Irish Taxidermist. That year — with no more than fifteen solo gigs to his name — he won the Perrier Award. As the Irish-born and theatre- trained improv king points out: ‘They were being very adventurous with choices that they were making, and they made a very adventurous choice when they chose me, because I wasn’t a stand-up . . . I was doing theatre- based comedy’.
Keaton was suddenly a wanted man in the comedy world, but found himself unprepared for the limelight. ‘I had no material to go on tour with. The expectation nowadays is that a stand-
s; .4 a a: v ~ t; i Q
Ben Keaton: ‘theatre-tralned improv king’ ‘lt’s better than the Perrier show and
I think it’s better because I’m older.
I’ve got the experience and I’m writing better’. The show is made up of three pieces, directed separately by Phelim McDennott (founder of the Comedy Store Players) and Beg Mevross from
The boys from Curried Goat are back in town with . . . er T/lt‘ Return of Curried (ion! (catchy’). Seasoned Fringe veterans all. complete with a speccy bloke (Dan (Easter); at fresh-faced lad (Will lng); and a Mick Hucknall lookalike (Ben Silburn). this ex- l5ootlights trio of mates work the circuit
individually and together.
and have been scoring
comedy writing points ill the realms of Radio 4 and TV. from (‘live Anderson
to Russ Abbot.
(iastei"s looking forward to their show starting at a reasonable hour this year. ‘\\'e played midnight at the l’leasance
a couple of years ago
following l’aul Morroco.
so we'd go on stage with
eggs and orange juice and all sorts all m er the stage. and our time clocks w et'c like. \\ e tlltlll‘l know
whether we were coming or going. We could never
work out when it was we were supposed to eat iiieals.' So it‘s cocoa and hot water bottles at ten then. Boiiibarding the audience with a packed hour of characters and
\ isual gags. like any sketch show. take the rough with the stnooth and lodging by their previous potential. you'll find some real gems in a mixed bag of fresh young comedy ((‘att Hurley) I Curried Coat (l'ringe) (iilded Balloon (Venue 38)23o2l51. ll Aug-2 Sept. 5. 15pm. £6 (£4).
the Hull area. ‘The sheer presence of having three
mature women on stage who are real is something in itself,’ says Adams. ‘All I really did was put the words into their mouths and they were just
up will have their show but they also have all that experience . . . so trying to catch up on that for years afterward I’ve been getting all my experience backwards.’ For several years an integral member of the London based improv company South of the River, then the Comedy Store Players, he’s back after five years away from the Festival, with a show he considers to
be his best work.
the flank Wangford Band. ‘What I wanted to do is put a show together where it’s 85 per cent comedy,’ says Keaton. ‘And it’s good comedy. It’s stuff you’re really keen on, and it
I throws you off the scent all the time — it’s always changing into something else.’ (Cait Hurley) Ben Keaton (Fringe) Assembly Rooms ( Venue 3) 226 2428, 11 Aug-2 Sept,
3pm, £7 (£5); £8 (£7).
JACK SHEPHERD’S CHASING THE MOMENT
Jack Shepherd is currently best known as the downbeat TV detective lle‘t‘liiii'. but he has a passionate interest in a different kind of downbeat. The actor's long-standing preoccupation with music is reflected in his play about a jazz band. Chasing the ."lloiiit'ut.
‘l have been in love with jazz since I was about thirteen. and I really wanted to be a jazz musician when l was younger. I play
good rhythmic sense. but never really got on top of the harmonies. and when that happens. you just hit a brick wall eventually.‘ He played in bands as a drama student (including one with Jon Lord. who went on to rock fame with Deep Purple). but ultimately realised he would have to concentrate on acting. and stopped playing fora time. His
3 play arose out of a desire
Intellect that love. but is more wide-ranging in its themes.
‘The action takes place entirely in a club. including a mini-gig betwen the two acts. It's about the relationships of the people involved. but
it's also about themes like I 3 the failure of radicalism.
today.’ (Kenny Mathieson)
l Chasing the Moment (Fringe) Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550. 9—19 Aug. 30 Aug—2 Sept. 3pm; 20-28 Aug. 2.30pm. £7 (£5).
Jack Shepherd: TV ’tec gets round the old )oanna
Sometimes method acting isn’t the
rh \ p... 3"”. at
method where it’s at. For their Fringe production Fish ’n’Leather, Big Fish Theatre Co have adopted the Ken
Loach approach to casting. This tale
of an ill-starred three-way friendship was first performed by Hull Truck Theatre Company, but playwright Gill Adams felt the spark of realism was missing, so set about casting the three middle-aged Hull women’s parts with three middle-aged Hull women who had never acted professionally before, in much the same way as Chrissie Rock in Loach’s Ladybird Ladybird. Loach’s film boasts a fly-on- the-wall realism and so now does Fish ’n’ leather, which has played successfully round pubs and clubs in
themselves. Everything that gives the play its truth and its comedy they’ve done themselves.’
‘I wrote it when I was working in a hairdressing shop and the women coming in were from the factories and I really knew that whatever I did with it I wanted to keep that realism that you get with those women because that is its strength.’
The story concerns an unlikely friendship struck up between two women, Fish and Leather, at a bus stop, and the even unlikelier friendship they find with the wife of the man one of them has been having an affair with. ‘Fish and Leather are like chalk and cheese. They’re completely different and yet they’re very kindred in spirit in as much as they’re both results of unsatisfactory marriages.’
If Adams is cock-a-hoop at the prospect of her play coming to the Fringe it’s nothing compared to the frenzy of the three housewives-cum- actresses. ‘They’re really funny. They keeping saying things like, “I’ve got to ask you something really important about Edinburgh — have they got a washing machine in the flat?”’ (Fiona Shepherd)
Fish ’n ’ Leather (Fringe) Big Fish Theatre 00, Assembly Rooms ( Venue 3) 226 2428, 12 Aug—2 Sept (not Mon 21) 3. 50pm, £9(£8); £8(£‘7).
SilXtipllonc. and l had a
i and life in our inner cities ;
the cafe royal
l7 west register street
tickets 556 2549
7:30pm(8:40pm) £5.00(£4.50) (not weds 23 aug)
i l l l l
36 The List ll-l7 Aue l995