It seemed like a good idea: two Latvian stuntmen. who look like the illegitimate offspring of Casey Kasem. go to seek fortune. white teeth and navy blazers as frontmen on crass US TV shows. Sadly for Don

it i *‘k


l i


If you loved Armistead Maupin‘s Tales 0fle City then you'll relish these two gems from the boulevards of New York. Into the gutter is precisely where the mad lady

(director. author and

Studio (Venue 55) 2.25 5366. until 2 Sept. l 1.15am. £4 (£3).



Lita Anne Doolan is sweating buckets by the end of this. her own one- woman comic play.

perfonncr Carla Cantrellc) Hardly surprising SillCC

Maxwell) and Sergei descends in N(,,,-[)u,'n. n the whole shebang

Washington (Glen Creamer, a monologue l revolves around a set of I

Richardson) they find that the only thing that glitters is tragedy as they become latter day OJ. Simpsons. Good ideas. however. do not always transform into bubbly comedy and here is the proof. Although well-constructed and professionally discharged. the material lacks depth. It's like a Harry Enfield sketch that has careered out of control. and humour. Shame really. (Philip Dorward) I The Frontmen (Fringe) Fitzroy Productions. Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550. until 2 Sept. 12.30pm. £6l£5 (£5/£4).


When marmalade moggy and boyfriend-substitute Porky comes to a sticky. if squeaky-clean end in a short spin washing machine cycle. office girl co-owners Bev and Tracy deem to give their beloved surrogate a good send-off. A surreptitious wake is organised outwith office hours. to which assorted eccentric workmates are invited.

This mix of sitcom-type banter and accurately observed caricature is a belly-laugh-a-minute excursion into the peccadilloes of Liverpool office-land. Jane

McGinnnes and Debbie

; Graham are gymnastic r virtuosos. playing ten

parts between them.

including the


; fleabag himself.

Debbie Oates‘ script is as sharp as a staple gun. but behind the rapid-fire wisecracks there are some bittersweet comments on love. friendship and Whitney Houston. Recommended. (Neil Cooper)

I 5:01 - Mourning Porky (Fringe) Feisty Bru. Gilded Balloon (Venue 38) 226 2151. until 23

; Aug. noon. £5.50 (£4.50).


Enchanting performances all round from members

of this impressive troupe. who have taken the art of clowning and distilled it down to its essential core. The spirit of the clown is what director Vincent Rouche stresses is of key importance. and indeed. this is what itnmediately captivates the audience. With a series of simple props. occasional speech. and snatches of song. the five clowns create their own distinct yet subtle personalities. Reacting


both with and to their audience. they explore the limits of desire and disappointment with a poignant vitality which speaks across the boundaries of both age and culture. (Robin James)

I Embarquez-les (Fringe) Theatre Workshop (Venue 20) 226 5425. until 2 Sept (not Suns). 12.45pm. £6 (£3.50).



Oprah Winfreyesque

piece in which Roy

- A Orbison is the catalyst for The Frontmen ‘Iacks humorous depth' .

suicide and a desperate sexual journey.

lncorporeality hurts this

whooping cheers from the .

audience . . . It's not compulsory of course. but succumbing to the sassy Shoestring attitude to narrated. ensemble storytelling is frightfully easy. For Brits. preservation of reserve may be paramount. but Shoestring's relentless exuberance. and unethical healthiness. can elicite a delighted yelp from the stiffest British upper lip. It’s not really kids' theatre. but theatre that awakens the kid in us all. Shoestring has a winning storytelling formula: four folk tales from around the world; ten ensemble players. one of whom narrates. the rest of whom double up as characters/ set props (like. an ocean?) Add to this elemental imagination and a professional. precision timing that would outshine the slickest slapstick. and you can see why this former off- Broadway company won a Fringe First last year. Catch if you can two other Shoestring-related productions: another


Meanwhile brunch. margharitas and the search for Planet Happiness are on the menu in Chips and Salsa as three twentysomethings con the maitre d‘. and plot to overthrow the barman. Droll observation and bitchin' brows highly arched: this is Manhattan high-anxiety at its tnost acute. (Dierde Malloy)

I Food For Thought (Fringe) Travelling Light Productions. Randolph

Carla p

characters (Barbie. Margi Clarke and more) whose lives gradually begin to

encircle each other via the

magic of aerobics. It‘s difficult to see what her conclusions are though: these dysfunctional screw- ups seem to swap one set of neuroses for high impact new ones. involving the audience in a sit-down work-out doesn‘t make it clearer —— but at least you leave the theatre feeling virtuous. (Cait Hurley)

I The lli Energy Show (Fringe) Flip Flop Fit. Hill Street Theatre (Venue 41) 226 6522. until 26 Aug. 11.05am. £3 (£2.50).

ops out for some Ion-Dairy

Creamer in Food for Thought I

Don’t Start Me . . . Tasty comedy tor dinosaurs



Stand—up comedy comes under the microscope in a monologue that could have been lifted straight from the Sunday sleaze sheets. Rather than look at the trendier—than-thou. post grad. politically correct squad though. it highlights the unreconstructed W/ii'cltappcrs and Skinners-type turn who play to the chicken-in-a- basket set.

Whilst honest in its unsentitnental ponrayal of Tasty McDade’s rags-to- riches rise to showbiz notoriety. it relies too much on its own bad gags to ever get below the surface patter. it is. however. a well-sustained and accurate depiction of a dinosaur world. (Neil Cooper)

I Don’t Start Me . . . (Fringe) Castlemilk People's Theatre. Gilded Balloon ll (Venue 51) 225 6520. until 26 Aug. 12.30pm. £6 (£3).



' Ningali (rhymes with lingerly) is a 27- year-old Aborigine actress/dancer/

: stand-up comic. ller one-woman show I tells us her lite-story, incorporating Aboriginal ritual dance and song;

2 Walmatiarri dialect; odd, five-minute

( snippets of her stand-up routine

1 (‘anyone from Fitzroy Crossing in

: tonight?’, unbelievably, there was); audience participation (you have been j warned), and the even odder Country

i and Western numbers all interwoven

by light-hearted narrative.

After an initial lukewarm torty

family show at the i . “mime. The Unlik e1), minutes, llingall recounts the bizarre

Hem; and an after-dark : circumstances that led her to study in look at the sinister side of = Alaska for a year. The fourteen-year- folk-tales. All Hallows ; old traded desert wastes for frozen Eve. at Adam House. ; wastes before she really learnt about

.. '3‘ From desert wastes to frozen wastes: ‘lnsplratlonal'

I class this show as a promising big cheese. As its run continues, I predict


(Gabe Stevzé‘hnéh i k ' he! 0*" People. its creamy texture will recede, and its (1.53;?) ‘S'hoewifigs‘ ° 3 ; By now sparks of anger "r. and pent- bitter-sharp bite will mature, which V Players. le‘ance (Venue up emotion, previously tempered with um be no bad thing, (Gabe \ 33) 556 6550' um" 27 ; humour, lets rip. At its peak moments Stowan) Aug (no. 21, 26 Aug), I 9! reaming loss. lineal! is pretty Illngall (Fringe) Traverse (Venue 15) 12.45pm. £5.50/£5 lmsnirational. as tears prick ores. and 228 1404, anti/2 Sept (not 21, 28 Aug) Sweet buckets at the ill-Energy Show 3450/54), ! throat muscles constrict. various times, £7 (£4).

30 The List l8-24 Aug 1995