Well-connected Fringe actors weigh up relative values

Having a famous daddy may offer some much- needed publicity to your Fringe show, but does it put your own work in the shade, asks Ann Donald.

As Liza Minelli. Carrie Fisher and Michael Douglas will all testify. having famous showbiz parents isn‘t always what it‘s cracked up to be. There are inevitably comparisons made with ma and pa if you take a crack at the acting lark; any degree of success is greeted by accusations ofan inside leg-up. This year's Fringe line-up may not boast an A-list of Hollywood progeny but there is a fair smattering of surnames recognisable from television. book and stage.

So. famous relative help or hindrance? The son of that illustrious comedy writer and self-confessed ‘old fart‘ Barry Cryer is here to find out. Young whippersnapper Bob. a student at Warwick University who sometimes shares a rcfectory table with Dennis Waterman‘s daughter. has banded together with a group of like-minded pals to present the sketch show There Is No Mr Sexy. Has the chip off the old block been influenced by dad at all? ‘My bits in the show have been identified by others as being in the old rnan‘s style.‘ says Bob. who sought his


dad's expert advice on the show. ‘I totally value his judgement but I am very wary of it at the same time.‘ Another performer on the Fringe with a family connection to fame is Richard Burton's nephew Guy Masterson. Last year Masterson was unabashed about trading on his great uncle‘s name with Playing Burton and Dylan Thomas‘ Under Milk Wood. which for many was

immortalised by Burton‘s own radio reading. This year Masterson returns with George Orwell‘s Animal Farm. This time the only tenuous Burton link is that the great Welsh actor appeared in the film version of 1984. Despite his close relationship with Burton. Masterson has found that family ties haven‘t worked in his favour. ‘On the contrary. I think it’s worked against

me.‘ he says. ‘I think that people who knew him and coveted his name are more sceptical about anyone who comes along in his shadow.‘

For Liz Lyte. director of Stage Two‘s adaptation of Laun'e Lee‘s classic novel Cider Wit/r Rosie there is a direct. though rather convoluted. bloodline to the author. Lee's classic tale of growing up in a remote Cotswold village devoted many pages to his eccentric uncles. in particular Uncle Charlie. Lyte is the great-granddaughter of Charlie and has drawn on her family connections and heirlooms to add a personal touch to the production. Lee. now in his 80s. has given the production his blessing. ‘He sent us a lovely letter and wished us lots of luck.‘ says Lyte.

Also rumoured to be making their own way on this year‘s Fringe. but no doubt lying low in case a famous father overshadows their acting endeavours. are BBC man David Dirnbleby‘s daughter and radical theatre director Michael Bogdanovich's son. They may be as famous as Liza. Carrie and Michael. but at least the chances are they’ll escape a spell in rehab.

I There Is No Mr Sexy Moray House Union. 10 Aug—2 Sept (not l3) 12.15am.

I Animal Farm Assembly Rooms. l2 Aug—2 Sept (not 2 l) l 1.30am.

I Cider With Rosie Roxburgh Halls. [4—26 Aug (not 20) 6pm.


Beating a retreat

All the best aggro happens at the Gilded Balloon‘s Late ‘n‘ Live comedy slot. and this year is proving to be no exception. After a bit of verbal argy- bargy featuring words that even a magazine with a pair of bosoms on the cover cannot repeat, lan Cognito found himself going toe-to-toe with ex-boxer Ricky Grover. who is currently throwing his weight about in Malcolm Hardee's Aaaaaargh.’ show. The contest was over within the first round and the vanquished Cognito has now fled Edinburgh. leaving a trail of cancelled gigs. The two events were not necessarily connected. according to his manager. ‘I think he just remembered why he didn‘t want to come in the first place.‘ he said.

Beyond belief

Reeves and Mortimer are a welcome addition to the Best oft/1e Fest 5 bill at the Playhouse except. of course, if they chose to perform their version of The Monkees ‘I‘m a Believer‘. The only good that might come of this murdering of a classic would be the split of EMF; Vic and Bob have already seen off The Wonder Stuff with whom they recorded a version of Tommy Roe‘s ‘Dizzy‘.

Lunch boxing

American monologuer Rod McLucas has come up with a strange metaphor for the heartbreak of separation in his show Jawbone. It‘s a variation on the pain of dividing up the record collection and involves. of all things. Tupperware. Maybe it‘s a New York

thing, but Rod's relationships seem to involve a lot of pre-prepared meals shuttling across the city in the aforementioned containers. The bugger is you never get them back. says Rod. ‘lt‘s about conditional giving and what you want back from a relationship.‘ he explains. The irony is that the Tupperware company is celebrating 50 years of keeping salad crisp and sarnies fresh. And being cited in custody battles. presumably.

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You could set your atomic clock b them. Three times a day Greenpeace protestors have been trotting into the foyer of the Theatre Workshop to distribute leaflets about France‘s resumption of nuclear testing. The protests are timed to coincide with performances by French theatre companies appearing on the French Fringe. which was launched this year.

However a cosy entenre eordiale seems to have broken out. The protestors took the Embarquez group up on their offer of free tickets, while the actors have started to sprout Greenpeace logos. ‘They didn‘t ask us to boycott the show.‘ says Ernbarquez director Vincent Rouche. ‘We all disagree with the decision to resume testing anyway.‘

Rolling stoned

First nights are nerve wracking enough for anybody, but how about this for a knee-trembler: during Leonard McCaffer‘s performance of the one- man show White Rabbit Cowboys the actor was required to build a three-skin joint from the usual raw materials before lighting up and inhaling deeply. Rolling a spliff is never the easiest of tasks when you‘re hands are a bit shaky. but McCaffer‘s torment was heightened by the knowledge that his proud parents were in the audience celebrating their 30th anniversary. “It was just oregano in the baccie. mum. honest . . .‘

Mystery guest

Staff at the Film Festival were puzzled by a mystery delegate who had registered for a visit to Edinburgh. No one remembered taking the booking. and there was no record of any organisation or film they were representing. just a name: Sara Jevans. Finally it dawned on festival producer Ginnie Atkinson that closing up the gap between the two names might shed some light on the mystery. Yes. the unaccounted-for guest was in fact a delegation of movie buffs from the war- tom former Yugoslavia.

Why is Uhura brown . . . ?

. . . because William Shatner (say it aloud). It's an old joke but surprisingly one that Star Trek fanatic Dan Freedman hadn't heard before. Dan slots in the occasional stand-up act in between Trekkie conventions and since performing on last year's Fringe. Dan‘s career has taken off. But the real high point was guesting on a radio show with Nichelle Nichols who played Lieutenant Uhura in the cult sci-fr series. Invited to reinact the ground- breaking (for Hollywood) interracial kiss between Uhura and Captain Kirk. Nichelle swiftly planted a srnacker on our Dan‘s numbed lips. So is she a good kisser? ‘You don‘t play football with God and ask if he was a good tackler,’ says Dan enigrnatically.

The List 18—24 Aug 1995 7