2—" i e


These Chicagoans are America’s most famous comedy troupe one of the last popular performing arts institution that’s not television-based. I caught the act in louisiana, where they put up a poster and a thousand people were killing themselves for tickets. They’ve never been to Edinburgh and they’re playing the Wine Bar at the Fringe Club, an intimate balconied venue.

You know the first act, of course, at the Fringe. The only roomful of punters on first Sunday is at the Naked Supermodel Circus. There’s an audience of ten for Second City. A shock to their comedic system - will they told? Not a bit of it.

A superlative cast of five stage a classic octet of sketches interwoven with four improvisational pieces and punchy blackouts. The talent, all around, is as impressive as any The Second City has ever boasted. Improv,

Second City: hicago improv magic

like jazz, requires disciplined rifting and impeccable timing. Cast an eye across the piano toward the perfect modulations of Dr Michael Bloom and play the critic’s favourite game called ‘Who’s the next Bill Murray?’

His name is Todd Stashwick, Chicago-born and bred to fame. With natural grace, a conspirineg comic manner, a voice of reason and riot, and a cougar’s lazy speed, he complements and stars with equal ease. Stashwick’s portrayal of a serial killer’s night-time encounter with a woman admirer (Kara McNamara) at a laundry is nothing short of brilliant.

A second trip to the Fringe Club three nights later revealed a nearly lull house. The magic is happening. (Wes Shrum)

From the Second City (Fringe) The Second City, Fringe Club ( Venue 2) 226 5138, until 2 Sept (not Tue), 7.15pm £7 (£5).


Meaning of life-type musings abound in stand- up comedian Parrot's one- man play/ which sees him on the verge of suicide. only to be interrupted in turn by first the Devil. then God. The novelty I value of having Greg Proops and Jo Brand providing the taped voices for the respective deities add weight to what is frankly slender material we've all heard a million times before.

Sex. religion and death all come under the philosophical microscope. with Proops‘s Devil coming on like a second- hand car salesman. while H)- Brand's God is suitably sardonic. Parrot iii the role of confused Everyman figure is fine. apart from a tendency to fill the weaker moments with bad gags. Interacting with a tape recorder can't be much fun though. and the whole

thing might benefit from having real live bodies on stage. (Neil Cooper)

I Stuck In The Middle (Fringe) Parrot. Gilded

Balloon Backstage 2 (Venue 38) 226 2l5 l. until 2 Sept. 6.30pm. £6.50 (£5.50).


You know the score by now. A disenfranchised. disenchanted generation of Scottish youth seeks collective solace in techno. house and mind- altering substances.

- lissentially. in ('ume ()n that's what you get with pletin of dead-end anecdotes and lialf— developed analysis thrown

The setting is real

enough llarthill Service

Station and the nightclub itself(MX iii actuality). as are some of the characters a Versace-clad drug dealer's tnoll. lost-the-plot squaddie and. surprisingly. more i

writers/wannabe writers than wouldsbe l)ls. (‘ume ()H mm es quickly with a knowing. nihilistic plotlessness and soundtrack which takes in everything dancewise from Ashford and Simpson to Junior Vasquex. anaging stuff. but hardly optimistic. (Bethan Cole)

I Come On (Fringe) Damage Theatre Company. MS. (Venue llo,‘ 22o l9(i(). until 3 Sept. 7.30pm. £5.


An outstandingly clever parody of the old wartime radio hours. this is a timely and evocative show. filled with large doses of broadcast sketch comedy. music and adverts for the absurd products of the corporation that started the drumbeat of doom. Sketches change weekly. with brilliant sound effects by the laconic l)on Hall. The large-cast format with front-stage performances and rear-stage mixing allows delightful improvisational leakage in the midst of an integrated and resonant work. Surtable for all ages. but World War ll and radio buffs w ill love it. (\Ves Shrum) I The Armageddon Radio HOUI’ (Fringe) What Now lintertainment Productions. Moray House (Venue 168) 55o ()l()2. until 2 Sept (not 27) (i.l5pm. £5 (£3).


As two security guards work the twilight shift for a pittance. a debate develops about the nature of and need for institutionalised violence and the Saturday night punch-up set.

The elder guard. at taciturn ex-copper. is goaded by the younger.

w ho regales him with tales of his lack the Lad escesses. Breaking point is reached and events run to their logical conclusion.

Although schematic and too ponderously paced at times. Kenn Price and Richard Turner‘s script is a powerful. well-acted symbolic indictment of strong-arm State repression. It shows that if pushed far enough. the State's hidden hammer will hit back. whatever the cost. (Neil Cooper)

Come On: refleciing a disenfranchised, disenchanted

m I

I Violent flight (Hinge) National Student Theatre Company. (‘ Venue (Venue I9) 225 5 l()5. until 2 Sept (not 31). 7.50pm. to (ill).


David Sant: Groucho Marx meets Basil Fawlty

Spanish actor David Sant invites comparisons with Theatre de Complicite; this Sl1()\\".\' director Mike Barnfather is a member of the hugely influential physical comedy group. And there are similarities. with Sant capturing that weirdo. liuro-cabaret feel that put (‘omplicite on the map.

In this new one-man show. Sant imagines himself to be the ship's doctor on the Titanic. with a supporting cast of inflatable animals. a

stuffed dog called Mussolini and a bunch of other comedy props. Sant

himself is a lanky. pop- eyed performer who walks like Basil Fawlty attd

talks. in character at least.

generation of Scottish youth i

like Groucho Mars. The influences on his energetic style and self- consciously daft litres are sometimes obvious. but at least they're good ones. The script sags in places but some of the visual gags are inspired and Sam is a compelling performer. (Iiddie Gibb)

I The Titanic, The Doctor

and Mussolini (Fringe) Company David Sant. Marco’s (Venue 98) 228 91 to. until 2 Sept (not 29) 6.45pm. £5 (£4).

The Armageddon Radio Hour: timely and

evocative entertainment



(iiven the make—over of his image for BBC 2's (luv/line l'l', lidinburgh w ill be asking of Bert 'l‘yler-.\loore: is this the same man‘.’ .-\s a stand-up he is more relaxed. less camp. almost biokeish in fact.

[it lie/'11:tunnel/ring the boy wonder ~32 this Festival « looks back at his youth: posh-kid at the local comp. ska-boy. punk. and closet gay with his folks. Sharp but easy- going. Bert's observations and eyes-a-poppin‘ impressions (Latino chihuahua Stimpy - eat ya heart otit) click with the citea-'l'ucker-to-Zammo (int/Tee llil/ audience.

Sure to break more hearts than (‘hris ()'l)onnell. Bert's pink pound has graduated from the tuck shop to the (iap. (Deirdre Molloy)

I Bertiesomething (Fringe) Bert Tyler— Moore. Southside (Venue S2) (io7 73(i5. until 2 Sept (not 29). 7.45pm. £5/£5.5() (HM-1.50).



There's certainly more to l.ynn Ferguson than meets the eye. She has made her name as a stand-up. but it could all change with lllls wonderfully funny self- penned show.

It may be the tenuous story of a teacher falling in love with a fish. but the way Ferguson reels and guts the audience with three tragic characters is masterful. 'l'liis sad

; Journey of a love that can

never be. especially when the tabloids get w hiff of it. makes Casablanca seem

paltry. Go and feast on

(‘aptam li'eigtison's table where you'll choitle. greet and never look at a box of fish lingers in the satne

light again. (Philip


I Heart and Sole (Fringe) I.ynn Ferguson. Gilded Balloon (Venue 38). 24 Aug—2 Sept. 7. l5pm. £6 (£5).

l 34 The List 25 Aug-7 Sept I995