FESTIVAL 0W LATE
Cabaret of hope
It’s gone midnight and you’ve only seen six
shows and downed a mere umpteen drinks. Hungry — =
and thirsty — for more? Let Gill Roth take you by the hand and show you real Fringe fever as she leads you round the late- night cabaret circuit.
For every one of Edinburgh's 7l4 pubs there are l2 performers consuming tnore than 230.000 pints of beer. so it‘s anyone's guess how much the punters are getting necked. Trawl the late night comedy circuit. however. and the link between laughter and lager becomes immediater obvious. After a couple of pints even the straightest of faces has a stupid grin plastered across it. and a few more brings on bouts of helpless giggling and hearty applause. Respectable Morningside seemed an unlikely place for the Mad Abbot's Bad Habit Cabaret. This small. sweaty venue with a friendly reputation was crammed with tourists. local lads in ()asis t-shins and young girls dancing round the DJ. The bulk of the line-up consisted of wackily-dressed men with
-‘ A Dolly Dupree: late-night laughter queen
acoustic guitars. lots of props and a
; repetoire of zany songs. Some were ; eye-waterineg funny. others were jaw— droppineg bad. But the audience were
in a mood verging on tnass hysteria — or was it total inebriation‘.’ — so hey.
()n to Whale. a large. airy community
hall with the cheapest bar in town.
(beer! wine! only a quid!) The second half kicked off with the wonderfully
i funny Dolly Dupree. Ritual humiliation ofthe male sex is her speciality and
; dragging a couple on stage to make
them draw an artistic impression of the
7 poor guy's scrotum naturally went
down a storm with the crowd.
The anything-goes spirit was in full swing at the Bongo Club. too. Small. with an y decor. an off-stage loo and a makeshift bar. the place teemed with well-behaved trendy types. who. rather than heckling a nervous poetess. encouraged her to continue when she couldn't read her own writing. The Bongo Club cpitomises the essence of
Fringe weirdness with an eclectic mix. including a feminist tirade followed by an Italian drag act and some classical guitar.
Bleary of eye but tickled of rib. we head for the last stop on our cabaret trawl. Cafe Graffiti. the most spectacular and eccentric of all the venues. This huge convened church boasts a cafe. two bars. seating for over 400 and a newly opened club in the catacombs below. Velvet drapes hang from the balconies. the tiled floor is perfect for dancing. and each act is introduced from the pulpit.
But this is a truely pagan festival. starting with the Edinburgh Ladies
. Belly Dancing Troupe. a whirling mass
of translucent chiffon. voluminous veils and sparkling belly buttons. pulsating to rhythms that would give the Pope a seizure. Salsa Celtica shook the rafters with some red hot Latin grooves. stin‘ing the crowd into a frenzy verging on a religious experience.
In between the audience tnarvelled at the agility of the elastic-limbed living
- Lindy Hoppers and Lorraine Bowen.
the ultimate in cheesy listening cabaret. A laid back end to a fun packed night. And so to bed . ..
I Bad Habit Cabaret (Fringe). The Mad Abbot (Venue 84) 447 88l l. until 2 Sept (not 27). l()pm. £3 (£2).
I flight Cabaret (Fringe). Whale (Venue 35) 458 3267. until 26 Aug. l().3()pm. £3 (£2).
I The Bongo Club (Fringe). Out Of
' The Blue (Venue M3) 556 5204. 29
Aug—2 Sept. 1 lpm. £2.50 (£1.50).
I Cafe Graffiti Cabaret (Fringe). Mansfield Place Church (Venue 90) 557 8330. until 3 Sept. l()pm (approx). £8/£6 (£6/£5).
Bruce Morton is not a happy man. A thigh-slappineg funny slaphead man, yes, but not a happy man. First of all there’s the vexed question of Rooms, the show he wrote for Channel 4 and material from which be aired to devastating effect at last year’s Fringe. Through bureaucratic intransigence the series has been mouldering on the shelves for a year. ‘llow can I put this?’ ponders the keen-eyed Glaswegian? ‘l have been fucked around by Channel 4.’
Then there’s the fact that, since last year’s triumphant Assembly Rooms run, Morton has only done ten gigs. What’s he been doing?
‘I don’t know,’ he laughs. ‘Talk to my people. It’s hardly the life of a professional working stand-up comedian is it? Something has gone wrong somewhere and I don’t know
what. When I go and do a gig I really enjoy myself and I’m doing the thing much better than I’ve ever done before. So there’s a certain frustration in this man’s heart.’
Accordingly, for his short, nay exclusive, run at the Traverse, Morton is fired-up and gung-ho.
‘This year there is no theme to the show, no title, no lighting effects, no flip charts, no flag at all. Just a bunch of stories. It’s as simple as that. If I have an attitude or a philosophy this year it’s ambivalence. Not ambivalence towards doing the gigs, iust a little bit of ambivalence about stand-up.’
And therein or thereabouts lies the dark heart of Bruce Morton, stand-up ’95.
‘After this Festival I’ll be taking a long hard consideration of whether I want to stay in this line of work, or move into something else. i don’t want to go into it but it’s nothing to do with comedy. But it’ll be revealed in the show.’
So there we have it. This could be
Bruce Morton: comedy's last stand?
Bruce Morton’s last hurrah and our last chance for wry, mocking, baffled genius. Go. (Craig McLean)
Bruce Morton (Fringe), Traverse Theatre (Venue 15) 228 1404, 28 Aug-2 Sept, £8 (£6).
As the sun goes down and the Fringe fades, get away from it all, from the smell of the tourist and the roar of the flyer. Bunker down with Craig McLean for the best stand-ups on two legs.
I Sean Hughes He's so cute and cuddly and Irish and warm and witty and pithy and poetic and sharp and observant and cardigan-like and all the women want to take him home and mother him and so do the men.
Sean Hughes ( Fringe ). Queen's Hall (Venue 72) 668 20] 9. 26—2 7 Aug. [0.30pm. £8 (£6).
I Bill Bailey’s Cosmic .larn Smart observations on rock festivals. spacey thoughts on the nature of ajoke. a great pair of boots. and a top musician to, er. boot. Needs a haircut.
Bill Bailey 's Cosmic Jam (Fringe). Gilded Balloon (Venue 38) 226 2151. until 2 Sept. [1.45pm. £6 (£5).
I Diane Ford Frankly feisty fernme featuring fizzy. funky. ﬂabbergasting flip-offs for friends. fathers. fatties, fishwives. fortysomethings. freaks. She‘s cool. sensational and American. Sex. Marriage and the American Woman (Fringe) Diane Ford. Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428. until 2 Sept. [0.30pm. £7.50/£8.50 (£6.50/£7.50).
I Alan Davies Ambling. shambling. rambling man oozing dreamy. creamy stream of sub-consciousness and hazy. crazy. lazy demeanour that warms. swarms and storms the laughter—bank. Right?
Alan Davies (Fringe). Queen 's Hall (Venue 72) 668 20/9. 24 & 25 Aug. [0.30pm. £8 (£6).
I Simon Bligh - Banzai The Occidental Tourist explores his On'ental obsession: karate. chopsticks. zen. dodgy films (hello Godzilla!) and dodgier food (goodbye lunchl). More impressive than that bridge on that river. (You 're sacked — Ed.)
Simon Bligh — Banzai (Fringe) Simon Bligh. Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428. until 2 Sept. [0.30pm. £7/£8
The List 25 Aug-7 Sept I995 49