The Music Box, Edinburgh, Fridays.

In the 1980s, Scotland’s seedbed of comedy seemed to centre on Glasgow. Craig Ferguson was Bing Hitler; Alan Cumming and Forbes Masson were Victor and Barry; Lynn Ferguson and Carolyn Bonnyman were the Alexander Sisters; and a pose of young guns, including Parrot, Fred MacAulay and Stu Who?, rode out as the Funny Farm, i led by a man they called Morton.

Now, it seems, the grassroots of comedy find more fertile soil in Edinburgh, where three regular clubs have grown up. The Ribtickler, set up by comedian/musician Mitch Benn and comedian/magician Ian Kendall, has turned Victoria Street’s Music Box nightclub into a weekly comedy venue. l It’s not what you’d call cosy, but towards the end of last season it began to fill up nicely.

And it seems there’s enough talent among Scotland’s aspirant stand-ups to sustain this swelling popularity - even it several Ribtickler regulars, including Scouser Benn - appear to originate from south of the border.

On 27 October, four performers were introduced by the Falstaftian Benn (who kicked off with a battle-of-the- sexes ditty loosely based on ‘Why Do Fools Fall In love?’) - and all had enough comedic flair to keep a sparse, somewhat chilly audience a- , chuckle. f

Pasty-faced Andrew Walker summarised the pros and cons of a i


Fri 10 8: Sat 11 Nov'7.30pm'£6/£3

"clattering through hisrory in a resprayed Mazda"

' arches theatre company


directed by andy arnold adapted by andrew dallmeyer music by slam

Wed 22 Nov—Sat 9 Dec-8pm'£6/£3

'based on the classic horror film'

some diplomatic uses for cannabis; ; waspish Viv Cee read her feisty

the astonishing powers of his

; gags both original and less so - made improved given a larger audience, but

served clear notice that the fun is indeed rising in the east. (Andrew

()lll Atltwtucum. Glasgow: Saturdays

Houtsrttutt.’ distinguished itselfon 28

October by booking two non-

Caledonians of a calibre that made the ' pair of homeboys preceding them

instantly forgettable.

could be a couple of Smiths fans hanging around the back of

3 those who mention Embra in this city

Cars In Water Immigrant Song


llatshare with the Incredible Hulk; dapper Jack Weatherall suggested

poems, focusing on men, women and that strange activity they undertake together, and Kendall - as skinny as his partner is portly - demonstrated

Elizabethan-looking hat. These - and a wide range of other

for an evening which might have



until 2 Ut’t't’tilht’l' (not / 7 November). Billed as ‘the best in Scottish comedy'.

Joe Heenan and Craig McMurdo

Woolwonh's. as nothing much seems to have happened to them since l986. Still. chin up, lads. and remember.

always run the risk of dying on stage.

And cheer up. Craig. A patent on the

battered Mars Bar supper“? Nice one. Darlene lookalike, Strathclyde

." $=:- " I --3 “'l‘l-l»: in N .1 iii

graduate and Dubliner based in London. Ed Byme made the best of a thin script about beer and the living- together lark. Like all young Irish comedians. he knows that coy self- deprecation sparks the harsh laughter of girls sitting next to their boyfriends. His spleen was reserved for occasional smokers, and the night‘s first climax arrived with his transposition of not inhaling to not swallying yer bevvy as an arc of Budweiser spewed from his mouth.

Sean Cullen is a different kettle of coconuts. No jokes; only a monologue of non-sequiturs and very tall tales culled from the ‘literal Bible'. A member of Canadian trio Corky and the Juice Pigs. Cullen's persona has already become three thirds of itscll’. We will always remember your star-spangled brogues.

With Phil Kay. Fred MacAulay and Lynn Ferguson to come. the cry of ‘Hootsmon! Is there an alien in the house‘?’ won't echo for long around the balconies. (Deirdre Molloy)


W.J. Christie '5, Edinburgh, Thursdays. Cramped. That’s the first thing that springs to mind when you squeeze into the latest comedy hang-out to hit the capital. Tonight is a particularly packed-to-the-gunnels occasion, fuelled, no doubt, by bald bill-topper and television star Bruce Morton in a back-to-his-roots-type appearance.

Launched during the Edinburgh Festival to give local talent a cheap and cheerful platform, The Stand’s ever-changing line-up is a hit-and- miss affair. Flu-ridden compere Jane Mackay is a food-loving man-hater, in the best .10 Brand tradition, whose sharp tongue could perform Bobbit- style surgery in an instant. Graeme McMurdo’s predictable deep-fried Mars Bar gags didn’t quite hack it, while Geordie magician Reg Anderson went for the so-bad-it’s-good factor with his box of four-letter-punctuated tricks.

However, it was big Bruce we were here to see. He took a while to get there, but once up and running he gangled about with a stream of off- the-wall anecdotes, taking in a familiar round of sex, exes, junk mail and the family. All this led to a hilarious and worryingly recognisable account of dope-induced paranoia that made negotiating a simple trip to the video store an exercise akin to The Krypton Factor.

The venue’s size works in its favour, and the club is worth a whirl even if it’s not all great. When you manage to elbow your way to the bar you’ll be chuffed to discover the booze is at good old-fashioned pub prices, sure to guarantee you keep smiling the whole night through.

Comedy was born in places like this and, just off the cut-and-thrust brawl of the Grassmarket, Christie’s candlelit bunker has the air of a well kept secret. Discover it now. (Claire Prentice)

by Sue Glover


The Seal Wife

Directed by Gerda Stevenson

On tour in Scotland throughout N(ll’(’illi)(’r 1995

Theatre Workshop, Edinburgh W flog Wednesday 1 - Saturday 4 “(s/10,0 8.00pm Box office 0131 226 5425

The Lemon Tree, Aberdeen

Tuesday 7 7.30pm, Wednesday 8 2.00pm Box office 01224 641122

Byre Theatre,

St Andrews

Thursday 9 - Saturday i1 I8.00pm

Box office 01334 476288

The Tron Theatre, Glasgow

Tuesday 14 - Saturday 18 ; 8.00pm

T R6) N 3 Bofoffice 0141 552 4267 Paisley Arts Centre Thursday 23


Box office 01418871010

MacRobert Arts Centre, Stirling

Friday 24, Saturday 25 7.45pm

Box office 01786 461081

"A compain with amazing depths of energy. maturin and skill" Scotland on Sunday

The List 3- 16 Nov 1995 51