lee Evans/ ' Sean Hughes

Aaand Evans is in the blue corner looking cute. Hughes is in the red one looking cuddly. The battle for most huggable Fringe comedy superstar 96 is about to commence. Danny Wallace weighs in with the odds.

And so. it seems. the battle has begun. The annual audience-grabbing. media- friendly explosion of comic brilliance has started to light up the Fringe. and though competition is frightenineg fierce. everyone seems to be getting - along just fine. Come 22 August. though. all this could change. On 22 August. you see. superstar stand-up Sean Hughes will play the first ofjust two appearances at top venue the Queen's Hall. Fine. Lovely. But. on 22 August. superstar stand-up Lee Evans will play one-night-only at top venue. the Edinburgh Playhouse.

if we were talking playground scuflles or bar-room brawls. there's little doubt as to who would win. While it‘s achineg obvious that Hughes couldn't handle himself in a light. Evans‘s


brother Wayne -— now a removal man in Tenerife was. in his youth. an Essex boxing champion. and (unlike Hughes. who is managed by a small woman named ‘Chi 'gy’) Evans’s manager is a cockney with big lists.

Where comedy credentials are concerned however. there‘s not a great deal to separate Hughes from Evans. Hughes became the youngest-ever winner of the Perrier Award in l‘)9(). and in 93 Evans proved himselfthe most popular recipient of the Perrier since veteran stand-up Arnold Brown. Both have had successful West End runs. with Hughes‘s show 'I’ltirtysonte/mn' (though it would. perhaps. have been better named Birthstone/1otr) achieving sell-out status. and Evans‘s Sumo World. bit/ere)” I’lttm't managing exactly the same a tnere six months ago. Both are established TV ‘personalities'. both could be described as unconventionally attractive to their mini-hordes ofcute- hungry female fans. and as we‘ve


Hughes v Evans: who’s the cutest, cuddliest oi them all?

now so painstakingly established both will be locked in comic battle this 22 August.

But who will win'.’ Evans. with his fast. frenetic runaround comedy. or Hughes. with that new. darker. sharper glint in his startled thirtysomething bunny eyes'.’ lnevitably and it's not as if you couldn‘t see this coming they both will. Foolish forward planning doesn't even come into it. Both could lill their venues any night they choose. and their reasons for making the trip to Edinburgh. sadly. no doubt centre less around an affection for the Festival than an affection for guaranteed money. But don't cry. Everyone's a winner. They might be yer wellworth-seeing. cuddly. bubbly. Inulti-huggable futmy-ha-ha comedy crazies. but stupid they‘re not. I Sean Hughes (Fringe) Queen's Hall (Venue 72) 668 2OI‘). 22—23 Aug. 8pm. £8.5()/£6.5().

I lee Evans (Fringe) Playhouse (Venue 59) 557 2590. 22 Aug. 8pm. 11 I 3.

i *‘k‘k i

JENNY Ecuun (th: on, TEETH IN)

‘I’ve got Teilon genitals!’ shrieks Jenny Eclair, in triumphant tones, as she disappears through the curtain. There couldn’t be a more perlect summing-up oi the past hour’s routine. Eclair, last year’s Perrier Award winner, had hit the stage running, and the motormouth pace never flagged as she stomped across the boards living her hard-drinking, hard-shagging, chain-smoking persona to the lull.

In an age oi New lads, Jenny Eclair leaves the crudest male comic at the starting gate. Swigging water irom a large gin bottle and working through the Encyclopaedia Scale/ogica, trom anal sex through ianny-tarts to . . . whatever anti-social body iunction you can think at that begins with 2. It it doesn’t involve drinking, shagging

Jenny Eclair: her pudenda are a spin-oft from the space programme

and senseless cruelty, there is little

point to it on planet Eclair.

She is received with hysterical rapture, but it’s hard to shake oil a teellng ot ltd/a vu. Ten or twelve years ago, this kind ot material must have seemed groundbreaking coming from a woman; but now there is a definite sense at pastures well trod. Still, there are a iew flesh-sounding observations - that what passes tor semen these days really isn’t a patch on the thick and gloopy substance oi yesteryear, the realisation that her naked body in a minor now resemqu nothing so much as Iggy Pop’s - and the prospect oi Jenny Eclair wrestlng the National lottery lrom Anthea Turner and spitting out the balls the Bangkok way is definitely one for Alan Yentob’s suggestion box. Teflon or no Teflon. (Alastair Mahbott)

Jenny Eclalr (ng 0n, Teeth In) (Fringe) The Pleasance (Venue 72) 556 5550, until 25 Aug, 9.20pm, £8.5M‘8 , (£7.5M‘7).

quick hits

I Portrait (it A Woman The jury's out on Scottish company Communicado‘s show based on the real-life story a young Frenchwoman on trial for the murder of her boyfriend. And the verdict? A whopping great five stars in this issue of The List. See review.

Portrait Of A Woman (Fringe) Traverse Theatre (Venue I5) 228 1404. until 31 Aug (not Mon). times vary. £10 (£6).

I Ardal O’Iianlon The baby-faced star of TV‘s Father Ted whips oiT his dog collar to reveal the wicked stand-up beneath. Pews are filling up fast. so get tickets now.

Ardal O'Hanlon (Fringe) Gilded Balloon (Venue 38) 226 2151. until 3/ Aug (not [9. 27). 8.45pm (25 Aug 7.30pm) £7.50 (£6.50).

I Catalpa incredible one-man show based on true events and starring Donal O'Kelly as the whaling ship captain who re- routes his vessel on a round-the- world trip to rescue a group of IRA prisoners from a penal colony.

Catalpa (Fringe) Donal O'Kelly. Theatre Workshop (Venue 20) 226 5425. until 3] Aug (not Suns). 8.45pm, £7.50 (£4).

I Shining Souls Scots playwright Chris Hannan’s comeback special is a stunningly intelligent black comedy packed with triple meanings. a nice line in wee souls with big needs and a great cast. A fitting swansong for Traverse director lan Brown. See review. Shining Souls (Fringe) Traverse Theatre Scotland. Traverse Theatre (Venue I5) 228 [404. until 3] Aug (not Mon ). times vary. £10 (£6).

I Bill Bailey Three Blind Mice is the best comedy song ever. If you don’t believe us, go now. to see the man whose rendering of nursery rhymes and TV theme tunes are in a comedy land all of their own. See review.

Bill Bailey (Fringe) Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428. until 31 Aug (not 29). 9pm. £8.50/£7.50 (£7.50/£6.50).

The List I6-22 Aug I996 47