theatre - dance 0 comedy


Birdie Song

British theatre’s new wonderboy is penning a musical for the Pet Shop Boys. But before that, Jonathan Harvey has a Fringe premiere to

; attend.


It's midday, late July, in the auditorium of the

Pleasance, north London and

L Jonathan Harvey's play Swan Song ' is rehearsing for its Fringe world


Liverpool-born Harvey is a


By the age of 26, he had two plays running in the West End simultaneously. One was Babies. The other was Beautiful Thing, the

. gay teenage romance that later

became a hit film.

His latest script is a comic monologue for Di Titswell, a fiercely dedicated thirtysomething, pro- Labour schoolteacher at an east London comp.

The play, Harvey says, begins on 10 February 1997, and finishes

: sometime this September. ’There'd

better not be a world war before

i then,’ director Richard Osborne 7 quips, 'Or we'll have to write it in.’

‘l’m not going up to Edinburgh if there's a world war,’ volunteers sole cast member, TV actress Rebecca Front (The Day Today, Knowing Me, Knowing You).

Sheepish looks: Rebecca Front in Swan Song

Michael Ball's voice suddenly floods the space, sending Front into mock-swoon. After a snippet of Elaine Paige and a Dzream chaser, she dryly remarks. 'We’ll have the

campest soundtrack of any show in Edinburgh.’

That's it for sound. What about costumes? ’The woman in Marks And Spencer said I didn’t need to buy a costume.’ Front confesses, ‘because I already dress like a teacher.’ 8y general consensus the sheep costume works a treat, only the fleece is too clean. Front declines the

opportunity to go on a fun-run to dirty it.

Swan Song makes some serious points about the state

of British education, but Harvey deems it: 'a giggle really. You can inform people better if they're having a good time.’ So how does it feel to have been dubbed 'the new theatrical voice of his generation'?

’You get excited for five minutes,’ he admits, ’then you have to completely ignore it and get on with the next thing.’

For Harvey that includes a play about AIDS called Hush-A-Bye -Mountain, and an untitled musical for the

Pet Shop Boys. 'l'm hoping it'll be a big hit and make 3

lots of money,’ he says with a grin. (Donald Hutera) I See Hit list, right, for details

Girrls on top: New Zealand's lesbian double act The Topp Twins

68 TllELIST 8 14 Aug 199/


New Zealand is not known for its risque comedy, but the Topp Twms have broken the [)fCJUdlLC barrier down in Kiwdand Out lesbians since 1978, Lynda and Jools Topp are real- life twins who have made it big on prime-time TV So much so that Lynda claims it takes them a good ten hours to get the groceries ~- what With everybody keen to congratulate them on their latest show

Such exaggerations aside, the twins really have been taken to the nation's hearts Partly because of their ability to send up, rather than put down Partly because of the wacky characters who often reflect their lives, from rural

and army types to \‘Vlld 70s party girls And in no small part because they yodel

Yodelling7 'lt is jUSl something I have done since I was a kid,’ says Lynda Topp 'I tried to yodel when I was

about six and went into a coma for

about a week When I was brought round by my parents I thouth "I have

got to learn to do that'” I spent the .

next fifteen years learning how Now |

yodel wherever I go, and yes, I will be

yodelling in Edinburgh

Lynda admits that the Fringe Will be a challenge, but it is one she obViously relishes ’The thing about our characters is that, because they are essentially us on stage, we are not bound to a scnpt,’ she says 'They are Just going to Edinburgh to have a good time ' (Thom Dibdin‘i I See Hit list, right, for details

H It list A six-pack of hits to keep you out of mischief till (almost) bedtime.

Disco Pigs It's already been dubbed an Irish Trainspotting, and Corcadorca's heady tale of clubbing and battered burgers on the way home shows all signs of matching the hype. See feature, page 28. Disco Pigs (Fringe) Corcadorca, Traverse (Venue 15) 228 1404, until 30 Aug, 9.45pm, £8 (£5). Swansong See preview, left. Swan Song (Fringe) Jonathan Harvey, The Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550, 8—30 Aug (not 12, 78, 26) 8.25pm, f 7/f 8 (f 6/£ 7).

Topp Twins See preview, left. The Topp Twins (Fringe) Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428, 8—30 Aug (not Mon) 8pm, £7.50/f850

(f 6. 50/f 7. 50).

Dylan Moran The laid-back Irish surrealist and 1996 Perrier award— winner returns with as much fizz in his gently sparkling bottle as last year. See review on following pages. Dylan Moran Gurg/ing For Money (Fringe) Dylan Moran, Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550, 8—24 Aug (not 21), 9.30pm, £8/f8.50

(f 7/f 7.50). Preview show, 7 Aug, 9.30pm, £4.50.

Murray Lachlan Young The posh performance poet prepares to tickle Edinburgh's goatee beard with his sharp, scathing rhymes. Vice And Verse; The Poetry Of Murray Lach/an Young (Fringe) Murray Lach/an Young, Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428, 8—30 Aug (not Sun) 8.25pm, £7. 50/f8. 50 (£6.50/f7. 50). Cegada De Amor Loud, brash and never quite what it seems, Spain's most successful theatre show revolves around a 40-year-old child prodigy making an Annie-like bid for stardom. See feature, page 30. Cegada De Amor (International Festival) La

C ubana, Edinburgh International Conference Centre, 473 2000, 72—23 Aug (not 78), 8pm, £6—£I4.