Steaming in from the Great Lakes of North America, David Mamet's Lakeboat is a great piece of modern, observed theatre. As Mamet's first play, it might not be his most rounded, but his trademark ability to allow his characters to speak with the authentic voice of the working man is already visible in its full glory.

There is no great drama in this. No analysis of the working man's condition or forging of a hero in a time of crisis. Mamet simply allows his characters, the crew of a working boat as it steams between the steel towns of the lakes, to vocalise their hopes, fears, anxieties and deep down burning needs. And these are raw male voices which, uninhibited by any female presence, speak of drink and sex, guns, gambling and death. But what makes it great theatre is the way their relationships grow over the play’s duration.

The tone is set by blustering Fred, played in a blister of misogynism by Jon Welch. It's venal stuff, complemented by Peter Dineen's hard-man drunk, Stan, who won't answer a question unless he can make an argument of it. At first, Dale, new crew member played by Joe May, observes all this bullshit without comment, taking in everything, from the dim witted observations of the Fireman to the sarcasm and orders of the Skipper and First Mate.

The interactions are moved

forward by the pivotal character of Joe, played with what should be an award-winning performance by Jim Dunk. At first garrulous, he peels away the layers to reveal a complex and humane man. Under the direction of Aaron Mullen, the cast obviously relish the play's


Baddiel 8: Skinner

'Football came home’ cracked Frank Skinner, drying his Gazza-esque tears after Euro 96. ’It just got a bit pissed

40 TIIEIJST 13—20 Aug 1998

Sofa, so good for Baddiel 8. Skinner

and lost its keys'. Well, ditto France 98, the bubbling of the English being the cause of much unrepentantly smug Caledonian mirth. Trouble was, this time round the tears seemed the product of boredom rather than sympathy with the condition of any ailing parrots. For the sofa-bound duo looked comatose throughout the

comedy 0 kids

Jon Welch in raw male Lakeboat

intricacies and, apart from a tendency to stifle the lines with over-authentic accents, this is a premium production which deserves all the praise it will undoubtedly receive. (Thom Dibdin)

For details, see Hit/ist, right

World Cup run, their interest barely roused even by the supernova stupidity of Noel Gallagher or the incomprehensible outbursts of John LydOn If that was the presenters, what hope was there fOr the zuuhence’

But if the thought of Geoff Astle dressed up as a Christmas tree for the three thousandth series of Fantasy Football causes a yawn, fear not 88.8 are promising to get back to their 'essence'. Fleeing that formulaic TV trap, the likely lads are ‘coming horne' to Edinburgh (the Fringe haying been a stamping ground for both in their formative funny years) With an unscripted show for which there wrll be no rehearsmg save an hour browsmg the day’s papers. Nice work and all that, but it is only two QUId.

What, no concesSions?

(Rodger Evans) For details, see Hit/ist, right.

Ill usr


Your smorgasbord of scrumptious shows starts here.

Lakeboat See review, left Lakeboat (Fringe) Observer Assembly (Venue 3) 226 2428, until 75 Aug, 7pm, 77 Aug- 5 Sep, noon, [70/[9 (IQ/[8). Beautiful Thing Tender young gay love on a tough London council estate. See reView on page 41. Beautiful Thing (Fringe) Absolute Banana Theatre Company, South Bridge Resource Centre (Venue I23) 558 999 7, until 22 Aug (not 16),

1 75pm, f6 (4)

Baddiel and Skinner See prevrew, left Baddiel And Skinner Get Back To The Very Essence Of The Edinburgh Fringe (Fringe) Baddiel and Skinner, P/(‘de/K e (Venue 33 556 6550, 75- 30 Aug (not 25)

7 30pm, [2

Krapp's Last Tape The Royal Shakespearr,‘ Company's first ever shot at this classic Beckett, Edward Petherbndge spins the reel to reel and takes to the llll( Krapp’s Last Tape (Fringe) ROyal Shakespeare Company Observer Assembly (Venue 3) 226 24238, 14, 15 Aug, 2 30pm, 17-30 Aug, noon, 3] Aug-5 Sep (not 7 Sep) 8 30pm, [lO/[Q (f9/[8,l That Golden Moment Black Theatre Company Nyeusi and BrookSIde writer Maurice Bessman cook up a hard boiled ;_>assionate tale abdut escap:ng the ghetto Via the boxing ring. That Golden Moment (Fringe) Nyeusi Theatre Company, Theatre Workshop (Venue 20) 226 5425 until 75 Aug, 7 30pm, [5 (f3).

Nothing But Pleasure Fringe First wrnner David Benson returns with an achingly funny reenactment of Diana's funeral See rewew on page 41 . Nothing But Pleasure (Fringe) David Benson, Observer Assembly (Venue 3) 226 2428, until 5 Sep, 7.40pm, [9/[8 ([8/f7).