theatre 0 dance 0 comedy

beyond the normal. Subtlety and simplicity is the mode of expression here, and yet the result is something much more complex.

Mr Ferraro skilfully blends the naivety of the clown with the precision of the mime artist and will charm you into a state of delight. (Robin James)

a Arago (Fringe) Figures of Speech, The Laboratory (Venue 76) 667 2212, until 37 Aug (not Tue) 9.05pm, £5 (£4).


COMEDY REVIEW Ross Noble ease

Know your audience, they say, but perhaps not this intimately. Undaunted by a modest first night turnout, Noble plays to a kid. And the trio of Australian Skate-Punks provide ample gag fodder. Heckled by the Clangers, cheered by dust mites, perturbed by the mischief of Shetland Ponies, he hijacks an idea and demands to be flown to the furthest flung corners of the imagination. The sorry tale of The Boy With The Disco Face is alone worth the admission, but the advice on how one should prepare a monkey before firing him out of a cannon will surely prove invaluable. (Rodger Evans) E Ross Nob/e (Fringe) Calder’s Gilded Balloon (Venue 38) 226 2757, until 37 Aug (not 20) 8. 75pm, 20 Aug, 9.30pm, £8 7).

Lord of the flies: Arago

It's not everyday you meet a guy who pulls down his flies and produces his etiuipmeiit —- but then this is no ordinary guy and his equipment is definitely, well, something else From a miniature flashing red light to more prosaic shoes and things, Anthony Ferraro creates a world above and


THEATRE REVlEW Gargantua *****

cé‘“ ..

i - Gargantua: gobble it up

All too many Fringe shows leave you hungry for real sustenance. Not Gargantua. This latest piece from Edinburgh-based Grid Iron Theatre Company is a banquet of theatrical delights, served up in the derelict catacombs of the Central Library, appropriately dubbed The Underbelly. Set within a gloomy evocation of working-week office drudgery - one of several framing devices —- Gargantua is a shrove weekend of boisterous meditation on food: its preparation. its enjoyment, its digestion and above

all its relationship with sex.

After appetisers, we progress through various chambers of the building's innards to the main course a piquant adaptation of Rabelais’ classic bawdy satire and then to the drawing room for fruity dessert (didn't the company’s mothers tell them not to play with their food?) and maudlin post-dinner confessional. On the way are recipes, ruminations and ribald tomfoolery, performed by a five-strong cast of surpassing ability, with

brilliantly inventive live violin.

There are moments when the devised script feels a little stilted. but these are quickly ushered past our noses by the arrival of the next course. What one remembers of Ben Harrison's rivetting production (105 minutes, with no interval) is relentless invention, raucous humour, quirky melancholy and one line: ‘ls the sausage-holder at home?‘

A bittersweet feast. (Andrew Burnet)

e Gargantua (Fringe) Grid Iron Theatre Company, The Underbelly (Venue 6 7) until

31 Aug (not Sun)’8pm, f 70 (£7).


58 THE lIST 13—20 Aug 1998


Alan Davies Urban


air it: if: 3'3:

With an easy, loose-limbed gait and a generally empathetic manncr, Davies has a capaCity to put his audience at ease and ready to laugh which is rare in his hard-bitten profesSion. The Essex boy deals With possible hostility from the Scots audience early, transferring the bad vibes onto Australians and getting slickly on with the job. There are some well-worked routines here,

his commentaries on the diverse subjects of the Clinton/Lewmsky affair and the horrors of cat

ownership being particular highlights.

More end'earing than offensive, even his moments of taboo, which are several, contrive to fall on the tasteful side of gross-out.

(Steve Cramer)

e Alan Davies Urban Trauma (Fringe) Alan Davies, Observer Assembly (Venue 3) 226 2428, until 78 Aug,

9. 75pm, £9 ([8), until 75 Aug, £70 (£9).


Daniel Alliim's play posits the meeting of two young people at said location in Rotherham. 'A cesspit it may be, but its home,’ remarks Maureen (Ellie Hardicker), a local slapper on the pull, who is chatting up Jordan (Liam Bewley), a glamorous American in search of the mother who abandoned llllTl, The conversation eventually reveals much of Jordan’s inner troubles. The play has some funny moments, but ultimately tells us less about its central character than it should. Hardicker's performance, though, is good, even given her slightly sexist role as a female who seems to eXist only to explore a male sexual psyche. (Steve Cramer)

’33 Bus Stop.’ (Fringe) Rush Theatre Company, C Too (Venue 4) 225 5705, until 37 Aug, 8.45pm, £5 (£4).

STAR RATINGS tittt Urimisscihle tttt Very good Worth seeing

* t t ti Below average it You've been warned