COMEDY REVIEw Morag McLaren: I Never Do Anything Twice


v . Once bitten: Morag McLaren

Soprano and Showstopper Morag McLaren returns to her native Edinburgh to trill some of her favourite arias and songs in a one-woman cabaret which rarely plays it straight, no matter how much you might wish to dispense with the anecdotal reminiscing from the Dorothy Paul school of entertainment. McLaren dons strategically-placed colanders for ‘Comic’ Viking effect when she sings Wagner, followed by a bowl of fruit to perform a samba number, but

The first man on Channel 4!

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Sondheim and Weill are mercifully sung sans silly costumes and voices and consequently are as emotionally affecting as the rest of the show is embarrassingly affected. (Fiona Shepherd)

a I Never Do Anything Twice (Fringe) Morag McLaren, Hill Street Theatre (Venue 41) 226 6522, until Aug 31 (not 19, 27) 8.40pm, f 7 (f5).

COMEDY REVIEW What A Gas! a any

The stars of Channel 4's hit comedy showcase can't be arsed tonight. 'l've been ’ere for five days now,’ moans host Lee Mack, ’and I’ve 'ad enough already.’ Julian Barratt was constantly checking his watch, making no secret of the fact that he was counting the seconds till his set was over; Chris Addison had to make a speedy getaway to do another show downstairs. Only Noel Fielding seemed determined to see it through to the bitter end. Funny guys all four, but it takes more than that to make a good show. On a good night, this would be a fantastically entertaining performance. Unfortunately, this was not a good night. (Kirsty Knaggs)

a WhatA Gas! (Fringe) Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550, until 31 Aug (not 25) 8.55pm, f9/f8.50/£8

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COMEDY REVIEW Tripod-Are l-iandsome

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Older readersvwith too many Fringes behind them may recall a trio of untameab'le singing Australians with one guitar andthree sick minds. Well. Fringe newcomers Tripod are the Doug Anthony All Stars gone geeky; Don't be put off by the way Yon, Scod and Gatesy look, though. These boys sing like angels, dance like deranged goats and are masters of the oral

drum machine.

They're also pretty funny. You might not deck yourself at their Prisoner Cell Block H or Star Wars sendsups, but you'llgcertainly crack a smile at their stalking song and their uncannin accurate Bjérk impersonation. Tripod specialise in unholy unions: The Spice Girls with Marvin Gaye; the Prodigy with Aqua, and Yon with an imaginary.'flute. They also have an interesting revelation to make about Noel Gallagher's songeriting technique.

They've got matching, colouhcoordinated outfits. they hardly ever swear, and. your, mother might quite fancy Gatesy. The title might be in breach of thefirades Descriptions Act, but hey - Who needs handsome when you've

sexy? (Andrew Burnet)

. a Tripod Are Handsome (Fringe) Tripod, Calder’s Gilded Balloon (Venue 38) 226 2151, until31 Aug, £8 (£7).

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The Square Root Of Minus One

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The sight of naked young boys whipping each other in a darkened room late at night does something to me that I’d frankly prefer not to discuss in print, but I found little else in the show to hold my attention. Exploring the power games between a group of boys in a 19505 American boarding school, it has the potential to be a deeply disturbing drama, but for some unfathomable reason, they have decided to play up a non-existant comedy aspect of it. Add to that clumsy scene changes, restricted sight and muffled speech and you certainly do come up with minus something. (Kirsty KnaggS)

n The Square Root 01 Minus One (Fringe) Oxford New Writing Festival, C (Venue 19) 225 5105, anti/31 Aug, 9.15pm, £6 (£5).

THEATRE REVIEW Ursula Martinez Presents A Family Outing are ' After a very slow start, Ursula Martinez's voyage around her family speeds up to a relaxed lounge about on the living room sofa. It transpires that the promising premise of comically dissecting your dysfunctional family life with the willing participation of your parents is a non- eventful series of Mr & Mrs-style interrogation, lame banter and what can best be described as faffing about. However, Ms Martinez's parents Spanish mother and elderly English father are very sweet and their solo spots, particularly her mother‘s mime routine to ‘I Will Survive', provide the only truly amusing moments in the show. (Fiona Shepherd) a A Family Outing (Fringe) Ursula Martinez, The Observer Assembly (Venue 3) 226 2428, until 5 Sep, 8. 10pm, f 9/f 8 (f8/f 7).