Studies in


(left to right): the Cambridge Footlights, the Oxford Revue company and Navelgazing: and (above) the Cellar Tapes company reunited (with chums) in Kenneth Branagh's 1992

it is sheer silliness - the M'tiller Rice routine and the geeky Christians that works best.

The Cambridge Medics m apparently the only trainee physicians on this year‘s Fringe are the only performers to touch on politics. with songs about

NHS cuts (from which medical students. who may soon be working in a totally privatised sector. stand to benefit financially) and environmental gloom. The show features two talented performers Keiran McCafferty and Edward Wild but is likeably off-beat more than consistently funny; though it does win my Edinburgh tapwater award for best title with Julius Seizure. Edinburgh University’s Navelgazing troupe although graduate-led rather than strictly student deserves praise for structural experimentation. and for living up to its title by introducing countless references to

Don't students have more important things on their minds?

Aren't they compelled to spendthe summer 'vac' boning up on textbooks or coating chicken drumsticks for Col Sanders?

popular culture. from nifty pastiches of

Beatles album covers to the pumpin‘ dance music soundtrack. There are some killer punchlines. but once again. few belly laughs. As in other cases. promising material has not always been developed rigorously enough.

Of Nottingham New Theatre‘s Robin Hood Revue. the most positive thing to be said is that it has one good idea. which it executes reasonably well. I hope the participants have come to Edinburgh for the parties.

In all. though. student comedy remains disappointingly unchanged by the ravages of New Labour. What made The Cellar Tapes great comedy Fry’s barmy professor entreating Laurie‘s bemused student to ‘gather from buttocks' when speaking Shakes- pearean verse was its sheer warped lunacy. That remains the best indicator of university comedy to this day.

film Peter's Friends

Perhaps we should celebrate the fact that students are still carefree enough to act daft in public.

0 Between A Rock And A Hard Place (Fringe) Cambridge Footlights, Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550, until 31 Aug, 6.30pm, £8/£7 (£6/£5).

0 Anatomically Correct (Fringe) Oxford Revue, Calder's Gilded Balloon ll (Venue 36) 226 2151, until 31 Aug (not 25 Aug), 6.45pm, £7 (£6).

0 Julius Seizure (Fringe) Cambridge Medics, Calder’s Gilded Balloon ll (Venue 36) 226 2151, until 22 Aug, 6pm, £6.50 (£5.50).

0 (Fringe) Navelgazing, Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550, until 31 Aug, 2.50pm, £7I£6 (£6/£S).

0 Robin Hood Revue (Fringe) Nottingham’s New Theatre Company, South Bridge Resource Centre (Venue 123) 558 9991, until 22 Aug, 11.20am, £4 (£3).

20—27 Aug 1998 THELISTZ1