I I A theatre 0 dance 0 comedy - kids

féistyfififiof five Fringe favourites . . . plus one extra, free. Shylock Triumphant and flawless insight into 400 years of anti- semitism. Funny too. See five star reView on following pages. Shy/ock (Fringe) Guy Masterson Productions, Assembly Rooms (Venue 3), 2226 2428, until 5 Sep (not26) 7.20pm, £9/[8 ([8/f7)

The Good Fight Former John Prescott warm up guy Neil Monaghan's new play goes ten rounds with religion. See review on following pages. The Good Fight (Fringe) Calder’s Gilded Balloon (Venue 36), 226 2757, until 37 Aug, 2pm, £7.50 (£6).

The Last Obit Angela Pleasence's Fringe First winning performance of Peter Tinniswood’s comic cocktail. A poignant, bittersweet, at times passionate, reflection of a woman’s last day at work. See reView on following pages. The Last Obit (Fringe) Angela Pleasence, Pleasance (Venue 33), 556 6550, until3l Aug (not 77, 78 Aug), 2.50pm, £7/f6 (f6/f5).

. \ ~l' y '. \

\ ’34,: M ‘y *fi \ - .5? 3

D =: '- \ 51“ 4 ., "‘ . Paul Merton and the crew talking for more than just a minute

of repetition, deviation or hesitation. Kenneth Williams' drawn-out drawl helped hide his hesitation between words; Clement Freud avoids the risk of repetition by reeling out lists of things related to the subject; and more recently, Julian Clary cheerfully admits to deviation on any count. And Peter Jones just doesn't give a damn.

Paul Merton’s method is to sweep everyone along in a tidal wave of fantasy, whilst quick-wittedly sidestepping the dog doos. Along with the likes of Tony Hawks and Fred MacAulay, he's one of the most popular and successful of the younger generation of ad-lib comics who have joined the show, now recording its 34th series here at the Fringe.

Merton will be talking for more than just a minute in his one-man show, though. Ostensibly this short run is just a bit of a laugh, although it’ll serve as a warm-up prior to touring nationwide. Because, of course, there's even less money to be made in being brilliant and funny on radio, than there is in being brilliant and funny on the Fringe. (Gabe Stewart)

For (Rita/ls, see Hit/ist, i'iglit


Just a Merton

'Paul Merton: how easy to talk about him, but difficult without hesitation, deviation or repetition. Without doubt he is an exceptional comedian, a man with an amazing mind that can go into flights of fantasy which can be so valuable in this par-tic-u-lar programme, when he takes us to the world of the . . . unbelievable and creates humour and laughter on his way. A very individual comic, extraordinary in many different ways, highly talented, someone who's got a warmth and a love in a fashion, and yet he comes out with very strong, very, very -’ BUZZZ, BUZZZZZ.

Nicholas Parsons, for 32 years chairperson of the BBC Radio 4 comedy show Just A Minute, has lasted exactly 34 seconds on the chosen subject of 'Paul Merton'. Not bad going considering it's the first time he’s ever tried talking for just a minute himself. Hardly anyone in the show ever manages to last the full minute without being challenged by another contestant for the crimes

Letter to a Daughter


tunes Beautifully performed though the songs are, they break up and disrupt the progression of the play lt'S as if an MTV director had been inatlverteiitly seconded to the BBC tO do a Radio 2 mix of Radio 4's Play for

Nothing But Pleasure David Benson's stonker of a show has audiences going 'ha-ha ouch' at Diana’s funeral. Nothing But Pleasure (Fringe) David Benson, Observer Assembly (Venue 3) 226 2428, until

Letter to a Daughter sent by first class female

The return of renowned playt-iright, Arnold Wesker, directing his first new play for umpteen years, should he cause for celebration. Indeed, there are moments of great perception and sparkling Wit in this monologue performed by Julie Clare. Yet, because the letter in question is being written by a Singer to her eleven year-old daughter, Wesker has interspersed the words With six songs.

Clare has a clear, warm voice and the live backing mu5icians give a gentle interpretation of Ben Till's

Today The TOSLJlt is messy, to say the least

Othei'Wise, Clare‘s performance IS an accomplished blend of melancholy, regret and assertive demands, which says much more abOuI the mother than it proVides instruction to the daughter on how to live her life. The letter, which is a list of the ten most important things in life, precipitated by an unexpected contact With the Child's father, is Witty and Wise proof that Wesker is still a playwright to watch. (Thom Dibdin) For details, see Hit list, right.

5 Sep, 7.40pm, £9/£8 (£8/f 7). Letter to a Daughter See review, left. Letter to a Daughter (Fringe) Observer Assembly (Venue 3) 226 2428, until 5 Sep (not 23 Aug),

2. 75pm, f 9/f8 (£8/f 7).

Paul Merton See preview, left. Paul Merton (Fringe), Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550, 23—31 Aug, 2pm, £8. 50/[8 (f 7. 50/f 7); Just a Minute (Fringe) BBC Radio 4, Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550, 25 Aug, 5.30pm and 6.30pm, free.

20-27 Aug 1998 THE us! 37