COMEDY PRE‘llEW Little wonder

Having deserted Bouncer and squabbled on a couch with Zb'e Ball, Mark Little wants you to know he’s a hot shot on the circuit.

Talk about a hot ticket. An asbestos suit might be in order for those braving Mark Little’s show, Spontaneous Human Combustion. ’lt’s a metaphysical thing,’ explains Little. ’Not like the monks protesting against Vietnam. I don't intend to pour petrol on myself, but I do hope to go up in flames for the cause from within.’

But won’t that contravene health and safety regulations in the Assembly Rooms? ‘They'll hate it, but spontaneous combustion is a very localised flame. After an hour there’s just a bit of smouldering leg there on stage.’ A veteran of the Fringe, this will be the fifth show Little has brought to Edinburgh. His debut, back in 1990, coincided with the arrival of one Joe Mangle on our screens, so ensuring record box-office takings.

He’s still most recognised from his Neighbours character despite

two years presenting the Big Breakfast. ’Joe Mangle can get fucked!‘ he spits, not meaning a word of it. 'Over the years people have realised they won’t get to see Bouncer. That was a struggle for the first few. Do I regret doing it? No. There are 60 million people in this country and I reckon I’ve only got fifteen million to

personally say g'day to.’

He didn't fully appreciate the cult of Mangle the first time, being too busy filming to notice. But now Sky Gold is showing the old episodes. ’He's great! I see what all the fuss is about.’ Okay, enough Neighbours already. Little's latest project is Read The Flaming

and Ed Byrne.

Mark Little: blazing a trail

Papers, a topical quiz show on Radio 4. He chairs the programme, aided by team captains .lohn Maloney

'Radio is a great medium,’ he insists. ‘I love listening to the sound effects on The Archers. How do they do those Wellington boot noises? As host, of course, I

have to stay loose in my mind to be as spontaneously

[IO/[9 (f9/[8l



Like the sOund of the ocean crashing relentlessly, repetitively against the craggy coast which figures heaVIIy in this astonishing performance, the applause jUSl keeps rolling in. Such prolonged adulation for this genuinely


complex and sophisticated piece of theatre is incredible and not a little emotional to behold. However, it is deserved.

Once the work of Russmn 'anti- clown’ group Derevo, who stunned Fringe audiences With last year's Rec! Zone is billed as 'a fairy tale about Iove’. The magical aspects shine through when, say, the characters blaze across the stage on shooting

witty as I can.’ Without combusting? 'Right. I'm saving that. It’d be such a waste on radio.’ (Rodger Evans) SpontaneOus Human Combustion (Fringe) Mark Little, Observer Assembly (Venue 3) 226 2428, 22-29 Aug, 700m,

stars, but the piece also references everything from btitt‘ih to rock musicals, silent film to cartoon capers It is, almost simultaneously, profound and dumbed dot-ii"; These razor-sharp, flash-fast changes in tone and style are the genius of Once and to describe this as Camus meets the Keystone Cops would Le flip but fair

Unlike Red Zone's cracked kaleidoscope of lagged set pieces, Once has narrative it is a classic tale of love spurned, but is by no means entirely coherent Fantastical, spectacular and tear-Jerking, Derevo would never let anything as harshly realistic as a strong plotline interfere With the serious business of breaking hearts

Derevo have again raised the stakes on the Fringe This is one of the most committed performances you could ever hope to see, and one which makes most acts look decidedly mediocre by comparison, Once is a love song to your soul (Peter Ross) Est: Once (Fringe) Derevo, Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550, until 37 Aug (not Tue) 77. 75pm, [8,50/[7 50 (f7 50/[6 50)

It’s not just the fireworks that make the nights go with a bang Johnny Vegas: Selling Out The l‘clv Vegas has adde; tuble constiuc twin to his pottery Krllt 'avoid lieiric; in the front ruv. whiny igas Selling Out (Fringe) Jili‘lllilv Vegas, Calder's Gilded Balloon (Venue 38‘) 226 2 75 7, until 37 Aug (not Tues) 70 45pm, [8 ([7) Johnny Vegas At The Palladium (Fringe) Calder s G lded Balloon at the Palladium ilu’eriue 26) 226 2 757, 8 30 Aug, 8’ 75pm, f 70 ([8) Mark Little: Spontaneous Human Combustion See main prewew, left Mark Little 5/,~c>ritariuous Hum. n Combustion (Fringe) Mark Little, Observer Asseiiih’y il’enue 3) 226 2428, 22 29 Aug, 70pm, {70/[9 (f9/ 8)

Rob Newman Da‘v’ltl Bacidiel’s old mate strikes out aciain on his own With a not—so-suiprise hit See reVIew on follciwirig pages. Rob Newman (Fringe) Observer Assembly ( Venue 3) 226 2428, until 37 Aug, 70pm,

[70 50/[9 50 ([9 50/6950)

Ed Byrne: A Night At The Opera Ed Byiiie is on fire this year but he may well have some watery stuff at his disposal to douse the lames. See review '.)'l ’riilcwrint} panes Ed Byrne. A Night At The Opera (Fringe) Ed Byriie, (alt/er". Gilded Balloon (Venue 35:) 2.776 275 7, until 37 Aug (not 30) 70pm, [8 ([7), Ed Byrne A Night At The Queen’s Hall (Fringe) Queen's lla/l (\./:‘/l'/(_) 72) 668 2079/66? 2776, 30 Aug, 70 45pm, [IO/f8

Once See reView, left Once (Fringe) Derevo, Pi’et'isance (Venue 33) 556 6550, until 37 Aug (not Tues)

77 750m, [8 50/[7 50

m7 50/16 50)

Bill Bailey The self-styled materialist hippy hits all the right notes wuth his new routine Not sure about him being the missing member of ABBA, though See reView, on following pages Bill Bailey (Fringe) Calder’s Gilded Balloon at the Palladium (Venue 26) 226 2 75 7, until 23 Aug, 70pm, [9 ([8),

20-27 Aug 1998 THE usr 61