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For tickets M 0131 226 2151 or 0131 226 5138

52 THE LIST 12-19 Aug 1999


The 4 Noels Present The Magnificent Seventeen ****

Who will save Buckley’s Crack? The hilarious story of the rescue of a small western town is recounted by three hyperactive Australians in seventeen characters, thirteen songs and 41 scenes . . . exactly.

lt’s physical sketch comedy at its tightest, peppered with lewd innuendo and obscure cross-references - it's easy to see how these three chaps have done so well in their antipodean home country. The Wild West in cartoon with silly wigs and accents is something that needs to be seen to be believed.

There's more character switches than Elizabeth Taylor has had facelifts, more songs than Stars in Their Eyes and swifter action than a silver bullet. Yeehah! (Tracy Griffen) I The 4 Noe/s Present The Magnificent Seventeen (Fringe) The 4 Noels, Gilded Balloon II (Venue 36) 226 2151, until 30 Aug (not 17, 24) 8.15pm, £7.50 (£6.50).

COMEDY PREVIEW Sean Cullen: Worm Lover

‘See him before he’s devoured by serpents' is a suitably surreal slogan for the latest offering from Edinburgh regular and self-confessed fan of invertebrate crawlers, Sean Cullen.

It's been an industrious year for Cullen, whose absurd improvisations, pithy songs and eccentric characterisations won him a 1998 Perrier Award nomination. Having wowed the international fringe circuit as one third of the outlandish Corky and The Juice Pigs phenomenon, and as Dame Sybille, Queen of stage raconteurs, he's now conquering the world of television comedy. His face has scarcely been off British screens (his recent Call My Bluff appearance was presumably a career highlight) and he's recorded specials on both sides of the Atlantic.

Sean's forthcoming Fringe show, inspired by an adoration of brown slimy beasties, illuminated in the course of the evening, promises to be as outrageous and bizarre as ever. So hot-foot it over to the Pleasance, before those evil reptiles do their worst. (Allan Radcliffe)

I Sean Cullen: Worm Lover (Fringe) Sean Cullen, Pleasance (Venue 33) 556


6550, 18-30 Aug, 8.30pm, £8. 50/£ 7. 50 (E 7. 50/£6. 50). Preview 17 Aug, 8.30pm, E 1.

COMEDY REVIEW Ross Noble Laser Boy *****

In what should be called the Blond Ambition tour, Ross Noble is really going for it this year with his peroxide locks, his immaculate white ensemble and his expensive shiny backdrop.

His sense of humour is just as well turned out. Using scripted material only as back-up, Noble instead gets the audience to prompt him into free-form dementia. With stories about smuggling rare birds' eggs in eye sockets and using guinea pigs as car alarms, he abides in the outer limits of the imagination. And he might as well be puffing on a pipe with his feet up, he's so comfortable on stage. (Catherine Bromley)

I Ross Noble (Fringe) Gilded Balloon (Venue 38) 226 2151, until 30 Aug, 9.30pm, £6.50 (£5.50).

THEATRE REVIEW New Age Romance *4:

Allegedly a journey of self-discovery Via a path of gay dogs, yoga and psychoanalysis - this one-man play is marginally more successful as a misogynist's meditation upon his girlfriend. This is unfortunate for both the aforesaid wench (more caricature than character), and also the audience, thanks to main character Rudi’s omnipresent impressions of her irritatineg whinging sluttishness.

With interesting aspirations towards blurring the distinction between performance and workshop, the play is watchable and ambitious, but clumsily realised. it seems more like a book reading reeled off in synch to the actor's favourite mirror pose.

Although the darker turn of events is an awkward and incongruous lurch from the earlier comedic delusions, it is also considerably more effective. Ultimately however, New Age Romance remains both outdated and unlovable. (Judith Ho)

I New Age Romance (Fringe) Rexana Productions, C (Venue 19) 225 5105, until Aug 30 (not 17) 8.15pm, .6 7 (£5).

COMEDY REVIEW Greg Proops *akvk

After a one-year sabbatical from the Fringe frenzy, the Proopdog returns to Scottishland (patronise, patronise) with a brand new show. Well, perhaps new to The Proclaimers' missing triplet, but hardly original for anyone still mourning the loss of Bill Hicks.

It’s not just the ballsy manner and the strutting stage presence, it's the raw subject matter - dope, guns, religious fundamentalism. You’ve seen it before. You’ve seen it done much better.

Polished and professional it may be, but he would have been well advised