l festival

theatre 0 dance 0 comedy

FESTIVAL 10pm-Late cont. from page 79

The frustration is seeing characters swing from tearful to erotically charged in a second, trying to build to a climax that is unconvincing when it arrives. (Mark Robertson)

I The Maids (Fringe) Midnight Cowgirls. Diverse Attractions (Venue 77) 225 8967, until 74 Aug, 10pm, £5.50 (£4).

COMEDY REVIEW Rich Hall Aka Otis Lee Crenshaw

*‘k‘k A

'There's a thin line between comedy and a hostage situation,’ says Otis Lee Crenshaw, sucking on a can of Bud and winking at an unfortunate woman called Margaret. She will, he promises, be the beneficiary of the show‘s Barry White/country 'n‘ western love vibe before the evening is out.

As an ex-con who has been married six times, every wife answering to the name of Brenda, you really have to believe him. Rich Hall may not be God, but somehow he‘s fashioned a creature from the spare parts of Johnny Cash, Tom Waits and Jerry Lee Lewis. And this hillbilly cat won’t be taking no prisoners, darlin'. (Rodger Evans)

. Rich Hall Aka Otis Lee Crenshaw (Fringe) Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550, until 30 Aug (not 16) 70. 75pm, £ 9/£ 8 (£8/£ 7).


Life, Love, Sex, Death . . . And Other Works In Progress


Appearing at an hour civilised people reserve for tUrning into pumpkins, Stevie Jay is eager to appear informal. ‘I want you to think of this show as a conversation in which I do all the talking.‘ And talk he does, at an alarming speed for over an hour.

The material sassy observations on relationships and therapy (among other things) - is witty and amiable enough. But Jay’s machine-gun delivery means that often the punchlines are gobbled up, leaving the audience baffled. This proved embarrassing at the end. Most of us hadn't realised the show was over and had to be

Chest pain: Stevie .lay

prompted into applauding. (Allan Radcliffe)

l Life, Love, Sex, Death. . . And Other Works In Progress (Fringe) Stevie Jay, Famous Grouse House (Venue 34) 220 5606, until 22 Aug (not 76) midnight, £ 7 (£5).


David Strassman

at :k it

There is no doubting David Strassman‘s impressive ventriloquism. With an ensemble of dummies, he has the ability to create several autonomous personalities on stage at the same time. The show is loud and brash and the gag count is right up there. It should be this is a big show and benefits from one of the best arenas on the Fringe.

The star dummy Chuck Wood certainly is a nasty little puppet (though not actually nasty enough). But when you want Strassman to put the pedal to the metal he brings on the blustering, albeit impressive, state-of- the-art animatronics and it fails a bit flat. (Ross Holloway)

3 David Strassman (Fringe) Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550, until Aug 30 (not 76, 24) 70pm; also 75-30 Aug (not 76, 24) 7.45pm, £9.50/£8.50 (£8. 50/£ 7. 50).

COMEDY REVIEW Omid Djalili AA A 1%

You don’t see an Iranian ceilidh every day. You don’t see a little man in a shiny shirt and trousers parodying Middle Eastern rock music, either. But Omid Djalili is no ordinary man. The UK's only Iranian stand-up, he spends much of the time taking the rise from himself, his dual cultural identity, the audience and the world around him and in his head.

Acting up like some RADA Fundamentalist, Omid is both posh s- pice and ayatollah storyteller. Funny without being gut-busting. Clever without being mind-spinning. His Eastern promise is perhaps yet to be truly fulfilled but, at times, this ceilidh thrills. (Brian Donaldson)

. Omid Djali/i (Fringe) Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550, until 30 Aug (not 23) 70.35pm, £9/£8 (£8/£7); Queen's Hall (Venue 72) 668 2079/credit card 667 7776, 23 Aug, 70.30pm, £9 (£8).

COMEDY REVIEW Northern Uproar MM

You don‘t have to be Northern to enjoy this, but it helps. Barnsley‘s Toby Foster is first up, and does a half-hour set based on his observations about stereotypes, concentrating on, surprisingly enough, the North/South divide, but also taking a detour to include the Irish.

Liverpool’s Brendan Riley looks to his personal life for his inspiration, which


COMEDY PREVIEW Kissing The Goldfish

Oral hi-jinks: Kissing The Goldfish

‘We don't like to call it cabaret.’ states Sebastian Michael of Kissing The Goldfish. 'We prefer to call it off-the-wall musical comedy.‘ Musical it is. Most would call it comedy. None could deny it's off-the-wall.

The core members of the group are actor/writer/performer Sebastian Michael, and actress Charlotte Bicknell, who‘s probably best known for playing Delilah in BBCZ‘s This Life. Joining them for their Festival stint this year are old friend Harry, famed as The Big Breakfasts in-house pianist, and opera diva Sally Bradshaw, recently featured on The Art Of Noise‘s new album The Seduction Of Claude Debussy.

With a musical spectrum ranging from. as Michael puts it, ‘the really quite cheesy to the very sophisticated.’ their choice of songs is stranger than anything Radio 2 could dream up. Try this for starters: Wagner‘s ‘Ride Of The Valkyries‘ segued into The Beatles‘ ‘Ticket To Ride', ‘Don't Cry For Me Argentina' losing a couple of syllables and becoming about a sex change

operation . . . you get the general idea.

The only thing that could make this show stranger than it already is, would be the promised ichthyoid oral action. (Kirsty Knaggs) . Kissing The Goldfish (Fringe) Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550, 74-30 Aug (not

23) 17. 15pm, £8/£ 7 (£6.50/E5.50).

is fair enough, but it does leave you with an uncomfortable feeling of knowing a little more about his girlfriend than is strictly necessary. There are moments of laugh-your-ass- off comedy, but ultimately, it's more of a mild disturbance than an uproar. (Kirsty Knaggs) . Northern Uproar (Fringe) The Stand Comedy Club: Stand l/ (Venue 5) 558 7272, until 29 Aug, 70.30pm, £5 (£4).

COMEDY REVIEW Star Wars Trilogy In 30 Minutes

A *1: it A The Star Wars phenomenon continues in a whirlwind of low-budget laughs and high-speed action. This production is the antithesis of the Cinematic trilogy; home-made props (R2 DZ comes courtesy of the Edinburgh Bargain Store), man-made sound effects and action at breakneck speed. The twelve-strong cast manage to condense six hours of film into 30 breathtaking minutes of the best lines, funniest scenes and most inspired costumes. Chewbacca/Darth should get an Oscar for his sound effects alone. This is Io-fi sci-fi, so pack up your light sabre and get over to the Dark Side. (Victoria Nutting)

. Star Wars Trilogy In 30 Minutes (Fringe) Festival Theatre USC-USA, Drummond Community Theatre (Venue 25) 558 9695, until 28 Aug (not 76-77, 79, 22-24, 26) 77.30pm, £5; also 74, 27, 28 Aug, 77am, £5 (£2).

COMEDY REVIEW Ed Byrne: On The Road *****

While Ed Byrne's new show may not a tribute to the works of Jack Kerouac, this is as close to comedic poetry as it gets. Not even a recent leg injury has hampered his ability to command his audience, drawing real tears from once-sceptical eyes.

Elephants, boy bands, talking in bed, mobile phones (they‘re not evil after all) and complaining old women are his topics for '99. Some performers may have the material but with lukewarm delivery; others have the presence without the lines.

Be most assured that self-confessed skinny bastard Ed Byrne has his comedy scales in perfect proportion. (Brian Donaldson)

I Ed Byrne: On The Road (Fringe) Ed Byrne, Observer Assembly (Venue 3) 226 2428, until 76 Aug, 70pm,

£7 7/£ 70 (£8/£ 7).

12—19 Aug 1999 THE usr In