Dynamic threesome 0...

Comedy can be a harsh world sink or swnn. do or die. But this late— night slot has a warmer feel. Maybe it‘s the audience. which is largely populated by teachers. but the three young comics are encouraged as they try out new material. Patrick Monahan. charming and bOLinding with enthusiasm, gets the willing audience on side with ease. Followmg in his smooth footsteps is the rather more dry and Sharnbolic. but extremely funny. Karl Minns. Material plumbed from his angsty school-days and problematic relationships is lapped up with typical British under-dog-lover relish. Nina Conti, daughter of Tom and winner of this year's BBC New Comedy Award. is quite a surprise. She's glamorous. posh and coy. but her ventriloquist's monkey doesn't share her 'good breeding'. The act works well with her alter-ego simian talking dirty. making Conti giggle with embarrassment and delight: it's a nice dynamic. (Ruth Hedges) I The Please/ice. 556 6550, until 26 Aug. 7 7.05pm, lIQ—EIO (EB—f9).

SUCKER Rough magic COO

This is one of those shows where you get about as much from the preview interviews as from the show itself. Lawrence Leung has a great story: at the age of 17, he fell in with a professional conman and worked his

way along the Australian coast pulling scams on the gullible and the greedy. His show is an enjoyable illustrated true life

tale. He explains the cons and demonstrates the l' card tricks with a mischievous charm that compensates for him not being

the slickest of performers. Neither /

as dazzling as the magic of Jerry Sadowitz nor as psychologically

clever as Marc Salem, Leung

nonetheless puts together a fun show. (Mark Fisher) I Assembly Rooms. 226

2428, until 26 Aug. 9.15pm, 210—277 (29—870).

ADAM HILLS Intelligent fun .00..

Seeing Adam Hills dung a festival frenzy like tucking into your ma." ecurse after severa unsatisfying appetisers. Early on. the ccmc discloses his aversion to snake-man Steve Irwin. an unsurprismg revelation perhaps. as Adam has to be the antitheSis of the legendary Aussie boor. Warn‘. and easygoing.

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5: The Comedy -'Clone: threo’s a

I Pleaéxzr‘ice. 556 (3550. until 26 Aug. 9.30pm. i‘iO-P‘lf t5‘5)—5‘7()i.


Inch-perfect parody of anoraks 000.

Next to l l Septemtmr. The Lord of the Rings has to be a strong contender for most imitated and lainpooned subject on this year's l range. At the risk of invrting hate mail. I'm glad to see that coinic duo Chris Chilton and Stuart Robb have recognised what the more enlightened among us have been saying for aeons: that lolkien's Middle Farth. for all its languages and sophistication. is essentially bollocks.

In an inch perfect parody ol obsessive fantasy anoraks. Chilton plays the petty. tyrannical bully to Robb's pathetic doorinat. their carefully choreograi)hed insight into the lfdglmston Tolkien Society gradually descending into chaos in a wonderfully sacrilegious i'oinp. iAllan Harlcliflei I (ii/(led Balloon. J’J’b‘ 2/51, until 236 Aug. {iii/n, 57.50—98.50 rl‘(5.:’>()—.‘.‘7.5()i.

59 MINUTES TO SAVE THE NHS National health disservice O...

In 1997, Tony Blair famously claimed there was 24 hours to save the NHS. Five years on. as hospital standards continue to plummet. the Prime Minister's claim now sounds as hollow as the area between his substantial lugs.

Indeed. in his blackly funny discOurse. satirist Dr Phil Hammond imparts the sobering statistic that yOu're 177 times more likely to die through NHS error than

Wlll the National Lottery.

Assured. witty and profane. Hammond advises against the traditional blind trust in NHS staff. gleefully overturning every medical sacred cow from practitioners to politicians and sharing some delightful clap clinic anecdotes.

Essential Fringe viewing.

lAllan Radcliffe)

I P/et'isance, 556 6550.

until 22 Aug. 6. 30pm. 5‘5)~-£‘5). 50 (578-16. 50).


Omnipresent force 0..

One of the most assured presences at

the Fringe. the ageless Parsons doles out Smarties and equally well-packaged anecdotes to an aging crowd. and it all goes down very smoothly. Promising a different show every night. the format is really just three acts at the festival chatting and giving quick trailers for their talent on this night. US comic Dave Fulton, New Zealand cornedienne Deb Filler. and singing quartet The Jammy Tarts but the host's charm covers any shortcomings and he obvi0usly prepares well for his guests.

A few lazy prejudices. such as Americans having no sense of irony. are uncalled for. but for the most part this is consummate. if slightly bland entertainment.

(Jay Richards0n)

I P/easance. 556 6550. until 25 Aug. 6. 75pm, $850—$950 (£7.50—6850).

SIMON LIPSON Thin on top 0

Losing It confronts the fears of every man ~ head on (ba—boom). Made by and for baldies. Simon Lipson spends an hour ioking