Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh, Wed 26 Feb; Cumbernauld Theatre, Fri 28 Feb; MacRobert, Stirling, Thu 6 Mar
Robert Newman lives the life. No armchair socialist firing impotent broadsides at the powers be, he turns global politics into hilarity on stage and takes his beliefs to the streets. ‘My and my mate Mark Thomas both got arrested at Whitehall a couple of times last month,‘ laughs the former stand-up partner of David Baddiel. ‘We looked at each other and said: “I think we’ve done the Equity minimum now,” and wandered off.’
His new show is a departure for him. Instead of building up his special blend of polemic and impersonation every night in front of an audience, he sat down and wrote it. Called From Caliban to the Taliban: 500 years of Humanitarian Intervention, it’s the story of a ‘500- year terror campaign’ starting with Francis Bacon and culminating with George Bush.
‘This is the first time I’ve written a complete script from beginning to end before doing it,’ says Newman, sporting shorter hair (he cuts his own) and several fewer pounds (he‘s been cycling everywhere). ‘lt's all factual and quite heavily researched.
I worked much harder for this than I did for my final exams at university. I'm thinking of doing a little booklet with the information, because sometimes in a show it can come and go too quickly. And if you just know one
statistic you can win any argument.‘
As the threat of global warfare mounts, he expects the reaction to the show to change. But he suspects audiences will not be as ready to turn into knee-jerk patriots, as they have in previous conflicts, should war be declared. ‘I think it’s different this time,‘ says Newman, who‘ll be giving local activists a platform at each of his shows. ‘lt’s the first time that we’re thinking: “Oh, we‘re the baddies, aren’t we?” Doing the show, I’m always thinking I’m going to hit a point when the audience pull back a bit, but they don‘t.’
And will he keep it funny? ‘I don’t think it would work in
NE ‘.‘. Clix-Ni) Lil) RUSSELL HOWARD The Pleasance, Edinburgh, Tue 25 Feb
‘I feel ever so slightly like Phil Neville’
Bacon to Bush: Newman charts the rise of global terrier
a Friday night comedy club with everyone a bit pissed up. But it’s been going down better than anything I’ve ever done, because I do think there’s much comedy to be had. Comedy always loves the gaps between what is real
and what everyone thinks.’
Those not fortunate enough to catch his tour should look out for Scribbling, a two-part BBCZ documentary in March, half of which is dedicated to the writing of his third novel, The Fountain at the Centre of the World, due to be published in September. ‘It was nice having them there filming me,’ says Newman, whose researches took him to Mexico, onto Welsh trawler boats and to the Harmonsdworth asylum-seekers detention centre. ‘It was a bit like cross-Channel swimmers when they have
someone in a rowing boat keeping them company.‘
F 's'.. a" 2i<ll“-SSSI()l‘I l've been weﬂ and truly 't.in‘iiiated into l).’(3‘."(3‘.'.'ll‘g Russet: Hot-ram. Not beeaase Danie. Kitson sat'.‘ ft to 'l‘()CK The List for failing to credit Howard's support sot at the Pleasanee ll‘. Cctober < t ?as‘. year. and not because Hen-.Ia'd's 20f)? Fringe press release aanntteog. ‘or the (:rxtgeson‘eiyentitleo doable "eader Ebony and Irony With Matt Biai/e "tater do make rt oat of the ﬁesta; "mg cab-net Bat stit‘pl‘, because. a-or‘g .mtn over 300 peopie (:rait‘ii‘ea "tit: Pleasanee One. ‘.-.'itr‘.ess(-2:t HOWZVCE nto'e than "old his ()‘t‘J‘. supporting net-.3. -::'()‘.'.'r‘e(l Perrier me Big Di
For a relative newcomer. Ho~.'.lard's eon‘eui, eredts are begertimr‘g to bee .":s tender ,ears. Sill Cttl‘, 2‘. no has supported tours >t Kitso't and Pit Kay. bus-.2 he was a ‘ir‘alist in we 233‘. BBC Comedy Award and the 1999 So ,o;. Think ogre Forth, eon‘petitier‘. Better stir. the copper Bret: -bori‘ totingste' was ert t"e om; alongsde Jenna; Vegas. ‘i‘. what could :3 ~. e‘ the
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And how does he feel sharing a bill with such stand-up lun‘tnaries? ‘l sert of walked on one night and said: "It's a bit like followutg Pele. and feel ever so slightly like Phil Neville.”
Despite some not-so fond ntentories of last year's festival We had some people. mostly inudle-aged ladies. who tnOught it was a strip show... Howard Wt” be back in Edinburgh in August as part of Fringe tag-team The Comedy Zone. And cf recent gigs are anything to go by. this Comedy Network date at the Pleasance should also make for interesting wet/ring. ‘l :d a student gig in Exeter yesterday and halhwa', thrOugh this bloke Shouted out: "I've had sex in a cofﬁn." When somebody admits something like that it tends to be a lot more ‘un'
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CONGRATULATIONS TO Teddy and Saj who are through to the final of the Laughing Horse New Act of t the Year competition. The two local comics won the Scottish
and Manchester heats
respectively, and will compete against eight London-based finalists on Sun 23 Feb in the big smoke.
EDDIE IXZARI) l8 Si i it) embark on a worid tour in the autumn. The teaturerl star of forth(:0ining flick Revenge/I; Tragedy is putting his ."lOJlff career on the back burner for a ht to set alight the globes stages with his electric brilliance. Dates have still to be announced. but we'll keep you posted.
AND NOW SOME NOT SO good news: Harry Hill is one week into his two-month national tour of Wild Horses which, bizarrely, doesn’t include any dates in Scotland. Not one. Apologies to anyone who was disappointed when Hill’s shiny bonce didn't appear in the Glasgow International Comedy Festival programme as we had earlier reported. However . . .
JOHNNY VEGAS is appearing for a seeend night at the alorerneittiOned f(:SIl'./ai lhe rotund St Helens comm, god has reportedl‘, said he is gmng up Stand-up to spend more time WIIT‘. his pregnant mfe. so this new date at the King's on Sun 23 Mar COUIO be his last ever. The extra date is brilliant news. but not qwte so 9000 for those people .vho'd bought tickets for the Saturday night show Oril; to find out that theft! only be '.’/IIﬂ€SS|ng his penultimate perlOrmance. It iust doesn't have Quate the sarne ring, does it?
13-27 Feb 2003 THE LIST 69