REVIEWS FOR CHORTLE
EDINBURGH FRINGE, 2005
BRUCE: POLITICAL HOT POTATO
the most basic level, Bruce was able to smoothly incorporate the
latest information on the London bombings and that very morning's unexpected
headline news that cleric Omar Bakri Mohammed had fled the country.
His ability to incorporate totally fresh material was impressive. But
his anility to work a potentially very difficult audience was awe-inspiring.
an apparent effortless ease, he was able to diverge completely from
his prepared set into areas dictated by his audience and speak with
knowledge and humour about current events, sailing into improvised yet
totally smooth and well-shaped routines, then returning even more smoothly
to his prepared set. To make this seem effortless and easy is the highest
possible professional compliment.
particularly difficult punter did not heckle but amiably interrupted
Bruce's act repeatedly and dangerously. Rather than put him down, Bruce
used interruptions by the punter - a postman by trade - as a diving
board into unswum new waters. When the punter got up, went to the toilet
and returned to find the venue entrance accidentally shut, he banged
twice on the door a couple of times.
you see," Bruce said without pause, "It's true. The postman
always knocks twice"
the end, asked for a wild animal story by a punter, he spun into a tale
about lions, spastic children and Loch Lomond with which he climaxed
a show superbly delivered, superbly crafted, superbly shaped but largely
talented. Breathtakingly good.
is not a show; it is a showcase... for the very considerable talents
of Laura Solon. As it comprises 3 and 4 minute self-contained character
monologues, it is impossible to tell if Laura can write a 60-minute
or even 30-minute show. Writing brilliant short characterisations (which
these are) is no guarantee for structuring longer pieces.
Fringe brochure bafflingly describes this show as "One Man and
His Incredible Mind" presented by a victim support group on the
subject of living with a mental disability. In fact, Laura's solo comedy
show is presented by Browneyedboy (TV producers of "3 Non Blondes"
etc) at the increasingly important Holyrood Tavern venue (programmed
by Brian Damages straight woman Vicky De Lacey). Both are very
impressive at spotting new talent and they have scored another bullseye
characters range from an Australian in a wheelchair who thinks she is
possessed by the ghost of Princess Diana to an excitable Rotherham girl
to a deranged American motivational speaker. Her scripts verge on being
a collection of mini-masterpieces with stand-out lines which remain
in character: "You can have my yoghurt, if you like. It's got spit
in. It'll be like kissing me" ... "There's only one thing
worse than being talked about and that's Madrid" ...Anyone who
can rival or even top a line by Oscar Wilde is a talent to watch.
beautifully crafted one-liners included my favourite, done as a throwaway
in mid-sentence... "a dyslexic who fears the number 31"
Laura Solon is not an Alan Bennett or Victoria Wood, but she is young, within sight of them and might yet rival them. She is an immensely talented writer with performance skills to match.
AUDIENCE WITH JOSIE LONG & DAN NIGHTINGALE
Nightingale? Standard stand-up set.
babies, anti-racism, a bit of audience involvement. Very personable,
proficient. Didn't make my jaw drop. Needs a unique selling proposition.
Long? Much liked by all types of audiences; needs more edge.
West Country innocence persona. A joke about a mortuary delivered in
too obviously pure Stewart Lee style. Whimsical amiability. The 28 minutes
of separate bits-and-bobs almost but not quite smoothly enough linked
together foir a 28-minute act.
again," says Josie on stage, "I cause some amusement but bewilderment
not bewilderment, Josie. Just interest in which direction your act will
develop. A well-deserved Chortle Best Newcomer Award 2005. Lots of potential.
Direction not obvious,
Overall verdict on the show? Worth the price of admission. Efficient entertainment.
SEEN ON TV?
and very good observational comedy from Jongleurs' Best Newcomer 2004.
and cosy? Yes. Alternative? No way. But warm-voiced, warm-eyed Liverpudlian
comic Chris McCausland succeeds in what he sets out to do.
not a hard-edged act. It's an old-fashioned world of family, telly,
pubs and football. A world where TV is dominated by the A-Team, Colombo,
Knightrider and Ironside.
are well-crafted if unoriginal routines about disarming bombs in James
Bond films, but with no reference whatever to the recent London bombings.
a blind man with warm eyes which focus on individual members of his
audience as if he were not blind - pay attention TV producers - seems
to have surreally spent most of his recent months watching the Discovery
Channel and other cable channels. His observations are funny, comfortable,
comforting and none the worse for that. He aims to make his audience
happy, to be their friendly non-aggressive Northern comic and he succeeds.
this blind man with the soft voice and the warm, friendly eyes could
be very successful on television with mainstream audiences.
BOY WHO CRIED WHALE
only non-originality I spotted was nicking one line from W.C.Fields
but - hey - OK - if you're going to steal, steal from the best.
5-person Los Albatross ensemble are Dublin-based and have spent the
last three years performing in Ireland. The experience shows.
performers shine out.
Walmsley as the party-loving Russian President and as an OTT Lionel
Bart-style singing Cockney. And Shane O'Brien as a squeaky street urchin
pulled from some schmaltzy 1930s Hollywood movie.
LONGWELL - WHY WORK?
Brian Longwell says he is a non-motivational, non-inspirational speaker
who thought about writing a book on the subject of not writing a book
but hasn't got round to it.
was born in the town of Horseheads, close to New York State's totally
straight border with Pennsylvania. State borders are totally straight,
he tells us, only when no-one gives a shit about that particular area.
where I grew up - Right on the edge of not giving a shit."
very funny overhead projector illustrations, this is a sophisticated,
thoroughly enjoyable and irony-filled tongue-in-cheek antidote to all
those American motivational speakers who charge a fortune. And it lasts
is then a dull and totally pointless 20 minutes of additional material
with two men and one woman perfming an office sketch; followed by Longwell
and another man performing a second pointless office sketch.
extraordinary misjudgement snatched failure from the jaws of success.
the show. Walk out after 60 minutes. There is a pause to allow you to
like to say this is a good 60 minute show. And I can. I'd like to say
this is a good 80 minute show. I'd like to.
rich, would-be sexy voice with lots of beautifully-timed pauses. It
is more performance than content and it got plentiful laughs from an
appreciative audience partly boosted by giggling students from Aberystwyth.
'Anton Pick' is really Antony Pickthall, former marketing and fundraising
man for varioius theatre companies, now working at the Centre for Performance
Research in Aberystwyth, a town he hates.
he likes cats. And cheese. And performing. And feels guilty for having
had his sick cat put to sleep by the vet.
that's the show, really.
might (PAUSE) be your (PAUSE) thing. (PAUSE) But (PAUSE) for me (PAUSE)
it's cheese (LONG PAUSE) There's morphine (PAUSE) in cheese."
a quirky performance. Like cheese, not to everyone's taste and with
occasional holes in it. But at least original. And, as the success of
comedy is in timing, new comedians would be well advised to see this
show where the material is not inherently funny and where there are
no gags... but which gets genuine laughs.
only really 30 minutes of materiaL.
another 30 minutes.
still entertaining and...
OF THE FUTURE
are some decent lines: "In cities, you call it incest; in Norfolk,
we call it quality time. In our family, we call bedtime stories foreplay."
their real potential is shown in a sketch involving the break-up of
the relationship between a pair of slapstick clowns.
finds on the other's collar not a strand of the new lover's hair but
the remnants of another person's custard pie. The wayward clown has
had her eyes opened to new worlds by a Comedia dell Arte performer whom
she meets in Hoxton Square for afternoons of illicit mime. The swear
words in this sketch are self-censored with the use of a Harpo Marx-style
honking horn. It is their one fully-realised sketch but shows immense
format is that of two Circus of The Future performers who have come
back to visit 2005 in a time machine, knowing what all our futures are.
Their farewell line to the audience: "That was the most fun some
of you will ever have."
advice to TV executives: let them do one more Fringe but keep an eye
advice to the talented duo: you are almost there, something that few
performers are. But think of adding in pathos to gain more depth; it
was almost there in the clown sketch. And don't grab for the glittering
prize too soon. Next year. Next year.
OF A JINGLE WRITER
bright-eyed and Jetson-hairstyled, Tom is a great salesman who starts
off demonstrating how to play music to a Charlie Chaplin clip, then
demystifies ad jingles and 'soundscapes' past and present with copious
autobiographical snippets revealing the art of his composition and the
farts of his commissioners.
of The Darkness, he tells us, wrote "Washing machines last longer
with Calgon" and Lou Reed wrote soundalike songs for 'production
is a fascinating and entertaining hour-long show. You couldn't claim
it was comedy as such. You couldn't say it was a well-structured script
building to a massive climactic pay-off. But fascinating and entertaining
will do to justify the price of admission.
automotive terms, most productions aspire to be a gleaming stretch limo.
This one is an equivalent of the Beverley Hillbillies' car or Del Boy's
three-wheeler on a bad day.
together by the slender conceit of a newspaper small ad - 'Desperately
Seeking Sorrow' - bringing them together, the two stand-ups perform
two sets each separately.
With The Beard lookalike Worthington's first set is an apparently true
routine about coming out as gay. There is a well-written and interesting
routine hidden in here trying to get out but frustrated by a nervous
and unselfconfident delivery which scuppers the performance with odd
pauses in mid-sentence and occasional complete forgetfulness of the
second set was not as good.
standard stand-up routine, it showed glimpses of surrealism in which
he plays badminton with live budgies and in which his mother gives the
name 'Shep' not just to their dog but to the chair, table and much else.
Worthington has potential, but he will have to suffer hostile audiences,
walkouts and much heartache for at least two more years to get there.
I hope he perseveres.
'Showaddywaddy' Sorrow, on the other hand, gives a very self-assured
character performance as a comic allegedly once big in West Midlands
showbiz but now reduced to professional life as a cobbler. You can't
dislike any act which includes the self-critical word word cobblers
and has a song whose lyrics solely comprise the names of Crossroads
show deserves two stars or possibly one. It gets three for its sheer
ramshackle perversity.It will never play the Palladium, but it is one
for comedy connoisseurs and is in the true spirit of the Fringe: My
old pal Malcolm Hardee would have loved it. If you went to Oxbridge
and buy Bang & Olufsen stereo systems, avoid it like the plague.
For lovers of the bizarre, though, it is an event to savour.
ESSENTIAL CHIC MURRAY
is a labour of love billed as "a poignant tribute" by his
daughter Annabelle to one of Britain's few solid gold comic geniuses.
walls lined by Moss Empires posters, photos and letters from the BBC
plus copious television and radio clips of Chic performing, this is
a unique sampler from a man now mostly forgotten by English audiences
but regarded as a "comedians' comedian" by such disparate
people as Billy Connolly, Malcolm Hardee, Spike Milligan and Robbie
Coltrane. He was one of the few massively successful Scottish comedy
stars to make any significant impact in England.
daughter rightly says Chic could not only say funny lines but could
say lines funny. He scattered razor-sharp one-liners amid gently-meandering
stories and had a mastery of timing second to none.
Tommy Cooper, he is possible the greatest "comedians' comedian"
of the 20th century and this show, with personal reminiscences, is a
template for a fascinating TV documentary.
GREEK, THE APPLE & THE TIME MACHINE
must inspire the laziest and thickest pupils in the roughest schools
into reading serious Science books because he is, in style, one of those
mad TV experts in the David Bellamy mode. He has four selling points:
He knows hisa subject backwards
He is wildly and entertainingly enthusiastic
He can explain difficult concepts clearly (though I've heard Relativity
better explained twice before)
He has a shit-hot stand-up comedy brain
well-delivered, this superbly-crafted script explains complex theories
in easy-to-understand similes and tops off each explanation with beautifully-times
successful intention is to enthuse, entertain and awe. Explaining the
speed of light, he says:
you look at the night sky, your eyes are seeing events that happened
at different times in history."
show - a serious lecture so integrated and impregnated with comedy that
it is impossible to separate the two - and Bruce's performance - get
4 stars. Whether or not he can replicate his performance on another
subject or other subjects is another matter.
other rival 'Physics lecture' in Edinburgh this year - "The Albert
Einstein Experience" at the Gilded Balloon - is entertaining too,
though it is not really a comedy show, more Theatre in Education.
Fummey is a considerably talented comedian. BBC Science Features should
snap him up.
IDOLS - THE RIVALS
two-hander is billed as Theatre, written and performed by Jojo and Jackie
Callan and directed by Gowan Calder, collectively calling themselves
One Handed Women. It is both funny and enlightening, though not earth-shattering
in its revelation that reality TV is not and Fleet Street is shite.
centres on Jojo's variable experiences on "Wife Swap" intercut
with her swapee's imagined experiences and, in the middle, includes
ten minutes of interactive game show with the two actresses trying to
find the 'cleanest' members of the audience by question-and-hand-ups.
all seems unecessarily complicated.
would have been perfectly happy just listening to the very funny Jojo
as stand-up comedienne or as herself, monologuing about her experiences.
The addition of a scripted extra character and the game show sequence
add nothing. It's as if they were incorporated and it was turned into
a 'production' because One Handed Women exist rather than because the
material itself merits the format.
are serious points in here - about how perceptions and assumptions swamp
facts and reality, how cutting 240 hours of tape down to one hour of
TV enabled the press to call Jojo a "lazy wife swap slob".
And she gives the best advice I've ever heard for people appearing in
TV documentaries: keep changing the tops of what you wear so the editors
can't intercut scenes shot at different times.
But Jojo has now appeared in three Theatre presentations at the Fringe and never appeared there in a pure solo stand-up show. She should do.
CONGRESS OF ODDITIES
year, it is potentially still a 3-star show but has been utterly destroyed
by the insertion of a planted male 'laughter leader' in the middle of
the back row. It was not just distracting; it was more destructive than
a loud, perpetual heckler interrupting almost every sentence.
prevented what would have been 'real' audience laughter developing and
finding its own balance.
staggering directorial misjudgement - which was crass and obvious -
does the performers themselves no favours. It means they can never learn
which parts of their script or performances do or do not work; it means
their performances can never be improved by reacting to real audience
inserted 'laughter man' did not help by going straight backstage after
the show, his job done. And, although his loud collection of titters,
guffaws, belly-laughs, snorts, sniggers, howls and even theatrical he-he-hes
were impressively wide-ranging, they were also too sudden to start and
ended too sharply. He needs direction on his laughter.
review has been dominated by the insertion of fake laughter by the production
because the show was dominated and destroyed by it.
show is a pastiche Victorian sideshow energetically performed with some
good touches - the Victorian equivalent of telephone sex was 'telegram
sex' - "It sometimes took seven years to have an orgasm".
what we have here is a quirky and very British show (though do dump
the uncomfortable use of the word "fuck", girls).
was destroyed by a ghastly directorial decision. I also suggest the
fake laughter maker does not know the script so well that, on occasions,
he starts laughing before the laughter cue is given.
ghastly and horrible experience to sit through.
BALD & LOUD
show is a bit of a mish-mash of his three areas of interest: acting,
is a good showcase of his acting skills: Japanese, children, Russian,
black female hairdressing salon and even a passable Glasgow gangster
accent....all leading up to a would-be climactic 'wheel of fortune'
section where he improvises subjects suggested by the audience in all
24 accents and styles written on the wheel.
is a good actor, an entertaining improvisor and an amiable comic performer,
but the show lacks focus. It takes 16 minutes of Craig as a 'Security
Man' ushering the audience into the venue room before it even starts.
Then we have a section about his (not really very unusual) upbringing
and parents, but he is no raconteur merely an actor with comedic experience.
then a long section to showcase his improvisational skills.
the whole raconteur/improv/acting showcase area is full to overflowing
in Edinburgh during the Fringe and, frankly, I think Craig's considerable
charm and considerable talent would be better concentrated on his actring.
was an enjoyable comedy show, but it will never be an exceptional comedy
show. Craig might well become a successful actor and I hope in years
to come he will spit at me in the street for this review then laugh
all the way to the
show occasionally feels a bit like acting exercises interrupted as compere
by a would-be moderator in an improvisation show (which this is not).
Amiable but ambling aimlessly is my best stab at describing it.
Ulster Troubles are occasionally referred to but do not dominate and
the scripts, though variable, are tightly-written and edited. The most
promising idea was a fantasy in which the Maze Prison had become a nudist
camp but with the same old sectarian divisions. Nude Orangemen retained
their bowler hats and the slogan "What we have we hold".
revues were what made the Fringe famous but are now notoriously difficult
to pull off successfully. I'm afraid, in this case, Ulster was not right.
Like the Peace Process, I'm afraid I have no constructive suggestions
to the team except keep trying.
JONES: HOW EVERYTHING YOU KNOW COULD BE WRONG
seems to be a stage pilot for a TV show, complete with animated title
sequence and a video camera recording the show.
it says in the title.
didn't make some of his radio speeches. Actor Norman Shelley did.
are not expected to belch with politeness after an Arab meal.
of things we 'know' are actually wrong.
several are demonstrated visually and entertainingly.
seems an amiable chap and keen to please. At school, he was taught Physics
in Welsh and dreamt of presenting "Tomorrow's World" on BBC
barest bones of his autobiography are inserted into what would, if presented
by a woman, be a jolly hockey sticks kinda show. I half expected Joyce
Grenfell to leap out in a gymslip.
pleasant entertainment. Does what it sets out to do. The world still
RELIEF is, indeed, a wank and only avoids getting one star out of a
feeling of pity towards anyone staging a show at the Fringe.
show gives new meaning to the word puerile - the new meaning being somewhere
in the derivitive, Third Form, pointless and depressingly old fashioned
is almost 60 whole minutes of Third Form knob jokes, voices copied from
Terry Jones playing a woman in Monty Python, Victoria Wood's Coronation
Street voices and much less besides.
perked up when a voice announced the arrival of 'The Mime Minister'.
Something witty linking a voiceless Blair to some original comedy? Alas
no.. One of the cast miming the actions of a man opening an umbrella
in the rain. Later, he comes back and - with no tongue in no cheek -
mimes a sheet of glass.
advice when sitting down to write a Fringe show is not to think, "How
do we do become funny? What did we see when we were at school and at
college that we thought was funny?" and then copy it.
advice is to think, "What have we seen before that was funny?"
and then think "We must not do the same things and certainly not
in the same way. We must change, twist, turn and re-envisage those things
or - hey - we could even do our own thing created in our own minds."
elements of this show were barely funny on 1934 radio and in the 1956
school playground. They are certainly painlessly unfunny in 2005. A
lot of blood, sweat, tears and hard hard work was, I'm sure, put into
this show. Hitler also put a lot of work into the invasion of Russia
but got more laughs.
audience loved this raucous character act. I did not.
is a gay Jewish pianist. Kiki is a drag singer. Lots of presentation.
Lots of noise. Not much content. Probably seems a work of genius if
you're drunk, but none of it holds together. Kiki was allegedly born
in 1930, which would make her 75; she is clearly not. Same with Herb.
trouble was a constant shouted delivery into over-amplified microphones
with the result that many of the lyrics were unitelligible. The amplification
was clearly artistically intentional.
intersperses autobiographical anecdotes with songs such as "You're
Ugly: What The Fuck Gave Birth To You?" and "I'm Tired of
Crying For the Underprivileged". But the best songs were "Total
Eclipse of The Sun" and an OTT version of David Bowie's "Space
all for gay, raucous kitch, but not for over-loud acts performed mostly
at the same level throughout and at a samey pace. I got tired listening
to this show after 15 minutes. The audience, though, loved it.
Variety allegedly called them "blackly hilarious". I'd just call them loud.
second-rate Friend of Dorothy act which I would have preferred to be
a Friend of Dolby act.
you go, take several stiff drinks and a pair of ear muffs.
JUPP - YOUNG MAN IN A HUFF
Jupp's Anglo-Scottish patrician persona always risks being over-cold
and alienating audiences but here his character is also adrift in a
script that floats around from joke to joke routine with no structural
threads and, worse, has no climax. It just stops. It is a series of
unlinked bits-n-bobs not a unitary show.
Jupp character is straight-faced, faster-talking Stephen Fry with a
dash of Prince Charles thrown in and the worrying influence of Stephen
Fry extends to Miles sitting in a chair reading to the audience from
a book - in this case an alleged biography of Robbie Burns. The book-reading
routine is one Fry occasionally still does and it stretches back to
his own student show at the Edinburgh Fringe (which I saw).
of Stephen Fry's humour comes from a very precisely-timed and lingering
emphasis on syllables. Miles gallops and occasionally gabbles through
his script as if a bit weary of saying it every night.
is capable of much much better than this going-through-the-motions performance
if only he can throw off the influence of Le Fry. Perhaps it is time
to dump this patrician character for something else - it works slightly
better in its softer Balamory version, anyway, so more Jupp less Fry
MONAGHAN - WISHIN 'N' HOPIN
slogan pretty much describes his show which, though not free, is worth
the price of admission if there's nothing better on.
is one of a new breed of internet-researched shows, a genre which has
its good and bad points. He basically decided to write a show about
making wishes and looked up the background on Google.
has come up with such gems as GOOD LUCK... CHIMNEY SWEEPS... Chimney
sweeping as a profession expanded in Slovakia after the fall of Communism
and the Bratislava Institute of Chimney Sweeps burnt down due to a blocked
he has come a cropper on WISHES... THREE WISHES... GENIES. An entire
section of the show falls flat because he found out Genies originate
in Persia and Peter has read somewhere that Persia is now called Iraq.
Presumably some website editor pressed the Q button instead of the N
button. So Pete's section on American foreign policy in the country
that used to be Persia is a little odd to say the least.
show headed into Dave Gorman/Danny Wallace territory when Pete suggested
a religion for wishful thinkers called Wish-tianity but, basically,
this is one of those workmanlike, perfectly competent, professional
shows that gets by on the amiability of the performer rather than anything
actively original you can put your finger on.
BUCKLEY-HILL : STAND-UP TRAGEDY AND OTHER DISASTERS
the post-Goons Spike Milligan and the point when Monty Python was lionised
(which was well after the series finished) there was a world of anarcho-surrealism
epitomised by acts like sadly-forgotten duo The Alberts, the early Greatest
Show on Legs, Marcel Steiner and the Sir Henry elements of The Bonzo
Dog Doo Dah Band.
Buckley-Hill is an anarchic showman firmly in the mould of this free-wheeling
era of post Spike Milligan surrealist entertainers who knew their comedy
yellow and dangerous? - Genghis Khan."
black and white and red all over? - Othello and Desdemona after a particularly
bloody final scene."
of the show involve 'Great Books In Sheep' - classic literature dramatised
by Peter with the use of two toy sheep - 'Wuthering Heights', 'Pride
& Prejudice' performed by toy sheep.
is a show where audience participation is called 'joining in' and one
song is entitled "My Great Uncle Thinks He's An Anorak".
Buckley-Hill left his full house audience smiling, warm and happy but,
really, as I'm sure Peter would readily admit, this is the same old
cobblers that has been peddled for the last 30 years. Malcolm Hardee
peddled cobblers too, but he managed to keep it feeling fresh.
shambolic and freewheeling, this show is also - as you might expect
- free to attend and it is well worth that admission price.
MAY - HYPERACTIVE
liked this act tremendously, but it was only ever going to get two stars,
even before the 50-minute show ended after 30-minutes.
her delivery was nervous and too fast. If she had halved her speech-speed,
she would have had a better 60-minute show.
is a helluva lot of well-written material packed in. When she describes
old-fashioned housework, she says:
was like getting a tea stain out of your carpet with a lawnmower."
order to pretend she is not a woman living without a man, she deliberately
drives the wrong way up one-way streets so men will wave at her and
"I buy lacey underwear in the wrong size".
has a very funny song about candles into which she manages to lyrically
weave Roy Kinnear and a dildo bought in Budapest.
another song, "Granny's Ulcerated Leg", sung unintentionally
off-key, she manages to rhyme the smell of peaches with leeches and
to bring in both no-legged wartime air ace Douglas Baader and Ulster
comedian Patrick Keilty.
is a lot of writing talent demonstrated in this act. Loads of potential.
Needs work on the presentation, possibly by caricaturing her own personality
so that a stronger stage character is developed behind which she can
hide her slight nervousness.
she could develop that nun story. I'd pay to hear it.
has the feel of a Women's Institute or Church 'do' about it (and none
the worse for that) though it has developed from the Edinburgh Storytelling
Forum, part of the Scottish Storytelling Centre whose members get together
to do exactly what it says in the organisation's name.
grey-haired Scot Millie Gray tells humorous (and rather long) stories
thought up by herself and by Jack Martin of the Storytelling Forum,
whether true or totally made up or a little of both is unclear. I suspect
and very, very amiable Rose Starkey, formerly of Staleybridge, now living
an expat English life in Spain, tells monologues which aspire to Stanley
Holloway status but lack their finely-edited edges (and sometimes their
very exact metre) plus occasional straight gags going the rounds in
all very amiable, very cosy (not a criticism) and very leisurely and
you couldn't call it a professional show. For that, I'm afraid, you
either have to be a force of Nature and/or you have to do years on the
Circuit, honing your performance, material and on-stage persona.
shows on the Fringe aspire to have the Guardian and Private Eye's cutting
edge. This show, perfectly happily and totally successfully, is the
equivalent of Women's Weekly with knitting patterns.
you know what to expect going in, you may very well enjoy it.
SWALLOWS AND THE RISE OF LONDINIAN
much hard work was put into this show as putting rivets into the hull
of the Titanic and with as little success.
aspires to be offensive. It succeeds in being drearily repetitive. It
attempts to be Rik Mayall and Ade Edmondson in 'Bottom'. It succeeds
in being a weather forecaster predicting a fifth week of average temperatures.
Swallows is a roving reporter for the CUN-TV channel. That's as inventive
as it gets. We are in the creative area here of 14-year-olds who think
repeating swear words, smearing shaving cream on fingers to pretend
it's semen and talking about bodily functions are each, in themselves
funny and who have no idea why some sentences are titter-making and
others are not.
humour is so mis-judged that the painted backcloth has a London Transport
tube station sign which says ACNE. This audio pun would barely work
when spoken out loud; it certainly doesn't work when written down.
show gets one star for a pre-recorded sound-track which, at least, is
professional. And for Sarah Kirkland, who manages to act despite the
script. The two males in the 4-person cast - I will be generous and
not name them - were last year in the humour-free zone that was called
"An Audience With Dominguez". I did not think they could possibly
ever be in anything worse. They have proved me wrong.
lads, I don't know about you, but I am looking at next year's Fringe
with an increasing sense of doom.
CARE WITH STAN & JUSTIN
second rule of Fringe Club is: never cancel the show.
Chuck once played to an audience of three at the Fringe. Unknown to
him, two were from the Reeves & Mortimer TV show. He got cast in
the new series.
& Justin cancelled their show. I was there. A BBC TV producer was
The third rule of Fringe Club is: never cancel the show.