Beyond the fringe

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The Independent Culture
Lee Evans (below), the most fashionable talent in British comedy, spent the summers of 1990 and 1991 working hotels in the Mediterranean. Plucked from the London pub circuit by Adam Wide's Openwide International, Evans was a hit with the British package holidaymaker, who went home with lobster-coloured shoulders and a conviction that they had discovered a significant performer on the up. The notoriously perspiring Evans enjoyed himself, particularly since free dry-cleaning was part of the deal.

John Lenahan (below), the American conjurer and comedian, had been a stalwart of the London circuit for years before Jeremy Lee booked him to chivvy up a sales meeting for a printing firm. In a market dominated by Freddie Truman and Jimmy Greaves, Lenah a n, with his banter and rope tricks, was an instant success.

These days, Lenahan israrely seen in the upstairs rooms of pubs; he hasn't the time what with almost 100 corporate events a week, at prices which the chairman of a recently privatised utility would consider attractive.

Boothby Graffoe (above) was on the northern club-and-pub circuit when he answered an advert in the Stage and found himself working for Adam Wide in holiday resorts. While there, he mixed with London performers and decided to try his hand in the capital. He did well, winning Time Out's Newcomer of the Year award in 1993, and can now be found amusing packed rooms with his tales about the dreadful summer he once spent, entertaining package tourists in Majorca.

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