comedy

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The Independent Culture
Chris Lynam (below) is the man who used to dance naked with his willy forced between his legs and a lighted firework up his bum. Now he restricts himself to wearing dustbin lids on his feet, performing drag striptease and dribbling half-chewed chocolate over his audience. There is no-one better at fiddling with an audience's unease. He is not directly abusive, preferring to unsettle his spectators with improbable switches from wild-eyed rant to nonchalant charm. He's as frightening as Steven Berkoff, only not so rational.

Lynam is back on the British circuit after a spell experimenting and touring abroad during which he did his notorious smoking bomb sketch on an aeroplane full of tourists circling to glimpse Halley's comet above Hong Kong. "I came on with the fuse lit and started screaming `I don't want to die alone'. I was booked just as an MD and the only person I'd warned was the pilot. The whole place started going berserk. At the end, the fuse goes out and I say, `That's the last time I buy a prop in Japan' and throw it away. Then there's an explosion. The people on the aeroplane jumped a bit at that point. It increases an audience's potential to have fun if they have to clench their buttocks first."

Lynam's combination of lovability and viciousness is completely his own. Every time you relax as a spectator he bounces you out of your complacency with a ludicrous change of style (brings on an opera singer, starts playing the sousaphone, strips).

Ever felt like you needed a theatrical alarm clock? Go and get woken up.

`Chris Lynam: Hits and Other Bits', tonight and 31 Mar 9.45pm, Riverside Studios, W6 (081-741 2255)

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