Edinburgh Festival / Day 11: Reviews


Give them the Queen's Award for Industry: Harry Hill and Pub Band are spreading the gospel of the great British boozer. Hill remains the master of the Viz-letters- style one-liner, his solo routine smoothly linking subjects as diffuse as geese and Mastermind. It's just a shame it's so short. Pub Band - Hill, 'son Alan' and leery landlord Al Murray - are not smooth. They may, you suspect, have a short shelf-life, but their cheesy standards are comically effective. 'Beer,' Hill yodels, 'costs, and right here is where you start paying.' Open your wallet and fight your way to the bar.

Adrian Turpin

Pleasance (venue 33), 60 The Pleasance (031-556 6550). 7.50pm. To 29 Aug


Electric woks, designer thermals and every kind of tacky consumer trivia dominate Agnes's preparations for Christmas as she awaits the return of husband Derek, a diver on the Aberdeen rigs. Liz Lochhead's 1991 success starts as a hilariously acute observation on suburban society, but the comic business turns caustic, exposing the angry flesh of Derek and Agnes's marriage. Carolyn Bonnyman delivers an Agnes Julie Walters would die for, and Lewis Howden is all too credible as the kind of overbearing drunk on a train who always disclaims being an overbearing drunk on a train.

Richard Loup-Nolan

Gilded Balloon II (venue 51), Stepping Stones, West Bow, Grassmarket (031-225 6520). 2.15 pm. To 3 Sept


Jimeoin is a natural comedian, his act less of a routine than an evening with a friend who is genial, contagiously giggly, and exceptionally funny. His sense of humour revolves round the everyday follies of existence, which he manages to pinpoint with sly accuracy and a surreal edge: 'Fish never bump into each other, do they?' Comedy of the highest order.

Richard Turner

George Square Theatre (venue 37), George Square (031-650 2001). 9.45pm. To 29 Aug


Jacqueline Haigh has created a small but astonishing piece of student theatre in two sections. A Victorian mistress rails against the misery of her role and a modern young woman finds her identity and intelligence fragmenting rapidly. Common Fringe preoccupations are made fresh and gripping by Haigh's tight grasp on a language that is richly poetic without being purple. She sometimes runs too long with a single idea, but handles complex, disturbing concepts with a fierce assurance both as writer and performer.

Ian Shuttleworth

Southbridge Centre (venue 123), Infirmary St (031-556 3663). 12 noon. To 3 Sept


Mandy Knight's one-woman ranting is deceptively controlled. She's a virtuoso mimic, displaying in her Medusa-like Northern sales assistant and her Bette Davis-style fading film star acutely cruel powers of observation. While early costume changes occasionally hold her up, Knight otherwise gives us her hyper all. Roberta Mock

Gilded Balloon II (venue 51), Stepping Stones, West Bow, Grassmarket (031-225 6520). 11pm. To 3 Sept


Lip Service's middle-brow pantomime style is irritating to people who like a little thought with their comedy. But the old-fashioned charm of their character acting is faultless. Here they portray two strangers on a weekend treasure hunt, and a handful of eccentrics in a back-projected 1940s-style romance which repeatedly spills its characters on to the stage. It's like Noddy crossed with Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid. Tom Morris

Assembly Rms (venue 3), 54 George St (031-226 2428). 2pm. To 3 Sept

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