Edinburgh Festival / Day 9: Reviews

RISK GAY

Lanky Scott Capurro blends acerbic, personal stand-up with intimate anecdotes covering his first gay experiences, picaresque encounters in San Francisco and life as a gay comedian. His acting skills and candour take this show beyond just ringing the changes on stand-up: with a snap of his fingers he switches from awe-struck adolescent to queen bitch in the spotlight. Seemingly without effort, he not only connects with his audience but makes friends with everyone in the cabaret bar. A Fringe giant in the making.

Ian Shuttleworth

Southside (venue 82), 117 Nicolson St (031-667 7365). 10.30pm. To 3 Sept (not 24, 31 Aug)

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM

The characters wear papier-mache chests when in love, and Theseus is a mockable despot with a palsied hand. This puzzling production from Theatre On Podol is not short of ideas, but its promoters would do well to give English- speaking audiences more idea of what they are about. The climax, however, is sensational in any language. In the court performance of Pyramus and Thisbe, artifice shatters when the love-magic refuses to wear off and Hippolyta loses heart and head to Bottom the actor. Not to be missed. Tom Morris

Pleasance (venue 33), 60 The Pleasance (031-556 6550). 5pm. To Sept 3

PHIL KAY

If you're feeling at all queasy or hung over, steer clear of Phil Kay. From the moment he explodes on to the stage, he's in motion, a starburst of energy that leaves you drained. Not content with verbal audience abuse, he dives into the front row, swops drinks round and tickles a latecomer into submission. Rattling off inspired drivel interspersed with throwaway one- liners ('Hands up if you hate apathy'), he somehow makes time for prepared material on porn. All this and audience suggestions for impressions of celebrity orgasms. Come on down.

Mark Wareham

Gilded Balloon (venue 38), 233 Cowgate (031-226 2151). 7pm. To 3 Sept

JOHN SHUTTLEWORTH

'What's a shuttle worth?' asks Sheffield's funniest man at the start of his new environmental show. Only Graham Fellows could gauge it so well, combining sincerity, taxi-driver ignorance and ludicrousness - he's dressed as a character from Dick Whittington. Fellows conjures his persona of the old bore who thinks he's hip with a barrage of blissful detail: his polo neck and leather jacket, his dinner-lady wife, Mary, his meals out at the 'little carvery', his dubious relationship with Ken next door. And then there's the electric organ and songs: 'Mary had a little lamb / With peas and new potatoes' for starters. What's a Shuttleworth? Go and see.

Sabine Durrant

The Pleasance (venue 33), 60 The Pleasance (031-556 6550). 5.20pm. To 28 Aug

HENRY VIII: DIARY OF A SERIAL KILLER

The Natural Theatre Company create surreal, genre-clashing parody. Their whistle-stop tour through the Tudor monarch's life and loves takes in a dating game- show, 'Be My Queen', and a country-gospel hoedown from Jane Seymour, intercut with scenes featuring a cartoon-like Prince Charles. They do what they do terribly well, but here one wonders why they're doing it at all. Sniping at royalty is like shooting fish in a barrel, and the show has an air of panto for grown-ups. An undemanding way to start the day.

Ian Shuttleworth

Assembly Rooms (venue 3), 54 George Street (031-226 2428). 11.45am. To 28 Aug

UMBILICAL BROTHERS

The Umbilicals are not stereotypical Aussies. They're not bronzed, their ribs protrude like racks of lamb, and they possess the stage in a clumsy fury matched only by John Otway. Happiest when saying 'Hasta la vista' to a glove puppet or barbecuing Road Runner, the pair combine a gift for sound effects with a genius for violence. They also deploy an arsenal that would put the MoD to shame. Even a simple sneeze spirals into a germ warfare of karate atchoos and mucus bombs. If adult comedy fails them, birthday parties for beastly boys await. Lucky children. Adrian Turpin

Gilded Balloon (venue 38), 233 Cowgate (031-226 2151). 4.45pm. To 3 Sept.

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