EDINBURGH FESTIVAL '98: DANCE: LEGS ON THE WALL ASSEMBLY ROOMSCOMEDY: RICH HALL PLEASANCE

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The Independent Culture
RICH HALL is instantly likeable. And I don't just say that because he makes numerous jokes about the United States and their leader. No, Hall's attraction is that he gives the impression of talking with his audience, rather than down to it; he remains open and relaxed, rather than "in your face". He tackles the major issues of the day: bigotry, racism, nuclear weapons, technology, the American Way. He doesn't just rant and rave aimlessly, instead preferring to mix humour with serious opinions - something that he achieves comfortably.

Not that he's unfunny. Hall uses irony to great effect. Not least when talking about the United States' failure at this year's World Cup: "How can it be that we can put a missile through a vent in a baby-milk factory anywhere in the Middle East, but we can't put a ball in a 20ft net?"

He doesn't force his views on the audience, rather he shares them. Whether he is talking about the dangers of Pakistan having The Bomb, or the fact that Tom Cruise films always have the same plot, he not only keeps you laughing but also challenged.

For example, Hall talks about the achievements of modern technology and their effect on mankind: "We sent the Hubble telescope into space at an astronomical cost, and it has told us the universe is six times bigger than we had previously thought. Who cares? It's infinite anyway. The only person who's happy is Miss Universe; she's now six times sexier than she was before."

Packed with similarly clever quips, the show is simultaneously wacky and thought-provoking. Don't miss it.

Rich Hall is at The Assembly Rooms until 30 Aug

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