Edinburgh Festival Day 12: Apparently . . .

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MIDNIGHT at the Calton Centre and the Iceman cometh. Unfortunately, audiences are not coming to this evening of ice-melting, low comedy and deep philosophy. The Iceman attacks a large frozen block on a pedestal with his breath, salt, a blowtorch and, most bizarrely, money, all the while telling bad jokes and making even worse ice puns. 'I got rather depriced (he really does talk like this) and a little frantice when no one turned up the other night,' says the Iceman, who admits under pressure to being Anthony Irvine, sometime cabaret performer and TV policeman, 'but then I remembered that the whole thing is a study in futility.' Although he's reached a wide audience by melting his ice on television and radio (yes, radio), Irvine admits to having performed open-air de-icings before audiences of seagulls and doing the occasional private thaw at home. This seems a shame since no two shows are the same. Each block is signed, numbered, photographed and then faxed to the audience by the Iceman. On Monday, block 212 went down before an audience of five, three of whom were journalists, leaving the Iceman only pounds 4 in box-office returns to set against the considerable loss he makes on each show: 'I like to subsidise my own art.' Tickets for blocks 214 upwards are still available, with block bookings advisable.

FAMINE has hit FEAST at the Fringe. The much-vaunted fringe management company ceased trading at the Edinburgh College of Art venue on Monday - a development presaged by the repossession of the PA system on Sunday and a special pounds 10 Saturday pass which was only taken up by seven people. The companies at the venue, however - including a number of international groups who were to begin their runs on 27 August - have banded together to ensure the show goes on. The College has agreed to let the performers occupy the venue rent-free, and some ex-FEAST employees are working for buns and tea only, but they still need pounds 3,000 to hire a new PA, pay janitors and retain the rented lighting rig.

THE Rapping Rabbi was taken to task for racism at a recent Hill Street gig. A characteristic call for the mass gassing of the entire German nation finally provoked one member of the audience to heckle. 'If you think you're a comedian, here's the microphone,' quipped the Rabbi. 'I'm not a comedian and nor are you,' replied the heckler. 'Look, anyone who wants to leave can,' came the Rabbi's reply. Half the audience promptly did so. The Rabbi lost his cool and forcibly threw the heckler down the stairs. When his gig finally ended, the Rabbi found himself confronted by two policemen who cautioned him for assault. 'These people don't understand irony,' said the Rabbi. Next week, a German company arrives at Hill Street with a new play called Hess.

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