W ho says that Edinburgh is the only festival to be seen at? Leicester is rapidly establishing itself as a comedy festival to be reckoned with. As if to prove the point, they have secured the services of a comedy mega-star in the shape of Sandra Bernhard. Her impressively eclectic CV features memorable roles as Robert De Niro's wacky partner in crime, kidnapping Jerry Lewis in The King of Comedy and as the lesbian co-star of Roseanne. She can also boast of being the one- time best pal of Madonna.
Now she makes her first UK appearance since she stormed the Edinburgh Festival four years ago. No friend of conventionality, she revels in shocking audiences. As much a cabaret artist as a stand-up, she swipes at pop culture in the 1990s. Expect a riotous - and rude - night at the De Montfort Hall, Granville Rd (0116-233 3111) next Saturday and Sunday.
Other highlights include: current Perrier Award holder, the lovable Irishman Dylan Moran (Phoenix Arts Centre, Newark St, 0116-255 4854, tonight); that impeccable old pro, Barry Cryer (Lutterworth Theatre, Lutterworth Community College, 01455-554 101, tonight); the witty Radio 4 stalwart, Jeremy Hardy (Y Theatre, East St, 0116-255 6507, tomorrow); the accomplished Mark Steel (Y Theatre, Mon); the fabulous, bearded comic/musician, Bill Bailey (Y Theatre, Tue); and Jack Dee, the driest thing this side of Martini (De Montfort Hall, Thur).
EYE ON THE NEW
Owen O'Neill has had a rich existence - not every stand-up was in Michael Collins. Owen O'Neill talks amusingly about his life since he arrived from Belfast aged 17 to find work on the building-sites in his show, "Shouting from the Scaffold", which was nominated for a Perrier.
Phoenix Arts Centre, Leicester, Wed; Bloomsbury Theatre, London (0171- 388 8822) Thur to SatReuse content