Pandora: Barschak struggles at the Edinburgh Fringe

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The Independent Online

It Is just over six years since Aaron Barschak donned a merkin, pink dress and Osama bin Laden disguise to clamber over the walls of Windsor Castle and storm Prince William's 21st birthday party.

The stunt, which provoked a major investigation into security at the royal palace, managed to propel Barschak towards comedy notoriety, with his show at the Edinburgh Fringe a few months later, Osama Likes it Hot, pulling in the crowds (if not the most favourable of reviews).

Alas, it appears that the magic may be wearing off. Pandora hears that the self-styled "comedy terrorist", who narrowly escaped conviction over "Castle-gate", has been greeted rather less enthusiastically at this year's festival and is facing an estimated loss of £8,000 on his unpopular skit Monsters From My Id.

"Nobody makes a bloody profit up here," complains Barschak. "This is just a comic haj. But there is no point in brooding; that will only send you into a spiral.

"You do it with as much joy as you can, trying to convey the show to whoever decides to come."

Singer's teeth have a date with destiny

Never let it be said that Beyoncé Knowles is the only diva spawned by Destiny's Child. Fellow band member Michelle Williams, currently starring in the West End production of Chicago, tells me she's determined not to risk the unknown waters of British dentistry, preferring instead to take her molars across the Atlantic.

"My dentist is based in LA but, despite the distance, I always go to see him because he's just so good," she says. "Luckily, I don't have to see him that often otherwise trips could get rather expensive!" We'll say.

Ramsay drives into more trouble

*Gordon Ramsay's extended run of bad luck continues. The abrasive restaurateur is already enemy No 1 in Australia following an abortive attempt to poke fun at a TV presenter (even the Prime Minister waded in when Ramsay compared Tracy Grimshaw to a picture of a woman on all fours with a pig's face). Now he's facing further criticism in the US after being seen pulling into a disabled parking space outside a supermarket in Malibu, California. Of course, what we want to know is: will Barack Obama be issuing a statement?

Crowe is bowled over

Last time we heard from Russell Crowe, he was in a huff over unflattering reports of the size of his girth.

Happily, he appears to have cheered up. We hear that the Antipodean beefcake has struck up a surprising friendship with waggish cricket commentator David "Bumble" Lloyd.

"[Russell] stopped me on the way out of Lord's and told me, 'I'm filming Robin Hood. I'm doing it in a Yorkshire accent," Lloyd boasts to Zoo magazine.

"I said, 'Are yer?' He said, 'Yeah, I've got to develop a Yorkshire accent.' I didn't tell him I'm actually from Lancashire. Maybe he was looking for a voice coach."

Campbell ready to swing back in style

*Soon to grace an HMV bargain bin near you: Moonlight's Back in Style by, er, Nicky Campbell. We're told the former Watchdog presenter has written a swing album "driven by midlife crisis and male menopause, the desperate desire to do something else". Tragically, he won't be providing the vocals (for that he has enlisted the help of former Holby City actor Mark Moraghan), just the ukulele. "It's an endless love," explains Campbell. "Communicating emotions musically is the best feeling."