ARTS 1996

It was the year of Cezanne at the Tate and Oasis at Maine Road; of `Moll Flanders' and `Emma', `Trainspotting' and `Our Friends in the North'. And here, in time-honoured tradition, our critics pick their people and productions of the past 12 months. The envelopes please ...

Comedy: Antique Cutlery in fine condition

With all the gravitas commensurate with his status and venerability, the legendary Glaswegian sage, poet and humorist Ivor Cutler puts the collective mind of his audience at ease. Though the poetry books may shake in his hand, he assures a rapt Cambridge Corn Exchange, he is "not suffering from tertiary syphilis". That may very well be the case, but even well into his seventies, the uniquely affecting and melodious timbre of the Cutlerian larynx still poses a sexual threat.

COMEDY The Pub Landlord's Late Lock In Her Majesty's Theatre, London

For rather too long, Al Murray was grinding it out as one of comedy's also-rans, building up something of a name as the circuit's number-one gun impressionist. If a comic burst of Kalashnikov fire was your idea of a rollicking night out, Murray was your man. Then, while introducing Harry Hill's Pub International show a couple of years back, he needed a fill-in character to cover Hill's wig change, and hurriedly came up with a Cockney landlord. Murray took to his royal-worshipping pub patriot with such relish that in a very short space of time the character had evolved into a full act. So convincing has the Landlord proved that people have been known to come up to him after a show and ask him the whereabouts of his boozer.

COMEDY: Al Murray: Pub Landlord

Al Murray: Pub Landlord, Her Majesty's, London SW1 (0171-494 5558) 7.30pm Sun; The Stand-Up Show, BBC1 2 Nov

Fringe / Al Murray's Late Night Lock-In

Al Murray's Late Night Lock-In

Choice: The critics: COMEDY

Harry Hill There are few things more tiresome than self-consciously "look at me, aren't I clever" wackiness, but Hill throws himself into his stream of silliness with such gusto that you can't help but like him for it. From the moment he runs on stage in an agent orange Cilla Black wig singing "Hawaii 5-0" to the tune of "Cockles and Mussels", he captivates with craziness. Lyric Hammersmith, London W6; to 31 Dec

Boys' night out

If it's Sunday it must be the Comedy Store. Mark Wareham tagged along with Merton, Mullarkey, Sweeney and company

THE CRITICS: The joy of being Harried

COMEDY; HARRY HILL, SIR BERNARD CHUMLEY, MICHAEL REDMOND, GERALDINE MCNULTY, MEL & SUE, IAN COGNITO, ET AL

Profits collapse at Hambro Countrywide

Hambro Countrywide, the troubled estate-agency chain, admitted yesterday that the slide in the housing market had led to a profits collapse in the past year.

COMEDY

Choice

When did you have your first drink?

OPINIONS

Red-carding racism

Red-carding racism

Edinburgh Festival / Day 15: Perrier Award

This year's Perrier Pick of the Fringe Award, announced in a shopping mall at midnight on Saturday, has gone to . . . Lano and Woodley. 'Who?' chorused the gathering of astonished press and performers, partly because the PA had broken down but chiefly because no one had heard of them, let alone seen the show. The decision was described as 'bizarre' by one of the Perrier judges, Vicky Coren. The winners, an Australian double-act blending traditional variety with stand-up, receive a pounds 3,000 prize and a gig at the Lyric Theatre, London, on 2 October. Not giving the prize to the more bankable favourites, Alan Davies and Harry Hill, has at least put a temporary stop to the traditional post-Perrier cries of 'Fix]'.

Comedy / Just a Perrier contender for me, thanks

AS AUGUST progresses, the Perrier Award - referred to with wry deference in some comedic circles as 'The Little Bottle of Water' - casts an ever longer shadow over the Edinburgh jollity. This is a shame, because the Perrier is no Delphic oracle; it's just the opinion of a couple of people who have won competitions in magazines, the odd TV producer, and a handful of journalists including Alan Coren's daughter. Harry Hill's Pub Internationale (Pleasance) ought to have won it by now - the result was due to be announced at midnight last night - if only for being the perfect antidote to fizzy-water poisoning.

Edinburgh Festival / Day 11: Side View: Perrier Award

The shortlist for the 1994 Perrier Pick of the Fringe Award for best comedy reads as follows: much- fancied stand-up Alan Davies at the Gilded Balloon (8.15pm); Harry Hill (see review opposite); mild-mannered Brummie Jeff Green, the Assembly Rooms (9pm); absurd Australians Lano and Woodley, the Fringe Club (8.30pm); true blue American Robert Schimmel, the Assembly Rooms (10pm); and autobiographical sit-down comedian Owen O'Neill, the Gilded Ballon II (10.30pm). The winner will be announced at midnight on Saturday.
Latest stories from i100
Career Services

Day In a Page

A
Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor