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Dr.Ettrick Hogg presents Manly Specimens

Tuesday, 7 September, 2010

Free Festival fun

Edinburgh 2010 – Laughing Horse @ Meadow Bar –  5 – 29 Aug. (15.15)

Dr Hogg

This show, in the upstairs room of The Meadows Bar made good use of the venue’s fire escape as an ‘on view’ dressing room. The promised biscuits were handed round as the audience came in and the show was set up in full view of the audience. This was all done with an endearing warmth by Wudwud, assisted by banter from Rich Fortune, as Margaret Wudwud busied herself about the technical aspects of the set-up, wearing a very short skirt, spectacles and a pair of extremly high heels. Controlled creative chaos ensued.

Learning the art of manliness with Dr Joseph Ettrick-Hogg and his enigmatic assistant, the female comedian, Margaret Wudwud, was lighthearted fun. Her stage sharing friends were a series of Northern comediens. The first, Wudwud, held the stage skillfully while Margaret Wudwud became her alter ego, Dr.Joseph Ettrick Hogg. He created a friendly atmosphere upon which the success of the rest of the show was built.

Wearing a bowler hat,a large false moustache and a ‘manly’ suit Margaret Wudwud reappears, playing the informative Dr.Ettrick Hogg with gruff ‘manly’voice and a large pinch of salt. She uses this hirsuit sex-change to poke fun at men in an affectionate manner, sending up all obvious stereotypes of manlines with wicked bravado. Her illustrations of men and women are very funny, as is her semi-Victorian character invention’s ‘caring’ attitude and patronisingly masculine style of delivery, which he/she uses to address the foibles of men and women alike.

The talented young woman was joined by the promised ‘ manliest specimens of Fringe stand-up enticed to perform that day’. Between them they created a dolly mixture of fun and a fair ladle of manly mayhem. Four brave men shared the stage.  The first on was Wudwud in ordinary clothing followed by Dr. Joseph Ettrick Hogg who entertained us to a definition of and  expose of manly attributes before introducing Rich Fortune.

Rich was gently humourous, self depricating and chatty. His light touch was appreciated by the mainly manly Northern English audience who laughed happily as the jokes flowed through. The next, again, was Wudwud who this time performed his act in a White Rabbit suit, being charmingly witty and downright silly. He coped beautifully with the stream of toilet visiting women who appeared almost exclusively during his section of the programme, as did the waiter carrying food to a member of the audience. He kept our attention with his finely timed facial expressions, never embarrasing anyone, yet getting the most from each ludicrous moment. his sense of the absurd is very strong and the absurdity of his situation tremendously well played.

He was followed by another visit to the stage by Dr.Joseph Ettrick Hogg, engagingly expanding on his views about who or what best demonstrated manliness and the last was Dan Maxim whose overtly sexually based set was well observed, occasionally rude and more humourous than offensive, well judged to his afternoon audience of Festival visitors. He made use of notes, quite unabashedly, which gave him a slightly professorial appeareance, which contrasted well with the white Rabbit and synchronistically created a modern form of the erudite Dr.Ettrick-Hogg which complimented the central character well.

Dr.Ettrick-Hogg finished the show, which was well worth any donation people chose to give. The energy of the performances of Wudwud and Dr.Joseph Ettrick-Hogg was inclusive, making generous space for the others and engaging the audience in a warm-hearted banter. The guests were intelligent, talented, funny and willing to be incorporated in being sent up by Dr.Ettrick -Hogg, who was full of helpful advice for manly men and the ‘wise’ women with whom manly men inter-act. It was a very enjoyable fifty minutes of free fun.

Cast: Rich Fortune – stand-up comedian,  Dan Maxim – stand-up comedian, Wudwud – White Rabbit, Margaret Wudwud  – Dr.Joseph Ettrick-Hogg,

Co- producers and Creators, Jo Ettrichk – Hogg & Wudwud

(c) Lilian Kennedy Brzoska 2010

reviewed Saturday 28th August

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