Real Fringe Awards

Some are weird, some are wonderful, some are just scary. Welcome to the worst of the Fringe

Ladies and gentlemen, the waiting is over. The dust has settled, the votes have been counted, and the cast of Tickle Soup can finally settle back and enjoy The Observer Real Fringe Awards 2000.

It has been a vintage festival, albeit very different from the last. Fewer mad women weeping their way through monologues about their mental difficulties, but far more nudity and shouting, which has to be a good thing. No actual nude shouting, which is a shame, although Beside Picasso came close with the artist declaiming at the top of his voice as he sexually assaulted a plastic chair.

As ever, we have witnessed things on stage which we should never have seen. Like the Durham Revue. We have seen the fragile boundaries of art and boredom stretched to breaking point. We have seen a man in a felt mask, pretending to be Ringo Starr, sing a love song about a duck's cock. We have seen it all.

And we'd just like to say to all those shows which have failed to pick up an award: don't be disheartened. I'm sure you were perfectly dreadful in your own way. Stick at it. And remember - if in doubt, get naked and yell.

Worst comedy sketch premise
Bitemarks at Diverse Attractions: Hannibal Lecter is visited by Agent Starling - not in his cell, but in the elephants' cage at the zoo. Lecter challenges her to perform an elephant impression. She tries, fails and exits.

Most embarrassing moment
Yet again, Leicester Youth Arts storm to victory in the awkwardness stakes. Last year they made their proud parents and grandparents sit through the 'morning glory' erection song. This year, they triumph with a delightful little ditty called 'Premature Ejaculation'. Come on Grandma, sing along!

Worst punchline
'Now get out of the way before I drop one in my knickers.' ( Dark Suits, Fast Laughs at Gilded Balloon)

Worst line

Runners Up : 'I'm too old to be dragging my huge penis out of bed at five o'clock in the morning.' (The Burning Orphanage Show at Café Royal).

'Why this sudden need to discuss the ethics of the global economy?' (Customer/No Ties at Calton Centre).

'Jake - we have Aids.' (Dark Suits, Fast Laughs).

'I can't go with my feelings right now because I'm obsessed with a dead king.' (Two Days Of Grace At Middleham at Augustines)

'If you want to see rape, Mr Tidcombe, I'll show you rape.' (Ubersausage at C-two Venue)

'I think I can feel another one of my arse proverbs coming on...' (Asbestos Uncle-Eggs at the Garage)

'When I looked at this big pile of dung, I realised it wasn't a big pile of dung. It was a big pile of bureaucracy.' (Ezekial Falling at Bongo Club)

Winner: 'Tom, Tom, wake up! It's me - Max Ernst.' (Asbestos Uncle-Eggs)

Most baffling satirical moment
Dracula's Foot And Other Objects Not Normally Found In A Hamper at C Venue. A bizarre 'topical' reference from the show's host, Moses: 'A little bird told me. Actu ally, it wasn't a bird, it was Tony Blair in a cat suit. Grrr! Who's the cat, Tony? Who's the cat?' If anyone can tell me what that means, I'll give them £75.

Best song
From The Burning Orphanage Show : 'Like Water Off A Duck's Cock' - as performed by Ringo Starr.

Best show

Runner Up: The Burning Orphanage Show . 'All right, all right, enough of the biscuit jokes!' shouts the thinner of the two performers. Needless to say, the biscuit jokes are being delivered by a shortbread hand-puppet of the FBI baddie from the X-Files . I find myself yelling for more. But too late. Ringo Starr has come on to sing about a duck's genitals.

Winner: The Wacky World Of Henrietta Burton-Crump at Garage Theatre. I prostrate myself at the feet of Crump. Song after peculiar song spills from her frothing mouth, to leave the audience giddy and spent. Resplendent in her tutu and frilly pink pants, she sings about screwing her kung-fu instructor and the effects of a vodka laxative. 'Down the loo - oooh! Cellulite is squeezed... ' I saw this show twice. Any more and I might have died from joy.

Most gratuitous swearing

Runners Up: 'He wasn't a fucking fireman. He was an anti-fascist idealist.' (Asbestos Uncle-Eggs)

'He was no hero. He was the fucking opposite.' (Two Days Of Grace At Middleham)

Winner: 'I stick my fat royal cock into her little royal mouth until I spunk my royal load over her majestic face.' (Four Little Plays Called Rape at Diverse Attractions)

Worst show
Runner Up: The Potato Play at Greyfriars Kirk House. The most execrable drama about a potato farm murder conspiracy I've ever seen. And I've seen a few.

Winner: Chaucer In The Sky With Diamonds at C Venue. Whatever Terry Waite felt, as he stumbled into freedom after his years of captivity, is as nothing compared to the rush of exultation we felt as the curtain fell on this interminable crud. If Chaucer were alive today, and armed with a shotgun, there wouldn't be a jury in the land who'd convict.

Most presumptuous production

Four Little Plays Called Rape by Henry Layte. I know that Mr Layte is going to think that I can't deal with the philosophical reach and shocking truthfulness of his writing, but what I actually can't deal with is naive drama school graduates who think they've earned the right to prance around a stage pretending to be rape victims. I suspect Mr Layte has never been forcibly violated. But if he wants to get in touch, I'll be happy to oblige.

Most terrifying person at the Fringe

Tom Brooke from Four Little Plays Called Rape. I watched him as he danced to Roxy Music with faeces smeared round his mouth. Now he follows me around Edinburgh asking: 'Do you work for The Observer?' I'm genuinely scared.


Charlie Skelton

The GuardianTramp

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