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Rachel Jerram and 'Lucy the Slut'

Rachel Jerram and 'Lucy the Slut'

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YOU wouldn’t believe the random items and emails that arrive on the desk of an entertainment editor. In Spotlight on... I’ll highlight the ones that might otherwise slip under the radar, have some cult value or simply just be worth mentioning again. This week ...

COMPETITION

AVENUE Q

ONE of the most talked about shows when it first hit UK shores, at first glance Avenue Q looks to be nothing more than a cross between Seasame Street and The Muppets. I never did get the whole puppet thing.

Avenue Q, however, is like no puppet show you have ever seen before, or so I am assured by those who have seen it.

It’s a Tony Award-winning Broadway smash hit for a start, so there’s genuine excitement (in some quarters) about its Edinburgh debut, early next month.

That’s one reason why The Guide has teamed up with the Edinburgh Playhouse to give you the chance to win a pair of tickets to attend the opening performance on February 7.

Avenue Q is a musical about the lively and off-the-wall characters on a downtown New York street trying to make sense of life’s burning issues: love, work, relationships, and, above all, just how are you supposed to pay the bills with a BA in English?

The man responsible for bringing the puppets to life is animation director Nigel Plaskitt - remember those Vicks adverts of the 70s and 80s with the tagline, ‘Course you can, Malcolm’? Well, he was Malcolm.

He was also Hartley Hare in The Pipkins and has worked on Muppet movies, Peppa Pig and Spongebob Squarepants.

So, as you prepare to meet puppets Princeton, Rod, Lucy, Christmas Eve, Nicky, Trekkie, Bear, Mrs T and Brian for the first time, why not email your name, age and telephone number to theguide@edinburghnews.com with Q in the subject line. Entries to be received by Sunday midnight.

Note: For all give-aways, usual Johnston Press rules apply. Editor’s decision is final.

Edinburgh Playhouse, Grenside Place, February 7-11, various times, £12.50-£30.50, 0844-871 3014

COMEDY

THE MARK THOMAS MANIFESTO

IT’S a unique concept as far as stand-up shows go and one that has ensured Mark Thomas has remained at the top of his game.

It’s long been known that comedy and politics mix - just look at TV shows like Mock The Week, Have I Got News For You... or just tune into any broadcast from the House of Commons.

On Sunday, Mark Thomas brings his Manifesto back to The Stand, on York Place. The premise is simple - Thomas invites his audience to suggest ideas and new laws that would make the country a better place. Each is discussed and a decision on whether or not to pass it as law taken by those gathered. It’s a format that will be familiar to anyone who has listened to his Radio 4 show of the same name.

So, do you have any useful suggestions for him to take to the country? Do you have an idea you would like to make law? Previous winning policies have included, ‘The Daily Mail should be forced to print the words The Paper That Supported Hitler on its masthead,’ and ‘Whenever there is a barney in the House Of Commons they should play the Benny Hill tune.’

Thomas, who first became known as a guest comic on the BBC Radio 1 comedy show The Mary Whitehouse Experience in the 80s, is a founder of the London Comedy Store’s Cutting Edge Show and known for his political activity.

In 2009 he launched a postcard campaign, petitioning the Queen with protests against the prospect of a state funeral for Margaret Thatcher and during 2010 he walked the entire length of the Israeli Separation Barrier, crossing between the Israeli and the Palestinian side.

The Stand Comedy Club, York Place, Sunday, 4.30pm, £7.50, 0131-558 7272