New face showcases such as Gas and Comedy Laboratory (Channel 4), Comedy Store and Comedy Network (Channel 5) and Comedy Nation (BBC) are all going into their second series this year. Sketch shows, another crucial vehicle for new writers and comedians are also much in evidence. Thanks to the success of the prototype set in the early Nineties by Harry Enfield and more recently popularised by The Fast Show, we can now look out for Barking (Channel 4), the Morwena Banks Show (Channel 5) On the Town with a League of Gentlemen (BBC 2) and Mad for It (Granada). >
01/12 - 12/11 Access Seattle Seahawks Tickets staging in Qwest Field, Soldier Field Stadium. Seattle Seahawks is staging in Seattle, Chicago and Glendale. Seattle Seahawks tickets
11/11 Shop for Kanye West Tickets performing in Bank Atlantic Center, Boardwalk Hall Arena. Kanye West is performing in Fort Lauderdale, Atlantic City and Pittsburgh. Kanye West tickets
06/12 - 08/12 Reach War Horse Tickets staging in Ahmanson Theatre, Curran Theatre. War Horse is staging in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Boise. War Horse ticketsThe healthy smattering of bizarre new formats sweeping in from left field also does much to spice up the schedules. Jerry Sadowitz, erstwhile shock jock of the stand-up circuit, makes a comeback with The People vs Jerry Sadowitz (Channel 5), a chat show where the audience are the guests and their duty is to amuse and entertain, or be insulted and sent off stage by Sadowitz. Shops that take dollars, formerly a black market currency now legalised, give a chance of a better lifestyle, but the average wage is around $20 dollars a month. "I have dancers all over the world," he remarks drily.In Britain the dancers will certainly cause a stir. Model agencies have been in touch with Goldsmith inquiring about the girls.
More significantly, minders have been employed to accompany them everywhere - in other words, to stop them defecting.One only has to spend a night in Havana to see why few of these artists will be keen to return. The music and dancing may be infectious but they are increasingly a backdrop to prostitution. At the top Salsa club in Havana half the audience will be prostitutes - students, teachers, doctors, engineers, all desperate to earn the US dollar which is the only currency in Cuba that matters The peso is the official currency, but it buys very little. Tropicana's artistic director Santiago Alfonso, who has been there 33 years, has no illusions that there may well be political defections on the his troupe's first visit to Britain. Food and drink are served at tables from which one watches the show, a set-up which will be replicated at the Royal Albert Hall.There is an old joke one hears backstage at the Tropicana: What is the definition of a quartet? Answer: A Cuban orchestra at the end of a foreign tour. Just as one finishes watching an exotic, erotic, routine of beautiful girls dressed in garish plumage, wearing mock chandeliers on their heads and a small thong between their buttocks, one's attention is diverted to another walkway where another routine starts - perhaps a three-part harmony or a ballet sequence prior to a dose of latin jazz from the 21-string orchestra.
Even the lugubrious Cuban leader Fidel Castro can occasionally be spied tapping a foot in the audience.Seeing the show in Havana, it is easy to see how Goldsmith and Curbishley were seduced beneath the Carribean skies, and indeed why the mafia offered $5m dollars for the "paradise under the stars" in 1958.The club is set in a garden of palm trees, with walkways emerging high above the audience and joining the main stage The pace is frenetic. Rock stars nowadays keep so much of their profits as to make life for the poor promoter a little precarious. The singers and dancers from poverty-stricken Cuba have no such pretensions. And the colour, dance routines and latin rhythms of the 90-minute whirlwind of energy that is Tropicana are likely to entrance British audiences. Tropicana comes with nearly 60 years of musical pedigree. Immersed in musical history, it has witnessed Nat King Cole and Sarah Vaughan jamming for over five hours until dawn.