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Tuesday, 6 August, 2002, 14:51 GMT 15:51 UK
Chainsaw act sets Fringe record
Chainsaw juggler Tom Comet
Tom Comet beat a record held by a Cuban chainsaw juggler

Amid blinding stage lights a lone juggler has mustered all his strength to juggle three rotating chainsaws - scaring his audience but setting a new world record as a result.

Tom Comet of the Daredevil Opera Company, a pyrotechnic clown show, performed his stunt in front of a near 1,000-strong crowd at the Princes Gardens as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival on Monday.

During the catchily-titled Rocket Johnny and Roxanne Rolls Untimely, Tragic and Fiery Death Stunt Show he set about breaking the chainsaw juggling record with official judges on hand to verify the attempt.


Tom says he has at least 60 throws in him

Colt Sandberg, Daredevil Opera Company

Canadian Mr Comet showed the nervous audience he meant business by sawing a plank of wood into three and slicing a melon precariously placed on the back of the neck of his glamorous assistant Roxanne Rolls.

The record he had to beat was 42 throws but after failing the first attempt, dropping a chainsaw after number 22, the record looked as if it was going to survive another day.

But after requesting the glaring stage lights be turned down he began his challenge again, this time beating the record by just two throws - putting him in the Guinness Book of Records with 44 throws.

But it is unlikely he will stop there. "Tom says he has at least 60 throws in him but he says the light affected him and I'm sure he'll try again," said company performer Colt Sandberg.

"But he won't be standing on stage every night trying to break records because there needs to be officials there."

Crowd-pullers

The challenge has been laid down to the previous record-holder, Rafael Carlos Rodriguez Bove of Cuba.

"The other guy uses electrical chainsaws while Tom uses petrol ones which are far more dangerous. Electrical ones are kinda wimpy," said Mr Sandberg.

The Circus of Horrors
The Circus of Horrors has proved popular

To make a splash at the Edinburgh Fringe takes some doing as the festival is filled with "wacky" acts all waiting to be discovered.

But like the Daredevil Opera Company, some go to extremes to get themselves talked about, and consequently the audiences in.

Tony Winn is one such act. He has got stories to tell and songs to sing and not being one for convention he is going to perform them from the comfort of his own bathtub.

Nudity is also playing a key role in many performances at the 2002 Fringe with the J-Boys' Samurai male revue guaranteed to show off the flesh of its athletic dancing performers.

Body contortionists also feature heavily. The more disgusting the skill the more people want to go see it.

The Circus of Horrors and the Puppetry of the Penis first garnered plaudits from the Fringe before going on to perform successful tours in the more staid environments of regional theatres.

But both are back to entertain and repulse in equal measure to the delight of Fringe veterans and newcomers.

Coverage of the 2002 Edinburgh Festival from BBC News Online

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See also:

05 Aug 02 | Entertainment
01 Aug 02 | Entertainment
06 Jun 02 | Entertainment
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