Funny At The Fringe – INTERVIEW – Bark and B

It is festival season and that means that in the next month there is so many great comedy festivals to look forward to! This month we are talking to acts performing at an array of festivals to find out more about their sets and what they have planned for their shows. Today we look at an improv troupe that is performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with a very interesting concept which involves puppets, improv and music! I caught up with Bark and B to find out all about their show.

2018BARKAND_3TName Of Show: Bark and B

Time: 13:00

Date: August 3rd to 11th and 17.15 August 13th to 25th

Location:  The Space, Surgeons Hall Venue 53



Hello guys! Tell us about ‘Bark and B’!

Bark is a tree, B is a naked cotton lady. They’ve been improvising together both on and off the stage for over a year. This year they’re bringing their first hour long show to  Edinburgh Fringe, which will be a mix of puppet improv, ukulele rap and shadow puppetry.


What is the name of your show this year and how did you come up with the name?

Much like a debut album the show is simply titled ‘Bark and B’ though it will feature a wider cast of puppets including: Gourdon the techfishian, Actor/Janitor Mop-head Brooman and B’s late great aunt T.


Tell us a little about your style of improv?

Bark and B start every improv show with a mind meld warm up using audience suggested words. They then perform a series of interwoven narrative scenes, always in their signature Brooklyn accent. Each scene is edited with one or both of them declaring ‘NEW SCENE!’ until the story is concluded and there are ‘NO MORE SCENES!’


What will your show be about?

When B hears of the death of her mysterious Aunt T, they plan to put on a show in her honour. Despite knowing nothing about theatre they try to keep the curtains up with a cabaret of improvised scenes, shadow puppetry flashbacks and ukulele rap. Will everything go according to plan? Not if the old spooky janitor has anything to do with it! It’s a visual journey of love, death, cotton boobs, startling twists and tragic backstories.


What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at the fringe?

We can’t wait for Bumper Blyton, CSImprovisation and Joaquin and Gillian- the improvised folk duo.


Have you done the fringe before? What are some of your favourite acts to date?

We are brand new to the fringe, this is our very first full show! We are greatly inspired by other puppet performances: ‘Bruce’, ‘Manual Cinema’, ‘Boris and Sergey’ and of course ‘Glitch: the improvised puppet show’- Who we have been performing with since June 2017.


Do you think virtual reality has a space in improv? And what other technologies do you think could alter the way we interact with and watch improv?

Technology (high or low) can add extra dimensions to an improv performance. In shows such as ‘RH: Scribble’ or ‘Richard Soames: Let’s make a movie’, it’s really fun to be part of the audience and enter a visual world. In our show the shadow puppetry theatre gives us a window into a different realm and allows us to stretch our narrative and visuals beyond the confines of the stage.


What are some of the most unique and different improv sets you’ve seen this year?

‘The Dreaming’- avant grade pastiche performance art from 3 very talented improvisers. They’re not often in the same room so see them if you are given the chance.

‘Dreamweaver Quartet’- a supergroup of the best musical improvisers bringing your dreams and nightmares to life. Their shows are beautiful and haunting.

Charlie V Martin- as Napoleon, Dante or Zelda Fitzgerald, every character she creates is funny, profound and really likeable. Even the French Dictator is someone you’d want to hang out with after the show.


If people want to find out more about you where can they follow you on social media?

@barkandb on:

Instagram for Artwork

YouTube for sketches and short films

Facebook for show info.


In three words why should people come and see the show?

Puppets, whimsy, boobs!




How did you come up with the puppet names?

B is the shape of a B

Bark Treeler sounds a bit like Mark Wheeler but it’s purely coincidental.

Gourdon is named after his father who was a Gourde.

Mophead Brooman might seem a little obvious for a mop but it’s actually pronounced ‘mop-heed’

T is the shape of a T


Who made the puppets, tell us a bit about the design process?

Charlotte makes all the puppets. They usually start out as quick sketches in watercolour, promarker or pencil. The making needs to happen as quickly as possible after the first sketch so the idea doesn’t lose momentum. Most of the design works itself out through trial and error in the sculpting process.


Did you always know how you wanted the puppets to look or was it a lot of planning?

The look of the puppets happened very organically and are quite close to the original sketches (some of these are on our @barkandb Instagram). B and T took the most planning as they’re fully articulated.

Bark was a quick drawing on a post it who came to life within 2 days as a last minute Christmas present for Mark. Gourdon was based on a Halloween pumpkin that we carved into the shape of an angler fish. Mophead was the only puppet made specifically for the show.

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