Welcome to this months feature theme, in the run up to Edinburgh Festival Fringe, we tend to forget about the groups and comedians that are heading there for the first time and just how much work goes on behind the scenes to prepare everything. Well this month we are going to learn face on as we are going behind the scenes with the improv troupe Banana Hut Gang Improv.
You are going to Edinburgh Fringe this year how did that come about?
Laura: We are part of a theatre group called Sedos and some of the Banana Hut Gang have taken shows up to Edinburgh Fringe with Sedos previously. We came up with the idea of taking an improv show up to Edinburgh and pitched it to Sedos. It got approved by the committee and here we are making it happen!
This is your first fringe as a group is it your first fringe for all of you performing?
Sam: A few of us have performed before. I went after Uni, about 8 years ago. I was in a play that required me to have a panic attack on stage each day. I went full method, and just tried to make myself have the panic attack. By the end of the run I was a gibbering wreck.
Tell us about the show you are taking to the fringe
Sam: Choose Your Own… Improv! Is a live and very much alive version of those amazing books we had when we were kids, where you got to decide how the story went. In our version, the audience are completely in control; they pick the genre, the main character and the name of the book, and then get to make all the important decisions in the show. The audience are the masters, and what they choose we have to create right then and there.
What do you want to see? A marriage or a funeral? An abandoned spaceship or a creepy dungeon? A murder or a resurrection? In Choose Your Own… Improv!, you decide. Join the Banana Hut Gang as they create a brave new improvised world where you get to call the shots. Keep the story on track, derail it completely, or start again… the choice is yours!
What have been the key advice that has helped you plan for your first fringe?
Sam: Make decisions. It would be really easy to just experiment forever with everything. Testing and learning is really important, but if something is working, go with it. Then you can keep refining. To do well in Edinburgh you need your show to be right, and that only comes from getting to know what you’re doing really well. And that takes time with it in its final form.
You have been doing previews of your show in London how have they been going?
James: Really good. When you first start creating something you have concerns about how it will go over with an audience, but they been really supportive. We also had concerns whether we could sustain one story for almost 45 mins, but we’ve been able to do this each time, it’s quite exhilarating
What are you looking forward to most about Edinburgh Fringe?
James: The whole experience to be honest. Being in the programme, handing out flyers, performing, meeting and seeing other acts, having the odd drink or two… Hopefully we make some people laugh along the way
What are you least looking forward to?
James: I’ve heard flyering on the Royal Mile is tough, but it’s an essential part of the festival experience. I’ve been as a festival goer before – didn’t think I would end up handing out the flyers
Alex : agreed on the flyering
Not long until the Fringe now how are you all feeling?
James: Actually, really excited. We’ve got a format we all really enjoy that gives us scope to tell some amazing stories – we hope the Edinburgh audiences really like it
You are doing a choose your own adventure show – how do you prepare for that have you had to do any research?
James: We started out by revisiting some ‘Choose Your Own…’ style books – they are a lot wilder than I remember with a lot of twists and turns. Once we knew the mechanics of how the show would work, we’ve been researching different genre styles to see how we can adapt them – that’s been really fun to play with tropes and expectations
More next week.. to buy tickets for their Fringe show click here