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 looking at some of the great shows that you can see at the Edinburgh Fringe. So take note because we are going to give you all the information you need for just a handful of some of the great shows happening this year! We have also been able to interview some of the acts that are heading up to the Fringe as well.
What’s the name of your show this year?
We have two shows heading to the Fringe this year. We’re taking back Trans Pennine which we premiered there last year, and then our new work is called “Being Frank”
How did you come up with the name of your show that you’re taking to the Fringe?
Both shows names came about as the plays themselves developed. Trans Pennine is named after the cross pennine journey of the same name, but has a different meaning. Being Frank was like an epiphany. The main character was already called Frank, and it was a moment of revelation that we realised the play should be called “Being Frank”, linking to the aim of getting men to talk about their mental health.
Tell us all about your show!
Trans Pennine is a fast paced, funny, and emotional play that follows a man and his adult children who are on their way to scatter the ashes of his wife/their mother. The journey leads to one of the characters coming out as transgender. It’s based in part on the story of a friend of mine, who came out as transgender in her mid forties – just a few short years ago. We brought it to Edinburgh last year, and it really connected with audiences – provoked lots of interesting conversations, and a lot of people who had never really encountered a transgender story before spoke to us about how educational they found it. Also made people cry.
Being Frank focuses on men’s mental health. It uses a variety of narrative techniques to tell its story, weaving real-life stories into a fictional narrative. It is rooted in real life experience and testimony. Frank’s son is facing a mental health crisis, and Frank’s got his own issues – but they both struggle to talk about it. ‘Being Frank’ uses humour, music, and a good deal of honesty to explore men’s relationships with each other, with mental health, and with flat-pack furniture.
What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at the Fringe?
Really looking forward to seeing Bread and Butter Productions new play, “Teach”, and I note that Complicite have a new work which I am very excited about seeing.
Have you done the fringe before? What are the key pieces of advice you have been given or would give to new groups or people performing at the fringe?
This will be our third fringe, and each one has been a real learning curve. Advice I would give any new performers include pacing yourself and making good times for rest, not just thrusting flyers in peoples faces but taking time to talk to potential customers about your work. Making sure you eat properly! And listen to your audience over the critics. We had some odd reviews, a real mixture, but the test really is in the room – is the audience with you? Are they wanting to hang around afterwards to talk to you about your work? That’s what makes for a successful fringe, people connecting in some way with something you created.
What have been some of your favourite shows to date and why?
We loved “Canoe” last year, such a great piece of writing performed with such energy. I can’t remember the title, but there was a fantastic verbatim piece about women involved in the vietnam conflict last year by a group from NYC. That was exceptional. Lovesong to Lavender Menace and Gypsy Queen also stood out for us, as did the superb Le Gateux Chocolate who performed “Icons”. Fabulous. Famous Puppet Deaths was a work of genius!
Favourite one liner you have done in a show and why?
There’s a lovely exchange in Trans Pennine when Dave has been caught out leaving the ashes of his wife in a Burger King bin and his kids go nuts at him. Dave replies “You wanted somewhere to go to remember her. Now you can have a burger when you do.”
What have been some of the most unique and different shows you have seen this year and why?
Famous Puppet Deaths was certainly unique and different, from the bizarre to the insanely funny to the profoundly moving, done with such creativity and originality. Amazing.
What is the best way to enjoy yourself at the Fringe?
See a variety of stuff – good and bad – hang out with good people, network and make new friends. Don’t rush it.
What would be your top three items every performer must take to the Fringe?
A raincoat, your favourite jumper, and sunblock because you will never know what the weather will do!
What’s the secret to successful flyering?
Be nice. Talk to people, take the time to chat to them about your work. If they don’t want to talk don’t hassle them. Look for those who are clearly looking for things to see – the half-price hut is a great place to do this. Approach them politely!
Who would be your ultimate dream audience member?
Sir Ian McKellen.
If people want to find out more about you where can they follow you on social media?
They can find us on twitter @BeingFrankPlay @WorksOfOrange @TransPennPlay and I’m @iantuckerbell
And Finally in three words – Why should people come and see the show?
Because they’re honest.