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.
Sex, Lies and Improvisation
Location: theSpace @ Symposium Hall – Annexe (Venue 43)
Dates: Aug 5th-15th, 17th-20th
Price: £10 Concession £8
Hello! Tell us about yourselves?
We are Alex Keen and Rachel E. Thorn and we’re the Phoenix Remix Act of the Year 2019, taking our latest show for its first outing at the Fringe!
What’s the name of your show this year?
How did you come up with the name of your show that you’re taking to the fringe?
We were creating a new show following our run in 2019 and were searching for inspiration in films and TV. We’d both seen and loved Sex, Lies & Videotape, it’s a great intersection of sexy, dark, intimate comedy and drama, and the name jumped out at us.
Tell us all about your show!
Sex, Lies & Improvisation is a dark comedy about why we lie to the people we love. We play a couple, one of whom is keeping a secret from the other, and find out what effect that has on their relationship. The twist is, all the secrets and lies we use in the show are taken from genuine real life relationships, submitted anonymously on our website, which means anyone in our audience could be seeing a version of their lives played out onstage!
What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at the Fringe?
Oh gosh, there’s so many! Alex is particularly looking forward to Character Building Experience, an interactive roleplaying gameshow in the style of Dungeons & Dragons, and The Glass Imaginary, an improvised play in the style of Tennessee Williams (directed by the brilliant Stephen Davidson) as well as Watch This Improv from University of Birmingham, who are doing Improvabunga! The Improvised Movie Adventure, which blew us away in 2019. Rachel has been working with impressionists over the last year and Danny Posthill and Charlie Hopkinson are gonna be awesome!
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?
We’ve both been to the Fringe several times before, with our previous duo show Between Us and with other shows. The most important thing is not to take on too much. You’ve got to bring your best self to the show every day, so be honest with yourself about whether you can also cram in that late night drinking show. Don’t give in to FOMO! We’re also both performing in MATES: The Improvised ‘90s Sitcom and Sketch Up, so we need this advice as much as anyone!
What have been some of your favourite shows to date and why?
Last year we did a show at Theatre Deli in Sheffield, where we played two people who had dated many years ago and then broken up, reconnecting after a chance encounter in a coffee shop. Sounds cute, but what Alex didn’t know was that Rachel was actually married with a child! What we love about this show is that the stakes were so high from the very start, but we and the audience were totally up for it—it turned out Alex was still carrying the engagement ring he’d never dared offer to Rachel ten years prior, everywhere he went, and the show ended with them planning her divorce while fantasising about how perfect everything was going to be when they got married. It was hilariously dark, just how we like it.
Favourite one liner you have done in a show and why?
“World War One was such a horrible, unimaginable tragedy that changed how people saw the world, and then World War Two came along and… well, that was no better!” This performance at the British Improv Project skewed hard towards comedy and this line of Rachel’s revealed so much about her character—passionate, but maybe not the most intellectual.
What three items are essential for a successful Fringe?
– A decent quality bag for all the stuff you have to lug around with you
– A water bottle that absolutely won’t leak all over your flyers
– A spare phone charger
What have been some of the most unique and different comedy shows you have seen this year and why?
Hyenas by Sugar Butties is genius. Fabulous character comedy, with a chillingly dark undertone. You can catch it at Manchester Fringe in July.
What is the best way to enjoy yourself at the fringe?
We have a really helpful exercise we do before the fringe. We sit down together and write out all our absolute pie-in-the-sky dreams for how the festival is going to go. Then we list out all the very worst nightmares we have of how things could go wrong. Finally, we write down our realistic assessment, which is somewhere in the middle, bits of good and bad. That really puts the madness into perspective and we usually find things turn out better than our realistic expectations. Try it!
Best thing about performing at the fringe?
Being surrounded by people making and engaging with incredible, diverse, unique, wacky art.
The most challenging thing about performing at the fringe?
Homesickness can get you. Also, having to ration your annual leave throughout the rest of the year to be able to book the time off.
What’s the secret to successful flyering?
You have a fraction of a second to get people’s attention. Don’t pitch your show like it’s a question you’re embarrassed to ask. Hone your pitch down to a single statement about what makes your show enjoyable and say it with confidence, every single time.
Who would be your ultimate dream audience member?
Some eccentric theatre producer who wants to pay us an outrageous amount of money and put us on tour to theatres across the nation.
If people want to find out more about you, where can they follow you on social media?
All our details are at www.sexliesimprov.com Please, send us your secrets and lies (it’s totally anonymous!)
And finally in three words – why should people come and see the show?
They’re in the title: sex, lies, and improvisation!