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.
Choose Your Own
Location: Greenside @ Infirmary Street – Forest Theatre (Venue 236)
Dates: Aug 15th-20th, 22nd-27th
Price: £10 Concession £8
Hello! Tell us about yourself?
Laura – Hello! We are the Banana Hut Gang. We’ve been a group for around 4 years now and we had a sell out Edinburgh Fringe run in 2019 with our show ‘Choose Your Own…Improv!!’ Since then we have performed regularly online with ‘Zoom Your Own Improv!’ during lockdown and we’ve now added three new performers to our group. We’re returning to Edinburgh Fringe this year with our newest members and a new and improved show!
How did you come up with the name of your show that you’re taking to the fringe?
Ben: We decided on ‘Choose Your Own’ as it is a succinct way of summarising the format of our show. Lots of people will remember ‘Choose Your Own’ books from when they were kids (I had two Dr Who ones) but, even if you don’t, then the name also emphasises the control the audience has on the outcome of the show. There are unlimited options and no show will be the same!
Tell us all about your show!
James: Every show is completely different. We have a protagonist that faces choices in their journey and they present those choices to the audience to decide. There are so many twists and turns but it’s fun to resolve the story in less than an hour.
What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at the fringe?
James: My friend has written a really important play about abortion rights which I’m really looking forward to!
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.
Ellie: Have fun!! It’s easy to get too wrapped up in show stuff; remember to chill out, go for coffee & cake, cook dinner together, go on a walk now and then and get away from it all. I’ve been in shows where we did a miserable blow-by-blow after each show detailing what went wrong. Don’t do that. Sure, we want to improve, but keeping morale up in order to get through the run is waaaaay more important.
What have been some of your favourite shows to date and why?
Ellie: Pretty fond of the Christmas-inspired show where Hilary Clinton was a guest singer for the choir, who was then promptly torn to shreds. Literally.
Favourite one liner you have done in a show and why?
Chris: “Quick, up the chandelier”. We did a murder mystery in Edinburgh once and it was set in a huge mansion where the game became crazy entrances and exits to each room. We had characters travelling via the food lifts, leaving through fireplaces, jumping out of windows etc… and in one scene I got to share my first onstage kiss with Laura (we’d known each other for over a decade before that) which more on the sincere-love-story side of things, and so following it with “Quick, up the chandelier” felt like a nice shift back to comedy.
Ellie: Playing a captain of the guards who let their underlings be savages by zombies, I lamented my negligence; ‘I’ve really let my guard down.’
What three items are essential for a successful Fringe?
Chris: A stapler (for attaching promos to show flyers).
Ellie: Chocolate. Lots of chocolate.
Laura: Eggs, you can never have too many eggs.
What have been some of the most unique and different comedy shows you have seen this year and why?
Ellie: I recently saw a couple of really cool shows at the Brighton Fringe; Potatohead, featuring a potato who dreams of being on telly, and Strictly Come Barking, about a lonely old man who enters a ballroom competition with a stray dog. Both fabulously zany and great fun!
What is the best way to enjoy yourself at the fringe?
James: You can definitely experience FOMO because there’s so much going on. I try and book a few shows in advance that I know I really want to see but then go with the flow when I’m there – it’s also fun to see something you’d never get the chance to see anywhere else.
Best thing about performing at the fringe?
Chris: The audience. And that’s because the audience at the Fringe are like guests at a wedding – everyone has gone for the same reason. Everyone is there to see interesting new stuff and lots of people are on the high of being at the fringe / on holiday. So, they’ve generally been the best, most supportive and receptive audiences we’ve ever played to.
The most challenging thing about performing at the fringe?
Ben: Maintaining energy throughout the entire run. Edinburgh is a tiring experience – between working on your own show, socialising, and watching other shows it can be easy to lose pep as time goes on. The joy of doing an improv show is that you’re performing new material every night, and the joy of Banana Hut Gang is that this new material is guaranteed to put ml that pep back in your step whether you’re a performer or an audience member!
What would be your top three items every performer must take to the fringe?
James: vitamin tablets, water bottle and camera to record those memories
What’s the secret to successful flyering?
James: Find a way to sum up your show in one sentence, we’re lucky we have such a great concept. The Royal Mile is also pretty competitive but you have people looking for recommendations so there’s plenty of opportunities for great conversations.
Who would be your ultimate dream audience member?
Chris: Kirsten Wiig. Because, Kristen Wiig. Also, because knowing Kristen was there, I’d absolutely sneak in a take on her SNL Surprise Party character…
If people want to find out more about you, where can they follow you on social media?
You can follow us on all social media platforms @bananahutgang
And Finally in three words – Why should people come and see the show?
James: Laughter, fun, satisfaction