07 AUG 2012 ISSUE #01
o mark our biggest Fringe yet, Pleasance has a new totem pole, designed by our very own cartoonist and visual artist Paul Garner. The Totem Pole is an iconic sign representing the excitement of both the festival and our programme. Furthermore, itâ€™s actually a sign, equally as important for finding venues and seeing shows. This year one of our performers has found an extra use for the totem. Phallic objects. They are absolutely everywhere, but until recently this fact has been no more than a titbit of fun for school boys. This year however at The Pleasance one new show, Pretending Things Are a Cock, charts one manâ€™s adventures across the globe... pretending things are cocks. Jon Bennett, the man behind the obsession, has spent the last four years turning everything from rainbows and telescopes to hippopotamus teeth and a prosthetic leg into photographic shlongs. He even turned The Totem Pole into a penis for his photo call last week! Continued on page 5
BY SOPHIE CHILVERS & ANDY SMITH
he 2012 press launch showcased a few choice picks of Pleasance talent. The excellent variety of comedy, theatre, music and kids shows truly represents the exciting programme that The Pleasance has to offer. Rhys Darby (aka Murray from The Flight of the Concords), was great as compere, his understated style of comedy immediately striking a chord with the crowd. He also did some robot impressions. Horrible Histories performed a comically educational homage to Guy Fawkes and his famous gunpowder plot. Also in the firing line, Burke and Hare, the infamous Irish body-snatchers. They were followed by Adam Kay of Amateur Transplants, turning well known and traditional songs into depraved and hilarious snippets of comic genius, such as ‘Iranian Men’, a send-up of the famous Weather Girls hit.
Othello The Remix proved Shakespeare doesn’t have to be underscored with lutes. The Q Brothers weave the classic tragedy seamlessly into the folds of hip-hop beats and rap sharper than Iago’s rapier. The Boy with Tape on His Face, his eyes frantic and his responses fast, came out next to rapturous applause. Creating comedy by pushing the extremes of audience participation, members of the public were brought on to perform skits entirely directed, in silence by our host. Showcasing a different side of the Pleasance’s theatre programme, Bravo 22 Company performed a touching segment from their show The Two Worlds of Charlie F – performed by ex-soldiers wounded while serving in Afghanistan. The brave and bold project had startling resonance with the audience. The striking image of a soldier alone on stage with one leg lost in battle talking about his
ED FRINGE TIP DAVID TRENT - SPONTAEOUS T COMEDIAN, PROPER INVENTIVE COMEDY
experience opened the scene. Once joined by the full ensemble, the piece demonstrated that The Two Worlds of Charlie F is a highly emotional and highly exciting performance. Director of The Pleasance, Anthony Alderson, delivered an enthusiastic speech, thanking all involved in creating Pleasance’s ‘wonderful collection of work’. Highly appreciative of the staff, he started in reference to the Olympics stating ‘If it’s gold medals you’re after then you’re in the right place...because at the Pleasance everybody gets one’. Anthony, having worked at the Pleasance for over 25 years was extremely proud of what the charity has achieved, describing the huge changes that it has gone through since founder Christopher Richardson opened its doors. After this impressive press launch we can’t wait to get our fill of The Pleasance’s 28th year of programming.
PHOTOS BY IDIL SUKAN
THE BOY WITH TAPE ON HIS FACE ANTHONY ALDERSON
RHYS DARBY THE TWO WORLDS OF CHARLIE F
PHOTOS BY IDIL SUKAN
BLIND SUMMIT Danny Boyle wanted me to light the Olympic flame but I failed the health and safety test because of my cardboard head.
BY ANDY SMITH
uppetry is a hot topic at this year’s Fringe and at The Pleasance there’s no exception! Fresh off the back of the performance of a lifetime last week Blind Summit, one of Britain’s leading puppetry theatre companies, return with the infamous Moses for a limited run of their 2011 Fringe smash The Table. This is ‘a show about a puppet having an existential crisis on a table. It stars cantankerous puppet Moses with a cardboard head’. After doing so well last year and taking home a Fringe First award, the company have worked tirelessly to bring audiences more of what they loved. We were ecstatic when Mark Down and Nick Barnes told us that ‘due to popular
demand, from the Moses’ fan club, we are giving him the whole show.’ Established in 1997, Blind Summit seeks to propel the ‘reinvention of theatre in our time’ using puppetry. Given the epic task of operating the puppets at the opening ceremony, an Olympic audience saw them bring their ground-breaking style to billions of global viewers. Performing the puppetry for the event, the company were responsible for Voldemort and The Queen of Hearts. Nick and Mark said ‘Playing Moses for a year was very good preparation to take on the role of Voldemort’. Moses, the protagonist of The Table, missed out however, admitting that ‘Danny Boyle wanted me
to light the Olympic flame but I failed the health and safety test because of my cardboard head’. The pair behind the puppets have obviously been elated with their invitation, saying ‘It was a real honour to represent the nation in this amazing event’. ‘Coming back at Moses’ request’, The Table is returning this year, but only for four nights! After picking up a Fringe First Award and many more impressive accolades at last year’s festival, Blind Summit summarise their show as ‘funny, epic biblical puppetry on a table,’ adding ‘why would you want to miss that?’. The Table is on 1114 August, at Pleasance Beyond.
PRETENDING THINGS ARE A COCK Continued from page 1... All throughout his travels, Jon has re-positioned the boundaries of what can be considered phallic, widening the margins in a way never before conceived. Although this is the first time Jon has performed at the Edinburgh Fringe, the show follows the release of a cult book and a huge online following, which was apparently ‘completely unintentional’. According to Jon: ‘It was something we did regularly with different ‘things’ around the house... Then I went travelling and I promised all our friends who liked our photo series that I would do an ‘international series’ of the cocks, and when I got back from travelling I decided to make it a public fan page. From there it became very popular’. The show, running in Below at the Pleasance Courtyard, features Jon ‘telling the stories behind the cocks’, who also attempts to ‘answer the main questions that people ask me: Why? What’s wrong with me? Which is my favourite cock?’ As a seasoned storyteller and performer in the US and Australia, Jon’s tales of cock and bull from across the globe will prove for an entertaining and intesting run.
JON ON HIS TRAVELS, FROM IGUAZU FALLS TO THE PLEASANCE COURTYARD
INVITATION TO A DINNER PARTY:
EXTERMINATING ANGEL BY SOPHIE CHILVERS
xterminating Angel, the improvised theatre production from Future Ruins, is described as being both sinister and comical. Following their sold-out tour it’s the shows first appearance here at the Fringe. The small cast of five friends, who also live together, never give the same performance twice as they unnerve the audience with their casual dinner party setting that could go in any direction. We were thrilled to speak to director Jack McNamara about the idea behind this unusual piece of work. Describing the play as ‘anti-theatre’, Jack told us how he ‘wanted to open up the dialogue so that people talked in an everyday way together’, breaking away from the conventions of scripted theatre. Each performance is as much of a surprise for Jack as it is the audience, ‘I never knew what was going to come out of their mouths’. They cleverly go against many theatre rules creating a naturalistic
atmosphere as if the public are wandering in on a private dinner party, ‘they almost feel they shouldn’t be watching’. The audience however are by no means alienated
in this production; The cast read newspapers every morning so that the play remains fresh and in-keeping with popular culture. This thought provoking play suggests ideas of how we can become psychologically trapped in the modern world. From talking to his friends and actors, Jack began thinking about this idea in terms of how a lot of us ‘had a kind of apathy for the wider world. We all disagree with the war in Iraq, but none of us do anything about it’. This production deals with a lot of things that we ourselves might feel we should be thinking about, and importantly acting upon. ‘It’s almost like an installation and the audience have to find their way into it’. So make sure you take up this invitation to a surreal, original and, in the directors own words, ‘paralyzing’ performance. Exterminating Angel is on 1-27 August, Upstairs in the Courtyard at 2pm.
DEALS AND OFFERS
STRIKEOUT 2FOR1 PIFF THE MAGIC DRAGON TELLS US HIS PREFERENCES
Cut out and present to the Box Office for 2-for-1 tickets for:
London vs Edinburgh (Ed: Controversial!) Poetry vs Prose Radio vs TV Driver vs Passenger Restaurant vs Takeaway Spiderman vs Batman Dome vs Courtyard (As that is where we are on) Summer vs Winter (Dragons don’t like the cold. It puts them out) Dogs vs Cats (A Chihuahua is basically an unconditional cat) Beer vs Wine (Dragons aren’t allowed alcohol. It combusts) “Supper” vs “Tea”
“It’s marvellously liberating” - FringeGuru.com “Funny, thought-provoking, masterful and empowering” - Total Theatre
16:00 7th & 8th August Pleasance Dome
08 CUTH MCWILDERED’S
GUIDE TO EDINBURGH HERE ARE MY TIPS OF WHAT TO DO WHILE YOU’RE HERE
Visit the historic Edinburgh Castle. Interesting fact: if you took every brick that makes up the castle and laid them end-to-end, you’d be arrested for vandalism. Take a trip to the Grassmarket. Or, if your turf needs are greater, try the Lawnmarket. Walk down Cowgate, and learn of its role in the bovine political scandal of the 1980s. Walk up Arthur’s Seat. You can see the whole of Edinburgh from up there. Though not in as much detail. Take a walking tour. If you like walking and history and listening to history while walking, this is the perfect activity for you. Avoid Guy’s All-Dramatic Costumed Tours Of Edinburgh. Despite being officially recognised by the Co-Operative Union of National Tourguides, these are very silly and frivolous. I’d recommend my tour, naturally. After many years in the business, I know what tourists really want. And I’ve learnt how to avoid it and continue providing a good educational and historically accurate tour.
PHOTOS BY IDIL SUKAN
1 2 3 4 5
dinburgh (aka “the Istanbul of the West”) boasts a grand collection of exciting things to do. But why do those when you could be learning about the history of what is Scotland’s bestloved capital city?
@MATTHEWCROSBY: MY ASTHMA IS TERRIBLE T AT THE MOMENT. COME SEE IT LIVE!
ou may have noticed, there is an arts festival occurring in Edinburgh this August, known as the “Edinburgh Festival Fringe”. If you’re planning to see some of this so-called “Fringe”, best to keep these tips in mind:
1 2 3 4 5
See all shows that say ‘not to be missed’ in their blurbs. They’re legally not allowed to say this unless it is true. Prioritise your schedule alphabetically. That production of Aaaaaaabigail’s Party deserves to be first. Avoid the Royal Mile flyerers. Otherwise you’re in danger of hearing about something outside your usual cultural experience. Trust every review you read. It’s a well known fact that all humans have identical views about all artistic works. Don’t take risks. If you’re very careful, it’s possible to completely avoid all shows that you don’t like – as well as all those you’d probably have loved, and any sense of the festival atmosphere to boot.
nd for those budding historians out there, here are my tips on how to run your very own walking tour. When you grow up maybe you could be a tour guide like me! (Just stay off my patch and don’t take any of my facts.)
1 2 3 4 5
Speak just a little too quietly to be easily heard. This ensures that people concentrate. Keep a large supply of Kendal Mint Cake, in case you suddenly need to poison a rival tour guide. Avoid too many silly people in ghost costumes. Avoid too few silly people in ghost costumes. Bring clothing suitable for all possible weather conditions. Wear all of it the whole time.
The World’s Greatest Walking Tour of Edinburgh, led by Cuth McWildered himself, is running 1-27 August at 2pm and 6pm, starting from the Pleasance Dome.
A CLOCKWORK ORANGE & COALITION BY SOPHIE CHILVERS
rom two opposing perspectives, A Clockwork Orange and Coalition tackle issues of authority and control. These plays are written and performed in completely different but equally brilliant ways; whilst one is based on a classic masterpiece written fifty years ago, the other is a refreshing satire of modern politics. A deeply dark depiction of a group of adolescents battling against the norm, A Clockwork Orange is celebrating its half centenary. So, what better time to go and see this modern adaptation? Awarded streams of 5 star reviews, this play is chilling, magical and full of humorous intervals. Brutally physical, the show holds huge visual impact as Alex and his droogs grow older in a world of censorship and constraint. The all male cast’s energy makes even the audience feel the exhaustion of such a powerful performance. The show poses great questions around
power and control. The Government use the medical profession as a tool to inflict their idea of a ‘normal’ and ‘healthy’ lifestyle on the feral teenage criminals; this idea of constraint flows through the writing, movements and comedy of the show. Like Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange, writers Robert Khan and Tom Salinsky set Coalition ahead of its time: It’s 2014 and the Coalition
government is falling, failing and flummoxing. Deputy Prime Minister Matt Cooper does all he can to save the reputation of his party, resulting in hilarious chaos for the Liberals. The audience watch Cooper stagger his way through the Government’s last 6 months in power (well, power used in the loosest sense of the word). Coalition is one we’ve been very excited about here at Pleasance Times.
It’s healthy to laugh at people with power Described by the cowriters as a ‘terrific ensemble’, the cast of comedic heavy-weights includes Thom Tuck, Phil Jupitus, Jo Caufield and Simon Evans. It’s exhilarating to see such a reputed “coalition”. Thom Tuck takes to the stage in this comical satire. He plays the part of fictional deputy Prime Minister Matt Cooper who holds many parallels to our own Coalition’s Nick Clegg. Khan compares the character to a modern-day protagonist of a Greek tragedy,
creating his own downfall. Tuck is no stranger to the festival having appeared numerous times in previous years, including in the Fringe award-winning Thankless Child. Suited and booted, British comedian Phill Jupitus takes on the role of the Right Honourable Sir Francis Whitford. You might have seen him on Never Mind the Buzzcocks or heard him on Radio 4, but you won’t have experienced him quite like this. After sitting on the project since 2001,
director and co-writer of Coalition Tom Salinsky was thrilled that the show has finally come into fruition and is already extremely popular. Tom recognises the appeal of political satire to the nation; ‘it’s healthy to laugh at people with power’, and compares this to a school child ‘taking the mickey out of their teacher’. So, who said politics was boring? Both these productions showcase a prime example of political theatre at its best. A Clockwork Orange is running 1-27 August at the Pleasance Courtyard, and Coalition is running 1-27 August in the Pleasance Dome.
12 TEN MINUTES TO CURTAIN: THE BACKSTAGE INTERVIEW RICHARD FOSTER-KING CHATS TO US ABOUT HIS SHOW SITCOM THE DOUBLE BILL What’s the show about and what’s so unique about it? Sitcom Double Bill does exactly what it says on the tin. We’ve coined the phrase ‘double the funny for your money’ and it is just that - two great new pieces of comedy writing back to back, for the price of one ticket. House Group is about a ‘radical’ group of Christians who set up a church in their Pastor’s living room. The Deborah is about a middle aged stress-head trying to take early retirement. Essentially, we have created a chance to become part of a live studio audience. There is a lot of comedy at the fringe, but this doesn’t fall into the categories of stand up, sketch show or impro, it stands alone. How have you found rehearsing for it and bringing it to the Fringe? As a company we gelled really quickly. We’ve had a lot of fun putting both shows together and have laughed a lot. James Everett (writer) Charlotte Jo Hanbury (Producer) are also in both sitcoms so we have really formed an ensemble company.
How have you found playing two different characters across the two shows? It’s a great opportunity for me. I get to play to some different extremes and have a lot of fun with both. Colin in House Group is first up and he has quite a physical scene towards the end so when I start The Deborah as Gordon I have to make sure I have some energy reserves. Luckily for me we use Lucozade as prop beer. What’s been a highlight of the rehearsal process? Working with such a fantastic company who all know comedy so well. We all have different backgrounds and experiences and together it just works. Abigail who plays my Nana in The Deborah has just turned 73. It’s great to work with someone who brings such a different dynamic to the group especially at the Festival which is such a young dominated event. She puts us all to shame. What are you most excited about during the festival? Getting to see so many productions over one month!
MARK FISHER LETS OUR READERS IN ON THE SECRETS TO MAKE THE BEST OF THE FRINGE 1. Remember why you’re here
When the Fringe is throwing everything at you, don’t lose sight of what brought you here in the first place. Think back to what you wanted from the experience and focus on getting it.
2. Hold your nerve
Show looking wobbly? Ticket sales sluggish? Have faith! Others have been here before you. You will survive.
3. Keep flyering
It’s demanding, it’s tiring, it eats into time when you could be asleep. But flyering done right gets you audiences. Stick with it.
4. See other shows
You’re performing alongside some of the greatest creative talents in the world. Don’t squander the opportunity to see them. You’ll enjoy yourself and you’ll learn.
5. Get out more
The Fringe has more than enough choice for anyone so make sure you see as much as you can. There’s also lots of places to visit in the city, including the National Museum and National Galleries.
6. Don’t be shy
You don’t want to seem pushy, but Edinburgh is full of like-minded people and a little bit of networking will bring you friends and professional contacts for life.
When it all gets too much, take a walk up Arthur’s Seat or catch a bus to the beach at Portobello. The change of air will transform you.
8. Get some perspective
The Fringe is consuming, you can forget what’s important. Phone a friend and remind yourself what really matters.
9. Enjoy yourself
People don’t return to the Fringe in their thousands to suffer. They come because it’s the most thrilling place on the planet. Have fun.
10. Work out how to do it better next year:
Learn from your mistakes, learn from your triumphs. Come back in 2013 with the new and improved version.
The Edinburgh Fringe Survival Guide: Live!, Cabaret Bar, Pleasance Courtyard, 11.30am
VS PAPPY’S BY IDIL SUKAN
CARDINAL BURNS BY NAGEL, WOODCOCK, WINKWORTH
SKETCH SHOW SHOW DOWN PAPPY’S AND CARDINAL BURNS
wo of our sketch shows go head-tohead in a sketch show show down. Round 1 features our three friendly Pappy’s boys, and their thoughts on Cardinal Burns. Pappy’s, in their Last Show Ever bring you irreverent and hilarious sketch comedy from three friends. Using all known powers of slapstick, puns, music and brilliantly original
ideas, the Pappy’s boys don’t fail to deliver. Their sketches moving across acres of surrealism and silliness, the boys pack a punch. So, what do the boys have to say about Cardinal Burns? They are simply two of the most naturally funny performers you will ever see. Their characters are at once brilliantly
observed and totally ridiculous; and their sketches show supreme confidence in their commitment to stupid ideas. Whether you’ve seen their E4 show or not, you shouldn’t miss them live. Pappy’s is running 1-27 August, 8.20pm, Pleasance Dome
THE TEMPS Who?
ANSWER THE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS...
I wrote The Temps, and it stars some of my favourite people, (who happen to be excellent stand-up comics). People like Celia Pacquola, Robin Clyfan, Alex Edelman, James Dowdeswell, Tom Webb, Sarah Bennetto and Bec Hill. Every day I’m surprised by everyone’s little new flourishes and riffs.To which I always respond – that’s great; leave it in!
The Temps is a comedy show about the joys and pitfalls of office temping. It charts the journey of the earnest New Temp as she attempts to impress her bosses, and climb the corporate ladder. Soon, she comes to the realisation that life as a temp is fraught with danger, excitement, colleague disdain and... loads of free stationery.
It’s an idea I have been working on for years, without even realising it. I relied on office temping when I started out in comedy, because I ‘enjoyed the flexibility’; it tessellated really well with my comedy hours and the festival calendar. I met so many of the same characters in all these different offices. But eventually, I discovered that temping was eroding my soul and that actually, the whole sorry experience was ripe for satire.
The show is every day at 1pm in the Pleasance Hut (in the Pleasance Courtyard) - but not Mon 13 or 20.
I spent four winters slaving away in different identikit offices. I like to think of my time temping in offices as ‘research’. I’m sad to say that there are loads of seemingly outlandish moments in this show that genuinely happened to me whilst temping. For example, there’s a scene where Robin Clyfan’s slick exec character repeatedly screams ‘wank bags!’ at me, then begs for forgiveness by signing off my timesheet until 5pm.
HOW TO BOOK:
FIND US ONLINE:
ON THE PHONE
0131 556 6550
IN PERSON AT THE BOX OFFICE Pleasance Courtyard, 60 Pleasance, EH8 9TJ (9am-midnight) Pleasance Dome, 1 Bristo Square, EH8 9AL (10am-1.30am)
Pleasance Theatre Trust Ltd is a registered Charity in England and Wales. Charity No 1050944. And in Scotland SC043227.
Edited by Sophie Chilvers & An
01 AUG 2012 ISSUE #01
The first printed edition of Pleasance Times 2012. This issue includes news, features, previews, regualrs and much more from the festival.