ISSUE 11: 20TH AUGUST 2013
JOKERS OF THE PACK
Pleasance Times takes a look at the Bright Young Things who are coming up trumps this festival
aturated with university theatre companies and sketch troupes, the Fringe would at first appear to foster young talent. Yet look at the list of stand ups and sketch groups in the Fringe programme and you’ll be lucky to find many under 25. Once out of university it is surely difficult to find a place in the world of comedy which hasn’t already been taken by someone years older, with more experience than the baby faced comics trying to forge a way in this competitive creative world. But aspiring comics, fear not, there’s hope for the youth of tomorrow…especially when you’re 25. The Pleasance has always championed young talent through the Comedy Reserve and in hosting the Chortle Student Comedy Award and this issue, Pleasance Times run down 4 of the top names at 25 who have been setting the Pleasance on the fire this year, from character comics, to hardened stand ups who seem to have been at this game for years.
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BOOK NOW: 0131 556 6550 www.pleasance.co.uk
Edited by Jonathan Bucks & Emily Tanner. Photography by Jassy Earl
IF THESE SPASMS COULD SPEAK
uy has found himself in the midst of a modern marriage. The trousers firmly wrested from his grasp by his out-earning spouse, Chris, the marriage is under severe pressure. At his lowest ebb Guy discovers he is with child, a revelation that sends him into paroxysms of delights. The overwhelming sense of failure is relieved and Guy’s life suddenly takes on a new meaning. The tables turned, his wife on the other hand feels isolated and alone and the couple is forced to renegotiate their marriage. Having explored a multitude of options, they revert to a startlingly old-fashioned solution.
Catxch Sympathy Pains until 26 August in the Pleasance Dome at 13.40
obert Softley crawls onto stage dressed in a sober grey suit, a roguish grin etched across his face and a calm alertness that belies his spasmodic movements. The white leather armchair that forms the centre of the stage stands atop a platform accessible only by steps, a neat visual metaphor for the challenges the actor faces in his day-to-day life. Softley, who has garnered high praise for his show, If These Spasms Could Speak, suffers from muscular dystrophy, a speech impediment and cerebral palsy. This is hardly fair, Softley opines, given how difficult cerebral palsy is to pronounce. But then again, he is quick to add, in his own head he sounds like Laurence Olivier.
Softley’s untrammelled passion for life and contagious humour win the affections of the audience
activist and advocate of equality of access to the arts for disabled people.
Softley is an established figure in the Scottish arts scene, having made his professional acting debut with the Theatre Workshop in 2002. More recently, in 2011, Softley was the recipient of a Creative Scotland residency which allowed him to develop his current show. He is moreover a disability rights
Yoking the two worlds of disability awareness and the arts, Softley stirs the embers of society’s approach to impairment. In the guise of others who suffer from disability, Softley echoes their fears, aspirations and relationships. In one instance he discusses the finer points of having sex with a disability with startling ribald humour, and in another, he shrewdly observes how disabled people are often stared upon but hardly recognised, recalling how he once stripped at the behest of a nosy doctor.
That is not to say, however, that Softley preaches. This is a life-affirming hour of laughter, joy and a thoughtful reflection on society’s attitude to disability. Softley’s untrammelled passion for life and contagious humour win the affections of the audience. Holding up a mirror, Softley offers a profound message on the state of modern society. Catch If These Spasms Could Speak at 17.45 until 26 August in the Pleasance Courtyard
THE COLLISION OF THINGS
In the chaos of the Big Smoke, three friends explore their relationships with home, each other and the city we all live in, Eva Bor writes
inding oneself in a new city, far from home is a theme many can relate to at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The Collision of Things is Brighton-based company Move to Stand’s Fringe debut, a moving physical theatre piece exploring friendship, the trials and tribulations of adulthood and life in the big city, and has unsurprisingly already won the Best of BE Touring prize. Tom (Richard Kiess) has moved to London to retrace the steps of his recently deceased father in the hope of finding himself and making up for their lost relationship. In turn, he has a profound effect on the lives of Luciana and Jan as their lodger. With intermittent bursts of dancing, a longing to jump in the Thames
and Jan quitting his job. A minimal set creates intimacy and calls on the audience to use their imagination, an easy task with such a compelling script and moving performances by this international cast of three.
and general enthusiasm for the little things, Tom reminds the couple to hold on to what is important in the chaos of city life.
The tear stained faces are a testament to this uplifting and refreshing work
With input from the cast, based on their own experiences, director Ben Kidd (winner of the Genesis Future Directors award) tells a touching story of the search for and relationship to home, each other and the city we live in. The tear stained faces that exit Pleasance Two after this piece each day are a testament to this uplifting and refreshing work.
Tightly choreographed movement, Argentinian guitar and Dutch singing link scenes of Tom and Luciana’s drunken confessions of childish aspirations to Tom wandering the streets of London
Catch The Collision of Things until 26 August at 17.45 in the Pleasance Courtyard
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@RealTimVine Go and see Barry from Watford tonight. 10.20. The pleasance. HE IS VERY VERY VERY FUNNY. #edfringe
STOP PRESS: TARTAN RIBBON COMEDY BENEFIT LINE UP! The Boy With Tape On His Face David O’Doherty Tim Vine
Image of the day: Backstage at the tech rehersal as Scroobius Pip prepares for this debut Fringe show, Words
croobius Pip does not seem like a star of the UK hip hop and electronic scene. He is understated, grateful and truly humble as he talks about his show, Words, the reception it has so far received, his work in the music world and love of comedy, and does not for one moment seem anything but a normal guy, albeit an incredibly talented one.
View exclusive photos of our acts, backstage shots and Pleasance pictures taken by our photographer.
@gen1gen2 Waaaaw!!! Another well-done choice! “The Collision of things” in Pleasance Countryard fantastic story, great performance! #Ed-
ISSUE 6: 10TH AUGUST 2013
WORD PLAY: SCROOBIUS PIP SHARES HIS WORDS
Published every two days during the festival catch up on previous editions online
“Being around comedians and pretending I’m meant to be here is great”
A spoken word performance at a festival best known for comedy and theatre may seem like a slightly odd fit and something many performers wouldn’t initially consider doing. “When I toured it in December,” Pip begins as I ask what made him bring a spoken word show to the Fringe this year, I wanted to play in rock venues to show people you can have a good night out at a spoken word gig (in fact, Pip comments that one of the reasons he chose the Ace Dome was because it has a bar) and Tim Key and Brett Goldstein caught it and suggested I bring it up the Fringe this year. Just to have them think I could do something at the Fringe was great as I’m a massive fan of them both.” The good time ethic Pip sees as key to his work was there at the birth of Words when he
premiered the show during the Saturday night headline spot at Latitude Festival last year. Initially expecting an audience of two or three hundred people he arrived onstage to find a 4000 strong crowd Pip was overwhelmed with the show’s initial reception . “It was the Saturday night headline slot,” he almost shakes his head in slight disbelief, “You would except people to want to go out and go dancing but they’d had to stand everyone up as there were about 4000 people in the tent. And they stayed there, and listened to the whole thing and it meant the world to me. It was so overwhelming, such a wonderful reaction.” Known also for his work in music, something which may well have drawn the impressive Latitude crowd, often with Dans Le Sac, Pip notes he often forgets people know him foremost for this and ask if he’ll be doing “any of the songs” in his set. “Well,” he smiles, “I think yeah, but the delivery won’t be the same and the inflections too, some of ‘the songs’ will be there but it will be different.” Scroobius Pip has always engaged with society in his work. Whilst many poets and spoken word artists can be concerned with introspective subjects life Pip’s work constantly strives to connect to the wider society. “I do this partly because I’m a fan of hip hop,” he begins, “Along with spoken word it’s always the quickest to respond to things. A great example is the Treyvon Martin case, where artists reacted to the ‘stand your ground law’ in America during the trial, It’s such an instant response.”
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Although Pip mentioned he was a comedy nerd at the beginning of our conversation, I was still surprised by his knowledge and response
Slightly Fat Features
“It was so overwhelming, such a wonderful reaction” when I asked what he’s most excited to see at the Fringe this year. As we talked of ex-rapper Doc Brown, Doctor Brown and his silent comedy, Tom Rosenthal and many others Pip is keen to catch, Pip is constantly enthused and passionate about something he clearly loves. “Being around the comedians and pretending I’m meant to be to be here is great. Chris Ramsey came along to the show last night and it was great to chat and hang out after. It’s not a comedy show but there are some light-hearted moments, and having people like Brett and Tim previously credit my work is amazing. The main focus is me trying to play it cool around these comedians without being all ‘you know who I am!’”
Mat Ricardo And Many More TUESDAY 13 AUG PLEASANCE COURTYARD
Scroobius Pip has words a plenty to share. You can catch his show Words until 26th August in the Pleasance Dome at 21.40.
BOOK NOW: 0131 556 6550 www.pleasance.co.uk
@amcchisholm Have already seen the bold, brilliant & heartbreaking #TrashCuisine by @BelFreeTheatre on at Pleasance Courtyard - go see.
The Pleasance Theatre Trust is a registered charity in England and Wales (1050944) and Scotland (SCO43227)
MY PREGNANT BROTHER
Johanna Nutter from My Pregnant Brother answers our questions about the show 1 - Why did you decide to write and perform this show? When I was a little girl, I decided that I had a guardian angel. The thing was that my angel had a rather twisted sense of humour: it would make sure that when things went wrong in my life, they went wrong in such dramatic and hilarious ways that I would have to laugh. So, I always wanted to make a show about laughing at tragedy; about finding the humour in everything. I also wanted to make a show about the archetype of the “rock of the family” which I was, growing up: a show about how I learned to stop defining myself solely in relation to my relations. When my transgender brother insisted on his identity as a man, even through childbirth, I found the courage to stand up for myself as well. I thought what I had learned might be useful to others who would be living similar situations. While it’s true that not so many people have transgender siblings—yet—there are many people who have had to take on the parental role in their families who struggle with finding a balance between being there for the ones they love and following their own dreams. 2 - How do you go about interpreting a real life experience as a piece of theatre? Very carefully. In my case, my real life experience can only be expressed through my interactions with my family. This means having to expose the lives of the people I love most in the world, which is still a difficult thing to do, every time. My mother and my brother are supportive of me and my work, but they have a very different interpretation of certain events. I have come to realize, doing this play, that we all lead such separate lives from each other, depending on what we choose to focus on and how we choose to see and remember the things that happen. We also tend to make ourselves the heroes of our own journeys, which is surprisingly not the way our family members see things. 3 - How do you hope audience members will react to your performance? I hope they will let themselves laugh as well as cry. Although
the story has some harrowing moments in it, I have constructed it so there is always a chance to find humour in the situation. My hope is that through laughing at things that they wouldn’t normally allow themselves to laugh at, people will feel more comfortable with finding the humour in their own family dramas. 4 - There could potentially be a tendency to sensationalise your story: how do you hope it is received? Once you get past the title, “my pregnant brother” is really just a story about a family, trying to do the best they can after having been dealt a difficult set of circumstances. The few people I would tell this story to, before I wrote the play, would ask me all these questions right away about my brother: did he have the full operation? Did he have girlfriends or boyfriends? What was he like when he was a little girl? It is fairly recent for our society to discuss transgender openly, and people are curious. I wanted to get all those questions out of the way in the first few minutes, and then get on with the process of telling the story. 5 - How do you feel about sharing such a personal experience with the general public? That’s a difficult question to answer…there’s a line in my play where I say “you know, you can feel several different ways about the same thing at the same time.” For me, that’s definitely true about this show. It is based on my life, and the lives of my family members, but it is also a piece of creative writing, carefully designed to illustrate one person’s journey. Sometimes, when the media blurs the distinction between my work and myself in a painful way, I want to stop doing it. Then I am reminded of the people who, over the past four years of touring this play, contacted me months after seeing it to tell me how they had resolved some issue in their family because of my story. And the truth is, I’m addicted to feeling useful. You can catch Johanna in My Pregnant Brother until 26 August in the Pleasance Dome at 14.50
@WillistheFirst If you’re in Edinburgh I highly recommend u catch @TomVerrall at the pleasance dome 820pm til the 25th #mrwinchesterand-
Image of the day: Tim Key debuts new material in his work in progress show, until 25 August in the Pleasance Dome at 21.45.
BEYOND BREAKING GLASS WITH HAZEL O’CONNOR The most embarassing moment on stage was… My favourite thing about the Fringe… the premiere of Breaking Glass film at Cannes film fest, the film was getting a standing ovation and the spotlight found me and my director. We were expected to get up and take a bow and my director jumped up pulling me with him. Alas, I was unprepared after unzipping my trousers for comfort as he pulled me up to my feet and my trousers dropped to my ankles
is the freedom to try out new things, to see other shows, meet other performers and see my Edinburgh pals Catch Hazel O’Connor until the 26 August at 17.30 in the Pleasance Courtyard
I am most proud of… the charity single Re-joyce for the Myton hospice which I wrote for my mum and then recorded with a lot of help from friends and people like Toyah Wilcox, Pauline Black, Kid Creole, to name but a few. My biggest fear is… Flying. I don’t do it; it feels like my civil liberties are eroded going through all the airport checks so I take the boat and drive. This year… I’m most excited about coming back to Edinburgh Fringe with our updated show Beyond Breaking Glass which first aired at the Edinburgh Festival 15 years ago.
@LittleRaymondo @tomwriggleswort Wow. What a heartwarming show. A must see at #edfringe Pleasance Courtyard..!
@TomLikesTheatre David O’Doherty at #Pleasance. Reliably brilliant. Easily the best comedian I’ve seen this year
Edited by Jonathan Bucks & Emily Tanner. Photography by Jassy Earl Here are a selection of puzzles to keep you entertained between shows, while staking your spot in a queue for a sold out show or waiting for a drink at the bar!
THE PLEASANCE TIMES CROSSWORD Pleasance Times Crossword
PLEASANCE PUB QUIZ Geography Round Which venues will you find on the second floor of the Dome? Where are The Pin to be found at 18.15 each day? What is the biggest venue and where can you find it? Which country are the cast of BLAM from? Where can you watch Max and Ivan, The Little Soldiers, Ballad of the Burning Star and Tim Key? Which new venue has a bar, two shows with ‘anti’ in the title and is snugly tucked away by the Grand?
Maths Round Across
How many venues are there across the Pleasance (don’t forget the off site ones!)?
How many years has The Comedy Reserve been running for?
How many hours are there between the last show on the programme and the first the day after?
How many pounds does Rhys Matthewson think are best spent on his show?
How many years of Fringe Firsts are the Pleasance celebrating each Sunday?
General Knowledge Round Whose show title means Thanks in Bulgarian?
Which comic is telling us Lies this year?
What is David O’Doherty trying to fix?
Where does Joey Page think Paradise is?
Which show, this year, is set in a real life pub? Bonus Question To the nearest 100 how many seats will you find across the whole of the Pleasance?
Spot the difference! Take a look at the victorious team from last week’s The Wrestling II and see if you can find the 5 differences Answers to all our puzzles will be in the next issue of Pleasance Times, an awards nominations special, out 22nd August!
2. where you'd store your wine and maybe see Joey
Across Page and Helen O'Brien a john steinbeck adaptation in upstairs 2.4.Where you’d store your wine and maybe see Joey 5. fosters newcomer nominee 2012, this is all he has Page and Helen O’Brien 7. catch him waxing lyrical at 9.40 in the dome under above 4.9.Ajust john steinbeck adaptation in upstairs 10. a kipling classic in The Green at 3.25 5. Fosters newcomer nominee 2012, this is all he has 7. Catch him waxing lyrical at 9.40 in the dome 9. Just under above 10. A kipling classic in The Green at 3.25 11. You’ve got to be quick to catch this line up show in the ace dome 14. this 750 seater venue has played host to some of the biggest names in comedy and theatre 16. Comedians pit their wits against the brawn in the ring 18. A one man mega myth 19. The king of puns, catch him in
Down 1. pamela anderson and leonard cohen are from here.
Down It's also the cambridge footlights latest show 3. a blue, orange and yellow ice berg at the heart of the 1. Pamela anderson and Leonard Cohen are from courtyard 4. find beyond at 4.30 here. It’sthem alsoin the cambridge footlights latest show 6. next to this 3. 8. A you're blue, reading orangeitand yellow ice berg right now at the heart of the courtyard 4. Find them in beyond at 4.30 6. Next to this 8. You’re reading it right now the cabaret bar at 3.50 12. Just on top of below 13. Next to that 15. Right at the top of the house you’ll catch something fishy and double booked 17. Lost in the courtyard? this will direct you