My favourite part of making this blog, is getting to meet new people and my interviews. I decided right from the start that interviews would be a firm fixture in my blog and aimed to record at least one a week. Initially I was just grabbing mates in the industry and interviewing them. I started with Joel Harper Jackson, Steph Parry and Charlotte Wakefield. But soon I began being approached by people or their producers or their PR's and soon I was interviewing people I hadn't met about shows I had never heard of, which was fantastic as part of the satisfaction I get from this blog, is being able to help other people, and to support new work.
I was approached by Alison Duguid who was doing the PR for a new one man show called Ripped written and performed by Alex Gwyther.
Alex's one man show is about toxic masculinity and about trauma. This story in particular is about the sensitive subject of male rape.
It's an admirable and bold move by Alex to write about this topic in order to help reduce stigma and encourage people to talk about these issues, and of course I was more than happy to help him. First of all I watched the show itself.
It is brilliant. Alex is a formidable and accomplished actor, and his handle of these sensitive scenes is very well executed. His writing seems very informed and well researched, and very authentic, establishing causes to addition and trauma through a very moving and intense performance.
The writing is detailed, authentic and well paced, creating moments of intrigue, comedy and anguish.
The production is enhanced by the brilliant sound scape created by Jim Whitcher and the fantastic work of lighting designer Jack Weir.
Jack designed the lighting in Milly Tomas' brilliant one woman show Dust at the Soho Theatre which later transferred to the Trafalgar Studios, and I can see Ripped doing well there too if it were to transfer.
It has been directed by the brilliant Max Lindsay who directed Tyrone Huntley is the Philip Ridey play Angry at the Southwalk Playhouse.
Straight after the show I sat met Alison who had arranged for me to interview Alex and we found an area in the Underbelly's bar to record it. Alex joined us, still slightly delirious from his show.
I was a little apprehensive and nervous as I usually get when interviewing people I have never met, I never quite know how the interviews will go, but I am growing in assurance and feel more confident tackling them. I was also worried particularly with this interview because the subject matter was so sensitive and is so important that I really wanted to handle it well.
I eased Alex, and we began talking about the play. Alex spoke well, demonstrating how informed and passionate he is about this play and what he hopes people will take from it. He's an incredible charismatic and sweet guy. I asked him tentatively how he unwinds after each performance. I know from my own experience from performing on a stage in a play where my character discovers his mother has killed herself. I found it difficult to switch off during the run, and found myself occupied in this dark head space.
Alex seems very well adjusted, but it is important for any actor to be mindful of their own well being and to look after themselves.
My interview with Alex can be seen here: https://youtu.be/NdCvJV8DxOw
Ripped is on until 25th August, and I encourage everyone to see it. https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/ripped
After interviewing Alex. I went to grab some lunch and tried some haggis with mash potato. It was spicier than I expected. The weather today was lovely, and Edinburgh was even busier than normal with it being the weekend.
I then made my way to interview the girls from Wannabe- The Spice Girls Show. Natalie Gray. Rhiannon Porter. Melissa Potts. Lucy Claire and Gabrielle Smith.
I was so excited about interviewing these girls. So far in my interviews I have only ever done, one two or three people at a time, so I was really looking forward to seeing how I would handle five at a time, and they were a dream.
The girls clearly all get on really well and are having so much fun, and it was really fun to chat to them.
Wannabe- The Spice Girls Show. Is on until 25th. https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/wannabe-the-spice-girls-show And you can see my interview with them here: https://youtu.be/z0FT1CbA1pw
After this I went to watch Newsrevue The Brexorcist. Now in it's 40th year. I saw a preview of this show at the Canal Cafe Theatre in London, and honestly thought it was the best one yet, and here at the The Underbelly it's even better.
Maya-Nika Bewley. Althea Burey. Christian James and Brett Sinclair are all brilliant, and have adapted effortlessly to their new larger space. The show was sold out, and everyone seemed to love it. They've even squeezed in a couple more sketches.
It is on until 26th to book tickets visit: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/newsrevue
After this I went to watch The Good Scout at the Space.
Written by Glenn Chandler a Scottish playwright whose notable work includes the TV series Taggart. Glenn last year brought his play Kids Play to Edinburgh, which went onto win awards before transferring to London. It was the professional debut of a brilliant actor called Clement Charles.
Clement is back in The Good Scout along side Charlie Mackay, Amanda Bailey, Lewis Allcock, Clemente Lohr and Simon Stache. The play is set in 1938 and centres around two British scouts who befriend two German teens from the Hitler Youth. The story then explores their sexual discoveries,with each other and espionage. The play is brilliantly well researched to provide a detailed understanding of historical events and what it was like to live in 1938.
For a Fringe production, the costume and props are incredibly detailed and exemplary. The story is captivating and unfolds brilliantly, and the acting from everyone is superb.
I first met Amanda Bailey when she play Judy Garland's mother Ethel Gumm in Through The Miill which was later renamed Judy when it transferred to the Arts Theatre. In it Ethel is a rather terrible mother and quite a nasty character, in The Good Scout, Amanda plays the polar opposite of this, which she seems to relish.
The Good Scout is on until August 24th https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/good-scout
After this I stayed to watch another show at The Space. You Have A Match. This is produced by a writing and acting partnership who call themselves 'Two Girls and a Bottle of Savvy B'.
They reached out to me on instagram and invited me to watch their show. Written and performed by Zoe Woodruff and Anuschka Rapp it navigates two single women detailing their dating exploits, and follows them as they take a trip to Mexico together in pursuit of love, and I really liked it. Playing two close friends, one straight one a lesbian, it creates a really nice dynamic, and was nice particularly to see a well written lesbian character.
The structure of the play was different to anything I have seen before too, the pair intercept their scenes by breaking the fourth wall with asides directly to the audience, and intersperse the action with monologues. Zoe and Anuschka deliver amusing and accomplished performances and their characters are likely and enjoyable.
Whether inspired or influenced by Fleabag, there are certainly similarities to Pheobe Waller-Bridge's creation here, which is certainly not a bad thing. It's witty, it's fun and it's certainly relatable.
This was their final performance and I will definitely keep an eye out for their work again in the future.
After their show I went to meet my friend Tina who is in Edinburgh performing. I made a mistake with my hostel booking which left me homeless for one night, so Tina kindly took me in and offered me her sofa. We caught up over a bowl of doritos before calling it a night.
The accompanying video for this week’s journal can be found on my YouTube channel here:
And the audio version can be found as a podcast here: https://anchor.fm/thatstageyblog/episodes/Day-4--Edinburgh-Fringe--Audio-e50jsl