An Interview with Nick Revell
Without Nick Revell the Fringe, & indeed the entire world, wouldn’t be as half as cool. The Mumble always finds it a pleasure to get together with the man for a wee blether…
Hi Nick, how has your 2018 been so far?
Nick: Hi Mumble. 2018… well, there’s been a lot of anxiety, obviously, what with the same old collective global fiasco – Syria, Brexit, Trump, bees dying out and plastics choking the oceans. But on the other hand, I bought a Magimix, which means my mayonnaise-making has become much more reliable. So, you know, on the grand scale, it all sort of evens out.
What are the processes behind the creation of one of your shows, from inception to hatching?
Nick: Good question… sorry for the pause – I’m trying to figure it out… Yeah; I look for an excuse to read loads of stuff about something that interests me, and hope a story or two start to emerge out of that. I like to let random connections happen. This year I was interested in the Silk Road – the ancient and modern trade routes between China and Western Europe, with all the strategic and cultural implications. Fascinating. Made loads of notes. And virtually nothing of that figures in the show. Of course. But it got me started.
Two years ago you brought us, ‘Gluten Free Jesus’ to the Fringe, & last year the delightfully titled ‘Nick Revell vs Nick: Lily, Evil Cat Queen of Earth Planet and the Laughing Fridge.’ How did they both all go?
Nick: I was pretty happy with both of them. Audiences came, seemed to like them, and I was changing them throughout the run. Which meant they stayed fresh for me. Nothing worse than just going through the motions.
What have you got for us this year?
Nick: It’s called BrokenDreamCatcher.
What has BrokenDreamCatcher got in common with your previous two Fringe shows?
Nick: It’s in the same style – I call it magical-realist satire. Sounds pretentious, I know, but it’s as accurate as I can get. A structured story which is I hope, weird, wonderful and entertaining, clearly untrue while hopefully reflecting some kind of critical light on the real world. In this one, Vladimir Putin’s buttocks leave him, come out in Berlin and claim political asylum, while a hipster shaman vandalises native-American dreamcatchers, allowing the collective id of an entire north London borough to escape and cause mass psychic panic.
After the Fringe your new radio series, also called BrokenDreamCatcher, will go out on BBC R4. Can you tell us about how you got the gig?
Nick: They came to see Gluten Free Jesus in 2016, liked it, and so I pitched for a series in the same style.
Now for the all important question, you’ve got three famous figures from history coming round for dinner. Who would they be & what would you cook; starter, mains & dessert?
Nick: Oooh… well; I think Queen Cleopatra would be very interesting. Profound insights on global politics, probably some good gossip, and of course, a reputation for being extremely hot, and a bit saucy. Francois Rabelais – 16th Century French comic writer, polymath and noted wine connoisseur. Jane Austen. She’d probably be quiet at first, but once she got on the wine, I reckon she’d be highly entertaining. And fearlessly sharp. I’d start with cocktails: margaritas – loosens everybody up in a good way, and it takes a bit of time to kick in. Martinis are tempting but they can mess you up too early. With these guests, you’d want the conversation to flow without descending into nonsense. Some salatini with the cocktails – tiny Italian salted pastries. Then – oysters. With a Sancerre. And soda bread, which I’d get my mate Brendan to make. Homemade pasta with a sage butter dressing and maybe a bottle of Spanish white – like a Godello; then rare steak tagliata with very thinly cut chips and a green salad. Barolo or a really good claret. Chunk of a French mountain cheese after that, or Stilton, depending on the time of year, followed by a chocolate mousse. Armagnac. Then hopefully tequila slammers, loud music and dancing.
OK back to Edinburgh, what are the staple ingredients to your style?
Nick: I try and make a surreal story which grabs people. And to chuck vivid images into their heads the whole time. I like to use a whole range of different tones of jokes from stupid to vicious, with the empahsis on playful but sharp.
You’ve got 20 seconds to sell BrokenDreamCatcher as you flyer some randoms in the Edinburgh streets. What would you say?
Nick: Hello! Want to hear a bonkers story this afternoon? Lasts an hour, feels like twenty minutes. Sex, violence, a talking bear and classic 70s disco.
What is next year’s show called?
Nick: Haha! It’s a little early to tell. But I’ll be there.