An Interview with Vicki Sargent
Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Vicki Sargent is coming back to perform at the Fringe, & this time she’s bringing a pal. The Mumble managed a wee blether…
Hello Vicki, & welcome back to the Fringe, how’s your year been?
Vicki: Thank you it’s great to be back. It’s been a really fun year; I’ve been dipping into lots different creative avenues from stand up comedy to tap dancing, building my skills set and developing a lot of resilience. I feel more confident, personally and professionally, than ever heading into this years Fringe, which is a lovely mind-set to have. And I’m really looking forward to all of that disappearing the second I start flyering!
Can you tell us about your theatrical training?
Vicki: I trained at City Lit in Covent Garden. It was a nice alternative to expensive full time drama schools and they covered a plethora of acting styles. Also, with it being an adult education centre, I was training with a really diverse group of people aged 18 – 62 and from all over the world and I loved learning with a group of people who didn’t all look and sound the same; we all had different backgrounds and knowledge to bring and share.
Can you tell us about Dressing Gown Diaries?
Vicki: Dressing Gown Diaries is a fun little YouTube series I run on my channel Vicki’s List. It’s literally me sitting about in a dressing gown with a cup of tea chatting about anything from horoscopes to my hatred of dogs (that one created a lot of controversy). I started it last year in the run up my last Fringe show One Woman Army, in which I wore a dressing gown for the whole show. I wanted to challenge myself to just make some regular content and not have to worry about doing my make-up but just being myself and having a laugh!
You’ve got three famous figures from history coming round for dinner. Who would they be & what would you cook; starter, mains & dessert?
Vicki: William Shakespeare, Maya Angelou and Eric Morecambe. I’m a terrible cook so I’d go for something simple like cheesy garlic bread to start, Spaghetti Bolognese for mains and a bake from frozen lemon meringue pie for dessert. I don’t care what my esteemed guests want, that’s all my favourites and no it’s not fancy, but it will fill you up! Shakespeare will lose his mind when he tries Sainsbury’s own brand meringue.
What does Vicki Sargent like to do when she’s not being creative?
Vicki: Sit about in my pyjamas and watch TV to be honest. It might not be cool, but it is comfortable and with the quality of Netflix these days how can you blame me? I also enjoy kickboxing, moaning, and drinking copious amounts of tea.
Last year you brought your show One Woman Army, what have you got for us this year?
Vicki: This year I have comedy play Old Souls which is about a befriend the elderly scheme. My character Rosie is 21 years old and loves nothing more than staying in with her mum watching telly and avoiding having any kind of social life. She may or may not be loosely based on myself. Rosie joins up to the befriending scheme hoping to meet the grandma of her dreams but what she gets is Vera. Vera wishes that she was out in a club, off her face, and dancing till the sun comes up. But Vera is 78 years old and her body won’t let her live that life anymore and she is angry about it. Especially when bright young thing Rosie walks in with lemon drizzle cake and her only passion is reserved for getting the conundrum on countdown. It’s a clash of personalities but ultimately they both have something to learn from each other.
Why did you choose to write a play about befriending the elderly?
Vicki: The NHS says: “more than a million older people say they go for over a month without speaking to a friend, neighbour or family member.” I had seen a few news stories on loneliness in the elderly and I thought it was such a tragic, heart-breaking issue with such a simple solution: befriending the elderly schemes. Volunteers give just an hour of their week to go and visit an elderly person and have a cuppa and chat. I thought if I could show how fun befriending could be through a comedy play it might inspire people to join up.
Can you describe your working relationship with co-actress Janet Garner in a single word?
What is it about Dartford which inspires you so much?
Vicki: It’s my home; it’s what I know and it’s where I feel comfortable. I think there is a lot of humour, whether intentional or otherwise, to be found in small working class towns like Dartford. So many wonderful characters to be met and a real authentic, down-to-earth charm that I try to carry with me in all of my comedy work.
How is director Matt Mitchell handling your brain-child?
Vicki: Very well! He’s a writer/filmmaker so he has a great understanding of structure and excellent attention to detail. He can take the simplest piece of dialogue and tweak it into a hilarious joke, which I never knew was there – and I wrote the thing! Janet and myself feel very safe to try things out under his direction, which is especially important since this is Janet’s first acting role.
What do you hope an audience member will take away from the show?
Vicki: I’d be thrilled if audience members came away from watching Old Souls and signed up for a befriending scheme. If just one elderly person feels a little less lonely as a result of this play that would be incredible. I also hope it inspires people to be bolder and braver even if that also means being scared and uncertain.
You’ve got 20 seconds to sell the show to somebody in the street, what would you say?
Vicki: It’s a really funny, heart warming show about a befriend the elderly scheme. Rosie is young but old, Vera is old but young. Rosie wants tea and cake. Vera wants a whiskey on the rocks. It’s a comedy play about friendship, age stereotypes and learning to be brave.
What will Vicki Sargent be doing after the Fringe?
Vicki: Writing a sitcom with Matt Mitchell, making more videos in my dressing gown and performing Old Souls again in some new and exciting places!
3rd – 27th August (Not 8th, 13th or 20th) (17.00)