An Interview with Vinyl Encore
AW King & Paul Vitty have teamed up
& are bringing their rock & roll ride to the Fringe
Hello guys, first things first, where are you from & where are you at, geographically speaking?
Paul: AW is originally from Croydon, now living in Brighton. As a company were based in London, but I grew up and live in Luton. We’ve rehearsed in various locations, the majority of rehearsals were in Kings Cross but we’ve also spent a few days staying in Luton and then staying in Brighton, working on the play. It was really liberated at the end of the process to be out of the rehearsal studio and in a field in Luton or on the beach in Brighton running the show.
What for you makes a good piece of theatre?
Paul: For me it’s something that provokes a natural emotional reaction in me, whether it be a sudden smile comes on my face or I’m griped by the drama or emotion. I love plays that can take me on a range of emotions, especially where I’m talking about the characters afterwards. What people enjoy is very personal but I think a great piece of theatre leaves you talking about the characters and feeling that you’ve had a glimpse into their world and what to know more.
It’s been 30 years since you performed at the Fringe, how has its changed in that time?
AW: 30 years ago it was a rough and holy bonanza, which I wanted to do because I had a chance to play Falstaff for a second time. Since then it’s grown exponentially and seem people view it more as a potential media springboard. I played Edinburgh back in 1987. I played Falstaff in a James Bond Version of The Merry Wives of Windsor’ We came on to the Green Hornet theme tune. Two male members of the cast unexpected deserted the run and were replace by two female members who spoofed their performance.
In 2017 your Lipstick and Scones went down really well at the Fringe; can you tell us about the experience & its aftermath?
Paul: Lipstick and Scones was really loved by the audiences, though it didn’t attract reviewers, word of mouth really helped fill the seats. It had three powerful female leads and its wit and heart seemed to be have very warmly received. Afterwards it sold out at The Leicester Square Theatre. I was also commission to write a new version extending it to a full length play, it’s next due to be performed in Vienna, though I’d obviously love to also see the 90 minute version perform in the UK.
Where & when was Vinyl Encore conceived, & who has penned the script?
Paul: Having spent most of my career involved in productions with large casts, I was interested in doing a two-hander. Vinyl Encore was an idea I had at the back of my mind, AW is an incredible actor and both of us have often spoken about how challenging and cool it would be to joust on stage in a two-hander! At last years fringe in a conversation with the Director of The Space, Charles, I mentioned the idea. He really liked the sound of it which gave us the confidence to set about creating the show. My normal instinct was to sit down and write a script, but that wouldn’t have work for the story we wanted to tell. In many ways it evolved more like an album or piece of music then my usually theatrical process. We had to collaborate together bouncing ideas, trying thing out. The creative process has been integral for how the play has evolved.
What is the biggest obstacle you overcame while putting your show together?
AW: When Paul told me the idea I knew it the two of us together in it could be incredible. But we had to find a way to create to ensure it was truthful, we were clear we didn’t want it to become spinal tap and the opportunity to allow our ‘musical indifferences’ to run riot, we wanted it to be the story of two very real people. We had to establish a creative identity, you had to forget you were an actor and what I do and just do it.
Is Vinyl Encore a vehicle for old songs, or have they been composed especially for the play?
Paul: I hadn’t played guitar on stage for years, where AW has been involved in a number of bands. Our styles at times clash, and lyrically we’re quite different which fed nicely into the characters. In one of the early rehearsal I decided to bring an electric guitar along. Suddenly the atmosphere in the room changed, it became more raw and with the mischievous energy of rock n roll. AW had some lyric and I just improvised a tune. It was an incredible moment, we both look at each other and realise we could and should write all the songs. The song we created at that rehearsal it the first one we play in the show together, it’s unchanged from the first time we just spontaneously went into it, I think that gives the story a real authenticity.
How did you approach the role?
AW: For me Acting is about submerging into behavioral states and the rocks star persona is something I have genuinely inhabited by fronting bands and writing songs for year, hopefully I expanding on this and have developed the persona in a comic and human way.
How is director James Paul Taylor handling everything?
Paul: James has directed us both in previous project so he know how to push us and ensure we are at the top of our game. There’s a mutual respect between the three of us, which meant we could really say what we felt and take risks. Creatively we really wanted to put our heart and soul into the making it as good as it could be. It’s been a very unusual creation process, rather than having a script we have created it in the rehearsal room, James has been the calm one writing down what we’ve created allowing us to polish it and further explore the characters. He would describe himself as very non rock n roll so he’s been instrumental in guiding us to create a production that can be both poetic, raw and accessible. Though early on my natural instincts were to worry that the script was still being develop, it meant the story and characters really took on a life of their own!
You’ve got 20 seconds to sell the play to somebody in the streets of Edinburgh, what would you say?
AW: We will revive the rock n roller within you,tickle your funny bone and make your heart soar and dive