An Interview With The Vickers Brothers
Two of Edinburgh’s most talented siblings
Are combining for the Fringe 2022…
The Mumble got ’em round for a cuppa
Hello Paul, for this year’s Fringe you are premiering a new play called What Broke David Lynch ? On at 9pm, Greenside @ Nicolson Square, Fern Studio. You have also enlisted some familial support for the project – who is this gentleman with you?
PAUL: Well, he’s my brother isn’t he. He was good in The Caucasian Chalk Circle when he was at school and he appears to still have it. He can certainly remember his lines – he already has them down or so he tells me.
Is that right Steve? You have experience treading the boards, or at least remembering your lines – can you tell us about your acting career thus far?
STEVE: Well, acting was many of my artistic ambitions in my youth. I appeared in many school productions and even got an award for my contribution. I was generally cast as the comic lead. I was in the local youth theatre for a while too. I did Theatre Studies at A level with the ambition of getting in to RADA but then I got into rock and roll and that kind of put a spanner in the works. I did get a small part in a reconstruction on 999 emergency but that was as far as my professional acting career went. I’ve occasionally dabbled since. I was in a Leeds amateur dramatics society and I even appeared in a few productions by a certain Damian Bullen but music has largely been my priority in my later life. Although I have often starred in my own slightly crude home made music videos.
Paul, what about your own acting career?
PAUL: Well I’ve only appeared as actor in my own productions really, I enjoy a challenge of something new, my one man Twonkey shows can only take you so far, I’m trying to push myself. Jennifer’s Robot Arm was my first theatre show and this is the follow up, pleased to have Miranda onboard she was magical as Jennifer and I’m sure she will shine again in this show.
Can you tell us about the show?
PAUL: Never you mind about that lad.
Oh go on!
PAUL: Well, if you insist! The play focues on a period in David Lynch’s life where he was trying to develop a suit for the Elephant Man. He’d moved to London & he was in a flat in Wembley & he’d been given a certain amount of development time. They believed that because he’d made the baby in Eraserhead it would be possible for him to construct a costume for the Elephant Man. But this proved to be a step too far for him, and he was unable to complete the task. Its kind of about how that affeceted him psychologically & how eventually he was able to see a way thro’ the problem & find some kind of resolution. But it’s also about the pressure of a young American director coming to London to make Victorian costume drama with Shakespearean actors.
That is interesting – where & when was the catalytic moment where you decided you just HAD to turn this into a play.
PAUL: I could just hear the dialogue – I could see the situations & also the idea of the moment where the terible costume is put on John Hurt & they realsied that the experiment has essentially been a disaster. I think that’s a manic moment & there was a also a dramtic point where David Lynch realised that he could direct the Elephant Man – apparently it was when he was at the Frederic Treves hospital & as he was looking down one of the corridors at all the gaslight fittings he could suddenly imagine the whole film – he could see how it would be, the atmosphere, he could see the mix of the hard industrial stuff & how he could tell the story. Its kind of about the fall he had before getting ultimate clarity, which enabled him to make the film. Because it was not as crazy as his last film, it was a more mainstream film in a way, it made him a global star, because people thought he had dexterity & that he was able to do different kinds of work, & that was really when he became a hot-shot director.
So, Steve, how are you finding working with your brother, have you collaborated with him before & is he a hard taskmaster?
STEVE: I’ve worked with Paul many times before. Largely on music but this will be the first time in theatre. I tend to be a very bricks and mortar kind of guy where as Paul is a lot more trippy. He’ll tell me he wants it to sound sparkley and I’ll ask what key that’s in. I’m also much more of a disciplinarian than Paul so it’s me who’s the task master if anyone. Paul’s great to work with though as he will always come up with leftfield ideas that I wouldn’t think of. He’s a sucker for an extended freak sequence. He’s very good at making straight acts weirder and giving weird acts a pop sensibility. We fall out obviously cus we’re brothers but it rarely comes to fisty cuffs and we always get there in the end. I would liken our working relationship as akin to David Bowie and Mick Ronson.
Who else is working with you guys on the play & how do you all get on?
STEVE: It’s just the very talented Rob Atler and Miranda Shrapnell. Miranda seems lovely and very professional. She puts a lot of energy in the role. Although I’ve only met her once on Zoom and once in the flesh. I’ve only met Rob once over Zoom but I was very impressed by his John Hurt.
So Paul, what has a possible punter of your Fringe show 2022 got to look forward to if they book a ticket?
PAUL: Suspense, & the element of surprise – I think people will be moved as well because the final moments are very touching – & says something about the Human condition. So its not a complete laughter raft, there are moments of contemplation – & also its really a story of love & I think all the best stories are
Final question is for Steve, you are flyering in the streets of Edinburgh & you want to convince someone to come to see your show – what do you say?
STEVE: If you’ve ever been curious about cinema or the artistic process then look no further. A great insight into David Lynch, one of the most creative and influential cinematic minds of the 20th century brought to you by Mr Twonkey. No stranger to surrealist flights of fancy himself with countless stand up shows and avant garde rock albums behind him. Featuring a cast of well seasoned entertainers you will be sure to be entertained, moved and tripped out in equal measure. If you’ve got a thirst for the alternative and aren’t afraid of a giggle or two, as well as shedding the occasional tear – this is the play for you!
PAUL: Yeah I might pop that about as a press release. You don’t mind if I credit it to Lyn Gardner from the Guardian ?
STEVE: Nae worries so long as I get the royalties.
PAUL: Don’t think you get royalties for journalism.
STEVE: I intend to change all that.
WHAT BROKE DAVID LYNCH?
Greenside @ Nicolson Square (21.00)
Aug 5-13, 15-20, 22-27