Category Archives: Fringe 2018

An Interview with Allison Hetzel

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The International Melting Pot that is the Edinburgh August is the pinnacle of cultural diversity, & the Mumble was happy to find out one of America’s finest theatrical minds is once again returning to the Fringe… 


Hello Allison, so where are you from and where are you at, geographically speaking?
Allison: I was born and raised in Southeastern Wisconsin in the town of Elkhorn. It is near Lake Geneva, which is a popular and beautiful place to visit. I currently live in Tuscaloosa, Alabama and have been living here since 2006 when I took a job at the University of Alabama in the Department of Theatre and Dance.

When did you first develop a passion for theatre?
Allison: I was in the fourth grade and was cast in a short play as a singing flower–the experience was memorable as I loved to sing and I got to wear fluorescent face paint that would glow in the black light. We also had a performance at local nursing home for the elderly–that was a moving experience for me at a young age.

What is it about performing that you love the most?
Allison: The connections made by revealing the human condition.

What for you makes a good piece of theatre?
Allison: I think that theatre should reflect life and in that reflection, I want to feel something and learn something. If it makes me laugh or cry along the way then it held my attention and I was able to escape from my own realties for a while. That can be so refreshing.

In your time you have performed at ancient theatres in Greece located at Argos and Spetses. Did you feel like you were communing with the spirits of your art?
Allison: Yes, it was such a powerful experience and working in those ancient theatres was breathtaking. I felt a complete sense of being grounded, and the connections we made as a cast in The Trojan Women are something that I will never forget, and that was over twenty years ago.

I think the Fringe is amazing and if I lived closer I think that I would have returned sooner.

You’ve got three famous figures from history coming round for dinner. Who would they be & what would you cook; starter, mains & dessert?
Allison: Hmmm, these are always the hardest questions for me. I would start with a light summer salad (spinach, corn, feta, watermelon), followed by seared salmon with a maple-mustard glaze and finish with a Key Lime Pie. My guest list would be: Georgia O’Keeffe, Lillian Hellman, and Joan of Arc.

You’ve performed at the Fringe before, almost a decade ago; how did it go?
Allison: Yes, I performed in 2009 and 2010 and it was a great experience, my show titled: Considering Georgia O’Keeffe, is based on the life and work of the artist. Quite a different show than Step Mama Drama!, my current show is much more personal. I think the Fringe is amazing and if I lived closer I think that I would have returned sooner.

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So, you’re bringing your show, STEP MAMA DRAMA!, to this year’s Fringe. Can you tell us about it?
Allison: This show is inspired by my personal experience as stepmom and also includes monologues and moments shared by others who I interviewed for the project. My goal is to show various sides of this complex and often difficult relationship. I also spent time talking with stepchildren as well. When I told people about this show, many began to share their own perspectives on blended families. I listened closely and let them know that what they communicated to me could become part of my show.

You’ve got 20 seconds to sell the show to somebody in the street, what would you say?
Allison: If you are a stepmom or have a stepmom, this show is a must-see!

What will you & your play be doing after the Fringe?
Allison: I will head back to the US for the fall semester at the University of Alabama where I teach in the Department of Theatre and Dance. Plans for my show include further development with composer, colleague, and friend Raphe Crystal to add an element of live music with plans to perform it in New York City in 2019. I would also like to develop the show further with an ensemble cast to show even more range and depth as I plan to continue to conduct interviews based on theme of the show.


Step Mama Drama!

Step Mama Drama! 2018 Fringe

The Space on the Mile
Aug 3-4, 6-10 (16:15)

Tickets: £8.00 (£5.00)

An Interview with Nick Revell

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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.

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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.


BrokenDreamCatcher

Stand 4

Aug 2-26 (15:35)

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www.nickrevell.com

An Interview with Alice Sylvester

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Has it been only a year since Alice Sylvester wowed Edinburgh with her one-woman play about Sylvia Plath? Time flies, but in that time she has come up with something stirringly new. The Mumble caught her for a wee blether…


Hello Alice, so where ya from & where ya at, geographically speaking?
Alice: I grew up in the South Wales valleys, and I still spend a lot of my time there. But over the past few years, I haven’t settled in a place for too long, (I think I get easily bored). I try to travel as much as I can especially while I’m writing. I did live in Edinburgh for a few months this year and I really loved that.

When did you first develop a passion for theatre?
Alice: I discovered creative writing when I was 7, since then all I’ve wanted to do is write. I discovered my passion for being on stage a little later on when I was a teen. It’s kind of funny, I chose performing arts as a school subject because I thought it would be fun and easy- it turned out to be the thing I’ve worked hardest at in my life so far. During the last year of my degree I learned how to write and perform my own plays, which is becoming a little bit addictive since my two favourite things are writing and acting.

What for you makes a good piece of theatre?
Alice: Whatever it is, I want it to move me. I want it to make me think and feel beyond myself, beyond my every day thoughts and feelings. I don’t need to understand it, I don’t need to agree with it, I don’t even need to like it; a good piece of theatre should stir within you, and you leave you a little changed.

You’re washed up on a desert island with an all-in-one solar powered DVD/TV combo & three box set TV shows, what would they be?
Alice: Mad Men is probably my favourite show, Game of Thrones I can (and have) watched for ten consecutive hours, and then Sex and the City is the show I can annoyingly predict every sentence of.

Can you tell us about The Bathtub Heroine?
Alice: I created The Bathtub Heroine theatre company in 2016, with the intention to produce theatre that has captivating leading female roles. More than that, I’m also passionate to allow emerging female artists to develop their skills behind the stage in all areas of theatre creation and production.

Last year you were in Edinburgh with, “Sylvia Plath, Your Words Are Just Dust.” How did it go?
Alice: I had some experience of the Fringe, I had performed there the previous year. But this was my first original show, I was in control of every aspect of producing a show and although I wasn’t scared, I had no idea what I was doing, or how it would be received. But I couldn’t have asked for a better response. I had great audience attendance even some shows were fully sold out, and I received five star reviews that were beautifully written- it was very encouraging. Since then I’ve had an attitude that if I want something, I’ll just go for it, I’ll give it a shot, life’s much more fun that way.

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What have you got for us this year?
Alice: “How to Swim in Hollywood” is inspired by the 2017 Hollywood sexual abuse scandals. I wanted to write a piece that shows how cultural norms regarding beauty standards and gender ideals strongly influence sexual exploitation, and the way we understand it. The play is set in Beverly Hills in 1979, and it follows the character of Daisy, a young housewife of a Hollywood icon. Growing up Daisy never learned how to swim, and the main focus of the play flows between her memories of swimming pools at summer and experiences with men. It becomes clear to the audience that Daisy was entirely unprepared for womanhood; her stories of teenage crushes create a picture of a woman who was thrown into the deep end of a world she doesn’t understand. It is intense at moments; it shows the complex nature of rape and coercion, and the ways in which people can struggle to understand abuse.

Why did you set the play in 1979?
Alice: When I began studying the Harvey Weinstein accusations I was quickly drawn back in time to the 1970s- and I learned about director Roman Polanski’s conviction of raping a 13 year old girl (1977). What horrified me the most was not the crime Polanski had committed, but the way that the cultural perspective of the time meant people didn’t perceive his actions as rape. In the light of recent events, it reminds me that just because evil is public knowledge, does not mean that positive change will occur. I want ‘How to Swim in Hollywood’ to encourage people to consider what aspects of current culture are blurring the perspective of sexual exploitation, and how we can educate children and teens to discover their sexuality in a safe and healthy way.

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How did you create the character of Daisy & how much of you is there in her?
Alice: The character of Daisy was my first point of inspiration. I had this character in my head for some time, I knew her personality, she lived in L.A, she was young and married, and had a history of sexual abuse. Then months later the Harvey Weinstein scandals hit the news, and when that happened I began to really connect with the world and story of Daisy. There is a lot of myself in the character of Daisy, perhaps even more than I realise. I think that’s necessary when I create a one-woman show; I’m enticed by characters I can understand, I can relate to them if I share an element of their pain. In comparison to the woman I am today Daisy is very different to me. But she is perhaps a version of a woman I could have become if I didn’t grow tired of allowing negative influences in my life, and if I never began to make womanhood the experience I want it to be.

You’ve got 20 seconds to sell the show to somebody in the street….?
Alice: This is a powerful performance, a dark and beautiful show, an important perspective inspired by the recent Hollywood abuse scandals.

Can you tell us about your stagecraft; the music, sound & stage design?
Alice: I would describe the play as dreamy- the main character is alone in her bedroom, overlooking L.A at night, and the only stage set is her vanity table, a symbol for what is at the centre of her existence. She flows from conscious thought to past memories; there is a piece of atmospheric underwater music written for the play and a few of my favourite 70s hits. I wanted everything to be soft, and hypnotic from the physicality to the sound and light design. I like the idea of creating a play that is visually sweet, soft, and delicate but gradually pulls you into its dark undercurrent.

How will you know & feel when you have just given a good performance?
Alice: I will feel relaxed, even when I have performed scenes that were intense and dramatic. I know when a performance is great because it felt natural and organic. I should sink effortlessly into the character and welcome the audience into the world of the play with ease. It’s sort of a seductive feeling, which is a funny thing to say, but yeah, that’s how I would describe it- a good performance feels great; I’m seducing myself and the audience into the fictional world of the play.

Can you describe the experience of performing at the Fringe in a single sentence?
Alice: It is a financially devastating, emotionally draining, alcohol fuelled, wild, hilarious, and wonderful adventure.

What will you be doing after the Fringe?
Alice: My next stop will be New York in November, I’m performing ‘Sylvia Plath, Your Words Are Just Dust’ at Theatre Row on 42 Street, as a part of UnitedSolo- the world’s largest solo theatre festival. After that I’ll hopefully spend some time outside of the UK, find a city that excites me and start writing something new.

 


How to Swim in Hollywood

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Greenside, Infirmary Street
Aug 5-11,13-18 (22:00)

Tickets: £10.00, 7.00 (con) BO: 0131 557 2124

www.thebathtubheroine.com

An Interview with Mark Down

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There is something quite brilliant about the dramaturgical puppetry of award-winning Blind Summit. The Mumble managed a wee blether with its director-in-chief…


Hello Mark, so when did you first develop a passion for theatre?
Mark: I saw Dad and Mum in the village pantomime when I was about 8 I think. As a teenager school took us to see three Pinter plays at Bath Theatre Royal which I found extraordinary and started reading Pinter as a teenager. I got very into musicals for a while and tried to “see them all”. When I was 18 I went to see Romeo and Juliet at Stratford.

Can you tell us about your studies?
Mark: I trained to be a doctor first. After working for a couple of years as a junior doctor I retrained to do acting. Then I discovered puppetry and that I have mostly made up myself with collaborators.

What for you makes a good piece of theatre?
Mark: It needs to be funny, clever and teach me something. It needs to be about something – i.e. political. And the thing that makes me enjoy it is at least one good performance.

You’re washed up on a desert island with an all-in-one solar powered DVD/TV combo & three films, what would they be?
Mark: Oh God that’s a horrible thought – City lights (Chaplin), Casablanca, 310 to Yuma

What does Mark Down like to do when he’s not being creative?
Mark: Play tennis

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Can you tell us about Blind Summit?
Mark: Blind Summit is a multi-award winning London-based, internationally touring producer of puppet-based theatre. For twenty years we’ve have consistently subverted people’s expectations of puppetry: from giant storybook characters in the opening ceremony of London’s 2012 Olympic Games to The Table, a globally successful touring production that completely up-ended audiences’ understanding of how puppet and puppeteer communicate.

How did you get involved & what is your role in the company?
Mark: I am the Artistic Director of the company, which I founded in 1997.

What are the processes behind designing each puppet’s aesthetic?
Mark: We work in two ways. With a text we look for an aesthetic that will illuminate some aspect of the text, usually a formal allusion. Puppets tend to bring attention to the metaphorical aspects of the text. We also make work that starts with the puppet we want to play with and write the text from there. i.e. the other way round. That can get very difficult. That’s how we are making Henry.

After 20 years of being with Blind Summit, how has your own take on puppet theatre evolved?
Mark: I am less preoccupied with comedy and existentialism and more engaged by story.

Can you tell us about the Opening Ceremony to the London Olympics?
Mark: It involved putting a huge amount of time and effort into a very little amount of time. It was extremely exhilarating being on the stage on the night. Danny Boyle and the Designer Mark Tildesley were really inspirational to work for. Putting together a team of 20 puppeteers and 35 volunteers was amazing and we made good friends.

Can you sum up the Fringe experience in a single sentence?
Mark: Fast paced and invigorating.

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This year you will be bringing ‘Henry’ to the Fringe. Can you tell us about it?
Mark: It’s a one man, three man show with puppetry called “Henry”. It’s narrated by puppeteer, director and “control freak” Mark Down who explores the mystical power of puppetry, assisted by two, slightly sinister, masked puppeteers. Things get out of control when the spirit of “Henry” enters the puppet. Who is “Henry”? What does he want? And is he dangerous? At least I think that’s what it’s about – we’re still making it!

For those who have seen past creations, such as Citizen Puppet (2015) or The Table (2011), are we to expect something similar or not?
Mark: Expect the unexpected. If The Table was the life of a puppet – Henry is about the life of a puppeteer.

If you’re flyering in the Edinburgh streets, what would you say in twenty seconds to convince someone to see Henry?
Mark: Anything might happen, come and see!

What will Mark Down & Blind Summit be doing after the Fringe?
Mark: Sleeping! And thinking about making the next Blind Summit show.


Henry

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Pleasance King Dome
Aug 11th–26th (15:30)

www.blindsummit.com

An Interview with Toby Boutall

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A bonkers, immersive, party of a late night ‘childrens” show is winging its way into Edinburgh this August. The Mumble managed a blether with the creative polymath behind it all…


Hello Toby, so where ya from & where ya at, geographically speaking?
TOBY: I’m originally a Bedford boy, and proud. However, I now live in Kingston way because the train takes twice as long but its ¼ of the price.

What for you makes a good piece of theatre?
TOBY: Something big and ballsy. As long as it doesn’t pander to everyone’s needs then I’ll be up for watching it. Also, pandas. I like pandas.

Over the past few years you have been developing performances and shows that try to challenge the idea of normal theatre? What gave you the impulse to go off tangent, so to speak?
TOBY: I just get bloody bored of watching the same old things over and over again. I started by making a show which was a mix of music, cabaret, lecture, theatre and club night a few years ago called, A Concise History of How One Should Party. It went down an absolute storm… For the 30 or so people who saw it; their reaction got me excited. Ever since then, I’ve wanted to just find some way of presenting this style in a believable style. Added to this, I love people like Eric Andre and Rik Mayall. So what better setting than kids TV!

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What have you learnt from the journey about yourself & the theatrical arts?
TOBY: Lots of people complaining but not doing enough themsleves to justify it. Hard work and good relationships are essential. Also, when you’re shucking oysters and telling people you’re writing a mad cap show, people don’t always take you seriously.

How do you know & feel when you have just given a good performance?
TOBY: I’m sweating BUCKETS. Greasy pants.

Can you sum up the Fringe experience in a single sentence?
TOBY: I hope your soul and liver are ready for this Toby.

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This year you will be bringing Very Blue Peter to the Fringe. Can you tell us about it?
TOBY: Very Blue Peter is Blue Peter on acid. The show itself centres around a famous controversy from 1998, which we’ve said was all a cover up for something much bigger. It contains: three rogue presenters, JK Rowling, Eurovision, World Cup, Morph, police, drugs, booze and psychedelic rock music. This is the episode of Blue Peter that was never aired.

How does it feel to be the shows writer & a director?
TOBY: Pretty cool! For me, this show is an exact science and it needs to be done is a certain way to make sense. At this point, I think a director would laugh in my face if I presented this idea to them.

Can you describe your cast members in a single word?
TOBY: Lauren Douglin = Biblical
Anthony Fagan = HughJackman
Eliza Hewitt-Jones = Landan
Matt Daniels = Naked

If you’re flyering the show, what would you say in thirty seconds to convince someone to see Very Blue Peter?
TOBY: Do you remember being a kid? No? OK, that’s a bit weird mate. But either way come and see Very Blue Peter. It’s pretty cool mate. I like your shirt. There’s a bulldog at the theatre. There’s not actually a bulldog. But yeh. Blue Peter on acid with a few pints sounds good, no?

What will Toby Boutall be doing after the Fringe?
TOBY: What Toby Boutall does every day. Be disappointed by where life has lead him and pretend on social media that he’s a happy presentable bloke. That and a panto playing the Genie.

Photography : Jackson Bews


Very Blue Peter

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Gilded Balloon Teviot
Aug 1st–27th (23:15)

Interview: Middle Weight Theatre

Middle Weight Theatre are bringing their ‘amendments: A Play on Words’ to the Fringe this August. The Mumble shared a wee chat with writer/performer, Matt Roberts, and director/performer, Tom Stabb.


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Tom Stabb

Hello lads, so where ya both from & where ya at, geographically speaking?
Tom: Hello! Matt is originally from Cornwall, he studied in Exeter, Devon (where we met) and is now based in Bristol. I’m from and based In Exeter. So you can only imagine the type of arguments there are over who makes the better pasty.

When did you first develop a passion for theatre?
Tom: From a very early age. Both my parents were involved in theatre; my father was an actor/director and my mother a ballet teacher/choreographer. My house was continually packed with actors, dancers, stage hands and as a result was always full of creativity; there were constant rehearsals, debates and arguments over the latest Bafta or Tony award winner. I actually learnt to count by watching rehearsals of the ‘39 Lashes’ from ‘Jesus Christ Superstar.’ It was inevitable there was going to be an influence. Or therapy…

When did you first find yourself getting into the dramatic arts?
Matt: Several years ago I was a singer in a metal band and someone told me there were auditions being held near me for ‘Jesus Christ Superstar.’ They reckoned I’d make a good Judas, because it was a ‘rock’ musical. My natural rock tenor voice (and my tendancy to betray people) made me a perfect candidate. I got the part, I loved performing it and this lead to other acting roles over the subsequent years.

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What for you makes a good piece of theatre?
Matt: For me, I want to be transported into the world of what I’m watching. I don’t want to sit in the audience and think ‘I’m currently watching a play;’ I want to be there thinking ‘I’m in their world.’ Ultimately, it’s about being immersed I guess. Also, I want to exit the theatre with residual thoughts and feelings – a good play should send you straight to the bar for a discussion, an argument or should at least prompt dialogue about the themes and psychodrama of what you’ve witnessed.

What do you like to do when you’re not being all theatrical?
Tom: I would love to give you a list of cool stuff to make myself sound all wind-swept and interesting, but honestly, the past three to four years have been consumed with establishing and maintaining the theatre company. Whether this is by going to watch other companies’ productions, talent scouting, learning new direction techniques, promoting or reading play after play after play, my interests are almost always work driven. I can do a good rendition of Eminen’s ‘Rap God’ or ‘A Modern Major General’ by Gilbert and Sullivan after a few glasses of wine; does this count?

You’re washed up on a desert island with an all-in-one solar powered DVD/TV combo & three films, what would they be?
Matt: James Foley’s ‘Glengarry Glen Ross,’ Michael Mann’s ‘Heat’ and Alexander Mackendrick’s ‘The Sweet Smell of success.’ A close fourth would be ‘Noddy goes lap dancing.’ I can’t remember who directed it.

So Tom, how did you & Matt meet?
Tom: For a while I was a local music promotor around the Southwest. On several occasions I booked a heavy metal band that Matt was the vocalist for. They were such an outstanding group, I ended up muscling (and blackmailing) my way into being their bass player. We gigged and toured for over five years together, which (unsuspectingly at the time) developed into an on and off stage chemistry with regard to performance, comedy, writing, trust and, dare I say it, ethics… The band ran its course, but we have continued to collaborate on theatre projects ever since. Thus Middle-Weight Theatre Company was born.

Can you tell us about Middle-Weight?
Tom: It was jointly founded in 2013 by Matt and I, and the aim – from day one – was to maintain a high standard of entertainment expressed by a wide variety of talented actors through new and thought-provoking original writing. Along the way we have welcomed the crucial talents of Al Wadlan, Jemma Gillard and Chrissy Marshall in co-running the company. Everyone who has been involved in any of Middle-Weight’s productions, be it performing or behind the scenes, usually has a keen interest in discussing or debating current affairs and politics, which is why our new play ‘amendments: A Play on Words’ (about censorship and the devolution of language) has been such fun to produce.

 

Can you tell us more about this year’s play?
Matt: It’s basically about how our language is being profoundly diminished by the rampant political correctness currently infesting our society. Don’t get me wrong, I completely acknowledge that we need to have codes in place to ensure people and the groups those people are part of aren’t persecuted or victimised, by I’m worried that the populus is becoming so sensitive and have developed such a finely tuned sense of ‘offense’ that our language is becoming subject to so much prohibition and censorship that soon there will quite literally be nothing left to say.

Five years into the Middle-Weight experience, how have you changed as a person?
Tom: Interesting question. I have changed in the sense that I’ve rekindled an interest in embracing new methods and to be more pluralistic. Honestly – I’m a bit of a control freak and have a somewhat nervous disposition by nature, so gaining and developing new techniques and experiences has taught me to compose myself – when for example a piece of scenery we’ve spent weeks making doesn’t fit properly or a prop doesn’t arrive on time, I don’t tend to hit Matt in the face as my first response anymore – so there’s definite growth there.

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How would you describe your working relationship with Tom?
Matt: Tom is great to work with because he is one of the very few people I’ve met in my life who is thoroughly reliable. If he says he’ll do something, he actually does it, and that’s a rare commodity in a person. He’s also very patient, which is, considering my phenomenally large ego, quite important.

This will be your third time at the Fringe, can you describe the experience of performing at the Fringe in a single sentence?
Tom: Enchantingly exhausting.

As an actor, how will you know & feel when you have just given a good performance?
Matt: If I’m sweating a lot, that’s usually a good sign.

Do you & Matt socialise outwith rehearsals?
Tom: No. We have a keen disdain for one another.

What will you guys be doing after the Fringe?
Matt: There will be a quick break (after a tour, Tom and I generally part with the mutual sentiment of ‘I don’t ever want to see you again’) and after which, it’ll be one of many potential projects. We have 3 new original plays to choose from, so we are delighted to know we will be busy until 2020!


amendments: A Play on Words

3rd-11th August (23:05) 
thespaceUK on NorthBridge 

BUY TICKETS HERE

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www.middleweighttheatrecompany.com

An Interview with Roberta Zuric

THE FRINGE IS COMING. After their great success with All Quiet on the Western Front in 2017, Incognito are back with a new play. The Mumble managed a wee blether with its director…


12509790_10205617702786421_8151350053954073300_n.jpgHello Roberta, so when did you first find yourself getting into the dramatic arts?
Roberta:
My grandmother used to take me to the theatre as a child. I spent most of my teenage years dancing and performing in school plays which all eventually led to studying Drama at university.

When did you realise directing was your thing?
Roberta: I initially wanted to be an actress and went through the whole drama school application process. However, I realised very quickly at university that I preferred creating theatre and working with actors.

What for you makes a good piece of theatre?
Roberta: Commitment to that particular story or form, and true collaboration.

What does Roberta Zuric like to do when she’s not being theatrical?
Roberta: I hope I’m never being too theatrical. Travelling is something that relaxes me.

Incognito Theatre Company - Tobacco Road (courtesy of Tim Hall Photography) (32)_preview.jpeg

Can you tell us about Incognito?
Roberta: The rehearsals are always full of energy and laughter. I met the company back when they were 16 and it’s been a pleasure watching them go from strength to strength as a theatre company and evolve their style with so much panache. They’ve got big plans and huge potential as the company expands their associate artists. It’s been a joy being part of their journey.

Incognito Theatre Company - Tobacco Road (courtesy of Tim Hall Photography) (37)_preview

Last year you guys brought, All Quiet on the Western Front to the Pleasance Dome. How did it all go?
Roberta: It was the second time we were performing that play at the Fringe. The previous summer we had premiered All Quiet on the Western Front and it did extremely well, which led to us taking it to New York. It was a special play and one which we are all really proud of. That production was the beginning of exploring a new physical language we could use to storytelling, one that incorporates filmic elements. Tobacco Road is the next step of that exploration. With All Quiet on the Western Front, we realised very quickly how effective and moving pairing the right choreography with text can be. With that show, we had Remarque’s incredible story to work with so this time we wanted to challenge ourselves with original material and continue exploring the depths of our common human determination to survive.

Incognito Theatre Company - Tobacco Road (courtesy of Tim Hall Photography) (28)_preview.jpeg

This year you will be bringing Tobacco Road, how & why was this play chosen?
Roberta: After All Quiet on the Western Front we were chatting about potential future projects and there was a unanimous wish to explore steering away from adaptation. A couple of the boys mentioned their interest in looking further into London’s criminal past and figures like the Krays twins. Then, of course, we were all watching Peaky Blinders and that inter-war period became quite alluring. We knew little about the history of London gangs so we began to do a lot of research and devising “Tobacco Road” through numerous workshops.

Incognito Theatre Company - Tobacco Road (courtesy of Tim Hall Photography) (18)_preview.jpeg

What are the play’s major themes?
Roberta: With current youth unemployment levels and the rising violent crimes amongst teenagers, it’s an important time to open up the discussion of how, and if, as a society, we are paving the way for future generations. The glass ceilings of social classes remain oppressive and debilitating to a huge portion of the UK’s young people. Our story is about what happens when those who are marginalised have had enough and decide to take ownership of their own lives and legacies.

With All Quiet on the Western Front, we realised very quickly how effective and moving pairing the right choreography with text can be. 

What do you want the audience to take away from the experience of watching Tobacco Road?
Roberta: Primarily we want it to be a really entertaining hour of theatre told through a dynamic and visual form of storytelling. I’d also like the piece to instigate conversation about how young people fall into a life of crime and whether that’s changed much since the 1920s.

Can you sum up the Fringe experience in a single sentence?
Roberta: Inspiring, intoxicating and testing.

What will Roberta Zuric be doing after the Fringe?
Roberta: Keep your eyes peeled because it might not be the end of Tobacco Road


Tobacco Road will be playing this Fringe at the Pleasance

Aug 1-13, 15-27 (15:15)

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