+3 Interview: John Hastings: Float Like a Butterfly, John Hastings Like a Bee

“I have a director named Paul Bryne but he does not like being spoken about.”

WHO: John Hastings, Comedian

WHAT: “Last year, John Hastings was hit by a car and broke his arm. He then became homeless (his choice) with a long distance girlfriend (her choice) and now has a lot of thoughts on pigeons and bicycles (your choice). Now he’s written this comedy show. A tale of displacement, death and denial (don’t worry, there are jokes too). As seen on Comedy Central.”

WHERE: Pleasance Courtyard – The Cellar (Venue 33) 

WHEN: 20:30 (60 min)

MORE: Click Here!


Is this your first time to Edinburgh?

Nope, this is my 7th fringe IN A ROW! I am excited about this one because honestly, I think if anything I am funnier than I was last year.

Tell us about your show.

I wrote this silly bill show with all the jokes and trappings all by my lonesome. Well, I have a director named Paul Bryne but he does not like being spoken about so I get to take all the credit. This show is premiering at Edinburgh and everyone I know is excited about the show (because of my begging).

What’s the biggest thing to have happened to you since Festivals ’17?

I got hit by a car, I became a homeless man. I continue to be in love with myself and my girlfriend.

What should your audience see at the festivals after they’ve seen your show?

Go see Chris Betts, Ben Target, Carl Donnelly and come to see me again.


LIKE WHAT YOU JUST READ? FOLLOW US ON TWITTER! FIND US ON FACEBOOK! OR SIGN UP TO OUR MAILING LIST!

INTERESTED IN BEING INTERVIEWED TOO? CLICK HERE!

+3 Interview: The Problem With Faye Treacy

“This is the big one.”

WHO: Faye, Performer

WHAT: “Debut hour (Best Newcomer Musical Comedy Awards 2015; runner-up Bath New Act 2016; as heard on BBC Radio 2/4 Extra). When asked by her little sister for some career advice, Faye realised she’d spent the last half of her 20s trying to make trombone comedy work. Join Faye for an idiosyncratic tale about a South London foster family, why she’s decided she wants to become a step-dad and what it’s like to be quite often the only woman in the band. ‘Treacy’s charm soon wins us round… her one-liners are expertly crafted and sharp’ (List).”

WHERE: Just the Tonic at The Mash House – Just the Cask Room (Venue 288) 

WHEN: 19:45 (60 min)

MORE: Click Here!


Is this your first time to Edinburgh?

It’s my first time doing a full hour! I’ve been on shared bills and done a half hr show in the past on the free fringe but this is the big one, which I’m very excited for.

Tell us about your show.

My shows called The Problem With Faye Treacy. I wrote it and it’s about my life growing up in South London with my folks and foster siblings (My mums started to collect more kids than Madonna) and how I made a break for it basically with a trombone into the classical music world. I’m hoping to take it to a few festivals in Australia next year and maybe New Zealand.

What should your audience see at the festivals after they’ve seen your show?

I previewed with Sarah Keyworth the other week and her shows great! Also I’d say check out Darren Harriott and Harriet Kemsley. I’m a big fan. For a fantastic storyteller and comedian, I’d say Chris Stokes is definitely one to watch too! His new hours hilarious!


LIKE WHAT YOU JUST READ? FOLLOW US ON TWITTER! FIND US ON FACEBOOK! OR SIGN UP TO OUR MAILING LIST!

INTERESTED IN BEING INTERVIEWED TOO? CLICK HERE!

+3 Interview: The Travelling Sisters: Toupé

“A tap-dancing cactus, a giant diva with a dental malfunction… that kind of thing.”

WHO: Laura Trenerry, Performer

WHAT: “Masterfully combining physical comedy, characters and original music, The Travelling Sisters are ‘insane geniuses of sketch comedy’ (GreatScott.media). This infectious trio conjure characters and twists you won’t see coming. A theme park ride for the soul. Best Comedy Melbourne Fringe 2017. New Zealand Tour Ready Award Melbourne Fringe 2017. Best Newcomer Nominee Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2017.”

WHERE: Gilded Balloon Teviot – Billiard Room (Venue 14) 

WHEN: 18:15 (60 min)

MORE: Click Here!


Is this your first time to Edinburgh?

This is our third time to Edinburgh! We lived in the UK for two years and were lucky enough squeeze in two Ed Fringes. We moved back to Australia last year, but we’ve saved our pennies and we’re coming back!

What’s the biggest thing to have happened to you since Festivals ’17?

It’s been a total whirlwind since our last fringe. So much has happened. But we made it to the TV alongside the big wigs this year. That was pretty mega for us. Hopefully, we’ll manage to sneak back on again soon.

Tell us about your show.

‘The Travelling Sisters’ is made up of Lucy Fox, Laura Trenerry, and Ell Sachs. We met at uni and have been creating, performing and producing together for four years. As well as working together we’re the best of mates which makes life and performing pretty damn exciting. Our show is a comedy sketch- fast-paced, wig laden, costume-heavy stupidity with a touch of the absurd. A tap-dancing cactus, a giant diva with a dental malfunction… that kind of thing. After Edinburgh, we’re taking it to Buckingham Palace.

What should your audience see at the festivals after they’ve seen your show?

Laura Davis: Ghost Machine. She is brilliant!


LIKE WHAT YOU JUST READ? FOLLOW US ON TWITTER! FIND US ON FACEBOOK! OR SIGN UP TO OUR MAILING LIST!

INTERESTED IN BEING INTERVIEWED TOO? CLICK HERE!

+3 Interview: James Meehan – Gaz

“The show is loosely about identity.”

WHO: James Meehan, Comedian

WHAT: “2017. I’m an angry insufferable mess. I don’t leave the flat for six months. 2018. Same. Now I call it working from home. A comedy show for hermits. James Meehan is a comedian and ex-member of Gein’s Family Giftshop. You might have seen him on the telly in Inside No 9 or Drunk Histories, or heard him on BBC Radio 4 Extra’s Newsjack.”

WHERE: Just the Tonic at The Caves – Just Out of the Box (Venue 88)

WHEN: 18:00 (60 min)

MORE: Click Here!


Is this your first time to Edinburgh?

I have been to Edinburgh for the full run every year since 2013.

In 2014 I won the panel prize with the show Funz and Gamez.
In 2014 I was nominated for best newcomer with my (now ex) sketch group Gein’s Family Giftshop.
In 2016 I performed my first solo hour to 5* reviews. (James Meehan – Class Act)
In 2017 I performed my second solo hour (James Meehan – As If I Hadn’t Slept)
This is my third hour.

Tell us about your show.

I wrote my show and am producing it myself.
I hope to tour it afterwards.

The show is loosely about identity and not leaving the flat for 6 months after a torrid old time involving disasterous decisions with work and the people I chose to work with.

What should your audience see at the festivals after they’ve seen your show?

The Delightful Sausage
Chris Washington
Phil Ellis
Tanjore Restaurant (BYOB)


LIKE WHAT YOU JUST READ? FOLLOW US ON TWITTER! FIND US ON FACEBOOK! OR SIGN UP TO OUR MAILING LIST!

INTERESTED IN BEING INTERVIEWED TOO? CLICK HERE!

+3 Interview: Christian Finnegan: My Goodness

“When I tell New York comedians I’m doing Fringe, they react with a mix of confusion and fear.”

WHO: Christian Finnegan, Writer/performer

WHAT: “Christian Finnegan is a stand-up comedian, exploring what it means to be a passable human being in 2018. Perhaps best known as one of the original panelists on VH1’s Best Week Ever and as Chad, the only white roommate in Chappelle’s Show’s infamous Mad Real World sketch. He played Martin on the popular syndicated sitcom Are We There Yet? and politics junkies will recognize Christian from his many appearances on Countdown with Keith Olbermann. Most recently, Christian was the creator and co-host of A&E’s Black and White.”

WHERE: Gilded Balloon Teviot – Billiard Room (Venue 14)

WHEN: 20:45 (60 min)

MORE: Click Here!


Is this your first time to Edinburgh?

This is my first Fringe, so I’m excited and daunted in equal measure. When I tell New York comedians I’m doing Fringe, they react with a mix of confusion and fear—as if I’d said I was going to scale Kilimanjaro or wrestle a grizzly bear. But who knows how long it will be before America is locked down in some sort of police-state dystopia, so I figure the time is now!

Tell us about your show.

I’ve been a club comic here in the States for over 20 years, but MY GOODNESS has more meat on the bone than anything I’ve done in the past. The show took shape when I noticed that my standup material was starting to dance around a central theme–basically, “What does it mean to be a good person?” So I wrote some connective tissue stuff around the more polished material, added an interactive element, a bit of tech, etc. I’ve been workshopping the show in New York over the past few months and the training wheels are finally ready to come off.

What should your audience see at the festivals after they’ve seen your show?

I’m rooming with fellow American Myq Kaplan. I haven’t yet seen his show ALL KILLING ASIDE, but he’s known as one of New York’s best and most inventive comedians and he’s a fantastic person to boot.

Also, I once spent a month driving around Western Australia with Zoe Lyons as part of the MICF Roadshow, so I’m really looking forward to seeing ENTRY LEVEL HUMAN.

And one more: I think he’s only in town for four days, but everyone should make an effort to go see Judah Friedlander. World Champions only come along so often!


LIKE WHAT YOU JUST READ? FOLLOW US ON TWITTER! FIND US ON FACEBOOK! OR SIGN UP TO OUR MAILING LIST!

INTERESTED IN BEING INTERVIEWED TOO? CLICK HERE!

+3 Interview: Ross Brierley: Accumulator

“It’s my debut solo hour of stand up comedy.”

WHO: Ross Brierley

WHAT: “What would you do if you had a bet on the horses and won a year’s wages in a day? Quit your job and become a professional gambler? Sure, why not. Award-winning comedian Ross Brierley takes you on a surreal journey into the highs and lows of trying to predict the future to pay the bills. An hour of big, daft ideas and little plastic pens from the host of The Not So Late Show with Ross and Josh.”

WHERE: Underbelly, Bristo Square – Daisy (Venue 139) 

WHEN: 16:30 (60 min)

MORE: Click Here!


Is this your first time to Edinburgh?

No it is not. I went up last year with The Not So Late Show with Ross & Josh (which also returns this year on the Free Fringe) but this is my first solo hour. Last year was a full-on, relentless baptism of fire and this year will hopefully be a bath at just the right temperature for a month, leaving my toes wrinkled beyond belief.

Tell us about your show.

I wrote it! I produced it! I got the sizes for the poster wrong, leading to a delay with the design! I reply to all the emails! I do all the jokes! I stray off topic, nobody else. It’s my debut solo hour of stand up comedy and it’s about the dominant theme in my 33 years to date: Gambling. Where am I taking it? Wherever it’s wanted! WHO WANTS IT?

What should your audience see at the festivals after they’ve seen your show?

They should see Sean Morley bend your mind with weird immersive comedy stuff, The Delightful Sausage regenerate a Northern town and then something completely different, like a full on Samba dance band.


LIKE WHAT YOU JUST READ? FOLLOW US ON TWITTER! FIND US ON FACEBOOK! OR SIGN UP TO OUR MAILING LIST!

INTERESTED IN BEING INTERVIEWED TOO? CLICK HERE!

“Flippant answer is no guns. For an adventure story, this really makes a difference.” – Author Adrian Goldsworthy discusses Vindolanda

“There was a rich haul in last summer’s excavations, and no doubt there will be plenty of surprises once they are deciphered.”

“(1st hand) Claudia Severa to her Lepidina greetings. On 11 September, sister, for the day of the celebration of my birthday, I give you a warm invitation to make sure that you come to us, to make the day more enjoyable for me by your arrival, if you are present (?). Give my greetings to your Cerialis. My Aelius and my little son send him (?) their greetings. (2nd hand) I shall expect you sister. Farewell, sister my dearest soul, as I hope to prosper, and hail.”

Sometime between the years 97 and 103 AD, the wife of one senior Roman officer dictated an invitation to a birthday party in the far north of the Roman province of Britannia. Under her secretary’s formal message she added her own, heartfelt postscript.

19 centuries later, this everyday example of life on the Roman frontier inspired British historian and novelist, Adrian Goldsworthy, to spin a yarn. To the slender threads provided by such miraculously preserved writing tablets as Claudia Severa’s invitation, he has added the steadily accumulating wealth of archaeological evidence documenting the Romans in Britain. Goldsworthy brings his readers to the borderlands, two decades before the first builder sucked his teeth, shook his head, and told the Emperor Hadrian that his proposed wall “was gonna cost ya.”

Goldsworthy, a celebrated academic with several shelf-benders to his credit, is also the author of two previous novels – both set during the Napoleonic Wars. His latest novel, Vindolanda, takes its title from the Roman Fort to where Claudia Severa’s invitation was sent. Vindolanda is the first adventure for Titus Flavius Ferox, centurion of Legio II Augusta and a man torn between two worlds. His grandfather was one of the great chiefs and war leaders of the Silures, the tribe living in what is now Goldsworthy’s native South Wales. The young Ferox was sent away as a hostage, to be educated and raised as a Roman, and was made a citizen and later commissioned into the Roman army. Years later he returns to the province of Britannia, oathsworn to the emperor of Rome, but still in his heart a warrior of his own people.

Vindolanda was published in June 2017 by Head of Zeus. To find out more click here.


Why Vindolanda?

First and foremost because of the writing tablets discovered there. When you read something like the invitation to her birthday party sent by Claudia Severa to Sulpicia Lepidina it lets you glimpse something of ordinary life nineteen centuries ago. These two women were married to Roman army officers, and if it was not for this and a few other tablets we would never have known they existed. Instead, we can read as they ask about each other’s health and families, and plan visits.

It is all very human, very normal, reminding us that these were people just like us – even if they came from a very different society with very different attitudes. When I first read the tablets many years ago, I could not help wondering about these people and wanting to know more about them and their world. So the novel is an imagined version of this. It’s an adventure story, not meant to be a searing examination of the human experience, but a good story in a world that seems real. I think of it as a Western, but set in Britain at the end of the first century AD. It’s about a frontier, and all the people brought together in a place like that.

If you could plug one gap in our knowledge of Roman Britain what would it be?

The first instinct of a historian is to wish for more written sources. So little of the literature from the ancient world has survived that one of the commonest phrases writing about it is always ‘well, we don’t really know.’ Roman Britain is worse than many other areas, with just a handful of accounts. It would be nice to have the missing pieces of Tacitus’ Annals and Histories even more to have detailed narratives of more of Roman Britain’s history. Vindolanda is set at a time when we know next to nothing. We probably never going to find anything like this, but you can wish.

Still, that’s a modest ambition compared to the big missing piece in almost all of the Roman Empire’s history, because we only really get the Romans’ side of the story. The peoples who lived in Britain in the Iron Age did not write anything down. To have stories from their point of view, of what it was like when the Romans turned up on your doorstep and did not go away, would be truly wonderful. Short of a time machine, that’s never going to happen, so as a novelist you do your best to guess.

What’s the most unexpected item ever found from Roman Britain?

I’ll have to say the writing tablets themselves. We were used to inscriptions on stone, but no one thought we would be lucky enough to find something like this. Since then, some have turned up at other sites, notably in London and Carlisle, and more keep being found at Vindolanda. There was a rich haul in last summer’s excavations, and no doubt there will be plenty of surprises once they are deciphered.

The unusual conditions at these sites allow preservation of things you simply don’t get elsewhere – the wood, leather etc. There are more Roman shoes from Vindolanda than any other single site in the rest of the empire, but one thing that stands out is how fashions were the same throughout the empire. All these everyday objects do suggest that people from opposite ends of the empire dressed in a similar way, ate and drank similar things, and maybe laughed at the same jokes or hummed the same tunes.

Double entry bookkeeping or the steam engine – which might have done more to transform the fortunes of the Roman Empire?

Well, of course, in Alexandria they made a working steam engine, but never seem to have thought of it as anything other than an interesting experiment. The Romans were of their time, used to doing things in set ways, relying on human or animal power. On the other hand, there was progress in technology and some very sophisticated uses of water power. For a while, there was a tendency to underestimate the accomplishments of craftsmen in the Roman period, so that it has taken archaeological finds to demonstrate for instance that carriage was pretty much as sophisticated as anything in the eighteenth century.

Rome was huge and lived in a world without serious economic or military competitors on the same scale, which did not encourage rapid innovation. Even so, its problems had more to do with political instability than economic failure. From the third century AD onwards the Romans just keep on fighting civil wars until the empire rots away and vanishes in Britain and the West. That this process went on for centuries shows how strong and complacent the Romans had become.

What did silphium taste like?

No idea. We don’t really know what it was. A problem generally about food from the ancient world is that even if we have an idea of ingredients, we never get the sort of really detailed recipes a cook would want.

What’s the biggest adjustment required transitioning from writing fiction set in the Napoleonic period to Roman times?

Flippant answer is no guns. For an adventure story, this really makes a difference. You can plausibly have a character point a pistol or musket and tell two or three others to drop their weapons and do what they are told. That’s less convincing if all he has is a sword. However, the really big difference is the wealth of information. For Wellington’s army, you have a host of personal accounts, letters, diaries, etc, and they are written by junior officers and sometimes ordinary soldiers. These tell you about the little details of life on campaign, as well as the battles and skirmishes. You can describe a uniform with confidence, even include jokes and slang that were doing the rounds at the time of the story.

None is this is available for the Roman world, so you have to guess and invent or lift from other periods. Time and again someone would ask me how I came up with the idea for an incident in one of the Napoleonic stories and how on earth did I think of it. Usually, the answer was that it was true. I may have made it happen to one of my characters, but that was what they really did. You cannot do that to anything like the same degree with a story set in AD 98 in Roman Britain. So writing the two sets of stories has been very different, which has been nice. Hopefully someday before too long I’ll complete the Napoleonic series as well as keeping Ferox busy.

The snow that falls on a battlefield settles on the fallen rather than the damp ground – where do details like that appear from?

That sort of thing comes from accounts from other eras, and looking at film and pictures and what you see around you. I have always had a interest in most of history, with a particular fondness for military history. My mind seems good at remembering the obscure – and less good at something like remembering a phone number. For Vindolanda I have lifted bits and pieces from other periods and cultures to fill in all the gaps in our knowledge. I’ve seen horses close up to the one in front so that its tail helps waft the flies away, so there doesn’t seem any reason why the Batavian’s mounts in the story would not do the same thing.

One thing that is important to me in both Vindolanda and the Napoleonic series is that there is a sense of humour running through it. Partly this is because I find a thriller or adventure story without humour rather dull, but mainly it’s because all the soldiers I have known and read about have laughed a lot. The humour is often quite black, but it helps them to cope. So to me, to make the story and characters plausible the characters need to joke and laugh.

You’ve got a one-way ticket to the Roman Empire for you and your family. When and where are you taking them?

So many choices. It would be something to see Rome at its height – both the grandeur and the squalor. Some the slums probably resembled the poorest areas of Calcutta than our imagined city of gleaming marble. I suspect the smells would be pretty overpowering. Be nice to see an army base and see how close we have got to the reality from the archaeological remains – or Hadrian’s Wall. Still, if you wanted a holiday, perhaps just a comfortable villa somewhere.

You’ve got a solo return ticket for either a year on campaign with Julius Caesar; a fortnight with Hadrian and his entourage at Tivoli; or a day in the Library of Alexandria. Which do you choose?

As a historian hard to resist a library, although an archive somewhere less famous or at an army base might provide fascinating if less dramatic information. Hadrian was probably tough to be around, and I suspect you would spend most of your time listening and saying how right he was. Caesar had charm, and giving my interests seeing the real Roman army in action would answer a lot of questions. It would be a grim business though.

What’s next for Flavius Ferox?

A new novel, The Encircling Sea comes out on 1st June. Without giving too much away, this takes Ferox to the far north and across the sea, and features some old and some new enemies. I’m finishing off the third novel at the moment and that will be out in 2019.


LIKE WHAT YOU JUST READ? FOLLOW US ON TWITTER! FIND US ON FACEBOOK! OR SIGN UP TO OUR MAILING LIST!