+3 Interview: Brett Johnson: Poly-Theist

“It’s a true solo comedy show about faith, non-monogamy and KFC.”

WHO: Brett Johnson: Writer/performer

WHAT: “Brett was a 21-year-old, married, monogamous Evangelical. Then he became the opposite. After sell-outs across the US, stand-up Brett Johnson’s show about (non)monogamy, God and KFC hits the Fringe. ‘A uniquely poignant story, with humour and deep sensitivity… a thought-provoking and ultimately inspiring tale’ (PortFringe.com/Reviews). ‘Boundless charm… the definition of more-than-meets-the-eye’ (PGHintheRound.com).”

WHERE: Just the Tonic at The Charteris Centre – Just the Crypt (Venue 393) 

WHEN: 13:20 (60 min)

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Is this your first time to Edinburgh?

I visited when I was a little kid, and I came to the Fringe for few days last year to get the lay of the land (mostly to acclimatize myself to the Scottish accent).

What’s the biggest thing to have happened to you since Festivals ’18?

Premiering this damn show and bringing it to about a dozen cities across the States. I also correctly used the manual paper feed on a printer, first try.

Tell us about your show.

The tagline is that I was a married, 21-year-old monogamous Evangelical, then I became the opposite: it’s a true solo comedy show about faith, non-monogamy and KFC. Edinburgh is the show’s international premiere and my EdFringe debut. I plan to take it to more cities in the US after August but also – hopefully – to some spots around the UK late 2019 or 2020!

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

After my show to go Calton Hill and take in the view, I hear it’s killer. After that: Jamie Loftus who is absurd and great; Mike Lemme and Sam Morrison who are both funny and just good dudes, Molly Brenner who’s worked her tail off on her show, and Kyle Legacy, who’s unwell but a sweet boy.


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+3 Interview: Polly: A Drag Rebellion

“Though I’ve done drag and performed live music many times before on separate occasions, I’ve never combined the two and doing so has proven an audience favourite…”

WHO: Joe Strickland, Writer and performer

WHAT: “Meet Polly, she doesn’t care what you think! All she wants is to be equal, for everyone to be equal. In a whirlwind evening of live music, spoken word and drag tomfoolery, Polly will put across her manifesto for ending all the world’s problems. Using drag and gig theatre, multi award-winning performer Joe Strickland will incite a rebellion against everything that holds us back in life, exploring the barriers that others put in front of us and the masks that we put in front of ourselves in the process.”

WHERE: Greenside @ Nicolson Square – Fern Studio (Venue 209) 

WHEN: 21:00 (50 min)

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Is this your first time to Edinburgh?

This is our 4th year up at the festival and we’re so excited to be able to bring this show this year. This is, however, my first year performing in this way at the festival. Though I’ve done drag and performed live music many times before on separate occasions, I’ve never combined the two and doing so has proven an audience favourite when we’ve been previewing the show so I’m very excited for festival goers up in Edinburgh to be able to see it.

What’s the biggest thing to have happened to you since Festivals ’18?

Since the last Edinburgh Festival Fringe the director of this show and I have formed a new production company in Nottingham and we’ll be putting on 12 shows in 12 months from September 2019. Planning that has been a really exciting new experience and having this show to work on alongside that has been a really good strategy to give us something separate to work on so we don’t go crazy. Polly: A Drag Rebellion is going to be the last thing we do before starting the new company and we’re going into Edinburgh all guns blazing to make our mark before our new company begins.

Tell us about your show.

I wrote the show in response to how I was thinking about the world. I wanted some clarity of what and how to think and worry about everything that’s been happening and realised that this is not only something that a lot of other people must be thinking but something that the wrong person could easily abuse and manipulate people with. What would happen if this progressive figurehead emerged and slowly turned out to not be who everyone thought they were became the story of Polly. The show has been previewed in Nottingham to a wonderful audience at the Nottingham New Theatre’s StuFF festival and will go on to be performed after the festival. We’re also going to release an album of Polly’s music for people to enjoy once the show has finished its EdFringe run.

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

Directly after our show, in the same performance space, is a truly wonderful improv show, Hard Truths. They start by having deeply personal interviews with the performers and use those real life stories to build a narratively strong long-form show which has comedy and emotion in equal measure. Hard Truths deserves a lot of love this year at the festival. Also, we’re taking up another show, Apollo: Take 111, which is a farce about the faking of the Moon landings that incorporates a lot of cinema and American 60s popular culture.


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+3 Interview: Dominic Frisby: Libertarian Love Songs

“I lived and died many times in Edinburgh so it is appropriate that I should now be at the Banshee Labyrinth, Edinburgh’s most haunted vanue.”

WHO: Dominic Frisby, writer-performer

WHAT: “From ‘mercurially witty’ (Spectator) creator of YouTube smash 17 Million F*ck Offs – A Song About Brexit come comic songs, stories and stand-up for people who think the government should stay out of it. If you believe in things like free speech, free trade, bitcoin or Brexit, you’ll like this. If you think the government, BBC or EU has the answers, you won’t. Contains unacceptable views and swearing. No entry to statists, crony capitalists or the metropolitan liberal elite. As seen on BBC, ITV, Sky, Channel 4, Dave etc. ‘Outstanding’ (Times). ‘Excellent’ (Telegraph).”

WHERE: PBH’s Free Fringe @ Banshee Labyrinth – Cinema Room (Venue 156) 

WHEN: 17:00 (60 min)

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Is this your first time to Edinburgh?

I first came to the Festival in 1998, doing an act called Ludwig The Bavarian, a Bavarian slap-dancer looking for slappers.

A couple of years later real Germans such as Henning Wehn and the Christian Shulte-Loh started coming to the circuit, and I figured it was time to drop the act.

I lived and died many times in Edinburgh so it is appropriate that I should now be at the Banshee Labyrinth, Edinburgh’s most haunted venue.

What’s the biggest thing to have happened to you since Festivals ’18?

I got a book deal with Penguin for my show about tax (which I actually did in Edinburgh 2016). The book is now written and will be published in October.

My song about Brexit – 17 Million Fuck-Offs – got to Number One in the Amazon charts and made the Top 20 on iTunes.

Tell us about your show.

I was having ukulele lessons and I discovered my teacher was a closet libertarian, so we started writing these militant libertarian songs together during ukulele lessons.

I then started doing them on stage and audiences (those sympathetic to that world view at least) seemed to really like them.

I’m really not sure how they’re going to go down in Edinburgh. I’ve found a drummer and a Keyboard player but to say they are going to be under-rehearsed is an understatement.

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

I think The Shadowpunk Revolution – the beatbox rock musical about invisibility sounds pretty epic.

And if you’re feeling grown up, come and see my lecture about the economics of the festival which I’ll be doing in Adam SMith’s own front room.


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+3 Interview: Little Shop of Horrors

“I feel privileged to haven been given this opportunity to perform with Delicious Theatre at this year’s Fringe Festival alongside such talented, lovely and sometimes human-hungry people.”

WHO: Morgan Meredith, Audrey

WHAT: “‘I’ve given you sunlight, I’ve given you rain. Looks like you’re not happy unless I open a vein!’ Delicious Theatre invites you into the New York City underworld, where a young florist named Seymour is attempting to grow a mysterious-looking plant. The plant will only grow in exchange for one thing: human blood. Stumbling across it after a solar eclipse, he names the plant after his crush and co-worker, Audrey. As he discovers the true cost of keeping the plant alive, a series of moral dilemmas make him realise his own capability for true human monstrosity.”

WHERE: theSpace @ Venue45 – theSpace @ Venue 45 (Venue 45) 

WHEN: 11:10 (100 min)

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Is this your first time to Edinburgh?

Yes, it is which is simultaneously exciting and daunting but I feel so lucky to be performing alongside such a brilliant cast! Although this is my first time at Fringe, the company are returning this year after their successful run of “The Best Play Ever” in 2017. After 5-star ratings and excellent audience reviews, “The Best Play Ever” returns to the festival this year alongside the musical, which the entire company are buzzing about.

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

From a personal stance, the biggest (and scariest) thing that has happened to me since last year’s fringe is graduating from the University of Manchester, obtaining a degree in Drama. My undergrad allowed me to establish both personal and professional relationships that I’m sure will last despite my return home to the South Wales Valleys. I feel privileged to haven been given this opportunity to perform with Delicious Theatre at this year’s Fringe Festival alongside such talented, lovely and sometimes human-hungry people.

Tell us about your show.

Little Shop of Horrors is such a weird, wonderful and witty little show. Although the original performance is set during the 1960’s, Delicious Theatre’s production reimagines a world of terrifying impact of temptation in our current capitalist civilization. The satirical musical by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken is both ridiculously silly and tragically poignant and has a talking sassy plant; what more could you want from a musical?! Delicious Theatre is a company set up in 2017 by University of Manchester graduates (and one Durham graduate!). The aim of the company is to contribute bizarre and comical work to cities’ fringe scenes that pushes the boundaries of convention and showcases young adults’ interpretations of the world around us. We want to reflect the hilariously ironic and messy planet we’re making theatre on. For Little Shop of Horrors, the cast are under the direction of Emily Oulton and the musical direction of Charlie Perry.

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

Delicious Theatre’s sister show ‘The Best Play Ever’ of course (20-25 August, TheSpace on the Mile, V39)!! There’s a great deal of shows going to fringe this year that have originated from the University of Manchester such as new musical “The Fear” which is brilliant, alongside the drama societies productions of “Duck Gutters” and “Pomona” by Alistair McDowall. “Man Presents: Woman” is a girl power cabaret comedy has had great reviews AND has been produced by our very own Sophie Graci. (Co-founder of Delicious Theatre) “Flushed” by Catherine Cranfield was brilliant at the Manchester preview so everyone should go see that too! No Door Theatre Company are taking up “Bitter” this year after the success of “The Voices in Annie’s Head” at last years fringe, again, brilliant at the Manchester preview. “Living with a Dark Lord” by sisters Cait and Meave O’Sullivan had a fantastic audience response so I’m excited to see it at Edinburgh. Spies Like Us Theatre are taking both “Our Man in Havana” and “Woyzeck” this year and as I’ve seen work by the director Ollie Norton-Smith, it’s going to be super interesting! Physical theatre play “Action Man”, produced by Plaster Cast Theatre was fantastic in Manchester so I can not wait to see it again. Festivus Collective’s “The Henriad” looks like a must see as its a collaborative project with the University of Edinburgh and Manchester and retells shakespearean tragedies and comedies within a contemporary setting. Our other co-founder Katie O’Toole has produced a mint production of Sarah Kane’s ‘Crave’ from Durham University, and one of Emily and Katie’s friends Dan Richardson is in an amazing play called ‘Eat Me’ about people suffering from and surviving through the horrible mental illness that is anorexia.

We cannot recommend all these shows enough – from working with these people over the last three years I’m sure you’ll be in for a treat.


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+3 Interview: Joe Sutherland: Toxic

“It’s me doing my funny talking words for 55 minutes. It’s about gender, masculinity, my grandma, the Midlands and the Spice Girls.”

WHO: Joe Sutherland, Star

WHAT: “Masculinity – isn’t it, like, over? Or are there new ways to model manliness? Growing up Joe felt less like a boy, more like a Spice Girl. Now he’s sort of grown up, and technically a man. This is a show about embracing girl power to create your own brand of manhood. ‘Richly entertaining’ **** (ScotsGay.co.uk). ‘An engaging hour of stand-up with an important message and many laughs to be had’ **** (Edinburgh Festivals Magazine). ‘So much originality’ **** (VoiceMag.uk). ‘Oozing star power from every pore’ (Mirror). ‘Edgy and unpredictable’ (ToDoList.org.uk). ‘Definitely one to watch’ (Chortle.co.uk).”

WHERE: Underbelly, Bristo Square – Dexter (Venue 302) 

WHEN: 20:10 (60 min)

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Is this your first time to Edinburgh?

No, this is my second solo show, and I’ve been coming to the Fringe for pretty much my whole life, so a good 59 years now. I know, I look good. I’ll have to show you the painting in my attic at some point.

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

I decided to consider veganism which means I’ve had to cut out Frazzles, so I’d appreciate some privacy at this difficult time of transition in my life.

Tell us about your show.

It’s me doing my funny talking words for 55 minutes. It’s about gender, masculinity, my grandma, the Midlands and the Spice Girls.

I was very lucky this year to have direction from the fab Jess Fostekew and production support from the top lads that are United Agents.

You see what I’ve done here is used ‘lads’ ironically because the team is, in fact, entirely female. How edgy of me.

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

Their own reflection in a toilet mirror in a portacabin as they take a deep breath and ask themselves, “what now? How could it possibly get any better?”

Oh and Sarah Keyworth, Harriet Kemsley, Sophie Duker & Lulu Popplewell (Duke Pop) and Mawaan Rizwan. Top lads.


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+3 Interview: Margo: Half Woman, Half Beast

“I had the idea for MARGO in my head for about six years as her story is quite compelling.”

WHO: Melinda Hughes, writer and performer

WHAT: “Margo Lion, celebrated Weimar Berlin cabaret star and lover of Marlene Dietrich, is gripped by the decadence and debauchery of 1930s Berlin. This is the story of her tragic relationship with the lyricist Marcellus Schiffer, fuelled by alcohol, cocaine and jealousy set within a world of political unrest. Margo is packed with iconic Weimar cabaret songs by Kurt Weill, Mischa Spoliansky, Friedrich Hollaender and original songs by Melinda Hughes and Jeremy Limb who received four and five-star reviews from The Times and Musical Theatre Review for their satirical cabaret. Margo is directed by Sarah Sigal.”

WHERE: Assembly Rooms – Drawing Room (Venue 20) 

WHEN: 17:55 (60 min)

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Is this your first time to Edinburgh?

This is actually my third time to Edinburgh and the experience gets better and better. I first came here in 2013 and did a one week run at Space Venues with a cute cabaret show called French Kiss. I returned in 2014 with ‘Cocktails with the Diva’ at Assembly Rooms. This was another satirical cabaret show packed with newly written songs and a jazz trio. We had a lot of fun!

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

I’ve done a lot of travelling and have performed twice in Barbados at a small festival which was amazing. I sang a Mahler 4th with orchestra in London which was a wonderful experience and I’ve also completed researching and writing and Margo which was a lot of work!

Tell us about your show.

Margo Lion was a celebrated Weimar Berlin cabaret star and lover of Marlene Dietrich. She’s gripped by the decadence and debauchery of 1920’s Berlin and has a tragic relationship with her husband the Jewish lyricist Marcellus Schiffer. Their relationship is fuelled by alcohol, cocaine and jealousy set within a world of political unrest. Marcellus who suffers from bouts of depression, sees no way out of rise of fascism and overdoses and Margo flees Berlin for Paris in 1933. The show is packed with iconic cabaret songs of the day and is a rollercoaster.

I wrote the show myself. I had the idea for MARGO in my head for about six years as her story is quite compelling. I’m also producing it as I have a small company which produces cabaret, classical concerts and curates seasons.

We had two previews in London at JW3 which were well reviewed. It was quite emotional to see something I had worked on for so long to finally make it to the stage. I would love to take this show to small theatres and particularly to America.

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

They should go and see FRAU WELT also on at The Blue Room. Assembly Rooms for a double dose of Weimar. The show is so clever and he is an amazing actor. Its more of a Weimar fantasy but it is extraordinary and compelling!

I’ve only just started seeing shows but I recommend Rachel Parris – (she’s top of my list), Jess Robinson – an astounding singer, Flo & Jo, Dusty Limits, Adele Anderson and Austentatious. Ali McGregor’s show is always amazing. I also love stand up too and there’s just so much to choose from. So far only seen Robin Morgan who was great but will see Christian Talbot tomorrow (another favourite) For drama I recommend Diary of an expat which was clever, De Profundis with Simon Callow which was very moving and Song of Lunch with Robert Bathurst.


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+3 Interview: Falkland – The War the World Forgot

“My wife, partner, and playwright decided we didn’t have enough to do so we needed to fix the nation. Well, at least the state of Maryland anyway. So in January she decided to run for House of Delegates and I became her treasurer.”

WHO: Luke Tudball, Director & Performer

WHAT: “On a hovercraft, no one can hear you bark… Fringe legend and Olivier Award winner Guy Masterson’s uproarious tales of woe, a dog and transcontinental wedlock. The dog came with a package… it could not be abandoned in Paris, and the next eight years tested everything: marriage, career and sanity. A tormented, often hysterical life of poo, piss and pooches.”

WHERE: Greenside @ Nicolson Square – Emerald Theatre (Venue 209) 

WHEN: 13:50 (55 min)

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Is this your first time to Edinburgh?

Edinburgh is an old friend at this point, a wonderful place to return to and celebrate whenever we can. Sure, we’ve had our ups and downs but like any good relationship we kiss and make up, we walk, we get soaked in the rain, and then we make wonderful things happen. This will be my nineteenth Edinburgh Fringe and the fourth with Tasty Monster Productions – a crazy journey but one which I have learnt from, grown with, and been seduced by.

I first came to Edinburgh as a drama student over twenty years ago and since then have brought many productions to the city including in recent years SINGLEMARRIEDGIRL, Ferdinand, and this year, FALKLAND – The War The World Forgot. The Fringe is eclectic, ridiculous, challenging, and exhausting, but I can’t seem to stay away or resist the call of the fest.

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

As a company, this year we were lucky enough to take FALKLAND to Pittsburgh Fringe where we won the Selke Award for Best Show in the Fringe and that was amazing. Though awards aren’t the reason we do what we do this one was especially meaningful because I was able to work with the inspiring woman who the award was dedicated to and we are very honored that our show was recognized in her name.

For me personally, something quite big and unexpected has been working on a political campaign because my wife, partner, and playwright decided we didn’t have enough to do so we needed to fix the nation. Well, at least the state of Maryland anyway. So in January she decided to run for House of Delegates and I became her treasurer. Her treasurer and treasure, she calls me.

Tell us about your show.

Tasty Monster Productions came about, as many things do, in a bit of a whirlwind in 2011. After meeting while working on a show, Heather Bagnall, my now wonderful wife and partner, and I knew we wanted to produce new writing of our own and challenging productions which change how people perceive and think about storytelling. Over the last few years we have created and produced five original plays including FALKLAND which was inspired by the uplifting and moving stories of the people of the Falklands and their experiences of the Falklands War in 1982.

Originally premiered in Orlando, Florida, the show honors and commemorates the people whose lives were forever changed by the ten and half week conflict in which almost a thousand people died. This is not a history play – rather a play about people, politics, and power. It’s an eerily timely reminder of the damage that can be done when politicians are careless with their influence. It’s impossible to view it in a vacuum so it has become somewhat of a cautionary tale for for what is happening in our world right now.

As a person with family and friends in many nations of the world, including Britain and the United States, it is hard to not draw parallels and be wary of the road our leaders are taking us down. After Edinburgh, FALKLAND is traveling to Scranton Fringe in Pennsylvania and Charm City Fringe in Baltimore, Maryland and we hope to tour it all over the United States ahead of the midterm elections.

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

I will confess that for me the Fringe is a bit of a family reunion and one of the things that is so exciting is seeing so many friends and collaborators bringing their best work to the largest arts festival in the world. I’m especially looking forward to Gavin Robertson’s poetry-meets-standup one-man show GREG BYRON: WORDSHOW as well as Nicholas Collett’s unique look at Shakespeare, YOUR BARD, and as a huge fan of mystery and thrillers, I can’t wait for Guy Masterson’s THE MARILYN CONSPIRACY – a new look at the death of the iconic actress. Having seen and been wowed by Box Tale Soup at Brighton Fringe this May

I’m also eagerly anticipating their new adaptation of Henry James’ TURN OF THE SCREW and no Fringe is ever really complete without the horrific and hysteric poetical rantings of Dandy Darkly who brings his newest foray into the macabre, DANDY DARKLY’S ALL ABOARD!, to the Underbelly at Bristo Square. And if you’re looking for something wacky, fun, and totally unique, you should not miss Peter Michael Marino’s SHOW UP – a show entirely about you which even has a kid-friendly version at noon every day. I never cease to be astounded at Peter’s slightly maniacal energy and supreme showmanship.


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