+3 Interview: Rory O’Keeffe: The 37th Question

“I got a job writing interactive story apps, which has inspired the style of this year’s show.”

WHO: Rory O’Keeffe, Writer/Performer

WHAT: “Stuart and Zoe meet for their first date and do ‘The 36 Questions’, a psychological experiment designed to make strangers fall in love. It works. Now, after four years as a couple, is it time for the next question? Thirty Six Questions. One couple. One interactive Choose Your Own Adventure-style story. Award-winning comedian Rory O’Keeffe makes his first foray into the pretentious comedy/theatre world of storytelling (or Rorytelling*).‘Thoughtful and self-aware’ **** (BroadwayBaby.com). ‘Comedy for a post-recession graduate generation’ **** (Fest). ‘Downright clever show’ **** (Edinburgh49.org). *He promises not to make this pun in the show.”

WHERE: Banshee Labyrinth – Cinema Room (Venue 156) 

WHEN: 13:20 (60 min)

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Is this your first time to Edinburgh?

This is actually my 10th time in some form or another. I have been re-reading last year’s Edinburgh diary to get myself excited. Here is a sample entry (background info: my girlfriend is called Charlotte).

“Walked home disconsolate, bought parmesan, rang Charlotte, basically just complained at her which is unfair.”

So needless to say I am ABSOLUTELY. PUMPED. (for the parmesan).

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

I got a job writing interactive story apps, which has inspired the style of this year’s show. The company make The X Factor Life and Love Island: The Game. They’re Choose Your Own Adventure style stories so you decide what happens and you choose your appearance and your name. Most people choose their own name but I like to mix things up and try to win Love Island as ‘Boris Johnson’ or ‘Stewart Lee’.

Tell us about your show.

‘The 37th Question’ is a comic storytelling show about a couple (Stuart and Zoe) who met doing ‘The 36 Questions’, a psychological experiment designed to make strangers become intimate. It’s about what happens 4 years later when they approach the ‘37th Question’. It’s about choices, jealousy, miscommunication, and has a lot of laughs if you are that way inclined. It’s also slightly interactive as the audience can choose which way the narrative goes at certain points, including choosing between a happy and sad ending.

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

Beard, Lazy Susan, The Pin if you’re into your sketch comedy. Matt Winning for a funny and insightful look at Climate Change. Kieran Hodgson for what sounds like a good Ted Heath impression (I will be Youtube-ing in advance to cross-reference). You should also check out the best novelist at the Fringe, Christopher Bliss. He writes two to three novels a day, which I think is really impressive actually.


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+3 Interview: Dan Simpson: Worried Face Emoji

“I fly through the Fringe with an electric energy, riding those currents of exhaustion to the very end.”

WHO: Dan Simpson, Stand Up Poet

WHAT: “If brevity is the soul of wit, then emoji is the funniest language on the planet. Or it should be. Stand-up poet Dan Simpson taps into the ideograms and idiocy of our modern anxieties with a little ‘wordplay alchemy’ (FringeReview.co.uk). ‘Charmingly geeky’ (Scotsman). Glastonbury and BBC regular returns to the Fringe with whip-smart words and playful performance. Praise for previous Fringe shows: ‘The perfect antidote to the perpetual screen-burn of our internet-obsessed age’ (Scotsman). ‘A talented wordsmith… poetry for the selfie generation’ (WestEndWilma.com).”

WHERE: Banshee Labyrinth – Banquet Hall (Venue 156) 

WHEN: 18:40 (55 min)

MORE: Click Here!


Is this your first time to Edinburgh?

This is my fifth Edinburgh with a solo show, and the ninth time I’ve headed up to be part of it in some capacity. As a solo performer who does everything for the show – from writing and performing to producing, marketing, and press – I fly through the Fringe with an electric energy, riding those currents of exhaustion to the very end. In 2016 I managed to perform in over 90 shows – two of my own each day, plus guesting anywhere else. I absolutely love it.

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

I did a big project in Chicago, with the Botanic Garden there. I’m part of a popular science partnership (Dr. Illingworth & Mr. Simpson) and we flew over for nearly two weeks to partner up poets and scientists, and get them to make spoken word pieces together. I also ate a lot of deep dish pizza, which is the very best food in the world.

Tell us about your show.

They say a picture paints a thousand words: so how many does an emoji depict? Can poetry survive in a world of love hearts, shocked cats, and smiling poop? I love thinking about the impact of technology and how we communicate – essential things for a poet, or any writer / performer – so the show is influenced by that. It’s also a whole bunch of pieces I’ve written over the past two years as I work towards my second collection of poems.

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

Rob Auton is always a fantastic experience – I can’t fathom what he does, and he’s super unique. A big shout out to all the other spoken word shows, especially on the Free Fringe – the biggest home to the genre at the Festival. I can’t not mention my other show Stand Up & Slam: a battle night where we get poets to fight comedians (with words) – that’s 8.45pm each day at Subway on Cowgate, and we have acts like Harry Baker, Mark Grist and The Story Beast going up against the Fringe’s finest comedians!


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+3 Interview: Yianni Agisilaou: Pockets of Equality

“Why should she have no pockets just because she’s a woman?”

WHO: Yianni Agisilaou, Performer/Writer 

WHAT: “Yianni accidentally wore his girlfriend’s jeans and discovered that when it comes to pockets, women are far from equal. A funny show about men, women and society’s double standards.”

WHERE: Banshee Labyrinth (Venue 156) 

WHEN: 14:00 (60 min)

MORE: Click Here!


Is this your first time to Edinburgh?

It’s actually my FOURTEENTH Edinburgh Fringe. My first Edinburgh was in 1947, where a war-weary Edinburgh welcomed a rag-tag collection of Abbott and Costello knockoffs and blackface minstrels for two weeks of frivolity at the very first Fringe festival. There was a single flyerer named Rory who handed out pamphlets for everyone and the award for best comedy went to a poorly written drama production that was so bad it was good.

But seriously though, I’ve been to the Fringe many times since I first came in 2002 to do a multiple bill show of newer Australian comedians called Raw Prawns (geddit?) I’ve performed at paid venues and free venues, and in 2013 whilst doing a show called Think Big about ambition, I booked the 1200 seat Edinburgh International Conference Centre for a one off performance on the final day and spent the entire month trying to sell it out*

* In answer to your question, no I didn’t. I still sold about 500 tickets though, more than I’d ever sold to anything.

Tell us about your show.

My show is called Pockets of Equality and it’s about the funny little rules and double standards floating around society depending on whether we’re men or women. The title comes from the day I accidentally wore my girlfriend’s jeans (yes, accidentally!) and was amazed at the size (or lack thereof) of her pockets. I thought, ‘Why should she have no pockets just because she’s a woman?’ So, having walked a mile in her pockets, it got me to thinking what other situations life makes harder or easier depending on what bits we’ve got. Unsurprisingly, there are hundreds.

I wrote it, and my girlfriend is producing it. We’re being sponsored by Levi Strauss (not really, it’s Calvin Klein). We performed it earlier this year at four festivals in Australia and it got nominated for best comedy show in Perth. Afterwards, we’re going to try to modify it and pitch it to high schools.

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

Oh, there are some amazing things on this year. Red Bastard is doing a new show and I recommend going to see it. He’s one of those characters you’ll either love or hate, but people who love it love it so much that it’s worth shelling out the ticket money and taking a chance.

Eric Davis who performs it is an extraordinary ‘bouffon clown’ (In normal clowning, the butt of the joke is the clown. In bouffon clowning, the joke is on the audience) It’s confronting plus it’s improvised and interactive so it’s different each night and very unique to each audience. Definitely worth catching. Love it or hate it, I guarantee you’ll talk about it afterwards a LOT.


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