+3 Interview: Margarita Dreams

“I’d forgotten what a joy writing sketch comedy is – there is the freedom to go anywhere and do anything.”

WHO: Richard Sparks, Writer/Director

WHAT: “Dave is on the beach, in Mexico, drinking margaritas. He drifts off… into a whirl of absurdities. Cross-dressing, phone-induced paranoia, a four-way divorce, a spirit-reading summoning a flasher, String Theory explained, the modern technology-addled brain (with robotic legs), a very strange romance, disappointed parents – and finally, a riot at the Shy People’s Encounter Group, ending harmoniously in disco therapy. Funny where nine margaritas can take you… ‘Will enthral and enchant all who venture through this theatricum botanicum’ (Jack Black). ‘Great material by a master comedy craftsman’ (Griff Rhys Jones). ‘A delicious comedy cocktail’ (Kathy Lette).”

WHERE: Assembly Roxy (Venue 139) 

WHEN: 17:40 (60 min)

MORE: Click Here!

Is this your first time to Edinburgh?

No – I wrote and appeared in two Oxford Revues (starring Mel Smith) in 1972 and 1973, and two later two-man shows in 1974 and 1976 at the Demarco Gallery. So this is something of a second adolescence for me, which came completely out of the blue. I’ve been mentoring four young talents from Los Angeles, where I now live, by Skype since December. In February, we thought – hey, Edinburgh, why not? So I’ve written a completely new all-action comedy sketch show for them.

Tell us about your show.

I wrote it and am directing it, and PW Productions is producing. Bella Speaight is the pebble that started this whole avalanche. We started working by Skype on a number of scenes and projects, and she soon brought Sophia Compton on board. When I started writing Margarita Dreams, in February, I wanted four performers rather than just two, and they already knew Jack Baxter and Jason Brasier, who have worked together a lot.

They’re all a great fit, all work really well with each other, and the show now has a lot of variety of characters and scenes as a result. It all came flying out, and I can’t thank them enough for being the inspiration to come up with all this wild and wonderful stuff. I’d forgotten what a joy writing sketch comedy is – there is the freedom to go anywhere and do anything.

Edinburgh is our premiere this August, and after that – who knows? We could easily move it on, as I’ve written enough material for another complete hour. We could expand it into a two act-show and sell some margaritas in the interval.

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

Alexei Sayle. I produced the charity music/comedy show Fundamental Frolics (Apollo Victoria, BBC TV) for Mencap in 1981 (the Year of the Disabled), which I asked Alexei to compere. It was his first big gig, with all the Not The Nine O’Clock News team, Elvis Costello, Ian Dury, Stephane Grapelli, the totally unknown Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson, two-thirds of The Police, and others.

Alexei held it all together brilliantly, and I love his comedy. It will be excellent to see him live on stage again after so long. He’s on in the same room as ‘Margarita Dreams’ not long after we finish, so we’ll just hang around in the bar for a couple of hours. Also Lucy Porter, another fine stand-up comedian who makes me laugh a lot.