+3 Interview: Rust

” I wanted to tell the story of my time in hospital for mental illnesses, as I thought there was a need for a show focused on the experience of recovery (rather than on illness itself) and on rehab.”

WHO: Helena Fox: Writer

WHAT: “‘When you leave here, everything else will be exactly the same. The only thing that’s changed is you.’ Based on personal experience, Rust follows Evie over the course of a month in a rehab centre as she starts to rebuild herself from rock bottom. The company behind SiX brings this moving and life-affirming original musical about addiction, mental health services and recovery to the Fringe. Previous praise for the production team: ***** (ThreeWeeks, EdFringeReview.com, Varsity).”

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

WHEN: 13:55 (60 min)

MORE: Click Here!

Is this your first time to Edinburgh?

Nope! I went for five days to watch in 2017, having been wanting to go for years, and loved it, seeing 6+ shows every day. I went back in 2018, after my first year at Uni, to perform in a student comedy musical about Brexit for the month and Cambridge Dragtime for a week. I feel like I’ve learnt more about the Fringe each time, but this is my first time taking a show I’ve co-written, which is going to be another experience entirely!

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

I would have to say placing 2nd at Man Up! 2019, the drag king competition founded by The Glory. 58 kings entered, making it the largest drag king contest this side of the Atlantic, and possibly in the world! It was a surreal, emotional, night. Even my grandma came to watch. Dancing in the interval to Jonny Woo and John Sizzle singing Erasure’s ‘Respect’ with her and my great aunt was unforgettable. The drag king scene is so friendly and it was wonderful to meet the other kings, too. But getting the slot to put on ‘Rust’ at the Fringe and finishing the second year of my degree have to get mentions too…

Tell us about your show.

I first had the idea for the show on a plane from Edinburgh to London during last year’s Fringe, when I was flying home to make my cousin’s wedding! I wanted to tell the story of my time in hospital for mental illnesses, as I thought there was a need for a show focused on the experience of recovery (rather than on illness itself) and on rehab. I wanted to de-Americanise the view of rehab as I feel the main cultural references we have are from the USA. That month changed my life entirely (for the better!), and I hope the audience can leave feeling hopeful but thoughtful, too.

I wrote it with my fellow student, Geraint Owen, who is a stellar composer (my own musical talents are lacking!). ‘Rust’ is being put on by the Cambridge University Musical Theatre Society, and produced by the wonderful Elspeth Davies. We’ve had the best week of rehearsals in Cambridge, with many laughs and tears alike, and even a sing-along on the roof of St. John’s College chapel! I can’t wait for the preview in Guildford, where I grew up, on 30th July. After Edinburgh, we’re doing a home run in Cambridge in mid-November.

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

Ooh, lots! I absolutely adored ‘A Heart at Sea’ when I saw it in 2017, so ‘Boulder’, Half a String’s new show, is definitely going on my watch list and it should be really amazing. ‘Herstory’ looks really interesting, too. I was lucky to catch ‘The Ladies’ in Cambridge and it’s at the Fringe; it’s an engrossing, well-told, and impeccably observed LGBT+ and female-driven narrative. For comedy fans: Jessie Cave’s ‘Sunrise’ is also an amazing show (the only comedy show that’s made me laugh out loud AND weep) and this Fringe is the last change to see it. If you like the surreal, John-Luke Roberts has been a highlight of both of the Fringes I’ve been to, while Isa Bonachera is a really quirky and fun watch, too.