EdFringe Talk: Are You Being Murdered?

“Like many people I’ve realised how cluttered my life is with “things” and how much better I feel getting rid of many of them that I don’t need.”

WHO: Arthur Bostrom

WHAT: “World premiere of a new murder mystery starring Arthur Bostrom (‘Allo ‘Allo!) set in the golden age of BBC sitcoms, from the acclaimed Father Brown writer David Semple. A supporting artist’s job is to be invisible, inscrutable, and not to pull focus from the stars… and Jamie Button does his best to follow these rules, until he witnesses a murder on the set of a popular sitcom. Extra turns detective, stepping into the limelight. As events unravel and the culprit fears detection by this amateur sleuth, could it be that Jamie has spoken his last ‘rhubarb’?”

WHERE: Pleasance at EICC – Cromdale Theatre (Venue 150) 

WHEN: Varies (60 min)

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Is this your first time to Edinburgh?

This will be my third time as a performer. I appeared on the Fringe in 1975 and 1976 as part of Durham University’s Edinburgh Fringe Theatre Company. I performed in revues, plays and a one man show “Des Esseintes”, the experience of which made me decide to become a professional actor. So Edinburgh Fringe was very much my launchpad. I’ve been back several time as a show watcher.

What’s special about EdFringe for me is the excitement. It’s huge event where you can see so many different types of artistic expression. I always come away inspired. I believe EdFringe has grown and grown precisely because of this mix. You can see the greats, such as Sir Ian McKellen, and next door maybe someone who’s just starting. It’s unmatched anywhere else in the world I believe.

What are the big things you’ve learned since 2019 and have you absorbed any of the lessons yet?

I’ve had a long time to think and mull during the pandemic years when, for the most part, I couldn’t work as an actor. Before 2020 I had been wondering if I still wanted to be an actor, after 42 years. During that time I realised I still did. I’ve realised the things and people I’m grateful are in my life. Also I’ve finally learned that great lesson to control things that are within my power to change for the better, and stop mourning things that I cannot do anything about: Brexit, the pandemic, governments, people’ behaviours etc. A long list. I’ve learned I can’t hang on to every one of my friends. Some have left my life, appropriately. Like many people I’ve realised how cluttered my life is with “things” and how much better I feel getting rid of many of them that I don’t need. If I ever did need them. This is a “work in progress”. I’m away working on this play, living out of a suitcase for weeks. All I’m missing from home are some paintings I love. There.

Tell us about your show.

“Are You Being Murdered?” is a one man play acted by me, written by David Semple, and produced by Seabright Productions. It’s set in the 1970s and features me playing the character of Jamie Button, a supporting artist on the famous BBC Comedy “Are You Being Served?” It’s an affectionate, funny story from that time, with also a touch of Marple and Poirot thrown in as I also solve a murder. It came about as I had appeared as a guest on the BBC series “Father Brown”, an episode written by David Semple, the writer of this show. We had met briefly on location six years ago, and in June 2021 he emailed me literally out of the blue to inform me that he had written me a one man show. At no point had he contacted me before. Later that day, he sent what was the 4th draft, I loved it, wanted to do it, and here we are doing it- through extraordinary synchronistic paths .David Semple had suggested Seabright Productions, and I found that that Tom O’Connell was now a co-producer there – I had had a very happy association with him in 2016 on a touring play and he was very happy to take on this play. Such warm and enthusiastic connections . We are premiering it at five performances at the Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne, from July 28th – 31st before heading up to the EICC in Edinburgh. We are hoping to tour the production in the rest of 2022 and into 2023 as there is interest from UK venues.

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

I’d like to plug the show Megalith, by Mechanimal, which features a friend and super all round actor Charles Sandford. You can find it at Zoo August 5 -28. It’ll be physical, exciting and thought-provoking I know.