+3 Interview: Flanker Origami

“This first hybrid edition of the Fringe festival is juggling with lot of challenges and opportunities, and it is great that it opened to online performances as there is so much experimentation going on.”

WHO: Bianca Mastrominico: Performer, co-creator

WHAT: “An artistic couple expose their daily rituals and lockdown coping routines, digitally unleashing two eccentric performance personas bent on transforming their Edinburgh home into a glittery alternative reality. Through dressing up, dancing, disembodied animations, forced karaoke and improbable ASMR storytelling, they are on a quest to enhance their own wellbeing and yours! Stranded on Zoom, their relationship reveals a tender and funny, if slightly disturbing, world of online intimacy on the edge of misunderstanding and manipulation. Award-winning Organic Theatre returns to the Fringe for a digital world premiere.”

WHERE: Fringe Online – Zoom (Venue 362) 

WHEN: VARIES (60 min)

MORE: Click Here!


Is this your first time to Edinburgh?

We have presented work at the EdFringe before and we are an Edinburgh-based company so even when we haven’t performed we have been lucky to have it on our doorstep – it’s addictive!

This first hybrid edition of the Fringe festival is juggling with lot of challenges and opportunities, and it is great that it opened to online performances as there is so much experimentation going on. This is very exciting and enriching, and also fair for artists who cannot afford to travel right now. It feels like the Fringe is returning to its origins, with theatre-makers taking the lead over the needs of venue programming, and we are thrilled to be part of this new iteration. Besides, we’re working from home so it’s cost-effective…

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

Like many other theatre makers, we found ourselves confronting the need to be creative, learning new ways of working and making the most of the constraints of being ‘at home’. With Flanker Origami we are affirming the power of creative action over habits forced upon us by the health crisis and our home has now been transformed into a (rather messy) digital stage… We couldn’t have imagined an emergency that would have forced us to reconsider how we make, perform and meet our audiences, as well as how we live our lives, and Flanker Origami is our joyous, slightly dark but liberating response to the time that was lost to fear and shock.

Tell us about your show.

Flanker Origami is a ‘home-specific’ performance, so John Dean and I are inviting our audiences to gaze, imagine, and be voyeurs of our personal spaces in our real house. There isn’t a narrative, but a roller-coaster of dynamics between our two eccentric alter egos Flanker and Origami, out of which emerges a darkly comedic and – at times – grotesque journey into the collective psychological drama of the lockdowns. Flanker (and) Origami are seen stranded on Zoom in their own house, with no other escape than playing out preposterous online wellbeing routines, under the illusion of healing themselves and others.

The performance is a world premiere produced by Organic Theatre, it has been devised for digital audiences on Zoom and will be live-streamed daily during the last week of the festival. The process started with adapting our studio work during the pandemic and once we understood that this year’s Fringe was including a digital programme, we decided it was a good fit.

We’re not alone in the show, as we have animated replicas of ourselves in 2d rotoscope animations by artist and animator Cristiana Messina, and a fantastic technical collaborator Chiara Menozzi. It’s a weird experience that we live in the same city and we only ever see each other online…

Organic Theatre started in 2002 as an intercultural performance lab, devising and touring performances and workshops in the UK and internationally – we have performed in theatres, art galleries, museums, streets, barns, village halls and festivals. Our processes are collaborative, interdisciplinary and based on extended periods of research and development. In Flanker Origami we dance, our performances are physical, but there is also a strong emphasis on using text which is improvised and becomes scripted as part of our final performance. We like to create on our feet, through improvisation and repetition of the bits that made sense to us, so the resulting work feels somehow in-between art and life.

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

Supporting online work is crucial as many artists are experimenting with the digital medium and what came out of necessity has become a new way of engaging with audiences, producers and press, possibly beyond the Fringe. We particularly recommend the curated programme at Summerhall, which gives a lot of food for thought in terms of creative hybrid exploration. Both these shows play imaginatively and topically with online forms:

> >  iMelania – Summerhall online – Gather.Town
> >  Knot: The Trilogy, Summerhall online – Darkfield App


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+3 Interview: Triple Bypass: Three Ten-Minute Plays About Living for Death and Dying for Life

“The magical thing about fringe is for so many of us, once we attend or become involved in any way, the urge to put up your own work becomes not only irresistible, but it doesn’t seem so impossible any more.”

WHO: Deena MP Ronayne, writer and producer

WHAT: “Deena MP Ronayne’s award-winning debut as a writer takes audiences on an emotional journey ranging from fear and hate to delight and joy. Seeking Dignity is a suspenseful drama with a twist in its tail; Close To Black sees two young women who meet as strangers, but discover they have a lot in common; and Tango-ed Web is a laugh-out-loud black comedy about fatal attraction. Filmed live and fully-staged in an empty Aberdeen Community Theatre (South Dakota), the plays are captioned throughout.”

WHERE: Online@theSpaceUK (Venue 132) 

WHEN: On Demand (50 min)

MORE: Click Here!


Is this your first time to Edinburgh?

I am ‘attending’ virtually this year. I visited Edinburgh for the first time as a tourist in 2011 and I attended the EdFringe for the first time in 2018 as a scouting producer, disguised as a tourist! At that time, I had just produced my first show at the Orlando Fringe Festival (‘Shakespeare’s Ghostbusters’), so I was delighted to be present at EdFringe. What I loved the most was all the street performances and how easy it was to connect with other artists. The magical thing about fringe is for so many of us, once we attend or become involved in any way, the urge to put up your own work becomes not only irresistible, but it doesn’t seem so impossible any more.

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

I think I’ve really developed my leadership style since then. I prefer to lead by quiet example and empowering my team. It also didn’t take me long to realize that part of leadership is paying for things you didn’t break, apologizing for things you didn’t do, and offering an explanation for things you didn’t say. It can be frustrating and isolating, but my favourite part of that learning curve is realizing that mistakes happen, and they are ok and important as long as you take earnest ownership of the occurrence and the solution.

Tell us about your show.

I am producing my show through my company, Hardly Working Promotions LL, and it is also the first play I have written. It is called ‘Triple Bypass: Three Ten Minute Plays About Living for Death & Dying for Life’. It consists of one heavy drama, one fan fiction, and one comedy, all with a different take on life and death. There are trigger warnings, because it deals with some heavy issues, but it ends with the light-hearted comedy that hopefully leaves audience members with overall enjoyment. This show has gone through nine virtual festivals before EdFringe, picking up three awards in the process (Most Viewed – Elgin Winter Fest, Producers Award – Front Row Fringe, Spirit of the Fringe Never in a Box – Front Row Fringe) and after EdFringe, it will be available virtually through The Boulder Fringe, The St Lou Fringe, The Lahti Fringe, and The Melbourne Fringe. My hope is to bring this show to several festivals live with local cast and crew members in 2022, including Edinburgh. I encourage everyone to please feel free to contact me if you are interested in being involved in one of the live productions in the future.

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

There are so many great options for shows produced, performed and written by women this year. Check out ‘Afterparty’, ‘Hitler’s Tasters’ and ‘Sweet FA’ for some women empowered work!


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+3 Interview: Spaces Between Us and Satori

“Edinburgh is one of my favourite cities in the world and I don’t think there’s anything quite like Fringe time. We miss it!”

WHO: Lewis Major

WHAT: “Envisioning a world of impermanence and shifting atmospheres amongst different patterns of sound, light, and movement, Spaces Between Us and Satori is an approachable, sensitive, and moving double bill of contemporary dance by acclaimed Australian choreographer, Lewis Major. Imagining a system where things are kept suspended and in movement by each element’s own gravitational fields and contending forces, the dancers and their stories form the locus, generating their own rhythms and luminosity.”

WHERE: Black Box Live – Black Box Live: From Australia (Venue 417) 

WHEN: On Demand (40 min)

MORE: Click Here!


Is this your first time to Edinburgh?

No, although it’s the first time presenting digitally. I’ve been very fortunate to spend a few summers in Edinburgh performing in other shows, although I’ve also headed up just to take in the incredible experience of the festival. I’ve often rocked up in the last part of the month, put out a call to friends to see what is worth catching, then spending a week taking in 4 or 5 shows a day. Edinburgh is one of my favourite cities in the world and I don’t think there’s anything quite like Fringe time. We miss it!

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

Always, always be ready to pivot – on a dime if necessary. The world is still in turmoil and even as we seem to start to get a hold of things, it’s been shown time and time again that those artists flexible enough to change things on the fly will be the ones to survive and thrive. Also, we should be kinder to each other.

Tell us about your show.

Spaces Between Us, the first half of our show, is about a number of things. Firstly, the physical distance that separates people – whether they are kept apart by work, geography, or a global pandemic – and how that affects a relationship. It’s also about the gulf in understanding between people, empathetically, emotionally, or otherwise, what happens when someone wants something that the other person doesn’t and how that interrelation between people plays out. It’s a deeply personal piece born out of the Covid crisis but connected to daily life also. Satori on the other hand is about as pure a dance piece as I’ve ever made. Based on the idea of impermanence and constant flux, we’ve used the juxtaposition of these very straight, very stark lighting tubes and the fluid, rolling, flowing choreography of the dancers to suggest ethereal beauty and universal rhythms of the universe seen in a non-specific, very suggestive way. This is a premiere for Edinburgh Festival made possible by the incredible crew at Black Box Live, though we’re taking it on tour in Australia very shortly.

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

You must see all of the shows that Black Box Live is presenting but especially Egg by my dear friend Erin Fowler and The Girl Who Jumped Off The Hollywood Sign by Joanne Hartstone. I’d also highly recommend Botis Seva’s BLCKDOG and T.H.E. from Singapore and their show Pan.


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+3 Interview: Patricia Gets Ready (For a Date With the Man That Used to Hit Her)

“I’m half Scottish and so my Dad took my when I was very little to just walk amongst the buzz the fringe creates, and then when I got older, I went a few times as a ‘gals trip’ with my mum. It’s such a great festival; the perfect mix of chaotic and focused.”

WHO: Martha Watson Allpress: Writer

WHAT: “Patricia has spent a year crafting a kick-ass speech while recovering from an abusive relationship. But when she bumps into her ex on the street, and accidentally agrees to dinner with him that night, she’s got some big decisions to make; what to wear? What to say? And whether or not to go? Join Patricia as she gets ready for the date, tells stories of her past and how it has affected her present, and looks honestly at her future.”

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

WHEN: Varies (60 min)

MORE: Click Here!


Is this your first time to Edinburgh?

It is! I’ve been before as an attendee, but not as part of a show. I’m half Scottish and so my Dad took my when I was very little to just walk amongst the buzz the fringe creates, and then when I got older, I went a few times as a ‘gals trip’ with my mum. It’s such a great festival; the perfect mix of chaotic and focused.

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

That your priorities are never what you think they are. Oddly I have found that in a rather painful way, the numerous lockdowns and the entire pandemic has helped me take pressure off myself creatively. Over the past eighteen months I’ve been so occupied, thinking about my family and well-being, that when I returned to writing it felt so much more like a choice, rather than an obligation.

Tell us about your show.

So Patricia Gets Ready (for a date with the man that used to hit her) is a one hour, one woman show that follows Patricia getting ready in her bedroom, after accidentally agreeing to dinner with her ex that night. It’s a funny, heart breaking, and honest hour with a genuinely likeable woman who’s trying to understand herself a little better. Initially it ran at the above pub theatre in Kenington; The White Bear; and it transferred from their to the VAULTS festival in 2020. We snuck our run in just before the first lockdown which is sort of insane?

We have the wonder team behind it. Patricia has always felt like a culmination of all the right people at just the right time; written by Martha Watson Allpress, directed by Kaleya Baxe, performed by Angelina Chudi, produced by Nur Khairiyah and the tech is done by Steven Frost. It’s a small team for an intimate show, and everyone handles the piece, and each other, with real delicacy and care. Our team’s created something really special.

After the fringe, the hope is the show gets the opportunity to tour; I think taking this specific story to different areas will be so fascinating, as it’ll resonate different everywhere. It’s always exciting to think of the conversations that happen after the curtain call, and these’ll be so different and unique to each place. The more chat the better!

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

Oh my gosh! There’s so much incredible stuff to be seen, and the Pleasance’s line up kind of floored me with excitement. But honestly, I think walk the Royal Mile, find a poster that looks vaguely interesting but you have no idea what the show is or about, and GO SEE THAT. Surprise yourself. It’s always fun!


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+3 Interview: Screen 9

image of event

“Some of our company have been to the Fringe as performers for different productions, punters, industry members and others have never been—so it’s wonderful to go up as a collective.”

WHO: Kate Barton: Writer and Associate Director

WHAT: “At the Colorado premiere of The Dark Knight Rises, a community was torn apart by gun violence. But while their hearts were broken, their community was not. This hard-hitting verbatim piece follows the survivors remarkable true testimonies of the infamous Batman Shootings as they attempt to respond and recover from the tragedy. This is their story and every word is real. Piccolo Theatre is a bold new company, creating cutting edge and thought-provoking theatre. The Pleasance is proud to present Screen 9 as this year’s recipient of the Charlie Hartill Theatre Reserve.”

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

WHEN: Varies (60 min)

MORE: Click Here!


Is this your first time to Edinburgh?

This is Piccolo Theatre’s debut professional show. We’re so excited to bring this show to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival; as a new, transatlantic theatre company we can’t wait to bring Screen 9 to the varied festival audience. Some of our company have been to the Fringe as performers for different productions, punters, industry members and others have never been—so it’s wonderful to go up as a collective. This show was supposed to tour in 2020, so after a year in pause (and more time in R&D and rehearsals), we are thrilled to present it to the public after our previews at the Kings Head Theatre and Durham Fringe Festival. Edinburgh in August is an incredibly eclectic, artistic and inspiring place to be—we can’t wait to be part of its story this year.

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

This show has grown substantially from the first 10-minute sharing we did at The Pleasance in February 2020. We are partnered with Survivors Empowered, a charity set up by the parents of Jessica Ghawi, a young woman killed in the shooting. Working and supporting the incredible work they do with survivors of gun violence across the county is truly remarkable. They have been a source of wisdom, inspiration and encouragement for the project—and their level of generosity has been amazing. I guess, on a micro-level, we have also learnt how to cope as a company through an international pandemic, including how to run an entire rehearsal week on Zoom (having been pinged by the NHS app!). Since 2019, we have learnt a lot about reclaiming stories and spaces, and we feel very privileged as an ensemble to tell their story, rather than giving fame to serial or spree killers, as is too often done in theatres and media.

Tell us about your show.

It’s a verbatim show about the infamous Colorado Batman shootings in 2012, with every line being resourced from blog posts, trial coverage, and speaking to survivors, parents, and American citizens. The play creates four fictional characters based off real people to tell the survivors’ story, who find themselves in a world where the media focuses on the perpetrator and on the new shooting, often leaving the victims behind. It’s a powerful true story of survival and about finding joy, hope and community. It’s our debut show as a company, and after two preview runs, it’ll be premiering this August in Edinburgh. The dream would be to continue sharing this story next year to mark the 10-year anniversary of the tragedy, and to take it to more venues and an international audience.

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

Absolutely get your tickets to Patricia Gets Ready (With A Man Who Used To Hit Her). It’s the other Charlie Hartill Award show and carries a very human and important message. It’s definitely going to be a hit! For something lighter than Screen 9 and Patricia, I’d say Austentatious! It’s a really fun Jane Austen improv show that only gets better year after year!


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+3 Interview: PUSH

“The huge challenge of Edfringe is probably a big part of what makes it such an amazing and satisfying experience overall.”

WHO: Tamsin Hurtado Clarke & Scarlett Plouviez: Performer & Director

WHAT: “A hell of a lot can happen in the time you await the results of a pregnancy test. This is the story of a woman staring down the barrel of motherhood, torn between her own ambivalence… and an uncontrollable urge to push. Award-winning Popelei burst out of isolation and onto your screens with their darkly comic theatre production, reimagined for film. Blistering honesty, exhilarating choreography, and one extremely knocked-up performer.”

WHERE: Pleasance Online (Venue 117) 

WHEN: On Demand (40 min)

MORE: Click Here!


Is this your first time to Edinburgh?

This will be our second time as part of Edfringe. We first showed up at Edinburgh in 2014 with our show Manuelita which ran at the Underbelly and won a Three Weeks Editors’ Award. Our memory is a little hazy (blame the obligatory post-show beers) but we certainly remember it as a rollercoaster ride, with plenty of highs and lows. The huge challenge of Edfringe is probably a big part of what makes it such an amazing and satisfying experience overall. That said, we wish it were much more accessible to a wider number of artists (or that we could afford to go every year!) and, for that reason, we are very excited about Edfringe’s recent incorporation of digital shows.

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

Patience and perseverance. What else can you do in the face of a pandemic when theaters are closed and all your audience are behind doors? We waited it out and we kept creating in the ways we could, making audio and video work for audiences to engage with at home, including our digital monologue series Women In Lockdown and our location-based audio series Press Play (Available via our website, https://www.popelei.com/shows).

Tell us about your show.

PUSH is a show that Popelei created in early 2020, which previewed at Vault Festival the same year. As women in our 30s considering our own fertility, we thought: stories always focus on the practical issues of motherhood, but what about the more emotional and existential concerns? What does it feel like to stop and consider the hugely different paths your life could take? We were so excited to take PUSH up to the Fringe as part of The Pleasance programme in August 2020 but of course, that was not to be. But now, we are back and more excited than ever to have a newly-formed filmed version of the show which will hopefully reach audiences from all over the world who want to experience the Fringe from wherever they are.

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

SEE EVERYTHING! This is a chance to experience many of the plethora of shows of the Fringe in a more accessible and affordable online format. Our wonderful friends The Wardrobe Ensemble are presenting The Great Gatsby which has taken on a digital life after live shows were cancelled in January, and which Tamsin from Popelei happens to also star in. Patricia Gets Ready (for a date with a man that used to hit her) also looks incredible. We were lucky enough to see the brilliant Gobby live and we will certainly be re-watching on the sofa with a bag of popcorn.


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+3 Interview: Kill Me Now

“I learned if you attempt said haircut your husband will want to divorce you. Especially if you make him look like a cross between Lloyd off Dumb and Dumber and a Peaky Blinder whose head’s been run over by a lawnmower.”

WHO: Rhiannon Boyle: Playwright

WHAT: “Welcome to undertaker Anna Morgan-Jones’ live Zoom webinar. Her goal? To sell you the lucrative franchise model of her “end-of-life celebration” funeral business. But can the self-confessed grief guru successfully make it through her PowerPoint presentation – full of rainbow coffins, leopard print hearses and beer-can shaped scatter tubs? Or will secrets, accidental truths and internet trolls cause her to unravel right before our eyes? A dark comedy about coming to terms with grief by critically acclaimed Welsh new writing theatre company Dirty Protest and award-winning playwright Rhiannon Boyle.”

WHERE: Summerhall Online – Zoom (Venue 253) 

WHEN: Varies (45 min)

MORE: Click Here!


Is this your first time to Edinburgh?

I am officially popping my Edinburgh cherry this year and I’m both nervous and excited in equal measures. Luckily my producers, Dirty Protest Theatre, have been around the block and are very experienced, so I’m in pretty safe hands.

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

One of the main things I learnt in lockdown is that you can’t watch a five-minute YouTube tutorial and then go on to give your husband a hairdresser quality haircut. Especially not with a beard trimmer and a pair of child’s blunt crafting scissors. I learned if you attempt said haircut your husband will want to divorce you. Especially if you make him look like a cross between Lloyd off Dumb and Dumber and a Peaky Blinder whose head’s been run over by a lawnmower. Hairdressers should be key workers. End of.

Tell us about your show.

Kill Me Now is a digital, dramatic experience performed as a real-life live Zoom webinar written by me, award winning playwright Rhiannon Boyle. It’s a funny, heart wrenching one woman play, developed in lockdown specifically for a virtual audience.

Critically acclaimed Dirty Protest Theatre co was set up in 2007 as Wales’ new writing company by a couple of pals of mine. Back then they were a small DIY company of mates putting on short plays in bars and quirky venues across Cardiff. I was involved in writing for their very first scratch night and have written for them ever since as a side-line. Then a few years back I decided to give up my teaching job and take the plunge and become a full time writer and Dirty Protest have been by my side ever since. This our first full length professional production together and we’re so excited to have got here.

We’re excited to say that Kill Me Now is premiering in Edinburgh this year. We have had a lot of interest in our work from international arts promoters and theatre bookers primarily in Australia, USA/Canada, South and East Asia, and South America, which of course is super exciting for us.

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

Fellow Welsh theatre company Hijinx’s show, Metamorphosis, which was originally created with neurodiverse and learning disabled performers in lockdown, is playing the final week of the Fringe and is definitely worth a watch. I’m a big fan of comedian Kiri Pritchard-McLean and so I’m keeping an eye on news on her Edinburgh offering. My Left Nut by Michael Patrick and Oisin Kearney, which is online on Summerhall’s platform also sounds pretty funny and right up my street so I’ll definitely be getting tickets to see that.


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+3 Interview: Ithaca

“Nothing gets people talking to you like standing in a bin.”

WHO: Phoebe Angeni: Author and performer

WHAT: “It’s not all in your head. Fantasy and reality merge in this autobiographical one-woman adaptation of Homer’s Odyssey. Dynamic, dramatic and at times darkly comedic, Ithaca explores the journey of Nobody, a feminine aspect of Odysseus, who was born in the Cyclops’ cave. Nobody’s journey is about finding home, but also creating space and a voice for herself within a world and body, which seem to forcefully reject her. Ithaca is a stage-for-screen production examining crucial social issues (fatphobia, bullying, domestic harassment, mental health, chronic illness, and immigration) and features physical theatre, devised movement, poetry and some special effects.”

WHERE: Fringe Player (Venue 65) 

WHEN: (60 min)

MORE: Click Here!


Is this your first time to Edinburgh?

This will be my third year performing at the Edinburgh Fringe! I was lucky enough to be at the festival in 2018 and 2019 and both years were absolutely incredible. My first year at the Fringe was wild and overwhelming – the sheer vibrancy of people coming in from all around the world to share their creativity was amazing to experience. I feel like I got more of the lay of the land in 2019 and I was also more involved with show marketing.

As part of The Greenhouse I did reverse-flyering shifts just about every day standing in bins on the Royal Mile to chat with folks about sustainable theatre practices. Nothing gets people talking to you like standing in a bin and it was a fantastic way to meet audience members, fellow performers, and feel the pulse of the city. This year has been a much different experience as a completely one-woman production. I’ve definitely been honoured to help directors carry their visions to the festival, but there’s something extra special about sharing a project that’s entirely my own.

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

Since the start of the pandemic in 2019 I’ve learned so much – not only how to execute every single element of stage-to-screen production, but how to rely on myself and have more confidence in my creative choices and intuition.

Tell us about your show.

My show, Ithaca, is an autobiographical one-woman adaptation of Homer’s Odyssey. I’ve always wanted to create a show inspired by the Odyssey and when I was furloughed at the start of the pandemic I decided there was no better time to throw myself into this project. It’s definitely been a difficult process because throughout the past year and a half I’ve been separated from my creative community while living in San Francisco. After remotely work-shopping my script with some fellow artists back in the UK I reached out to local theatres in San Francisco to get the show on its feet. Theatres were pretty much shuttered, so I never heard back. It was so important to me to be able to finally tell my story and I didn’t have the budget to hire help, so I decided to do everything myself. Throughout the course of the pandemic I produced the show. I set up a voiceover studio, recorded and edited each of my 14 character’s voices, sourced and adapted a soundtrack, directed myself by watching playbacks of my rehearsals, and I devised and choreographed each poetic piece. Finally I set up cameras, filmed Ithaca scene by scene in a 16 square foot space, and edited the entire show.

While watching other recorded shows throughout the pandemic I noticed that I often felt distant from the energy I usually feel in a theatre. Since the pandemic, a lot of familiar experiences have seemed distant and with Ithaca I wanted to help bridge this divide. I have some experience with film poetry, so I thought to incorporate experimental effects to enhance a digital experience and immerse viewers further into the play – to create empathetic connections and push the boundary between virtual and physical performance space. Ithaca draws heavily from Homer’s Odyssey both in structure and theme, which luckily fairly easily mirrors or complements my life story. You don’t have to have read the Odyssey to understand Ithaca – its themes, such as defining a relationship to selfhood and home, are universal concepts and the social issues that Ithaca addresses are widespread and important for all viewers to consider.

Ithaca premiered 25th June– 4th July via Broadway on Demand and I’d love to continue virtual or live touring after Edinburgh Fringe.

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

My viewers should definitely join me in watching mandla rae – as british as a watermelon, Sally Charlton’s Mother’s Milk, and Move by Disaster Plan. mandla rae’s work looks visually stunning, powerful, and mandla rae’s trailer definitely piqued my interest – rising from the dead? Yes please!

Sally Charlton’s Mother’s Milk sounds salacious, poignant, fun, and also powerful (and I’m in love with the idea of abstract expressionist-like usage of milk on stage). Disaster Plan’s Move also sounds like my absolute cup of tea. If you can go in person, do it! The beach, feminine community, Gaelic songs with an international outlook – what’s not to love??


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Michael Odewale: #BLACKBEARSMATTER (Pleasance Courtyard, 1-25 Aug, 17:30, 1hr)

“Clearly an adept writer and jokester.”

Editorial Rating: 3 Stars

Your reaction to Michael Odewale’s chosen title for his new stand-up hour, #BLACKBEARSMATTER, will likely indicate how amusing you will find the ensuing comedy. The joke, like much of the hour, is witty, but somewhat surface-level, and raises a few more questions than laughs. That being said, Odewale is clearly an adept writer and jokester, whose talents certainly shine from time to time, in between slightly weaker setups and punchlines.

The venue, a small dark Pleasance space, suits his winking, confrontational approach well, letting Odewale lock eyes with audience members who react with mixtures of amused discomfort and pearl-clutching giggles, to good comic effect. His material ranges from daring jabs at consumerism and privilege, to more self-deprecating observations on Black masculinity and some of his own morally dubious personal habits. Each of these topics elicits a good belly laugh or two over the course of the show, including some truly tickling insinuations that terrorism benefits the running shoe industry, and a darkly hilarious story about the etiquette of discussing peanut allergies on a date. 

Many of Odewale’s bits, rest assured, are certainly amusing, but just as many make one feel some more fine-tuning is in order, and perhaps a rethink of comic timing. The comedy is not quite consistent or energetic enough to elicit the kind of enthusiasm needed to make an audience thoroughly recommend this hour to their friends — like the title, a great deal of his jokes are creative, but without much spark. Odewale’s persona, however, of a sardonic, witty, and flawed Black male shrewdly navigating the parameters of modern society, has much potential, and I personally would happily see his next show, assuming the punchlines get tighter, the segments more focused, and Odewale’s energy more palpable. A performer to remember, but a show that could use more bite and verve for now. 

Star (blue)Star (blue)Star (blue)

Reviewer: Nathaniel Brimmer-Beller

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Little Shop of Horrors (theSpace @ Surgeon’s Hall: Aug 19 – 24 : 17:45: 1hr)

“A faithful, fun adaptation of a well loved classic.”

Editorial Rating: 3 Stars: Nae Bad

I’ve always had a weakness for Little Shop. Call me puerile, but there’s a lot of musicals that’d benefit from a giant, bloodthirsty jazz plant. Fiddler on the Roof is an amazing show, but imagine Sunrise, Sunset with Levi Stubbs scatting in the background. It was with glee, then, that I saw a production was to be brought my doorstep.

For those who don’t know, the premise of Little Shop of Horrors is classic black comedy: a nerdy schmuck finds an alien plant that changes his life for the better – the only catch being that Audrey II demands human blood in exchange for continued success. Think Faust, if Faust was a rock opera set mostly in a flower shop.

Bob Hope Theatre stays true to this narrative whilst squeezing the original work into a tight hour – and, in that respect, it’s a real success. As someone who is shamefully familiar with its predecessors, places where material was cut and fused for time was surprisingly seamless, incorporating the dramatic flow into the changes with masterful attention to inter-scene connection. Though a few scenes (especially those reliant on emotional revelations) felt a little pressed for space, it’s a necessary evil of the Fringe business.

Performances are strong across the board, with every player slipping into Little Shop’s caricature cut-out roles with aplomb. Whilst not doing anything particularly new with the roles, there was no place where the demands of the characters were not met. Richard Cooper is wonderfully nebbish as Seymour, in stark contrast to Sarah Leanne-Howe’s Audrey – straight out of the pages of a 1950s Good Housekeeping. Kris Webb’s murderous Audrey II, whilst lacking the booming presence of his predecessors, brought a pointedly creepy smoothness to his role. Managing to look vaguely threatening in a big frond costume is tough, but honest to God it happens.

MVP of the production must go to Andy Moore, with his standout performance as Orin Scrivello. Energetic, gleefully sadistic and uncomfortably charismatic, Moore keenly captures not only the essential energy of the play, but also the essence of what makes his character such a joy to watch. Praise for energy also goes to Paul Stone as Mushnik. Though his accent takes certain peaks and troughs during the performance, he immediately lights up the stage with each appearance.

However, Little Shop demands more than theatrical chops. Rock Opera is a hard beast to wrangle, especially on the small stage. And don’t think for a moment that the singing performances in this show are not incredibly worthy – they are, especially in the case of Chiffon, Crystal & Ronette. However, technical mastery is just one facet of this kind of performance, and unfortunately, the necessary punch and energy required to really hammer home the intensity and spectacle of a rock opera simply wasn’t there. The songs had heart, but (apart from a select few) nothing every really comes in for the killing blow. Tension doesn’t range high enough, sorrow cannot go low enough. This is a cast with the potential to hit the audience like a sledgehammer, and it’s disappointing to see it miss.

It’s deceptively hard to pull off an established show, especially with a smaller budget and Fringetastic time constraints. The performance by Bob Hope Theatre, whilst not bombastic, is nevertheless a faithful, fun adaptation of a well loved classic.

nae bad_blue

Star (blue)Star (blue)Star (blue)

Reviewer: Jacob Close  (Seen 20 August)

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