An Interview with Gypsy Wood

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Gypsy, the lovely lady on the left

Hello Gypsy, so where ya from & where ya at, geographically speaking?
I’m from Australia but live in London

When did you first realise you were an entertainer?
I used to perform in a beautiful red tutu to the music manhattan by Gershwin for my parents when I was 5. I come from a showbiz family so I was forced into it really!

You know a good show when its happened, what are the special ingredients?
I like a show that has form and content. I like something dirty beautiful and mega dangerous!!!!!!

What does Gypsy Wood like to do when she’s not being entertaining?
Elizabeth Taylor after she went recovery

You are bringing ‘Peter & Bambi Heaven: When Love Becomes Magic’ to this year’s fringe. Can you describe the show?
Australia’s best high energy dancing magicians, Peter & Bambi Heaven are back, spraying love and magic on everything and everyone they touch. Its a mad romp of everything thats cheesy and crass about showbiz!!!!

After the success of last year’s Fringe show you have performed in France’s Got Talent, headlined their version of the Royal Variety Show and performed a short residency in Las Vegas. How has the ride been & what were your highlights?
We have had a huge success in the last year. Its been very exciting and difficult to be on the road for so many months. The high lights are bringing the show to new audiences who are loving the show. My family in Sydney finally got to see the show. I have really enjoyed every part of it. I never get tired of performing our silly magic show. Going on France has got talent was just totally insane. The adelaide cabaret festival was pretty cool too!

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How does it feel to be working so closely with the man who was your husband only last year?
We are just like any couple who has to get on with life even when it doesn’t go to plan. Many couple have to co parent children or run a business together after divorce. We are just doing the best we can. There are difficult times and there are really beautiful moments where we remember how much we mean to each other. I really don’t think I could ever work with anyone else like this. Asher and I can tell each other how we feel and just love having fun together. We get sad sometimes we’re not together any more, but are happy to be having this rich life experience together!!

Can you describe the Fringe experience in a single sentence?
A melting pot of nut bar, narcissism, madness bullshit and art.

What does the rest of 2017 hold in store for Gypsy Wood?
I just want to make Art. Do yoga read books and perform in glamorous and strange places.


You can catch Peter & Bambi Heaven’s new comedy show

‘When Love Becomes Magic’

@ the Assembly George Square Piccolo Tent 

Aug 3-27 (22.35)

An Interview with James Heatlie

james heatlie_1_apr17.JPGHello James, so where ya from & where ya at, geographically speaking?
Hello, I’m originally from Canterbury in Kent and now live in London. My parents are from both England and Scotland and my Father is from Edinburgh where I have friends and family, so I feel very at home here.

When did you first find yourself getting into the dramatic arts?
My first foray was probably at a school variety show aged 10 where I was the compere. There were a few school plays here and there after that, but it wasn’t until after university that I began to properly head down the dark path to performance and admit to both myself and my parents that I wanted a career as an actor.

What does James Heatlie like to do when he’s not being theatrical?
He likes to take photographs, write and occasionally has been known to paint and to pen poems. He is fond of a good tavern and loves the cinema and box set bingeing. He is also not adverse to a bit of sport and exercise and likes very much to go mountain walking and camping among other things. And tea. Tea in vast quantities.

This year you will be playing Manuel in Faulty Towers at the Fringe. Can you give us an outline of what its all about?
Faulty Towers The Dining Experience is Interactive Theatre International’s loving tribute to the fantastic television show of the ‘70s. It invites the audience in to share an evening with Basil and Sybil Faulty and Manuel, putting the dining guests in the middle of their very own personal episode.

What are the key ingredients to a good show?
I think the main ingredient is the audience, we honestly couldn’t do it without them. Seriously though, the audience are really the collective fourth actor in the room and they really make the show with their wonderful sense of adventure and fun. The other ingredients would have to be the other three actors and then some food to make sense of the title.

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After a long stint at B’est restaurant, Faulty Towers has a new Edinburgh home this year, can you fill us in?
I remember my first Edinburgh Fringe back in 2014 and the original venue being pointed out to me by a friend who told me about the hit show that went on there. Little did I realise that I would be lucky enough to become a part of that experience and perform at Edinburgh a few years later. The show’s new home is the stunningly beautiful Principal Hotel on George Street. The Hanover Suite is one of the performance spaces, and the King’s Hall the other.

You are also performing in a specially-written 10th anniversary show, can you tell us about this?
No I can’t. It’s top secret, you’ll just have to come along.

In one sentence can you describe the experience of performing in Edinburgh in August?
Very sweaty.

What will James Heatlie be doing for the rest of 2017?
He will be having a short mountain break post Fringe and then onto more acting and photography work including a tour of Ireland with Faulty and in the gaps between planning his wedding next spring.


You can catch Fawlty Towers this Fringe @ the The Principal (Venue 119) ​

Aug 3-7, 9-14, 16-21, 23-28

An Interview with Margaret Thatcher

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Hello your Ladyship, how are you finding the step from leading a small island off the coast of Northern Europe, to being an international comedy superstar?
Oh it’s very much the same. The only difference is this time the people booing aren’t sitting behind me. Seriously though, I’m having a lovely time as a musical sensation – I’m dropping more beats than Theresa May has dropped manifesto pledges.

Political satire is a niche, but lively branch of the comedy tree. Who are your inspirations in this field?
Ed Milliband, Tim Farron, Diane Abbott – They’re all very funny comedy characters.

Can you sum up the experience of performing at the mega-mash-up that is the Fringe?
It’s lovely. It is in Scotland unfortunately, but during August it’s basically just full of people from London so I don’t mind it. Apart from the streets! Cobbles + Heels = not a happy Maggie.

Your ‘Queen of Soho’ has done rather well at former Fringes & across the world. How did you find the experience?
Well, I’ve always been a beloved figure so I took it in my stride. I’ve been very lucky to meet people like Jeremy Corbyn and Alex Salmond and more important people like Sue Perkins. And the audiences had a lovely time at my show too. One woman was enjoying herself so much she threw up in someone else’s handbag.

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This year you are bringing us your ‘Queen of Game Shows.’ Why the new angle?
I thought it would be less work. Unfortunately it turns out game shows are quite difficult to do as well. But I think I’ve risen to the challenge. We’ve got games such as Check Your Privilege, Fake News and Brexit Through the Gift Shop. It’s quite a topical show considering that I stopped being Prime Minister almost 30 years ago!

Its been quite a year in the world of politics, how much of this will be penetrating your show?
Oh, I’ve already incorporated all the major news events: The General Election result, Donald Trump, Love Island-it’ll be cutting edge, dear! The only problem is if anything changes between now and the end of August…

There are also some lovely musical moments. Who is the mastermind behind all this?
ME! I’m a one-woman-show-making-machine! I choose all the music: Cher, Bonnie Tyler, Dolly Parton. They’re all iconic musicians who recorded incredible versions songs which couldn’t be bettered… until I came along and smashed them all, now they’re all second best, and you don’t get anything for coming in second!

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Can you describe your working relationship with Jon Brittain?
Jon who??? Do you mean the beardy man who claims to be my director? No, no, no dear, it’s not a working relationship, he’s more a charity case. I did this all myself. I had the idea for the show and right then and there I got out my pen and wrote a cheque to him and Matt Tedford to do it for me.

This Fringe you will also be putting on some Club Nights? Can you tell us about these?
Oh yes! I’ve taken back Soho, light entertainment, the Falklands and now I am coming for Disco! There’ll be non-stop 80s hits from a non-stop 80s witch! We’ll have all the hits, vogueing, neon tights and you’ll finally be able to see if the Lady is for turning… on the dance floor!

What will her ladyship be doing between shows this August?
Mountains of cocaine. And crosswords.

And finally, what will her ladyship be doing after the Fringe?
Paying off the debts. Putting on a show isn’t cheap, dear!


Her Ladyship will be performing her ‘Queen of Game Shows’ at Assembly George Square Gardens from 3rd – 27th August (not 14th) at 9pm, & her ‘Queen of Club Nights’ at Assembly Checkpoint on Saturday 19th and Saturday 26th August at 1am.

An Interview with Hurt & Anderson

hurtanderson-2-400x400Hello ladies, so where are ya all from & where ya’ll at, geographically speaking?
G&L : We’re currently based in London, but met at school in Bristol.

When did you first realise you were, well, funny?
Georgia (Hurt) : I remember being in this kind of school drama showcase aged about 7 or 8. It was this sketch were I was a brownie who pulled someone back from jumping off a bridge and all we had to say was “Now we can get our life saving badges”. Thinking back on it now that seems like very dark material for a primary school production! Anyway, we got this big laugh and I just remember this feeling of “ooo making people laugh is awesome”. But I always found it easier to be a bit more of the class clown, it’s easier to make friends and resolve confrontation!

Why comedy, what is it about being funny in front of other people that makes you tick?
Laura (Anderson) : I think I realised very early on in life that it was good to make people laugh because it’s a way of getting praise and people to like you. It’s also a form of escapism; I’ve always been a fairly shy person in real life, but being on stage and making people laugh gives you another persona and you can become someone different for a short amount of time. Some comedians will wax lyrical about how altruistic it is to make other people laugh; but in the majority of cases it’s an ego boost for someone who is deeply insecure. So please do come to the show and laugh with us…just please God never AT us.

How did Hurt & Anderson come about?
Georgia : Laura and I were at school together and we had a lot of science and maths lessons that neither of us were particularly interested in. We started messing around in lessons, coming up with characters and ideas and then that turned into the act which we would force our friends to watch in our lunch break. We actually did our first ever gig at the school talent show. We didn’t win.

What are the ingredients to a good sketch?
Laura : It’s the usual answer, but timing is crucial. And the relationship between the actors. Georgia and I have known each other and performed together so much that we have really honed that. The quality of the writing is important, but like any type of comedy, you have to sell it – so acting the sketch well and giving your all to it is incredibly important as well.

Upon which life-experiences do you draw your own comedy?
Georgia : It’s a bit of everything really. I think that’s the great thing about doing sketch and musical stuff because you really can cover anything you can think of. We always have some political material but then we can go straight to surreal stuff too like an obnoxious pregnant panda. Mainly it all comes out of us two having a conversation and trying to make each other laugh.

You were finalists in this year’s Musical Comedy Awards 2017. What are the secrets behind writing & performing a funny song?
Georgia : It’s funny you should ask! We have a song in the show this year based around this idea of trying to write a funny song. For us I think the main thing you have freedom with in a song is lyrical word play and structure. You can always play around with rhymes or subverting expectations. And then I think what works well for us is having this sweet sounding melody, which the lyrics then betray with something filthy or unexpected. The songs come much easier than sketches normally.

You are bringing ‘ Come What May,’ to the Fringe. You previewed it to sell out audiences at the Leicester Comedy Festival 2017 and in Bristol and London. How have the audience been responding?
Laura : Leicester and Bristol were two really good shows, both audiences were really lovely. The Bristol preview was mostly made up of friends and relatives so that helped a lot! I’d say that Come What May is the most consistently funny show we’ve ever written and that has showed in the audience reaction.

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This is not your first time at the Fringe, what have you learnt in the interim about your set?
Laura : Looking back now at our very first show at the Fringe in 2011, it was a complete mess. The sketches weren’t that funny and, on a whole, the show was very amateurish. What we’ve really tried to work on is making the show as slick as possible, and to work on our personas as “Hurt and Anderson”, but ironically ‘Come What May’ includes some of the most personal stuff we’ve ever written in order to make our personas as realistic as possible.

Can you describe in one sentence the experience of performing at the Fringe
G&L : An emotional rollercoaster that is over all to quickly – where you can find the highs of inspiration, push yourself hard and then descend into various drunken states of debauchery on a regular basis.


You can catch Hurt & Anderson at the Fringe

Aug 3-27 Aug : Just the Tonic at The Mash House (14.40)

An Interview with Fin Taylor

2017FINTAYL_OH (1)Hello Fin, so where ya from & where ya at, geographically speaking?
Oxford. So please in future use ‘you’ rather than ‘ya’. Currently i’m in the south of France on an arrogant pre-Fringe holiday.

What is it about performing live you love the most?
Hard to say really, but it is an addiction. I’m not sure it’s a feeling i’ll ever get tired of. New material nights especially. Such a thrill having a thought on the way to the gig and then it working- out of thin air you have created something that people will pay you to say. It’s magic really.

You’ve been washed up on a desert island with a solar-powered DVD player & three films. Which would they be?
Con Air, The Rock, and Gone in 60 Seconds

Why stand-up comedy?
Again hard to say, but i have this instinctive, almost existential pull to this sort of performance, and i’ve felt it since i was like 13. I wrote and performed some sketches with guys at school and although they were great guys, both really funny, i still knew that stand-up was what i’d rather do later on. I guess it’s the idea of being a sort of Author/Director/Performer all on your own. It’s total control.

You were gigging on the West Coast of the US around the time of last year’s election. Now the West is a liberal place & one would expect its comedians to be anti-trump. Was this the case?
Yes I was in LA and San Francisco, obviously everyone was laughing at the madness of Trump’s campaign. A lot of the US comics were laughing at how badly he was going to get beaten, and so it was a good angle to have to come on with you know. A Brit, post-Brexit, having a go at the crowd because they were so sure it wasn’t going to happen, and i was pretty sure it was.

Last year your ‘Whitey McWhiteface’ smashed the Fringe. Why do you think it resonated so much with the zeitgeist of 2016?
Well that summer if you remember it seemed like 3 times a week you’d log on to Facebook and there’d be another video of an unarmed black guy getting killed by the police in the US; and BlackLivesMatter was marching in the UK. And after Brexit incidents of racially-motivated crimes were on the rise, it was a summer where racial tension seemed to reach boiling point- which in the UK was quite unusual, we’re so silent on this stuff normally and seem to sweep it under the carpet- everything’s so latent compared to the conversation about race in the US. But after Brexit these things seemed to be coming above the surface. And so a show where a white liberal was trying to work through what it meant being white in this country from their perspective felt quite relevant i think. Also it was a good show.

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This year you are bringing Lefty Tighty Righty Loosey to Edinburgh. Is it a sequel to Whitey McWhiteface or does it have a spirit all of its own?
It’s very much it’s own show. But in Whitey McWhiteface I feel I found the sort of topics I like talking about and the angles I like taking. But i feel i’ve moved everything forward, gone a bit deeper, tried to articulate things clearer. It’s more about being left-wing than being white, but there’s still a bit of honky shit in there for old times’ sake.

Can you tell us a little more about the show?
I’m weaving my opinions on the failure of left-wing politics, and the immorality of some left-wing attitudes with ridiculous stories from a pretty intense few months personally. It’s all good clean stuff.

In one sentence can you describe the experience of performing in Edinburgh in August?
It’s my favourite time of year.

What does the rest of 2017 hold in store for Fin Taylor?
Taking the new show out on tour. www.fintaylor.com for dates. Not yet mind, but I will put them up at some point soon.


You can catch Fin in Edinurgh this August

3-13 – 15-27 August
Just The Tonic at The Tron (22:20)

An Interview with Matt Duwell

IMG_8103.jpgHello Matt, so where ya from & where ya at, geographically speaking?
I hail from Brighton, which is one of the best cities in the world. I’ve just moved from London after living there for 4 years to Edinburgh because who wouldn’t want to live in Edinburgh? Apart from Nigel Farage of course!

When did you first realise you were, well, funny?
Being told to shut up in staff meetings during the various jobs that I despised in my 20’s.

Upon which life-experiences do you draw your own comedy?
How terrified and disenchanted I feel on a day to day basis about every aspect of life. And my fondness for angel delight.

photo jesters.jpgWhat was life like as a comedian working the London comedy scene?
I made some of my best friends and had some of my best laughs and learnt a lot about failure and a lot about pressure. I also got in debt and cried a lot on night buses.

What does Matt Duwell like to do when he’s not being funny?
Cooking when I should be writing. Looking wistfully into the distance whilst eating too many Dairylea triangles when I should be writing. Falling asleep to series 6 of Start Trek Next Generation whilst trying to write. Oh and spending time with the love of my life as she ignores my jokes whilst simultaneously being proud and amazed by everything one of our cats does. Cleaning cat sick off the floor when I should be writing. I procrastinate a lot.

You’ve been washed up on a desert island with a solar-powered DVD player & three films. Which would they be?
Shaun of the Dead, Eternal Sunshine of his Spotless Mind, The Land Before Time 5: The Mysterious Island. All of them teach us about how we should be happy with what we got, but only one teaches us how to deal with a mysterious island using only your wits and your friendship with a pterodactyl.

What are the secrets of a good joke?
An original idea that is relevant and relatable that you don’t remember ever having, a punchline that has the right number of words and rhythm that you only get to after messing it up for a year, by which time the joke is no longer topical enough to do.

How are you finding living in Edinburgh?
It’s amazing and I absolutely love the city and the beautiful surrounding area. Best pubs, great cinemas and theatres, amazing people and plenty of discount supermarkets (I live next to a Lidl/ Iceland combo store!). I even enjoyed visiting Dunfermline. However, I am still not used to having conversations with neighbours that last 20 mins or having the heater on in July, but I’m sure I’ll get used to that. Right!!??

A Pessimists GuideYou are bringing your show, ‘A Pessimist’s Guide to Being Happy,’ to the Fringe this August, can you tell us about it?
It’s a stand up comedy show about how pessimism can sometimes actually help us to be happy and optimism and memes about unbound potential are not necessarily a good thing. It’s also a show that has some crowd interaction and of course a lot of jokes that are quite glib about the world we live in. I’m very proud of the jokes and in many ways, it’s the result of my entire comedy career so far. It’s also the one thing that haunts my dreams more than the Giants from the original BFG film.

Can you sum up your show in a single sentence?
Pessimistic, funny yet positive.

This is your third time at the Fringe. How have you found performing at the mega-mash-up that is Edinburgh in August?
I’ve met some of my best friends, formed closer bonds with people I already knew, had some of my best shows, seen some of the best performers in the world and learnt a lot about myself and who I am. I’ve also met some of the worst people, lost friends, had my worst shows, seen the worst shows ever and learnt what a jealous, miserable little man I can be at 4pm on a Tuesday. I’ve felt both the most elated in my life to the most dejected and every possible emotion in between. I’ve also eaten far too many tatty dogs from the piemaker on south bridge and drank too much tenants.

What does the rest of 2017 hold in store for Matt Duwell?
Recovering from Edinburgh, hopefully making inroads into the Scottish Comedy Scene, writing more jokes and working on next year’s show to take to all the various fringes next year. Also getting central heating installed in my new home.


You can catch Matt at the Fringe

Aug 3-27 : Laughing Horse @ Moriarty’s (17.00)

An Interview with Mr Twonkey

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Hello Mr Twonkey, so where ya from & where ya at, geographically speaking?
Edinburgh.

Can you describe your creative relationship with co-star, Paul Vickers?
Twonkey is an innocent; he always has a mission that would seem foolish to many. This year it’s trip to the jungle over Christmas to play at an imaginary fringe festival. Would I do that? No, never. Is Twonkey in any way similar to me? Of course not.

How many instalments of your saga have been played out at the Fringe, & can you give us their names? Nine…
Twonkey’s Cottage (2010)
Twonkey’s Castle (2011)
Twonkey’s Kingdom (2012)
Twonkey’s Blue Cadabra (2013-2014)
Twonkey’s Private Restaurant (2014-2015)
Twonkey’s Stinking Bishop (2015)
Twonkey’s Mumbo Jumbo Hotel (2016)
Twonkey’s Drive In: Jennifer’s Robot Arm (2015-2016)
Twonkey’s Christmas in the Jungle (2017)

Which for you was the most rewarding?
Last year I did two shows, which was a lot of fun as it turns out but a lot of hard work and planning I mean it’s twice the work. It’s like doing a double album in one year. So that was the most rewarding definitely by the end of it, you could sleep for a week but you felt good about yourself like swimming the English Channel kind of good.

How was your recent trip to Brighton?
It was so hot so flyering for a Christmas show seemed bit nuts. I learnt a lot from it and have made a few adjustments to the structure of the show. They’re an open-minded bunch down in Brighton but sometimes that’s due to substance abuse. It’s a lively town that knows how to keep you up all night.

2017TWONKEY_AWX.jpgCan you tell us about this year’s installment?
Mr. Pines is a new character that I play, he’s my manager but he wants to kill me. I wear a fake nose and sunglasses and people boo me, he’s like a pantomime villain. He’s the one that’s sent me to the Jungle, he’s hoping I get lost and never come back. He has other acts that are more commercially viable so he wants me off the books and out of his hair for good.

When he’s in Edinburgh, what does Mr Twonkey like to do between shows?
Seeing the other shows is fun and as I know the city well I know how to cut about fast and light. I drink a lot of smoothies at the Hula juice bar. I have dinner with friends, I go to the pub and have the odd pint and do mixed bills sets here and there as well as my own show.

What is it about performing live you love the most?
When it really works and everyone gets onboard and enjoys the ride with you it’s the best feeling ever.

In one sentence can you describe the experience of performing in Edinburgh in August?
An intense overload for mind, body and the soul.

What does the rest of 2017 hold in store for Mr Twonkey?
More Twonkey and a new Paul Vickers and The leg album is been cooked up as we speak.


You can catch the latest installment of the Twonkey saga at the Fringe

Aug 3-27 : Heroes @ Dragonfly (19.20) ​