A member of the hilarious Laughing Stock is doing something on their own this Fringe; it was imperative that the Mumble found out what was going on…
Hello Lewis, so where ya from and where ya at, geographically speaking?
Lewis: I was born in Nottingham and I’ve been living in London since about 2013 – I’ve lived in an old peoples’ home, a halfway house and a warehouse with no windows…the struggle is real. I now live in Crystal Palace with 6 house plants and a Muji Diffuser *other diffusers are available.
When did you first realise you could make people laugh?
Lewis: My Dad has a glass eye and when I was a kid I would go into my parents’ room, grab his spare eye (he didn’t wear this one), lick it and stick it to my forehead. I’d then try and scare my mum with it – she just ended up laughing at me every time. I kinda wish I still had it (the eye). I peaked early.
What is it about performing live you love the most?
Lewis: I think I enjoy people’s reactions the most; I like pushing the medium and what people think is possible on stage. It’s like creating a physical language throughout the show, teaching that language to the audience, and by the end they’re fluent in it. That’s how a 30+ multi-man brawl is possible with just one human and a couple lights… I hope.
You’ve got three famous figures from history coming round for dinner. Who would they be & what would you cook; starter, mains & dessert?
Lewis: Alright here we go:
– Tupac Shakur
– Ma Anand Sheela
– Prince (Prince was apparently either Vegan or Vegetarian according to the internet… let’s pretend he’s not)
Arrosticini (simple, easy, absolutely pengers)
Served with freshly baked sourdough bread with truffle oil and kalamata olives
Bucatini all’Atrescatori – Bucatini is one of the best pasta sauces I’ve ever tasted, real spicy flavours combined with salty pork jowl and pecorino, combine that with the Trescatori pasta from Abruzzo (like spaghetti but a tube) and you’re onto a serious winner
Home-made Lemon Sorbet & Limoncello
Can you tell us about Laughing Stock?
Lewis: Laughing Stock was born out of leaving drama school and expecting to at least get some work here and there… that didn’t happen, so myself and three other down and out individuals got together to make something (anything) and comedy seemed to come pretty naturally to us. We just had a lot of fun messing around, so we went down that road. We had an amazing and stressful three years at Edinburgh and it took us to some brilliant places and we met some fantastic people. I would say it was the catalyst for me to explore what my own work would be like.
You’re bringing a solo show, Wolf, to the Fringe; why did you go down this road & how are you finding being funny on your own?
Lewis: It was last year at the Fringe with Laughing Stock and I’d always spoken about doing a one man show, so Rhys Bevan (my Laughing Stock Brother from another Mother) applied for himself and I to share an hour slot at Vault Festival – we got the slot and I had to come up with 30 minutes of material on my own, at the time it was the scariest thing I have ever done, and that’s how WOLF was born.
Can you tell us more about Wolf?
Lewis: It’s about an ex cop called WOLF, who returns to Shadow City to investigate his ex partners death. There’s bar fights, car chases, helicopters, guns, a monologue about pasta – its got it all! There’s also a helluva lot of influence from Film, TV, and Comics – pretty much whatever I’m into I’ll put in the show. There’s 30+ characters, no props or costume, and I make 90% of the sound effects myself – it’s a slog.
What have been the processes behind the creation of Wolf, from inception to hatching?
Lewis: Before I did anything I had a really hard think about how I wanted the show to feel, I worked around a lot of themes and had a really clear image of what all the locations in the show looked like in real time – then I listened to A LOT of music, I feel like that was the most useful anchor to me in the creation of the show. A really clear ‘mood’ helped a lot. I really wanted to show audiences something that they never thought would be possible on stage. It’s an extremely ambitious show and it’s just me and a chair when you really look at the bare bones of it. I’m trying to draw a clear picture of what I want the audience to see and then they get to colour it in themselves.
How did your previews at VAULT Festival and The North Wall go, & have you tweaked the show since?
Lewis: Surprisingly well – it’s always easier to perform to friends and family because they’ll be supportive no matter what – but I never expected such a positive reaction from it. I’m so proud of the show and how much people seem to genuinely enjoy watching it. If I get half that kind of feedback or admiration from people of Edinburgh I’ll be over the moon.
How is director John Hoggarth handling your brain-baby?
Lewis: John is an amazing human – I honestly don’t think I would be in this position without his help and support. We’ve worked together now for about 5 years and I trust him completely. He is genuinely interested in nurturing a project and watching it blossom, he’s pretty funny too and that always helps.
What advice could you give to somebody performing at the Fringe for the first time?
Lewis: Be as prepared as you can be but never, ever, take it too seriously – it’s really hard to get bogged down and stressed about it all but concentrate on the things you’re in control of – everything else isn’t worth the brain power. Whatever happens, just do the best you can do and try to enjoy yourself along the way – if good reviews and audiences come from that, you’ve done a great job.
You’ve got 20 seconds to sell the show to somebody in the street, what would you say?
Lewis: “Hiya, just wondering if you wanna see me turn into a cyborg ninja assassin on a motorbike and chase a guy off a bridge into a river? Yes!? Come with me.”
Aug 2-12/14-19/21-26 (20.00)