An Interview with Luke Nowell

index.jpgHello Luke, so where ya from & where ya at, geographically speaking?
I’m from Sydney Australia but currently living in London after having just finished studying at Ecole Philippe Gaulier in France for two years.

When did you first realise you were an entertainer?
It all started in the family home. Doing shows in front of the family, dress ups, magic shows, mini golf courses, film making and a lot of other things that involved a lot of cleaning up.

What is it about performing live you love the most?
I love playing on stage and I love watching other people playing on stage. I remember when I was young, and to this day, watching other people perform live and love experiencing the way it makes you feel and think. I love creating an experience with those people, in that moment, in a way that won’t be repeated.

What does Luke Nowell like to do when he’s not being funny?
I love alone time. I like documentaries. I also like skateboarding and watching live skate competitions – it’s not funny, it’s lethargic.

What is the creative process behind writing your sketches?
I think a lot, I play a lot, I make new associations and then I try playing with it in front of an audience. I tend to find the game for my ideas when I do it in front of an audience. It’s all about playing with and juggling the audience.

You are a Gaulier-trained clown and physical comedian, how did you find conducting such a prestigious education?
It was incredible. I came to the school with a very set idea of how I performed. This school and Philippe opened me up, taught me freedom and beauty. I didn’t realise how much more you could discover by being pushed so hard by a man who challenged, pushed and berated you until you did something on stage that was full of so much spirit, whilst bearing your soul, that it makes the audience laugh AT you. This school is great for taking yourself less seriously and learning to play, and play with you’re audience and with your scene partners. Philippe taught me to listen to my audience and now Philippe is always sitting at the back row of a show for me now.

Alongside White Sardine Productions, you have been churning out solo-shows relentlessly. How are you so prolific?
I’m not entirely sure myself. But what I would say is that it comes from a passion and a drive – it’s an extension of who I am. If you really want something in life, you’ll make it happen.

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You are in the middle of bringing ‘Being Hueman’ to the Fringe, can you tell us about it?
Being Hueman Being is show full of ridiculousness and a world of fantasy. I take us in an adventure in a show about what is funny and colourful about being hueman being. It’s quite an absurd show, visceral and I love doing it. If you like your comedy different this is your kind of show.

How has it been going so far?
This fringe has been amazing. My run had been very good, as well as days where I’ve learnt a lot and had to refine what I’m doing. I’m very grateful for my experience this year.

Can you describe in a single sentence the experience of performing at the Fringe?
It’s a beast and it’s aged me a few extra years

What does the rest of 2017 hold in store for Luke Nowell?
2017 involves finally resting a bit, doing a few more shows, there’s also potential doors currently opening up for me in Asia and then I head back to Australian circuit at the end of the year.


If you’re quick you can catch Luke’s last couple of shows @ The Fringe
Just the Tonic at The Caves : Aug 25-26 (13.15)​

 

Tamar Broadbent : Get Ugly

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Underbelly Med Quad
Aug 24-28 (17:30)

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Apparently when you go through a break up you become 25% uglier, prone to wearing hats, making strange faces on dating apps, and catching STD’s... but her driving skills are frankly awesome.  Londoner Tamar Broadbent turns her comic genius to this most common, and lets face it, not very enjoyable experiences.  Truly the mark of a good comedian to find the laughs in our most difficult experiences.

Tamar does this brilliantly, with her bubbling enthusiasm, sharp wit, great singing and keyboard skills, sexual revelations and a little bit of life lessons.  She switches between stand up and her own songs.  It’s mostly light hearted, mocking quinoa eating hipsters,  super fit gym girl envy, her amazing driving skills, trying to delete your face book account, visits to STD clinics, waxing her vagina and misplaced pants as well as being able to move the fridge, if you find yourself divorced.

The title of the show “get ugly” also deals with issues of body image.  She embraces this subject in her comic material, always able to laugh at herself, but with a confidence that she imparts to her audience.  Standing up for yourself and realising your own self worth is a big message from the show, and she ends on the slogan “25% uglier but 100% awesome!”.  While much of the material might appeal to a twenty something audience, she is able to reach out to the whole audience, and they loved it.  She’s eminently likeable and the show is great fun, but also addresses self esteem and the inevitable pitfalls of separation.  Great show…plenty of laughs and good advice!

Reviewer : Sophie Younger

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Cam Spence : The Matriarchy Experience

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Ciao Roma
Until the 26th (20.20)

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Cam Spence is almost at the end of her first foray into the Fringe, within the cerebral, pink, neo-classical basement of Ciao Roma. What the Mumble caught at the end of her run was an extremely funny bout of character comedy, as polished as a Sultana’s gemstone, & we wondered how she would have been at the start. Either way, Cam is a consummate comedian who likes to mess about with us like some trickster goddess from Asgard, but does it with such self-belief in her abilities that her audience are simply lapping up whatever titbits she deigns to throw at us.

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Her principle persona is Slapper Laughs – whose accent is half-Brummie/half-Australian – whose main theme is the creation of the Matriarchy, a flip-flop role reversal straight from the Amazonian steppes. Spence is a natural born entertainer, & a very witty satirist at heart, & despite her butter-wouldn’t-melt appearance, we find said butter trickling down an orgasmically pulsing thigh as she penetrates our sexuality with subtlety & finesse &, of course, a great deal of fun.

There is a pasture out there that are the Elysian Fields of Ms. Spence’s creativity, & at the moment the youthful cubs of her comedy genius are grazing. As these cubs mature & flesh out into full bullocks, I imagine some powerful & meaty comedy will be the result. Cam Spence, please come back to Edinburgh next year & let us see how they have grown!

Reviewer : Damo

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Dirty White Boys : Stupid

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The Caves
Aug 23-27 (21:20)

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Yes! Yes! Yes! A comedy sketch duo does what it says on the tin. Jack Robertson and Chazz Redhead are a slick operation, with punchlines to match, whose comedy whips come crackling into the room & keep us all in the fold for the entireity of their show. In fact, it’s rare to be in a sketch show at the Fringe where you are gleefully anticipating the next creation from your barmpit boffins, but with the DWB this is quite the norm. Aye, Jack & Chazz simply bristle with assurity, crackle with onstage chemistry, & look damn cool in their matching black suits. So its all, all good!

These two fellows have distanced themsleves somewhat from reality, for our benefit of course, & present their English brand of humour with intelligent posture & eloquence, as in their  ‘at the rear of the domicile there is a rather large & superflous pile of planks.’ From their ‘Sliced-bread’ sketch to the ‘Two Rickmans,’ there is a real nice mix of mood & madness, among which I discoverd the creme de la creme of all my Fringey custard comedy pies, 2017. The Clowns & Nazis sketch is something to behold – it even has audeince participation – & is worth going for all on its own, but of course the rest of the set bubbles with hilarious jungle juice, leading to a brilliant finale where the lads end up slagging each other offer. Pitch perfect!

Reviewer : Damo

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Francesco De Carlo: Comfort Zone

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The Wee Coo, George Square
Aug 22-28 (21:20)

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Francesco De Carlo is an incredibly fluent English-speaker who has decided to depart from his native land – where comedians are paid in food & ‘visibility’ & try his luck at the UK comedy circuit. That he did it in the same week we voted for Brexit adds a certain cloud of uncertainty to his career move, but for now, while the UK are still European, he’s just getting on with it. His background his unusual, a press officer for the European Parliament; but this has given him a keen universality & touches of satirical political observation as good as any.

De Carlo’s social commentary is pickled with many a ticklish angle & is all actually rather delightful. For those wanting an insight into Italian culture & its sense of humour, however, Francesco is not for you; he’s more interested in Netflix than Naples. But what this ever-smiling cavalier servente of comedy does offer is a wide & funny panorama of modern life, including extremely witty observations of British culture, all packaged up into a really nice little comedy show which hovers on the edges of the Fringe mainstay. If De Carlo is not quite yet the man of THE moment, then he is definitely the man of OUR moment; being well-placed as a comedian performing across the UK to make some kind of comedic record of this tumultuous moment in European history, & I look forward to seeing him again in a year’s time where hopefully he will be continuing with his Thalian brand of journalism.

Reviewer : Damo

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Orwell That Ends Well

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Just the Tonic at the Caves
Every day 11.40am Until August 27th

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Being a huge fan of Orwell’s work, in particular 1984, I was quite looking forward to this show. I was expecting some kind of theatrical satire or the such like, but instead what I got was a rather hyperactive young lady telling us all about her experience on reality TV show “Hunted” and the surveillance state we live in. Having previously lived with a fairly dedicated conspiracy theorist, a lot of this was well trodden territory for me. The only difference being that ten years ago this was all conspiracy theories and now it’s reality. The irony of it being of course that the very medium through which most conspiracy theorists get their information, i.e. the internet, is the very medium the “Powers that be” or “Big Brother” are monitoring our every move through. Which is, of course, how they managed to capture Lolly (the star of the show) on a muddy track in Essex. And later, without spoiling it for you, how she had a particularly fortuitous encounter with Jeremy Corbin.

As a piece of narration it was all a bit of a ramble. Veering off at all kinds of tangents with no clear narrative thread. But their was a lot of very frightening, and amusing, information thrown at us which the audience seemed to be largely gobbling up with great enthusiasm. The irony of internet surveillance was not lost on her either, and she confessed she could not live without it and only one person in the audience disagreed. But we did live without it. And it was less than twenty years ago. I remember! We got along just fine. We still had friends, we still went on dates and we still made plans that worked. Remember the meeting point at Glastonbury? It never failed! Anyway, not to sound like a Luddite but I believe the internet may be responsible for more evil than good. And Lolly, despite her confession of being lost without it, seemed to agree.

Back to the show and I have to say that Lolly was an energetic and engaging performer and the audience seemed to be lapping it up. It was certainly hitting all the right zeitgeist buttons and was very well researched. I just personally left feeling a little cold by the whole experience. And bombarded with facts. Maybe I’m a little too slow, or after three years living with a conspiracy theorist I’m a little tired of dystopian prophecies. As for Lolly, I advise not going on a show where you are giving full access to a bunch of strangers for your entire internet history and then complaining about the consequences. But then, as the show states, there’s a good chance that’s happening to us all all ready. So maybe we are ALL doomed.

Review by Steven Vickers

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Abi Roberts: Anglichanka

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Abi Roberts’ show, Anglichanka, started with the comedian greeting us at the door of this bunker venue, her funny, excited passion engaging us immediately and had us laughing even before we took our seats. One of her themes for the night, gratitude, was also apparent – in fact her gratefulness almost shone through her as she took great strides down the room to reach the stage, all the time encouraging our participation as she drew us into conversation by asking where everyone had come from. There were some French people in the audience, and to Abi’s delight, a few folk over from Russia, here to take in the Fringe. This was the perfect opportunity for her to embark upon her unique brand of comedic dialogue, switching in turn between English and Russian – the first UK comic to employ this eclectic blend of languages – as she proceeded to regale us, in side splitting fashion, with tales of her time staying with a Russian family when she was a student in the 90’s, having gone to Russia at the tender age of 18 to try and study Opera. She explained that while she was there she picked up the name “Anglichanka” which translates simply as “an English person in Russia”, and hence the title of her show.

This was an evening perfectly structured between uproarious hilarity and poignant moments where Abi seemed almost moved to tears at a particular recollection, then would straight away have us bursting out in fits of laughter as she cracked another joke. Along the way she offered us insights into the impact of the choices we make, how important gratitude was and what experience teaches us. Her enthusiasm never faltered as she instantly responded to the reaction of the audience, always ready with a quick one-liner. The creative ebb and flow was greatly enhanced by passages in fluent Russian which lent the whole act a totally unique flavour of worldly revelry. All this made for a stand-up routine which was   genuinely appealing and offered up an approach which was at the same time electric, edgy and deeply touching. One of the features I particularly enjoyed was the way Abi talked about the love and gratitude she felt for her very special Russian family, who had so little yet loved life so much. This served as a contrast to the many operatic and cultured people she encountered on her extensive travels, and was all the more touching for that. There was no holding back as she shared these feelings with us and laid out before us a cunning and passionate blending of character and cultural nuances.

It takes courage for a stand-up comic to open themselves to possible ridicule and rejection and be the butt of their own jokes – not always guaranteed to work. It was an exhilarating experience to watch Abi Roberts navigate these dangerous waters and deftly keep turning the wheel to even more absurd and intense extremes. In fact Abi plainly revelled in it, winning us over from the start as a warm, welcoming and completely genuine host, inviting us to laugh AT her and WITH her in an evening of non-stop fast moving comedy that is well worth a visit. Just don’t blink or you’ll miss a joke!

Reviewer:  Daniel Donnelly

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