Edinburgh Fringe Review: Sean Hughes ‘Penguins’

Words by Susan Fordsean-hughes-penguins_32598_thumb

There is absolutely no need to start here with an introduction about who Sean Hughes is and a list of his achievements: Sean Hughes is well known in comedy for all the right reasons. As a team captain on Nevermind the Buzzcocks, for me, Sean Hughes was my first experience of comedy and I’m genuinely quite giddy to be at his show this year – and too rightly so, its a cracking set.

I don’t ever want to use reviewer’s clichés – the show conjured up belly laughs, it was side-splitting, or it was laugh-out-loud funny – but all of them are called for here, even just to make a dent on my adulation for Sean’s performance. At 47, he is still at the top of his game, and puts everything in to his show that he did all those years ago.

I can’t tell you about the stage props used, Sean’s appearance, or even his reference to Penguins, as it would give too much away and ruin the experience for you. What I will tell you however is about how cleverly written the whole production is. There are recurring themes, tight jokes, truthful anecdotes, and a fast-paced delivery that Sean doesn’t once dip out of. There is no 40 minute lull, just complete brilliance from start to finish.

Sean finishes his set on the same tag line that he begins it with, leaving everyone in the audience feeling slightly emotional at the experience. His message is uplifting, but his humour is still very dark. ‘Penguins’ is definitely one of the Fringe’s highlights this year, catch Sean Hughe’s every night at the Guilded Balloon at 19.30 https://www.edfringe.com/whats-on/comedy/sean-hughes-penguins


Punchline’s Top 10 Comedy Shows

felicity ward

It’s difficult to narrow down our top picks for this year’s Fringe, but here is Punchline’s Starter for 10 (in no particular order):

Nick Helm is the only person in the comedy world who can get away calling himself a “One Man Mega Myth”. Those who came to October’s Punchline won’t need convincing. You will be part of the show but you probably won’t mind.

Boy with Tape on His Face is a delightful hour that’s original, funny and touching. It’s also a good one if you have any visitors who don’t speak English as a first language.

Felicity Ward One of Punchline’s Top 3 last year, Australian comic Felicity Ward is laugh out loud funny. She covers various subjects and you kind of feel like you’re chatting to her in the pub, then find yourself crying with laughter.

Joe Lycett is delightful and very funny, with a sting in his tail. He’s going to be a comedy superstar so get in now.

Josh Widdicombe is fast becoming a household name, as seen on Last Leg and Mock The Week.

Andrew Lawrence is one of the best comedians full stop. Go and see him.

Local lad Iain Stirling is a Bafta-nominated presenter and Chortle-nominated comedian, returning home to bring you a new hour of standup.

Ivan Brackenbury is the hapless hospital radio DJ who plays pumpin’ but inappropriate songs. Be advised to pay in advance as he has queues around the block already.

Susan Calman is here until 12 August, doing a work-in-progress show. Clever comedy and personal stories from an inspiring performer.

Seann Walsh is another Punchline favourite – will this be his big year?

Other recommendations: David Trent, Aisling Bea, Carl Donnelly, Pat Cahill, James Acaster, Claudia O’Doherty & Romesh Ranganathan

We’re hearing good things about John Kearns – let us know what you think!

Matt Richardson is not doing a Fringe show but he is appearing on a couple of late night shows and he’s well worth a look if you can find him.

Comedy Reserve has four bright young things including Punchline’s own John Hastings, and Comedy Zone has the excellent Lucy Beaumont and Carl Hutchinson (who also has his own solo show).

Andrew Lawrence: There is No Escape, Edinburgh Fringe 2013

Words by Susan Ford

Punchline‘s first ever headliner Andrew Lawrence is back at the festival with a bang.andrewlawrence

There is no Escape, Andrew Lawrence has locked the doors: welcome to his hilariously miserable life. It seems like a bit of a reviewers’ cliché to begin by mentioning the appearance of a comedian, but with his long hair and casual clothes, already its clear from the offset that we are in for a different Andrew Lawrence experience than expected.

You may have seen Andrew Lawrence on TV in a sharp suit and clean hair cut, or more notably you will have seen him as Punchline’s first ever headliner. Perhaps its his cardigan talking tonight, but this year’s show portrays a very relaxed and interactive comedian, that is a surprising diversion from Andrew’s usual routine. His show is an account of one personal misery after another, a beautiful string of insights into his inadequate life that make for a very funny show.

Andrew Lawrence has a unique way of telling a story; by using a slightly different tone he can play the part of two conversations, both as grumpy and pessimistic as the other. Many comedians talk about how terrible their lives are, but it takes a real professional to make a comedy show out of it: Andrew Lawrence is a genuinely brilliant and funny comedian, and his depressing thoughts are just a juxtaposition to the hilarity within.

Catch Andrew Lawrence every night at Pleasance One, 20.50. https://www.edfringe.com/whats-on/comedy/andrew-lawrence-there-is-no-escape

Edinburgh Festival 2013 Preview: Max and Ivan

Words by Hannah Clapham-Clark

We often hope that double acts find love at first sight! How did you two first meet, what were your first impressions of each other and how did the idea of a having comedy act develop?

How does one come to the conclusion that the only possible way forward in life is to form a comedy double act? It’s probably the mutual loathing of “having a real job”, though I’d like to think a shared comedic sensibility was also a decisive factor.

Narrative sketch shows are still quite unusual, have you always gone for this style of comedy? What drew you to this approach?

We’ve dabbled in all sorts. Sketch, narrative, improv, fleeting and rare bits of solo stand-up and compering, not to mention Ivan’s three years touring a one-man minstrel show (highly disturbing, and completely unacceptable). But our current mode of performing – blending sketches and theatricality, with a beautifully interwoven narrative, and a vast array of dick jokes – has naturally evolved over the years.

The Fringe is fairly dominated by stand-ups, how is it working in a double act, is there a secret to it working successfully? Are there any main dis/advantages?

We presumed that as there are two of us, we’d get paid double. This really is not the case…

What is the process of writing a show which has a clear storyline? Where do the ideas for your characters and their distinct personas come from?

Our current show, The Reunion, is based on a 10 year school reunion. Now, we’re not saying that we’ve based a lot of the characters on old school friends, but if you happen to have gone to either Birkenhead Boys School or Priory School, then you might recognise some (all) the names.

How important is the Fringe and have there been any particular high/lowlights over the past few years?

M: The fringe is an all-consuming megalithic behemoth that drains you of every ounce of joy, energy and strength you have ever possessed. However, we love it dearly.

I: We once found a human shit outside our venue. That was pretty distressing.

This year you’re bringing wrestling back to the Fringe! What were your experiences of this from 2011 and what can we expect this time around? Did you predict such a positive response? And is there a secret skill Ivan has which could lead to its own show?

M: Other than shattering my ankle into a thousand tiny fragments (great work, my ankle) my experiences from 2011 were utterly magnificent. This time around, without giving too much away, you can expect an all-new roster of wrestling comedians, a comedian going one-on-one with a wrestler for the first time, and –

I: We’ve said too much. Come to the show. And, in the mean time, check out the steady torrent of videos we’ll be releasing in the run-up to the show. As Malcolm X once said, “shit’s going to get cray”.

It seems like the last few months have been pretty exciting with visits to Australia and SXSW, could you talk a bit about your time at these festivals? Has it differed to playing in the UK?

It’s been AMAZING! SXSW was a wonderful 72 hours of jet-lagged comedy, tacos, and awesome american comedians. And the Melbourne International Comedy Festival was better than we could have dreamed of – Australian’s were actually happy to be flyered, imagine that!

This year’s show is The Reunion, can you tell us a little bit about the story and what it’s been like to work with Tom Parry (from Pappy’s)? How have previews been going?

The Reunion is basically a love story, but it’s still funny… we’ve basically established a new genre that mixes romance and comedy, or ‘romedy’ if you wish. We’re hoping it catches on.

Speaking of love, Tom has been a brilliant director – we were a bit worried to step away from the wonderful Jessica Ransom (who directed our past two shows), but as she was busy filming until July we had to get someone new.

M:The first thing that happened under the Parry regime was to triple the amount of previews we had booked, which was dreadful and invigorating in equal measures.

Finally, if you could pick a dream third member, who would it be and why?

Tom (Parry) has often jumped into scenes during rehearsals, which has been fun – but we really don’t feel there’s much future in three-man sketch comedy. We heavily doubt it’d work.

Make sure to see Max and Ivan’s new show, The Reunion, at the Queen Dome, 8:20 through the Fringe.

Edinburgh Festival 2013 Preview: an interview with Ian Smith

By Susan Ford

The last time I spoke to Ian Smith, he compared his style of comedy to a cheese board – and a few other things! Ian Smith is not afraid to embarrassingly reminisce about the past or reveal dark secrets about himself in order to present a good joke to his audience, and he is certainly a great comedian to go and see this year at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Ian Smith 820x390 (1)

Last year, Ian performed in the middle of the day as part of the Free Fringe, a show alongside fellow comedian Tom Toal. This year will see him take a massive step up with his own hour long solo set at the Pleasance Courtyard entitled ‘Anything’. If 2012 was a short snippet of what Ian Smith is comically capable of, 2013’s show is set to be even better. In the lead up to the festival, I caught up with the main man himself to discuss his show.

Hello Ian Smith…

SF: What is your Edinburgh Festival 2013 show called and can you tell me a bit about it please?
IS: My show is called ‘Anything’ – it doesn’t have a theme. It’s basically some stories and silliness about growing up, embarrassment, frustration and childhood. It’s supposed to be a bit shambolic. There are bits about my arse, meeting Dappy from N-Dubz and my fridge.

I was voted ‘Most likely to become a comedian’ in my school yearbook and the same school rejected a video speech they requested (when I was in a sitcom not a lot of people saw), for being too offensive. I talk about that.

SF: You performed last year with Tom Toal, will this year be a solo show?
IS: Yeah, this is my debut solo show. I’m excited about it –but I’m also going to miss having someone to flyer with. I find it’s easier to deal with being ignored when two people are being ignored together.

SF: What is your favourite thing about the Edinburgh festival?
IS: It’s the most beautiful city in Britain to slowly have a complete mental collapse in.

SF: Have you gigged in Edinburgh before outside of the festival?
IS: Yes, and it’s very strange seeing Edinburgh out of the festival. Everything looks very quiet and spacious. You sort of understand why some people from Edinburgh hate their city being invaded by human statues and giant animal shaped venues.

SF: If you could recommend five other comedians at the Fringe, who would they be?
IS: Nick Helm – his shows are always incredible, inventive, full of heart and hilarious; Tom Rosenthal – recently saw a preview of his show and it’s looking great; James Acaster – his show last year was impeccably structured and very, very funny; The Pin – a brilliant sketch group/double-act with some very smart writing; Holes by Tom Basden (a comedy play) – Tom Basden has written so many amazing things and this has a brilliant cast too.

SF: Apart from your show, are you doing anything else for the Fringe?
IS: I’ll be doing as many guest slots as I can. Hopefully I’ll do Late n Live again – I think it’s a lot of fun. I’m going to join a gym to try and relax in my free time. I want to see if I can break the record for staying in a steam room for the longest. I’ll go to Mother India and eat curry a lot too.

SF: Obviously the Edinburgh Fringe is your favourite comedy festival, but what other festivals do you enjoy?
IS: I don’t go to a lot of festivals. I’d love to go to Burning Man though.

I’ve just found this on Google – I’d like to see this:
The Baby Jumping Festival (El Colacho)
Castrillo de Murcia, Spain – First staged in 1620, this strange event celebrating Corpus Christi sees grown men dressed as the Devil leaping over a row of babies lying in the street.

Catch the wonderful and hilarious Ian Smith at the Pleasance Courtyard throughout August: https://www.edfringe.com/whats-on/comedy/ian-smith-anything

Edinburgh Fringe 2013 Preview: an Interview with Des O’Gorman

Words By Susan Ford

Photograph © Paul Gilfillan
Photograph © Paul Gilfillan

Des O’Gorman moved to Edinburgh five years ago and since, has seen a career in comedy and acting come together.  Boasting credentials as both an actor and a stand-up comedian, 2013 marks Des O’Gorman’s second year performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  Last night I braved the horrific thunder and lightning to catch up with the lovely Des for an interview, to discuss the play he is acting in during the Fringe, and also the comedy projects that make him an excellent local stand up.

SF: Hello Des O’Gorman, how are you?
DO: I’m good. Thanks. Can I just say to all the readers that they are looking amazing today!

SF: Will you be performing in this year’s Fringe Festival?
DO: Yes, I will be performing as part of a play. The play is called ‘Globophobia’ and is an Urban Fox Production.  It is basically about different kinds of phobias and how the characters deal with them.  I play the character of Michael, and he has a personality scarily similar to my own!  I’ll not give too much away though, come down and watch it and you’ll enjoy it.

SF: Is this your first time at the Fringe?
DO: I performed last year as well in a kid’s musical version of Peter Pan.  I played the part of Smee, so this is my second time in the Fringe.

SF: How did you decide you wanted to get in to acting?
DO: I moved to Edinburgh five years ago to study drama and acting.  I’ve always been a bit of a geek and loved movies so acting was always something I wanted to do.  I never intended on getting in to comedy, but it’s great.  I’m a big fan of Sam Raimi, Joss Whedon and Edgar Wright and their films which have been a huge influence.  I’m also inspired by actors David Tennant, Bruce Campbell, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Chris O’Dowd.

SF: What comedy projects are you involved in at the moment?
DO: I am part of the Geek Comedy night at the moment that is taking place in the Old Hairdressers in Glasgow.  The other comedians involved are Billy Kirkwood, Neil ‘The Wee Man’ Bratchpiece, Eleanor Morton, Ewan Denny and Joe Hullait.  At the moment the show is in Glasgow, but hopefully one day it will expand over to Edinburgh and maybe even further.  The clue to the content is in the name of the show; we are all geeks in real life, even if you think you are not, you are!  The show involves a bit of stand up and lots of sketches about topics that we are ‘geeky’ about. The Geek Comedy Night was part of the Glasgow Comedy Festival and it went down pretty well, so we are looking to make it even bigger and better in the future.

SF: When you are not performing yourself, what Fringe shows do you recommend this year?
DO: Billy Kirkwood is doing a one-off wrestling show; I love everything Billy Kirkwood does!  There is also a stage adaptation of the Shawshank Redemption with Omid Djalili; that is one of my favourite films so the stage adaptation should be really interesting.  I’d also recommend Matthew Ellis’s ‘Britain’s got F**k All Talent’ at the Beehive, and a show called ‘Shit Faced Shakespeare’.  It’s a serious Shakespeare play, but the actor is genuinely shit-faced drunk, it’s absolutely brilliant.

Catch Des O’Gorman in ‘Globophobia’ throughout the Fringe at Sweet Grassmarket, https://www.edfringe.com/whats-on/theatre/globophobia

Punchline’s Free Fringe Recommendations!

Ivan Brackenbury

Words by Susan Ford

As a comedian or performer, the beauty of the Fringe Festival lies in its ‘anyone can take part’ policy.  The theory is, that as long as you have a venue willing to house your show, you can perform at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  This is the spirit very much at the heart of the Free Fringe, a vital part of the Fringe Festival that showcases comedians who perhaps wouldn’t have the opportunity were the festival still in the hands of the elitist.

Anyone will tell you to take a chance on the Free Fringe, and admittedly there is something wholly romantic about venturing through Edinburgh and unearthing the best new comedians.  However, let’s face it, the bohemian idea of allowing anyone to perform does not give much way for quality control.  I guess, what I’m saying is yes, take a plunge in to the unknown and discover your favourite new comedian, but take on our recommendations before you go exploring!

It’s also worthwhile to mention that the Free Fringe is not “free”! The performers and comedians have spent their own money on production, travel and accommodation already and rely on contributions from the audience to get by.  If you have enjoyed the show, be expected to show your gratitude with a donation, and please be respectful of this.

Now I’ve got my admin duties out the way, on with the recommendations…

Laughing Horse present a 60 minute joint show from one to watch Adam Hess and Chortle Student Comedy Award finalist David Elms. As part of super-sketch group Jigsaw, Nat Luurtsema performed regularly on BB3’s Live At the Electric: this year she presents her first solo show in three years also through Laughing Horse. Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans’ (The Now Show, Radio 4) show has been described as “an interactive, digital, improv, atheist church service spectacular”, join them for their hour long joint set and see them live up to the hype.

Eric Lampaert

Also in association with Laughing Horse are Glenn Moore and Eric Lampaert.  Glenn Moore was So You Think You’re Funny 2012 finalist and Chortle Student Comedian 2011 runner-up, this year he invites friends to join him for his hour long show ‘Employees of the Month’. Eric Lampaert was a backing singer in Nick Helm’s band on Comedy Blap “I Fancy the Pants off of You”. Absurdist and energetic, Lampaert’s show is not to be missed.

PBH Free Fringe is bringing some great names to the Free Fringe festival. Luke Toulson is another comedian seen on Russell Howard’s Good News, and was nominated for a Perrier Comedy Award; his show is on in the beautiful Cabaret Voltaire throughout the festival. John-Luke Roberts is a comedian, writer and actor, and is bringing his new stand up show to PBH’s Free Fring this year.

Mark Stephenson has a plethora of comedy awards under his belt – Time Out’s One to Watch 2013, Chortle Best Newcomer nominee, Laughing Horse New Act of the Year, and Leicester Square New Act of the Year. His show ‘Half Man Half Amazing’ will prove how worthy he is of his awards collection. 2013 marks Jessica Fostekew‘s third solo show at the Fringe. In the last year Jess has performed on Stephen K Amos’ new BBC Radio 4 show , she’s appeared on BBC Breakfast (BBC1) four times and she has supported Micky Flanagan and Terry Alderton on tour accross the UK: don’t miss her Free Fringe show this year. Edinburgh Amuseum: Three’s A Crowd squeezes three up and coming comedians, all from Edinburgh, in to one show: Katia Kvinge, Eddie O’Dwyer and Rory Telfer perform.

Nathaniel Metcalfe  has been doing stand up since May 2007, and went through to the semi-finals of the So You Think You’re Funny? competition after only five gigs: his free show this year allows him to indulge in his minor obsessions. QI Elf and creator of BBC2s ‘The Museum of Curiosity’ Dan Schreiber, is quite possibly the coolest person in the world.  Or so he used to think: watch him explore many reasons why he perhaps isn’t, and I swear you will fall in love.

David Burke

The Beehive’s Scottish Comedy Festival is a great way to experience the Free Fringe.  Our recommendations for the Beehive are Ray Mearns ‘Waking Up Next To Myself’, Bob Graham ‘Animal Person’ and Pearse James and Martin Bearne ‘Comedy Has the Right to Children’.  After sell-out nights at last year’s festival, Robin Grainger and Gregor Wappler are back with ‘Applause 2: Breaking Gags’ and is a must see this year, with each show featuring a special guest host. For the Beehive’s full line up, visit www.scottishcomedyfestival.com.

David Burke has a real knack for storytelling, he can make any story hilarious and charming all at the same time, hence the name of his new show ‘Exciting Adventures of an Uninteresting Man’. For an absolute guarantee of a giggle, catch Punchline favourite Ivan Brackenbury, radio DJ and very funny character. See him at the Fringe, and then join us in October to see Ivan play at Punchline in both Edinburgh and Perth.

London is Funny Presents… is the alternative variety comedy show.  With the likes of previous performers Cardinal Burns and James Acaster, this show is a very valuable showcase of new talent. Marcel Lucont’s Cabaret Fantastique is another great free variety show that invites guests to perform in an hour of fun.

We hope you have found our guide useful, and that you make the most of the Free Fringe when it visits us in August.  If you have any recommendations that you’d like to share with us, please do tweet us @punchlineuk.

Edinburgh Fringe 2013 Preview: an interview with Mick Ferry

Mick Ferry
Mick Ferry: Has Been Found Wanting More

Words by Susan Ford

You may recognise Mick Ferry from his TV appearances on Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow, or John Bishop’s Only Joking; but his comedy CV also spans across performances alongside stand up kings Johnny Vegas, Sean Lock, Peter Kay, Al Murray and Steve Coogan. He is also a regular performer in The Cutting Edge at the London Comedy Store, and returns to Edinburgh this year for his 4th solo show ‘Mick Ferry has Been Found Wanting’.

This year’s show will see Mick Ferry write his own eulogy: most eulogies are all about how incredibly wonderful and amazing someone was, but surely, no one is ever that brilliant? Mick explores this theme with a comprehensive list of his own failings, a naturally funny path to release great jokes.  As he warms up for this year’s Fringe, I caught up with Mick Ferry for an interview:

SF: Hello Mick Ferry, how are you?
MF: I’m fine thanks, how are you?
SF: Excellent!

SF: Are you excited to be playing this year’s Edinburgh Fringe?
MF: I always get excited about the Festival. I don’t think anything can match it.

SF: How many times have you played the Fringe now?
MF: This will be my 5th time, once as part of the Big Value show in 2004. This is my 4th solo show.

SF:Your solo show is called ‘Mick Ferry Has Been Found Wanting’, where does this name come from and what does it mean?
MF: Has been found wanting, basically means that you have failed to live up to expectations. I am inadequate. I’ve no idea where the phrase originates from.

SF: Tell me a bit of what the audience can expect from your show this year?
MF: Hopefully laughs and a good time. I’m not going to tell you any gags from the show yet, that would be silly.

SF: Will you be involved in any other shows during the festival?
MF: Yeah, hopefully!  Late and Live, and all the other normal stand up shows, are great fun to do during the run because it’s a release from your hour show.

SF: It’s not just about the festival though right, what else will you get up to during your month in Edinburgh?
MF: It’s all about the Festival! When I’m not doing my show, I’ll be watching other shows. A lot of theatre productions and a lot of odd ball off the wall shows that you can only find at Edinburgh Festival.

SF: What other acts do you recommend during this year’s festival?
MF: Ian Cognito is doing the Free Fringe. I’d urge anybody that is into stand up to go and see him. Also a newish comic called Phil Ellis, I’ve seen a preview of his show. It’s very funny and quite different.

SF: What are your plans for the lead up to the festival?
MF: Previews, and practising my drinking until 5am.

SF: Where can we find out more about Mick Ferry?
MF: At mickferry.co.uk or I’m on Twitter, MickFerry or on Facebook MickMFerry.

‘Mick Ferry: Has Been Found Wanting’  is on at 18:15 – Balcony, Gilded Balloon @ Teviot, 31 Jul – 25 Aug  (Not 12th).

Edinburgh Fringe Preview 2013: An Interview with Tom Basden

Tom Basden

Words By Susan Ford

Tom Basden is an actor, comedian and writer. In 2007 his one man Edinburgh show ‘Tom Basden Won’t Say Anything’ won him a Best Newcomer Edinburgh Comedy Award, and his film with Tim Key ‘The One and Only Herb McGwyer Plays Wallis Island’ won them a Best British Short Film Award. Tom is also one of the writers of successful sitcom ‘Fresh Meat’, and earlier in the year, he co-wrote and appeared in the award winning Ancient Rome based sitcom ‘Plebs’.

Tom Basden has penned a new play ‘Holes’ for this year’s Edinburgh Festival that is set to be a massive hit: set in a secret location, seeing this play is a definite must this August. As the excitement of the Festival kicks in, I was lucky enough to interview the awesome Tom Basden…

SF: Hello Tom Basden, how are you?
TB: Yeah, I’m fine thanks.

SF: I hear you are in China just now, how is that going?
TB: The country itself is going pretty well I think. There are the well documented problems with human rights violations, poisonous air and unsafe food, but the economy is as strong as an ox and a huge amount of national pride, as well as hope that the new leadership will finally take on pollution and governmental corruption. It’s also a good place to work from. The food’s very good and I don’t get any emails till 5pm or so because I’m 7 hours ahead. Also, once the play’s on, I won’t be able to access reviews. Every Edinburgh I’ve done, I’ve tried not to read reviews and failed. This time it’ll be easy- the Chinese government are playing into my hands.

SF: What can you tell me about your new play ‘Holes’?
TB: It’s about people stuck on a desert island trying to work out what’s going on in the world and what they should dedicate their lives to now that they’re marooned. It’s also about how quickly people can do terrible things to each other when their world falls apart. In some ways, it’s a small story about 4 people trying to make sense of a situation but it’s also meant to be about the sort of people we are now. It’s a comedy, but it gets pretty dark. There’s a fair bit of digging in it.

SF: Without giving too much away, how much can you reveal about the ‘secret location’?
TB: I’m not sure. Simon (Pearce, the producer) is quite keen that I don’t tell anyone where it is. It doesn’t take long to get there, and it’s really beautiful. Once you’ve been in Edinburgh for a week or so, it’s lovely to get out of the city a little, so I really recommend it to people who are just looking to get away from the royal mile. Even if they hate plays, they’ll like that bit.

SF: You’ve written very successful plays for the Fringe Festival before, how much have you drawn on past experiences when writing ‘Holes’?
TB: I guess this play has some things in common with Party, and I was looking to emulate that to some extent because it was one of the best experiences I had at Edinburgh. Otherwise, I’ve not thought about it too much. This play’s on a totally different scale to Party in terms of production and the size of the story. It’s a bit of a leap into the unknown for everyone, in a good way.

SF: There are some big names involved with the play, who is on the cast list and how did you pick them?
TB: I largely left that to Phillip Breen, the director, having given him some names of people that I thought would be amazing in the play. I’ve worked with Katy Wix and Matt Baynton before, so I was thrilled when I learnt that they were available and eager to do it. I didn’t think we had a chance of getting Daniel Rigby to do it, but he was a name we talked about very early on, because he’s so bloody watchable onstage and has the kind of presence that’s needed for Ian, the character he’s playing. Lastly, Bebe Cave, who’s playing Erin, the 16 year old stuck with these 3 work-mates, was a real find (although, actually she’d done loads of stuff, including Peter Morgan’s ‘the Audience’). It makes a huge difference to have the part of a 16 year old played by someone who is actually 16, and comes into rehearsals on the first day having just taken a GCSE (genuinely). We wanted to avoid casting someone much older and give them a kiddie haircut, because it wouldn’t have rung true onstage; luckily we didn’t need to.

SF: As a writer of ‘Fresh Meat’ and more recently ‘Plebs’, how much of your TV-based writing will you bring to the stage?
TB: Not much I wouldn’t have thought. There are no commercial breaks in it or anything.

SF: Are you currently working on anything presently on the lead up to the Edinburgh Festival?
TB: I’m writing the second series of ‘Plebs’ with Sam Leifer and working on a TV pilot of Party for later in the year. And I’m trying to learn mandarin, which is both fun and an absolute nightmare.

SF: What other acts/shows do you recommend for this year’s Festival?
TB: Tim Key, Liam Williams, DOD, anything and everything Kitson’s doing. In general, I’d say it’s worth seeing people who won’t do the same material on TV panels shows the year after. Will Adamsdale doing a work in progress show, I’m considering flying back just to see that.

Tickets and more information can be found at https://www.edfringe.com/whats-on/theatre/holes-by-tom-basden

Edinburgh Fringe 2013 Preview: an interview with The Colour Ham

The Colour HamWords by Susan Ford

If you like more from your comedy show than just some plain old stand-up routines, then The Colour Ham is the group for you. The Colour Ham consists of three different personalities – a mind reader, a magician and a manic comedian. Individually, they have appeared alongside Jimmy Carr and Derren Brown in ‘4Talent’, performed at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, and received 4 ‘yeses’ from the Britain’s Got Talent Judges. Together, they are The Colour Ham, a very exciting comedy project.

As The Colour Ham get ready for the festival, I caught up with them for an interview to discuss their show.

SF: Hello The Colour Ham, how are you?
TCH: We are very well thank you. Busy getting ready for the Fringe and Kev’s wife is due any day now so life is mad but great.

SF: Tell me a bit about yourselves?
TCH: We are Kev, a magician, Colin, a mind reader and Gav, a former primary school teacher. We’ve been performing together as The Colour Ham for about 3 and a half years now. We perform comedy with special effects. Sometimes it’s magical and sometimes it’s just very silly!

SF:How did you all meet?
TCH: Colin knew Gav, Colin also knew Kev. Colin introduced Gav to Kev, it didn’t really go very well. Then we fell in love!!

SF: Where does the name ‘The Colour Ham’ come from and what does it mean?
TCH: We can’t tell you this. It’s a secret. We will reveal this when The Colour Ham movie comes out.

SF: How excited are you about performing at the Fringe this year?
TCH: Very excited. We had no idea what to expect last year, none of us knew it would be as successful as it was. We have put in a huge amount of effort and we can’t wait to show the world what else we have!

SF: Tell me about your Fringe show 2013…
TCH: It’s high energy, it’s in your face, it’s full of wonder and it’s one of the silliest things we’ve ever written. Can’t wait!

SF: What can we expect in a show by The Colour Ham?
TCH: You can expect a joyous experience full of organised chaos…

SF: Is this your first time at the Fringe?
TCH: This is our 2nd year at the Fringe as the Colour Ham. We have all performed in other shows throughout the years.

SF: What other acts do you recommend for this year’s festival?
TCH: There’s so many, however as they are only doing 4 nights it has to be Slaughterhouse Live. They are Gav’s comedy heroes and they are insane live!!!

SF: Where can we find out more about The Colour Ham?
You can find out more at http://www.thecolourham.com and on Twitter: @thecolourham and on Facebook

The Colour Ham perform 16 nights only at Just the Tonic at the Caves – https://www.edfringe.com/whats-on/comedy/colour-ham

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