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Fringereview at The Gilded Balloon

Gilded Balloon

Welcome to our coverage of fringe at the legendary Gilded Balloon. Boasting new performance spaces and a programme loaded with variety, we’ll be adding previews, choices and interviews over the coming weeks.


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INTERVIEW

Writer and performer, Tom Machell talks about zazU: Raisins To Stay Alive

What’s the theme of your show?

This is the story of the end of the world. Not this world. Another world.
Returning to the Fringe after a sell out run at Soho Theatre ‘Side splittingly funny’ ****(Broadway Baby) surreal comedy group zazU present their latest epic comedy adventure. Step inside their strange alternate reality, richly inhabited by a plethora of strange and deranged characters all played by a cast who have appeared on BBC, E4, Comedy Central and Dave. It’s all (in the words of Josie Lawrence) ‘very funny’.

With 24 hours left to live, this is a tale of forbidden love, a reluctant hero and raisins. In fact, this is everything you might expect from a pre-apocalyptic day in a parallel universe.

Describe one of your rehearsals.

Our rehearsals are always very fun but very silly. We love improvisation and that is key part in creating our show. We usually do a maximum of eight hours. We are 4 performer/writers and one Writer/Director. Depending at what point we are at with the show the rehearsal process changes. We begin as a collaborative group and as we move further on we take on the roles of Performer(s) and Director.

What’s new or unique about the show?

We are very unusual style of comedy. We like to tell stories with the world we have created. Coming from a sketch background we have now fully formed a world and style of comedy that many people have not seen before. We take the surreal and the mundane and mash it together with observational characters. We also love the word silly. The sillier the better.

How did the show come into being?

We all met doing long running sketch show ‘News Revue’ . We found each other hilarious and decided to continue making things after our run finished. That was February 2013. We have now done 2 Edinburgh full runs as a group (this being our third) as well as filming numerous shorts and currently developing our material for Television and Radio.

How is the show developing?

We are being asked that question a lot. We always just smile and nod are head hoping everything will be ok…

More seriously the show is developing well. We are on our second Edinburgh preview and have been testing material at numerous slots around London. The current shape the world is in right now we think is quite fitting to the theme of our show. Audiences seem to get it.

How has the writer been involved? Or describe the process of creating this work.

We write together. Each member of the company will bring in ideas and we then we talk, play and improvise. We find the characters and then rewrite accordingly. Our Director Kat then takes the scripts away, formats them and then we add/change jokes as we need too.

How have you experimented?

We experiment within most scenes in the show. Testing audiences to their limits. We love pauses. We love odd surreal jokes. Last year we had a man with a fringe portion a quiche on stage with his hand and then hand it out to the crowd.

What are your favourite shows, and why?

Our favourite shows are shows that are unpredictable. A show that when the lights go down you have no idea what is going to happen next. Character comedy is always a favourite of ours but one of two-hander plays in the more intimate venues of the Fringe are also exciting.

Show dates, times and booking info:

We are live everyday of the Fringeat 18:15 (except 17th & 24th) at The Billiard Room, Gilded Balloon.

Visit their web site: http://www.zazucomedy.com

Booking and info here

 


INTERVIEW

Writer, Director, Matt Morillo talks about All Aboard the Marriage Hearse


What’s the theme of your show?

The main theme is the validity of the institution of marriage and traditions in modern times, especially among non-religious people. Whether or not these traditions are useful or even destructive, is debated passionately by the characters in the play.

Describe one of your rehearsals.

I like to run rehearsals in a casual way, especially when I work with seasoned professionals, as I am doing in this show. I ask all actors to check in on time so I can make any relevant announcements etc. Then the next fifteen minutes is all theirs. They can take a power nap, call a loved one, enjoy a cigarette, grab a water or soda or just vent about their day to someone. I find it helps everyone focus for the rehearsal if they get fifteen minutes of ‘me’ time before rehearsal. Then we get to work at bringing the show to life.

What’s new or unique about the show?

I don’t want to give anything away so I’ll choose my words carefully. But I would say the show is unique because of the position it takes on the institution of marriage. Marriage, here in the Unites States, is still considered a sacred institution in most respects. And I think audiences have been surprised by the ending because, even in the rare moments when American entertainment tackles this subject, it usually settles down into a ‘safe’ ending. I don’t think our show does that.

How did the show come into being?

In my late 20’s/early 30’s, I watched as friend after friend got married. Then in my late 30’s I watched many of them get divorced. And I also watched many friends just choose to co-habitate in a committed relationship and not get married. It made me think about the viability of marriage in our current culture and whether it necessarily is a good thing. I felt it was a worthy topic to explore.

How is the show developing?

I think it’s come along quite well. We just wrapped a successful run at the Hollywood Fringe, where we were nominated for three awards and walked away with two! We were nominated for ‘Most Unleashed Show’, won an ‘Encore! Producers’ Award’ and our lead actress, Jessica Moreno, won ‘Most Unleashed Performance.’ Plus audiences and critics responded quite favorably.

How has the writer been involved? Or describe the process of creating this work.

Well, I am the writer and I’ve been quite involved. While creating this I wanted to make sure that both sides of the issue at hand were addressed as strongly as possible. I did not want the show to come off as didactic. I wanted it to be a believable conversation between two real people struggling with a genuine issue. Personally, I am not a fan of many tradition including the institution of marriage, but I did not want this to be about me. So I put in tremendous effort in making sure the ‘pro-marriage’ side was well represented.

How have you experimented?

I don’t know if I could say that we’ve experimented too much. But when I’m working with seasoned professional actors, as I had the luxury of doing on this show, I do like to let them improvise here and there and see if they can bring certain moments to another level. And they both have come through on that end!

What are your favourite shows, and why?

My favorite shows are some American classics like ‘Our Town,’ ‘The Subject Was Roses’ and ‘The Glass Menagerie’ because they are about real people and real issues that they face. Each one of those pieces gives us a window into a certain aspect of our culture. While they are all older shows, the relationships between the characters still hold up to this day in many respects. I can only hope that years from now, even when it is likely that today’s traditions will be a thing of the past, that this show will still be relevant because the relationship between the characters is so real. Couples will always have disagreements. That is timeless. So let’s hope!

Show dates, times and booking info:

The show runs at the Gilded Balloon – The Wee Room, from August 3rd – August 29th (not 16th) at 12:30PM.

The website for the show is www.kadm.com.

Book here