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Wandsworth Fringe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4th – 20th May 2018

Now over for 2018.

Welcome to our coverage of Wandsworth Arts Fringe 2018. Wandsworth Fringe is still a relatively new fringe and has grown significantly this year.  It is is also known more officially now as Wandsworth Arts Fringe.

“Wandsworth Arts Fringe (WAF) is an exciting, vibrant, annual showcase of creative activity taking place across the borough of Wandsworth each May.”

Listen to our interview with Lelia Greci about Wandsworth Fringe



Essential Links

Visit the Wandsworth Arts Fringe web site

Browse the programme

Find out more

Read the Scrapbook

Join them on Facebook

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Our 2018 coverage, now over, is below…



I want to see… at Wandsworth Arts Fringe

Our intelligent and intuitive way to find a show or event at Wandsworth Arts Fringe. All of the shows below are recommended by us.

I want to see…

… a Wandsworth Arts Fringe Grand Prix-winning performer. Then see Dan Simpson – Avocado Economics

… some Oscar Wilde. Then see The Importance of Being Earnest

…stand-up comedy about life in India and then coming to the west with no language, culture, personality or clue. Then see Curried Mustard

… a personal odyssey through time, theatre, space, opera and Shakespeare. Then see Mezzo Sings the Bard

… some local historical theatre. Then see Traitors, Cads and Cowards

… some family-friendly, interactive live literature. Then see The Elephant in the Room

… some physical theatre from an acclaimed international company. Then see Pupik

 

We’ll be adding more recommendations in the run up to, and during the Fringe.



Link Collage

Here’s a different way to find a show at Wandsworth Arts Fringe. We’ve chosen a few intriguing images from the programme that grabbed us. Click on an image that draws you and you’ll find a show – then get booking…

  

   

  

We’ll be adding more recommendations in the run up to, and during the Fringe.



Keyword Chaos

Another way to find a show to see at a Fringe Festival is to trust your intuition. Each event offers a description with some unique and curiosity-arousing phrases. Here are a few from the Wandsworth programme. Simply go with your gut feel, click on a phrase and you’ll be taken to a show that might be the next one you should book…

“Together they tackle vital contemporary questions such as identity, roots, displacement, borders, and the concept of a Home. They travel through time and space, unveiling the layers of their personal stories and ancestral backgrounds, tracing a line from the personal to the universal.”

“She was a woman so cutthroat and cold, she would give Lady Macbeth a run for her money. “

“A chance encounter between two acrobats: a frustrated lover and a jilted dreamer. This is the story of two hearts making sense of imperfection.”

“Two men enter a forest… Fear meets mythical creature and strange happenings ensue.”

“A generation raised on fizzy pop music and cartoon aspiration crashes into the reality of a housing crisis.”

We’ll be adding more recommendations in the run up to, and during the Fringe.



AUDIO INTERVIEW

 

 

 

 

 

Paul Levy talks to Miranda Porter about S/he/it Happens, a piece of physical theatre comedy exploring dysphoria and identity.

“Gender exploration, physical exasperation, breast manipulation. Stuck between the gender binary and armed with only a pair of boxers and a photo of a male model, one individual sets out on a violently hilarious attempt to fit. A one-person gender-messing physical comedy exploring gender expression and identity through slapstick and wit. Drawing upon the performer’s own experience of dysphoria and identity, the result is a subtly trans, hilarious and warmhearted performance.”

Paul Levy talks to Miranda Porter

 

INTERVIEW

Spellbinding Mind-Reading? Chris Wall talks about Decisions, Decisions…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s the theme of your show?

The show is titled ‘Decisions, Decisions…’. It explores the decisions we make every single day – the big ones, the small ones and how they all add up to make us the people we are. With our mind firing off 39,000 decisions a day, I wanted to explore how we really make them. Do we have free will? Can we be unduly influenced? Is it all down to social conditioning? How do we make decisions? And what decisions have an audience made in the past and what does that tell us about them?

The show aims to examine this in an entertaining and spellbinding manner that will leave you questioning everything you know about reality.

What’s new or unique about the show?

Every show is unique as it’s very much based on what the audience are thinking. The audience are very much front and centre with their decisions on display. If someone were to see the show multiple times it would go in a different direction each time.
That’s part of what makes the show a real thrill to perform.

How did the show come into being?

I’ve always been fascinated by the way the human mind works, and that is at the centre of how we make decisions. This is why the show is so fascinating; decisions are at the heart of what separates us as individuals. Our decision where to live, what occupation to take up, even what to have for dinner. I wanted to explore that in detail. Having been a student of magic for the last 10 years, this show has evolved and developed right from my first ever live performance where I first saw these traits on display.

Describe one of your rehearsals.

Rehearsing mind reading is difficult, as I can quite easily read my own mind (usually anyway!) but without an audience it is hard to practise. I’ve practiced this show over multiple years and at multiple private events and venues but to truly go through the show is to do it with an audience.

How is the show developing?: The show has been in development for the last 5 years haveing performed it at private events across the country. However, it always changes and grows with each different audience because each different audience is makes decisions differently.

How has the writer been involved?

From the beginning right through to performance, the show is driven by me. Whilst I rehearse with fellow performers, and my girlfriend who I’m always trying new things with, the show begins and ends with me. I don’t just write the script but the effects as well.

How have you experimented?

The show itself contains experiments. There is always the possibility that something will go wrong or not quite to plan. There is zero fourth wall and it is very much an interactive experience where the audience are the star of the show perhaps even more than I am.

Where do your ideas come from?

My ideas come from all over the place. I enjoy people watching in the park on a nice day. I let my mind wander and roam and eventually something comes to me. I like to explore the ideas behind what it is to be human. Previous shows have been about luck and the power of an individual and what they can bring to a situation.

How do your challenge yourself or yourselves?

Because no-one thinks or makes decisions in the same way – every show has its own challenges. With every person or individual that joins me on stage, they have their own background that means I have to assess them and work them out in an instant.

What are your future plans for the show ?

This is my very first public show and I’m incredibly excited. All being well, I’ll be taking the show to more Fringe events in 2018/19. Who knows after that! I don’t think I’ll ever get bored of performing it.

What are your favourite shows, and why?

I naturally love the work of Derren Brown, I think he is one of the greatest performers (let alone magicians) of our age. He is a massive inspiration to me.

Show dates, times and booking info: Date and time: 5th May 20:30 – 21:30 & 9th May 21:30 – 22:30
Location: Putney Arches, Putney Bridge Road, SW15 2JQ
Price: £5.50
Book here

Company web site: http://chrisreadsminds.co.uk



INTERVIEW

Writer and Performer Marcus Reeves talks about SIGHS TEN

 

 

 

 

 

What’s the theme of your show?

Sighs Ten is a playful and poignant show about looking for love and finding sex instead. The show mixes songs and spoken word taken from my albums and performances from the last twenty years and mixes them up in a new way.

What’s new or unique about the show?

It’s been exciting to re-visit existing material in a new context, add light to the darker material and new weight to what I thought was previously throwaway. As a self-taught musician and poet I hope my work is accessible to people who may often find poetry or spoken word a bit pretentious.

How did the show come into being?

I have been performing for twenty years now and explored a lot of different avenues – poetry, music, acting, comedy, drag. I felt like re-visiting what I’d worked on and looking at it from a slightly different perspective to celebrate where I’ve got to and also re-frame it.

Describe one of your rehearsals.

Lots of pacing and distracting myself with technical things.

How is the show developing?

I performed the show in 2016 at The Glory with a live band – this time it’s myself and pre-recorded music, which will be a bit different – I really will be flying solo! I’ve re-written things here and there – jokes can always be tighter and funnier.

How has the writer been involved?

The writer is around a lot and bugs me all the time, but he’s incredibly handsome, witty and intelligent, so I put up with him I suppose.

How have you experimented?

The show itself was an experiment. Could I take material that was from different projects and piece it all together? Also how do I portray myself onstage – am I really ‘me’ or a version of me?

Where do your ideas come from?

Ideas can come from anywhere, it’s partly about remaining open and receptive to inspiration, then letting it breathe.

How do your challenge yourself or yourselves?

My process is quite slow, so I like to try new things but can often over-think things!

What are your future plans for the show ?

I’d like to take the show to more festivals, Edinburgh and beyond, eventually.

What are your favourite shows, and why?

I’m actually more of a musical theatre queen – my favourite show ever is The Drowsy Chaperone. I like things that can make me laugh and cry.

Show dates, times and booking info: The Cat’s Back: 05 May, 9.30pm
The Cat’s Back: 06 May, 9.30pm
Tickets £5.50
The Cat’s Back
86-88 Point Pleasant
Wandsworth
SW18 1NN

Book here

Company web site: http://www.reevescorner.co.uk



INTERVIEW

Writer, Dan Horrigan from Sky or the Bird talks about Riot to Heaven


What’s the theme of your show?

Raconteuring. Losing Winning Losing again – gambling your heart on the kindness of strangers. Seeking redemption – trying to get to a better place than where we started. Telling stories and bearing the soul. These are men you can spend a night with but you have to keep an eye on them.

What’s new or unique about the show?

Audience participation. Breaking the fourth wall.

How did the show come into being?

Interrogating people I love and where I live.

Describe one of your rehearsals.

A group of people converge. They try they fail they try again. Everybody leaves with a full heart and it gets better and better.

How is the show developing?

Like a constellation on a clear night.

How has the writer been involved?

He’s carefully selected people with the right disposition to cut the diamond.

How have you experimented?

Altered states of mind and enlarged imaginations have been factors.

Where do your ideas come from?

The air.

How do your challenge yourself or yourselves?

We fight for every word and feeling. We never stop fighting for truth and beauty.

What are your future plans for the show ?

Several fringe festivals and Edinburgh 2020

What are your favourite show?

Philip Ridley – Jez Butterworth – Elevator Repair Service – Cheek by Jowl – Complicite

Show dates, times and booking info: May the 18th and 19th 8-9pm
The Arches
St Mary’s Church
Putney

Book here



INTERVIEW

Comedian Struan Logan talks about Struan All Over the World

 

 

 

 

 

What’s the theme of your show?

The story is of my 18 months living out of backpacking through Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia. I roadtripped through Australia and New Zealand headlining gigs whilst meandering through and headed back home via South East Asia performing in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Hong Kong.

The hour is a mix of anecdotal stand-up and longer form storytelling, regaling tales about being treated like a lucky charm in Myanmar, how North Korea inspired me to travel and performing jokes about Islam in the Muslim majority country of Malaysia.

What’s new or unique about the show?

Comedians often travel to perform at festivals and comedy clubs but the difference with this story is I wanted to travel and felt like my prioritising of performance was the only thing making me stay. Whereas when I left the UK travel was the more important part and was lucky enough to get amazing opportunities which led to some cool stories. I have been told a few time by people that everything in the show feels natural and real which is what I wanted rather than making up stuff to make the material funnier.

How did the show come into being?

By doing it. As I said before prioritising having an interesting life over being a performer.

Describe one of your rehearsals.

As a stand-up you don’t really have rehearsals, a set is evaluated by the audience you are performing to that night.

If a comedian is telling jokes and no one is there to hear it are they smashing that gig? If they are delusional, yes.

How is the show developing?

I have done different versions show in Scotland, England, Singapore and three Australian states. Each one has a bit of a different spin on references and how it should be done for example Perth in Western Australia is very apolitical and want a high joke rate whereas audiences in London really enjoy structure, narrative and a point. The latter is what I enjoy to do more but you have to make the show for the audience in front of you.

How have you experimented?

You experiment every night as a comedian as the audiences are different collections of people who have varying ages, upbringings and points of view. You may extend a routine they particularly like, you may put a call-back into your set that was perfectly fits in with some crowd work or you may just cut out a section of jokes entirely and give them something else because they didn’t like an earlier bit.

Where do your ideas come from?

A stupid idea I have put way much commitment into. Whether that is saying it as a stand-up bit or a personal experience, chances are I look like an idiot in it.

How do your challenge yourself or yourselves?

I challenge myself when I start a new show, the original version of my material is a far more political and less fun version of stand-up than it should be – I am obsessed with The Wire.

I start it by performing to a small crowd, try to be clever more than funny and they tell me I am wrong. I take on the feedback by going on stage night after night revamping that material with the audience gradually telling me I am less wrong by laughing with me. I eventually give the audience a version of both what they want to hear and I want to tell them.

What are your future plans for the show ?

It is currently being performed throughout the UK at Wandsworth Fringe, Brighton Fringe, Great Yorkshire Fringe and Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Nothing is planned for it in 2019 but if people like it as much as they did in Australia I will look into doing the show in 2019.

What are your favourite shows, and why?

My favourite shows are ones that feel alive and in the moment, writing a monologue and performing it is not as difficult as people think. For me it has to feel like the performer is performing to those people rather than performing jokes that have been agreed to as the funniest by a commitee of previous audiences. I personally try to do this by including crowd work and relating those interactions with audiences into the show itself. This can create fantastically funny moments at the time but when a person tells them back to someone who was not there they give you teller a blank stare and the person has to say “I guess you had to be there.”

Show dates, times and booking info:
The Arches at St Mary’s Church:
04 May, 7.00pm ‐ 8.00pm,
05 May, 9.45pm ‐ 10.45pm,
06 May, 9.45pm ‐ 10.45pm,
09 May, 7.00pm ‐ 8.00pm
Price: £5.50
The Arches at St Mary’s Church, High Street, Putney SW15 1SN
Book here

Company web site: https://www.struanlogan.com/



INTERVIEW

Dramaturg, Actor and Translator Shinako Wakatsuki from Doubtful Sound, talks about The Women of Ishikawa

What’s the theme of your show?

Folktales about strong women who lived in Japan 300 years ago.

What’s new or unique about the show?

I think we are the only theatre company performing Japanese folktales in the UK. We collaborate with musicians who play traditional Japanese folk-music. We perform our shows in both English and Japanese.

How did the show come into being

I found it interesting researching what different areas of Japan were like in the mid-Edo period. The characters you find in folktales are not in the history books – they are everyday people and outsiders. These were the real people who lived in that era.  Doing this type of work is what our company does, and this time we have a co-dramaturg who is coming over from Ishikawa, the area the tales are based, to help us with the show and to perform with us.

Describe one of your rehearsals.

We jump into the scenes from the get-go. We run a few times and the director will stop us half way through and ask us questions about the material. Sometimes we change things and sometimes we don’t. If actors have any questions about the work, they ask me or the other dramaturg in Japan. I sometimes help other actors with how they would move in kimono (which we wear in the show) and suggest how they could move being different members of society because of the historic background.

How is the show developing?

A lot of the work so far has been translation and script work, so we’ve only started getting everybody together recently. It’s starting to take shape.

How has the writer been involved?

He’s also the director, so he’s very involved. Even during rehearsals, he asks me why we chose certain words and translated certain words the way we did, and we often make minor changes along the way.

How have you experimented?

These stories would traditionally be one old woman or man, sitting by the fire, telling the stories to people around them.
We take the storytelling material and play with it using theatre and incorporate traditional music.

Where do your ideas come from?

It’s helpful to be the role of translator, dramaturg, and actor all at once. If I get stuck as an actor, it helps to put the dramaturg hat on and look at it from that perspective, or reread the story as the translator and think about it that way. I get the main ideas from the story itself, but being able to go back to the source material is helpful too. I try and keep elements from the original folktales as much as I can for authenticity.

How do your challenge yourself or yourselves?

Trying to get our non-Japanese actor-mates to fill these Japanese characters is challenging. Just trying to get these historical characters right is challenging too.
I’m not from the area these tales are from, but I am trying to put on the dialect from there for the part of the show in Japanese.

What are your future plans for the show ?

We want to tour Europe and further afield with the folktales.

We are planning on performance at Daiwa Japanese Institute in July, and then In Tokyo and Ishikawa in April next year.

What are your favourite shows, and why?

Network at the National Theatre – The themes of manipulation from the media (I loved how I realised we were being manipulated during the show while watching a show about the media manipulating the population. It was exciting during the show to watch the manipulation happening, but after the show I saw that I could potentially be easily manipulated too.

Show dates, times and booking info: 5th and 6th of May
8pm

Book here

Company web site: http://www.doubtfulsound.asia



INTERVIEW

Sam Beckett Jr, Artistic Director of Purple Theatre talks about Vanessa

What’s the theme of your show?

The show explores the notion of why we always have a story to tell about our Mum or our Grandma or our children. It takes the form of one performer performing 3 roles to tell a story of three characters. The characters are all family and have one thing in common. They realise that family comes before themselves. It promotes LGBTQ issues as well as interracial issues.

What’s new or unique about the show?

The show is a seldom seen story about black people coming to terms with the word gay. The performer plays the roles of a woman a grandmother and a young man. The piece uses poetry monologue and stand up comedy to tell a story.

How did the show come into being?

It is based o the real life story of one person trying to invite members of his black family to his gay wedding and not getting the response he wanted. It developed using the writer’s own experiences and historical data.

Describe one of your rehearsals.

A rehearsal starts with a 40 minute slow walking exercise which Is a meditation type exercise to free the performer of outside noise. Then the obligatory vocal and physical warm ups. We then dive into one of the 3 characters exploring physicality, voice and direction. We then add words to the character and go through the script on minute detail.

How is the show developing?

Having scratched the show in Bristol in March we have set the script and are busy learning and dine tuning the performance. It’s going very well. We hope to be adding music and projection very soon.

How has the writer been involved?

One of the writers is also the performer. Using their own experiences the writer has used the rehearsal period to inform the script. The other writer is the director. He has also used the rehearsal to fine tune the script. It is a collaboration between wroters but also between performer writer and director. Much of the script is devised in the room.

How have you experimented?

We experiment all the time wuth form. The show started as a monologue from one person. We had a 60 minute script that we started with and ended uup throwing fifty minutes if it out in The first three days. We then started again and used forms of silent writing and improv to inform the story. TV is is how we developed into having three characters instead of one.

Where do your ideas come from?

We use much of our family stories and experiences of our own familie

We play with time scales and different perspectives of the same event. How do people see the same event and how does that effect how we pass stories on to our friends and acquaintances

How do your challenge yourself or yourselves?

We also sit at the edge of our comfort zone. Particularly when rehearsing. We keep the rehearsal space safe but experimental. This then let’s us go into the performance with the stability of a rehearsal but the danger of staying in the moment whilst on stage.

What are your future plans for the show ?

We are going to do more festivals this year such as Camden and Brighton and hope to do a theatre tour in 2019

What are your favourite shows, and why?

We love shows like Half Breed and Big Foot for their dynamic young and fresh take on the world. We love the house of Frantic Assembly and Complicite for their experimental forms. We love the clowning of Miranda Porter and the honesty of Edward Day.

Show dates, times and booking info: May 19 and 20 at Upstairs at the Cat’s Back Wandsworth SW18 1NN 5pm Tickets £5

Book here

Company web site: http://www.purpletheatre.co.uk



INTERVIEW

Artistic Director Hannah Brooks from TicTac Theatre  talks about Nature Knows Best

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s the theme of your show?

A comedic look at relationships through the eyes of nature.

What’s new or unique about the show?

A unique blend of word witty comedy and physical theatre, mixed with animals and multi-rolling, all in the space of an hour!

How did the show come into being?

The writer Nick Discombe came to see our production “The Open Couple” (Dario Fo) which is a comedy that we made very physical. He loved our physicalisation and specially commissioned us to do this piece. We had unfortunately already programmed our next show, so it had to wait an extra year. But here it is and we’re extremely proud of Nature Knows Best.

Describe one of your rehearsals.

Our rehearsals (with director Jacquie Crago) generally consist of a real physical and vocal warm up, followed by getting to grips with the text. Before flipping upside down in a seagull dive, or learning how to lie down as a sheep (knuckles first) or trying to flirt with your seahorse husband whilst telling him about the dangers of overfishing, all whilst trying not to laugh!!! Our rehearsals are intense, hard work and fun.

How is the show developing?

Each time we are revisiting the text we pull out more tiny nuances, the audience reaction helps us tweak little physicalisations or allow it space to breathe.

How has the writer been involved?: Nick has been the perfect mix of involved and trusting us to do it justice. He has given us all the information and ideas for where he saw the piece going (and where it came from) but then has allowed us complete freedom to adapt, change and add in anything that makes the piece stronger. As he says, the writer is the heart but the actors make it come alive, they know what works on stage. It’s been a wonderful experience collaborating with him.

How have you experimented?

We’ve experimented a lot with the physical aspects. Do we make the animals humanistic, or play humans who have animal traits and how does that work. We researched a lot about animal behavior. We also experimented with audience participation, how much, how little if at all.

Where do your ideas come from?

From the text, we’re fortunate that all the productions we have done so far (“Open Couple” Dario Fo, “You Were After Poetry” Steven Bloomer, “Bride To Be” Peter Quilter) have been fantastically well written. We get all our ideas from reading the text in depth and then putting them up on their feet and seeing the possibilities.

How do your challenge yourself or yourselves?

We constantly push ourselves to give physical, high quality productions but that make sense as to why we’re doing that particular thing. We also go back to our ethos of minimalistic set to draw attention to the text and action of the play, which can prove very challenging!

What are your future plans for the show ?

To tour it for the rest of this year, before starting a new project.
After a sell out show at the Everyman Cheltenham, our further dates after Wandsworth are:
23rd May Teignmouth
25th May Crediton
14-16th June Bristol
28th Jun-1st July Barnstaple
15-17th July Buxton
22nd July Bedford

Show dates, times and booking info: 9th May 9:30pm
10th May 8pm
Cats Back, Wandsworth SW18 1NN
www.wandsworthfringe.com

Book here

Company web site: http://www.tictactheatre.co.uk



INTERVIEW

Eliza Caloe, Performer from FILTHpresents talks about A Woman, in Search

What’s the theme of your show?

A Woman, in Search features themes that we feel occur in everyday life: gender, identity and technology, to name a few.

What’s new or unique about the show?

Our show changes every time we rehearse and/or perform it! Which means it’s always new, even for us. The work is intrinsically connected to how the performer is feeling and how the audience are feeling so no show is the same.

How did the show come into being?

Rory, the company director and producer approached Eliza, the performer, in 2015 and propositioned her…and they never looked back. Whether it’s fortune or hard work (or both) the two fit each other well, creatively, and it’s often like talking to yourself rather than someone else #firstsignofmadness

Describe one of your rehearsals.

The show features quite a bit of technology so we spend a while getting our projectors, tvs, microphones etc. set up. Then they can go one of two ways; we catch up on notes from yesterday’s rehearsal OR we go straight into a run and experimenting with new material and ideas.

How is the show developing?

The company have just completed a week of R&D which was great. As already mentioned, the show changes every time we do it so getting back to it this week was always going to mean a lot of work. But the work flowed and the show has developed into something else now. We just can’t wait for people to see it!

How has the writer been involved?

Eliza and Rory wrote the show together.

How have you experimented?

The show is loosely improvised so every rehearsal and every show is some sort of experiment! Different voice, different actions and different emotions appear every time.

Where do your ideas come from?

Many of our ideas are deep rooted in our existences. The ideas are reactionary to today’s world, how the company are feeling and where we find ourselves in the world. We sometimes look at texts such as Pirandello’s ‘Six Characters in Search of an Author’ and sometimes just let loose in an improvisation.

How do your challenge yourself or yourselves?

By using material that is personal and offering it to the who join us.

What are your future plans for the show ?

To continue to tour it internationally and take it to venues within the UK.

What are your favourite shows, and why?

As a company we enjoy seeing Sleepwalk Collective’s work and many other companies which trained as we did, on European Theatre Arts.

Show dates, times and booking info:

May 16-17th @ 7 and 8pm

The Arches at St Mary’s Church
Book here

Company web site: http://www.filthpresents.com



INTERVIEW

Comedian Paul Savage talks about Paul Savage : Performative Wokeness

What’s the theme of your show?

There’s about 3. Being prepared for all eventualities is only effective if the universe makes sense, which it doesn’t.
Try and do good, but that can be overcome if you do too much bad.
Suicide is an epidemic amongst young men.

What’s new or unique about the show?

95% of the stand up in it is new this year. Then there’s some hammered in off cuts from previous years.

How did the show come into being?

Whilst at the Edinburgh fringe last year, my girlfriend came in from a night out, and announced to me that she was in the next room having a threesome with my flatmate and a random bloke. This was revenge for saying her best friend had pretty eyes.

I wet for a big long angry walk and then the show came from the horrible thoughts and feelings that bubbled up in the days and months afterwards

Describe one of your rehearsals.

No one rehearses comedy. That’s mental. You write some shit, you say it at new material nights and you go from there. I hope no one in comedy is staring into a mirror, blocking off their hand gestures and scripting asides. It would depress me too much.

How is the show developing?

Getting there. It’s my 5th solo show, so I now know the beats of getting a show ready. Not enough stuff, too much stuff, trim some weak bits, try to see what points you are making. It’s very organic. Last years show was called “Paul Savage is set to self destruct” and was going to be based around a specific story, was going to be the showcase for me doing 4 or 5 character bits, and was intended to have the theme that it wasn’t self destructive behaviour but more the destruction of The Self. In the end, I used one of the character bits and binned everything else.

How has the writer been involved?

I am the writer. He is me. I am writer, performer, director, producer.

The writer side of me has been involved by noting down things on my phone for a while. Then I say them at new material nights. Then I slip them in at paid gigs. And then I sit down and make the 200 tweaks that make a show

How have you experimented?

I’m trying to slow down my speed of delivery. Just so I don’t trample over my own words. And put more physicality into the act. I barely move onstage so it’s nice to do stuff.

Where do your ideas come from?

Everywhere, which is the problem. If everything can be comedy, then everything you do is a source. Which makes narrowing it down hard. And the best stuff comes from being hit in the head by an idea. So getting to a place where you can get hit in the head by an idea is the plan.

I’m doing a skydive for Spinal Muscular Atrophy this June, and whilst I’m doing this because its a heartbreaking condition that needs our support, honestly, if I throw myself out of a plane at 20000 feet and don’t get 5 minutes from it I’ll be gutted.

How do your challenge yourself or yourselves?

By trying to make a living and do solo shows. I make a profit from Edinburgh, but the amount of previewing I do, driving 7 hours to Hastings to do a gig and make £5 because you need to get the words out. Comedy is live. It’s a living breathing thing and you can have instincts it will work, but it might just be an idea. It needs to be tested, it can’t be rehearsed. So, you go all over the place and do as many useful gigs as possible til the bits click into place.

What are your future plans for the show ?

Edinburgh. Then hopefully I want to do the Australian festivals next year, but that has a lot of gatekeepers who need to see it.

What are your favourite shows, and why?

Elvis Dead by Rob Kemp: just one idea, brilliantly put together. He looks a bit like Bruce Campbell from Evil Dead. He used to be an Elvis impersonator. So he sings the entire movie to the tunes of Elvis songs. It’s wonderful. His mum made him tear away shirts and he got so into the performance I saw in Leicester he broke his finger on a plate 40 mins in.

Then, others like James Acaster’s repertoire. I saw 2 of them filmed for the Netflix recordings. The one about jury duty is incredible. Layers upon layers.

Big fan of Daniel Kitson. I love the way he’s cultivated his fan base to go “I’m here. I’m doing this show for 11 nights and it exists and then I won’t record it and you missed it”. The trilogy he did with Gavin Osborn playing guitar as he weaves 3 stories together is insanely good.

Show dates, times and booking info: 18th May. 9.45pm 19th May: 4pm
£5.50

Book here

Company web site: http://Paulsavagecomedy.com



INTERVIEW

Stand-up Comedian, Rob Thomas talks about Callback

What’s the theme of your show?

Tthe title ‘Callback’ refers to the common trick where a comedian does a joke, and then later in the show refers back to that joke to get a secondary laugh. It also refers to reflecting back on my life, so the show is a romp through my experiences, wrapped up in some clever meta-comedy about referencing back to things, a bit like the fact that the first word of this paragraph is ‘Tthe’. If you’re not seeing that it means the editor has fixed it, in which case they should really learn to read everything before snipping! On face value though, the show is a non-sweary, non-filthy, accessible, hour of funny and physical stand-up comedy.

What’s new or unique about the show?

It’s hard to be different in stand-up comedy as there’s so much of it about. This show is a bit different because it’s cheeky in it’s internal self-referencing, whilst at the same time containing accessible funny routines that stand on their own two feet. It also includes an extended section about clubbing and raving in the 90s which is a topic that I believe no one is doing, and one which has come of age for stand-up now that all of us that were part of the original rave scene are in our 40s or even 50s! I love doing that bit and the audience can tell.

How did the show come into being?

I like comedy about comedy, and over the last few years have developed so many different routines on that topic, that I thought I’d combine them into one funny, endlessly self-referencing hour.

Describe one of your rehearsals.

There aren’t any. All rehearsing happens in front of a live audience. The show is refined, tuned and at times invented on the spot in front of a crowd. It’s the only way!

How is the show developing?

The show is in great shape, one of my previews was London Evening Standard’s Critic’s Choice, so it must be decent.

How have you experimented?

I use triggered sound effects, nothing particularly ground breaking, but I use them in a fresh way and combine them with my own vocal sound effects.

Where do your ideas come from?

My experiences, I started stand-up late (late 30s) so I’m never going to be star-spotted as a fresh new youngster, but the up-side is I have decades of experience from this country and abroad to pick from. So the basic ideas come from my life, but the details come from a forensic eye that I apply to everything. I never just get to the obvious and stop there, I keep digging.

How do your challenge yourself or yourselves?

Every time I step on stage it’s a challenge, as audiences (usually) have no idea who I am and I have to win them over quickly.
Constantly writing new material is a more practical challenge, trying to find an angle on a topic that the other 3000+ comics working in the UK haven’t already covered. I believe that uniqueness, a memorable angle and a distinctive voice to tell it in are some of the keys to success in stand-up. I frequently guest on TalkRadio breakfast, and the pressure and spontaneity of that keeps me on my toes too!

What are your future plans for the show ?

To take the best possible version of it to the Edinburgh Fringe 2019.

Show dates, times and booking info: Wandsworth Fringe, 19th May 7pm and 20th May 9pm. £5.50.

In the tent at the Arches, St Mary’s, Putney, SW15 1SN.

Tickets available here

Company web site: http://www.robbyt.co.uk



INTERVIEW

Director Abi Standing from Too Many Figs talks about Astapovo

What’s the theme of your show?

The theme is mortality. The show specifically looks at how death and the knowledge of death is interwoven into the banal and trivial of everyday life, focussing on the absurdity and humour that this can elicit. It is strongly influenced by existentialist ideas while also drawing on real life stories.

What’s new or unique about the show?

We have tried to be inventive in the way we have explored the topic of death including using the structure of the play as a tool for communication as well as the content. It does not follow a linear narrative but is slightly surreal at times and there are a variety of theatrical elements used.

How did the show come into being?

The show began at RADA and was originally created as part of my dissertation for the MA Text & Performance course. After finishing, I decided to develop it further and take it to a festival – Wandsworth seemed like a fantastic opportunity so I applied and here we are!

Describe one of your rehearsals.

The rehearsals are different every time but due to the nature of the piece I am often able to rehearse one-on-one with the actors or in small groups. The work varies depending on the needs of the actor and whether a scene is working. This might involve exercises to help the actor connect with the text or improvisation around new ideas. I encourage my actors to be vocal with their ideas so that we can work collaboratively and ensure everyone’s creativity is harnessed.

How is the show developing?

I have built upon the original piece by improvising new ideas in rehearsals and attempting to resolve issues that we found when it was first performed. This has changed one of the scenes and there are a couple of new pieces of text that have been added.

How has the writer been involved?

I am the writer as well as the director so this part has been easy! Some text was developed with my actors organically in rehearsal and this I would write up afterwards.

How have you experimented?

Probably most in terms of the structure of the piece – it doesn’t follow a conventional dramatic plot line but we feel it is still engaging and interesting to the audience.

Where do your ideas come from?

The genesis of the idea for this show is something quite personal as it comes from my awareness (and fear of) my own mortality and that of those close to me. Beyond this I have been influenced by literature; Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Camus and Sartre in particular for this piece. I am also very inspired by people I encounter and talk to in my everyday life and often a phrase or a story someone tells me sparks an idea.

How do your challenge yourself or yourselves?

I try to push myself out of my comfort zone and by taking this piece to Wandsworth I feel like I am doing that. It is the first time I have put on a piece of theatre outside of education and it is very challenging!

What are your future plans for the show ?

I haven’t planned too far in the future as Wandsworth is my current focus but depending on how it goes and the feedback we get I may look to develop it further.

What are your favourite shows, and why?

For me the most important thing is good writing and good acting. Anything else is forgiveable or a bonus but what I want to see is something which if stripped back, would still be interesting. In movement or performance pieces with little dialogue then performance skill is also something that draws me in and I love watching clowning/mime/dance shows as well.

Show dates, times and booking info

The show is on 15 and 17 May at 7pm. Tickets can be bought via the Wandsworth Fringe Festival website as per the link below:

Book here



NEWSWIRE

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Here are links to news headlines and stories about Wandsworth Arts Fringe.

2018

21st March 2018: Wandsworth Arts Fringe Reveals 2018 Line-Up (WandsworthSW18.com)

16th March 2018: Wandsworth Arts Fringe set for its biggest year yet (SW Londoner)

6th March 2018: Wandsworth Arts Fringe Reveals 2018 Programme (Broadway World)

2017

21st April 2017: Wandsworth Arts Fringe Festival Reflects Issues of Contemporary Britain (London Theatre1)

6th March 2017: Wandsworth Arts Fringe Sneak Preview Reveals Rich Array Of Choice And Quality (Broadway World)

2016

13th April 2016: Whacky and wonderful! Wandsworth Arts Fringe is back and bigger than ever (SW Londoner)

20 <arch 2016: 16 days of art and performance with Wandsworth Arts Fringe 2016 (ATV Today)

12 March 2016: 12 things to look forward to at Wandsworth Arts Fringe (Wandsworth Guardian)

16 January 2016: Wandsworth Arts Fringe projects to receive £20k to fund May’s event (Your Local Guardian)