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Billy Watson: Sex, Drugs and Marriage

July 27, 2012 | 1

Followers of the Dot Com(edy) Spot will be well aware who Billy Watson is, as he has garnered more than a few fans here at PPSF. For the unaware, Billy first had designs of becoming a rock star but, in his own words, his “severe lack of musical talent” held him back. It was the late, great Bill Hicks that brought Billy’s passion for stand-up to fruition, with him realising it was a great way to vent off his anger at the injustices of the world and make people see the truth as read in David Icke books he’d picked up along his travels.

Billy’s first solo Edinburgh Fringe show was back in 2002. He recalls having had a tough enough time just trying to get 10 minute unpaid spots back then, nevermind performing one hour shows every day for a month. Even so, it got a three star review though, so it clearly wasn’t half as bad as he believed.

This year Billy will be be performing ‘Sex, Drugs and Marriage’ at the Laughing Horse.  He sums the show up as portraying his “journey from drugged out loser in search of pussy through marriage to a psychotic Turkish woman and beyond”. What more could one ask for?

Billy kindly answered a few questions in the countdown to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

If you could describe your show as three Olympic sports which would you choose and why?

Diving – As I have not performed comedy since last year’s Edinburgh Festival, my show will feel like taking a big leap of faith off the top board into the deep end.

Tennis – It is a solo sport for which a great degree of flexibility and stamina is required. Hopefully the audience will return my jokes with laughter but I still aim to hit more than a few winners.

Archery – I will be taking aim at a few targets and trying to hit the bullseye to make as many points as possible, while still being entertaining of course.

For you what makes the Edinburgh Fringe so unique compared to other comedy festivals?

I have not been to any other comedy festivals so I can’t really compare.  However, this is the one that most comedians work all year round for and is seen as the place where you showcase the best of your year’s work. For that reason it is held in the highest regard. Plus, no other festival I’m sure gets as much rain. Lol.

What has been your defining moment there?

This will be the fourth time I have put on a one man show at Edinburgh. I can’t say I have had any particularly defining moment. I did get to the final of a cabaret competition in 2007 as Nob Stewart, so I guess that would be my biggest achievement there.

What is your worst memory/experience there?

It is pretty torturous flyering for a few hours and then have nobody turn up to your show. That has happened a few times. My toughest gig was when I had one elderly gentleman and one reviewer in the audience. I ended up just talking politics to them and although the gentleman was interested at what I had to say, at the end of the gig he said ‘Well, I’m thoroughly depressed now.’   I got a two star review.

Have your preview shows gone to plan?

Because I live in Turkey where there are no comedy clubs I have not had the chance to do any preview shows. As I said before, in at the deep end.

I spent two months writing out ‘Sex, Drugs and Marriage’ to tell the story of my life but because I couldn’t preview any of the material I have decided it is too big a risk to go through with that idea, so I will mix in some stories from my life with some of my older material.

I prefer to be spontaneous anyway and the thought of doing the same show every day was weighing heavy on my mind. This way, I will be free to improvise as required and therefore I will enjoy it more and thus I think the audience will too.

What will be the first thing you do when you get to Edinburgh?

I will be attending the Alternative Fringe launch night at The Hive, where Bob Slayer will be the host. I became friends with Bob at last year’s festival when I got involved in Kunt and the Gang’s Cockgate Scandal. You can read the story and watch the videos on my website, www.billywatson.tv.

Which acts will you definitely be going to see?

I will go and see some of my friends shows for sure. Phil Kay, John Scott, Patrick Monahan, Raymond Mearns, Kunt and the Gang, Lewis Schaffer and Ro Campbell.  I also know Gavin Webster but this year I am particularly interested in his show ‘Bill Hicks Wasn’t Funny’ because I started performing comedy due to being inspired by Bill Hicks and I am interested to see what he has to say about him.  Other than that I usually just go with the flow.

What is the first thing you will do as soon as the festival is over?

I intend to try and stay sober for this year’s festival because in the past the stress of it all has made me hit the booze and it affects your energy levels. I want to try and stay as clear headed as possible and focus on doing the best show I can.  However, I do intend to have more than a few after my last show.

After the festival itself I have two weeks in Scotland to take my American girlfriend to various parts of the country as she has never been here before, and to be honest after living in Turkey for 6 years I miss the country myself.

What unique selling point would you say your show has that other shows don’t?

My USP I think is just me being me. I have led quite an interesting life and have some viewpoints that are not the standard way of seeing things. The mix of my personal stories coupled with my beliefs should make for an interesting hour.

I will also be performing some poems from my poetry book and may even get the guitar out even though I can’t carry a tune in a bucket. Nob Stewart may even make an appearance to sing one of his comedy songs. All in all, although I am a bit nervous, I am looking forward to it and intend to enjoy myself as much as possible.

 

Milo McCabe: Kenny Moon – This Is Your Life

July 27, 2012 |

If you’re familiar with UK based character comedian Milo McCabe you will no doubt have seen him perform as Portuguese character, ‘Philberto’. Despite the popularity of his alter ego, Milo will be putting down his bottle of vintage Madeira to perform a brand new solo show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2012, ‘Kenny Moon – This Is Your Life’, whilst fitting in time to take part in the play ‘George Ryegold’s God-In-A-Bag’.

His solo performance is described as a ‘fascinating, funny, moving show, based around the life of his father, old school comic and New Faces finalist, Mike’. Milo will play a whole range of characters from his Dad’s past, in an attempt to express just how much British comedy has evolved since the seventies. Mike McCabe will play Kenny Moon, whilst Chris Henry hosts.

We posed a few questions to Milo as he prepares for the very long month ahead.

 

If you could describe your show as three kitchen utensils which would you choose and why?

A blender, because there are lots of different things going on in the show, a coffee machine, because it’ll get you thinking and an Aga oven, because my Dad’s in the show and his comedy’s very old fashioned. I honestly thought that was going to be a tough one to answer.

For you what makes the Edinburgh Fringe so unique compared to other comedy festivals?

The level of intellect and comedic savvy of the punters. Performance wise, there really is nothing like playing to a typical Edinburgh crowd.

What has been your defining moment there?

My defining moment was probably getting to the finals of The Amused Moose Laughter awards last year.

What is your worst memory/experience there?

Watching Tony Law start his set in the abovementioned finals and realizing that despite making a good account of my show, there was nothing that was going to beat him that day. That wasn’t so much a bad memory as a grim realization.

In terms of bad experience, it has to be getting smacked in the face by a hefty Glaswegian girl last year when I stepped in to stop her battering her much smaller friend just outside the Caves venues (in full view of about fifty people). I was left with a black eye for my last show and they were seen ten minutes after the incident cuddling each other and crying.

Have your preview shows gone to plan?

Yes and no. Preview number two sucked hard, as number two preview shows tend to do, probably because there isn’t the mad adrenaline that powers the first one. However, in terms of previews, that was the most successful, because it showed up a lot of weak spots. The last three previews have gone to plan but I’m sure a few things will change over the run.

What’s interesting in the preview process is how certain sections begin to get very tedious for you as a performer, and these are the bits that need to be cut. From the first preview I’d say at least 60% of the show has changed.

What will be the first thing you do when you get to Edinburgh?

Could I have three? Thanks. Try and load in early at The Gilded Balloon. Go to the supermarket and stock up the flat, and then walk around the streets at night while they’re still relatively empty.

Which acts will you definitely be going to see?

Chris Henry on the free fringe (and not just because he’s in my show either), Dr Brown, Paul Foot and Nick Mohammed. Oh and Chris Stokes if we didn’t clash and I hadn’t already seen his show, which is a real gem. I also want to check out Matt Roper’s Wilfredo, because we have some ridiculous comic parallels. We both had old school comics as fathers (mine being in the show this year!) and we both perform foreign character acts on the circuit. And I’ve heard it’s awesome.

What is the first thing you will do as soon as the festival is over?

I’m going canoeing on the river Wye with three of my scouse mates. The only people we’ll see are other canoers or suspicious looking farmers. I doubt I’ll have a refuge from comedy though, mostly at my expense. You know what scousers are like…

What unique selling point would you say your show has that other shows don’t?

I can honestly say that I don’t think there’s a show at the festival like my one. My Dad’s onstage the whole hour and I play a number of different characters from his past, with the narrative being a true one, relating to my Dad stealing some material and performing it on TV in the nineties.

You can buy tickets for his solo show here and tickets for the play he is in here.

Phil Buckley: Simple Things / Stupid World Tour

July 26, 2012 |

Phil Buckley performed his first solo show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe back in 2007 with ‘Stroke the Panda’. He proved extremely succesful with a number of subsequent tours. The show ‘Jokes Not Included’ was nominated for best solo comedy show at the Buxton Festival Fringe in 2010 and Phil has also found himself a finalist in the ‘City Life Comedian of the Year’ and the Frog and Bucket’s ‘Beat the Frog World Series’.

More recently he has been supporting ‘The Boy With Tape On His Face’ on his spring tour, and has gone down so well that he’s been asked for a repeat performance on the autumn leg of the tour. Before that, Phil will performing not one but two different shows as part of this year’s Edinburgh Free Festival.

The first show ,’Simple Things’ sees Phil looking at the simple things in life that make you “laugh, smile and just plain make you happy”. His second show, ‘Stupid World Tour’ poses the question, is stupidity really a bad idea and can acts of uadulterated foolery truly lead to large amount of happiness?

He was happy to answer a few questions in the build up to this year’s Fringe.

Describe your Edinburgh shows with three adjectives and explain why.

Crazy, stupid & funny. My material is aimed to just make you laugh, it’s not big and it’s not clever, but it is funny.

What is it that makes it so special to perform at the Fringe?

The whole environment during the festival is crazy and you just get swept up in it. I wasn’t going to do it this year, but I got asked to work on another show and it didn’t take much to convince me.

What has been your best moment there?

The last time I went up was in 2010 and the last day of my show was the day after all the big four had stopped doing shows and I expected nobody to be there. I headed to my venue to discover not only did I have an audience, but the room was full and people were being turned away. A great end to what had been a great festival

What was your worst experience there?

The first time I went up to do a show, called ‘Stroke The Panda’. The show was about being single and trying all the different types of dating. The shows were going great until the day I had a reviewer in. I knew she was there and was trying to ignore her when I did a joke about it being really hard to meet a girl in Salford because if you want to talk to her you first have to step through her earrings. The line got a huge reaction so I turned to look at the reviewer only to realize she had the biggest hoop earrings I’d ever seen.

Have your preview shows gone to plan?

They went really well. As always, you come away with bits you need to tighten, but the show has been really well received.

Have you had to change much of the material since your preview shows?

Not a huge amount, it just needed tightening up and making a lot quicker

What will be the first thing you do when you get to Edinburgh?

First thing is always to head to City Restaurant for a breakfast. It’s not Edinburgh without a Maxi Breakfast.

Which acts will you be catching there?

The Boy With Tape On His Face is a genius and can’t wait to see it take over Edinburgh.

What is the first thing you will do as soon as the festival is over?

Sleep. It’s a really long month and I’ll need lots of sleep and fruit.

Why should people go and see your show?

It’s funny. I like to look at the world in a fun friendly way and my shows invite the audience in to my world.

‘Simple Things’

Date: 2-26th August

Venue: Venue 170 – The Lounge @ The Counting House, 38 West Nicolson Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9DD

Show time: 1415 (60mins)

Ticket price: Free Show

‘Stupid World Tour’

Date: 2-26th August

Venue: Venue 272 – The Yurt Locker @ The Free Sisters, 139 Cowgate, Edinburgh, EH1 1JS

Show time: 1915 (60mins)

Ticket price: Free Show

CHRIS HENRY: WE NEED TO TALK

July 25, 2012 |

Chris Henry has been a regular on the comedy circuit for years now having performed in all corners of the UK, with the occasional BBC and ITV appearance. Now, at the age of 34, still living life as if he were in his tender 20s, he claims he’s lost friends, jobs, relationships, family, religion and dignity and is ready to bare all in his first full-run solo Fringe show, We Need To Talk.

In spite of appearing to have lost virtually everything, he was only too happy to lose a bit of time answering our questions:

Describe your Edinburgh show with three adjectives and explain why.

Vain . It’s all about me dealing with hearing the phrase “we need to talk” too many times.

Profitless. I’m performing at the free festival at the Free Sisters, so I can’t stop your readers coming in without paying.

Funny. It might be all about me and I might be broke, but it’s still a comedy show and a damn funny one at that darling.

What is it that makes it so special to perform at the Fringe?

The Fringe is like being in Gotham just after the Scarecrow has broken out the lunatics from the asylum, but they’ve replaced their hunger for chaos with a need for recognition. It doesn’t get more special than that.

What has been your best moment there?

Climbing to the top of Arthur’s seat at 5 am. Never go drinking with a fitness fanatic that’s been on Red Bull all night.

What was your worst experience there?

Being rather intoxicated at a late night party and trying to convince a very well known comic that I loved a piece of material he performed, whilst he repeatedly told me that he never had. Apparently I was there for some time.

Have your preview shows gone to plan?

Of course not. That’s why we do the previews. I have gone from the first one being a stuttering, stammering mess, holding notes and rushing through routines, to a calmer, charismatic, performing, stammering mess.

Have you had to change much of the material since your preview shows?

The format has so far changed three times: bits have been dropped, routines added. I started with a wild obtuse oak and I’m now aiming for a refined bonsai.

What will be the first thing you do when you get to Edinburgh?

Go straight to a supermarket and buy food before I run out of money. And since it’s Edinburgh, my shopping trip shall be similar to Renton’s for “The Sick Boy Method” in Trainspotting, although I wont be looking for the suppositories.

Which acts will you be catching there?

Milo McCabe (because I’m also in his show), Mark Nelson, Billy Kirkwood, Christian Reilly, Jimeoin, Davey Conner, Sean Hughes and many others.

What is the first thing you will do as soon as the festival is over?

Sleep, eat vegetables and tell my mother that I’m still alive.

Why should people go and see your show?

There are loads of reasons to come see my show. It’s funny, its some of the best material I’ve ever written, hearing the wonderful sound of an audience laughing every day will stop me from crying myself to sleep, its funny, it’s on in the early afternoon (3.30) so it’s perfect for starting your day at the festival, it’s FREE, it’s funny (for more reasons why you should come see it, come see it).

You can catch Chris’ show at The Yurt Locker, at The Free Sisters, Venue 272.

Shows run from the 3rd until the 26th of August at 3:30 pm (no show on the 24th).

Be sure to keep up with Chris over on his website.

SAMEENA ZEHRA: TEA WITH TERRORISTS

July 25, 2012 |

If you prefer being tickled with funny stories than Tim Vine gagathons then Sameena Zehra’s Fringe show Tea With Terrorists may be right up your street. She’ll be sharing experiences she’s gained from a life straddling two very diverse cultures; covering even more diverse topics ranging from having tea with terrorists in Kashmir to planning the perfect murder. As you can imagine her tales are just as shocking as they are funny.

She was happy to answer a few questions as we discovered terrorists can in fact be a real hoot.

Describe your Edinburgh show with three adjectives and explain why.

Unique, because it explores a world that not many people have experienced; a world of piss poor terrorists, sheep that stalk you, the perfect murder, and magnificently vicious old ladies.

Funny in an absurdist sort of way. Some of the situations are bizarre and inexplicable, but you have to laugh because if you didn’t, life would be depressing and pointless!

Terrific‘, (not sure that adjective has made it to the OED!) according to Rip it up, Adelaide- I guess because some of it is terrifying to think of, but hilarious at the same time.

What is it that makes it so special to perform at the Fringe?

The Fringe is part trade show, part smorgasbord of every sort of artistic performance, all in one place, in a human scale city where everything is within walking distance. Where else can you watch shows every hour of the day, without shelling out hundreds of pounds; where you can mix the sublime with the ridiculous, the professional with the amateur, the experimental with the truly bizarre? It’s wonderful to perform, surrounded by the buzzing artistic creativity and the anticipation and excitement of a population of locals and tourists who have traveled from all over the world to come and join in. It’s fabulous. There’s really nothing else like it in the world.

What has been your best moment there?

It’s difficult to pin point a single moment. I’m relatively new to the Fringe- last year was my first time there, so everything was new and exciting. I guess the best moment for me was seeing Josie Long, Mark Thomas and Daniel Kitson on the same bill during a charity gig for Palestine. Three of my favourite performers in one place; just great. bumping into Rich Hall and chatting for 5 minutes, leaving and realising i had been calling him ‘Reg’ the whole time. He didn’t correct me, but it sort of explains why he looked in a hurry to get away, although he was nothing less than polite and charming.

What was your worst experience there?

Losing an hour of my life watching a show, which will remain nameless, when i could have been watching something good. However, it was free, and that’s part of the democracy of the free festival. I suppose I could have left after the first 10 excruciating minutes, but I was one of only 6 people there and I couldn’t bring myself to make the performer cry.

Have your preview shows gone to plan?

Pretty much. I did them as double bills with other comics and met some fab people, who I would definitely go see again. Trevor Lock, Damien Kingsley, Daphna Baram, Ali Shahrukhi. I recommend catching their shows if you are up there.

Have you had to change much of the material since your preview shows?

Not really. It seems to have gone down really well. I am a comedy storyteller, so I’m not delivering punchlines every thirty seconds. It’s a more gentle sort of comedy that creeps up on you while the story is being told. It’s pretty much set the way it is. I’m comfortable with it, I’m enjoying it and the audience seems to be loving it; thank goodness for that!

What will be the first thing you do when you get to Edinburgh?

Boringly, I will be doing banal things like checking into my flat, buying groceries and settling in. Then I will go for a walk and take in the city. It’s such a beautiful place and I really love the architecture.

Which acts will you be catching there?

I’ve got tickets already to see Daniel Kitson, which I’m really looking forward to. Other than that, I will suck it and see. Part of the fun is wandering along and discovering things spontaneously, sometimes from recommendations received from people I meet in cafes or in the street. It’s the kind of thing that happens in Edinburgh!

What is the first thing you will do as soon as the festival is over?

Drive home and then sleep for 3 days, probably!

Why should people go and see your show?

It’s funny, unique, and full of surprises and crazy characters. If you like a good story, you’ll love it. If you like shock comedy full of cock jokes, best stay away!

Tea With Terrorists will run from 2-18 of August at Captain Taylor’s Coffee House, 18 South Bridge at 6.45 pm.

You can follow Sameena on her website www.sameenazehra.com

Ashley Frieze: Discograffiti

July 25, 2012 |

Comedian Ashley Frieze will be taking his show, Discograffiti to the Edinburgh Fringe this year. In a show containing songs that have been written, and others which appear to have been scrawled on a toilet wall, Ashley will be exploring what makes songs great, and what happens when music fights back.

He was happy to answer our questions before one last Edinburgh preview tomorrow at Caroline of Brunswick in Brighton.

Describe your Edinburgh show with three adjectives and explain why.

Musical, energetic and thoughtful

This show is my search for the perfect formula for the perfect song. The idea is to make you think about music and what’s behind writing your favourite songs. However, I’m a very silly man, so I keep misusing these formulae I discover, or taking them to extremes. In the end, I discover a simple truth about writing anything.

What is it that makes it so special to perform at the Fringe?

The Fringe is the world’s largest arts festival. It’s THE place to find all the nation’s comics over summer, and the atmosphere is amazing. I’ve been in love with the Fringe since before I was a comedian, and it always makes me thrilled to be a part of it.

What has been your best moment there?

Last year’s show was probably one of the best things I’ve done at the Fringe. People were tapping me on the shoulder in the street telling me that they were coming to see it a second time. I felt like I must have been doing something right.

What was your worst experience there?

I was once given a total dressing down by someone I’d attempted to flyer. She was an Edinburgh resident who was clearly sick of the festival and had been for years. I took one for the team that day.

Have your preview shows gone to plan?

Almost entirely not. Apart from the fact that the script is pretty much a work in progress until the end of the Fringe anyway, I’ve agreed to do some previews this year which were not quite the right environment for the show. In addition, I ran some shows at the Brighton Fringe, and one of them went remarkably wrong, culminating in me having to throw out a couple of audience members. It’s ok for previews to go wrong – that’s kind of their job, but one or two of them this year were quite demoralising. It got better, though!

Have you had to change much of the material since your preview shows?

I’ve done some sort of rewrite after every preview. You need to. In some of the earlier shows I was doing major rewrites, as I’d expected to. Some of my songs went through two or three drafts, usually on the way to the bin, and some new songs appeared as certain things clicked with me. I discovered what the show was really about as I was previewing it, and the ending is not what I originally expected.

What will be the first thing you do when you get to Edinburgh?

Sleeping. Seriously. It’s miles away. Eight or nine hours of driving up on a Friday night. Actually, usually I unpack and then catch up with my Edinburgh flat mate, whom I only really spend proper time with during the Fringe. Once I hit the streets in the morning, it will be time to shift equipment and put up posters. I’ll start properly when I hand out the first flyer.

Which acts will you be catching there?

As many as possible. Pappy’s will be a must for me. I also hope to see The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre, Richard Herring and Ian Fox.

What is the first thing you will do as soon as the festival is over?

I will have a massive case of the post Fringe blues. The misery you get, discovering that there isn’t a show on in a few minutes is palpable, plus it’s hard to get over all the exhaustion of a busy Fringe.

Why should people go and see your show?

I’ve written a show that’s good-natured, full of jokes and is on a subject I think most people can relate to. It’s well worth an hour of your time… Oh, and it’s a free show.

Ashley Frieze’s discograffiti is on at Espionage (Pravda Room) from 11th to 26th August at 3.45pm. Part of the Free Festival, this show is free entry – just turn up, free tickets can also be reserved via www.edfringe.com

TRODD EN BRATT: WELL DONE YOU

July 24, 2012 |

You’ve been warned! A female double act will be hitting the Free Fringe with a debut character sketch show that will have the entire audience saying ‘Well Done You’. Ruth Bratt and Lucy Trodd, both founding members of the critically acclaimed musical impro comedy Showstopper! (which can also be caught at the Fringe this year), felt the time was right to go it alone. They will be providing punters with what they call “an hour of stimulating silliness and deliberately discomforting  characters, unintentional impro and delightfully dark dispositions.”

They are “Deliciously dark and very funny”  in Rob Brydon’s books, whilst Chortle praised them as “One of the finest comedy performances seen this Fringe with a delightful eye for timing and subtlety… a genuine all-round talent”.

With the Fringe just around the corner, Trodd en Bratt were only too happy to answer the ten Edinburgh Fringe questions we put to them:

Describe your Edinburgh show with three adjectives, giving reasons why.

LOUD:  Many of our characters have big voices. Honestly, it’s funny.

QUIET: We like awkward quiet moments. This pushes the boundaries of comedy, don’t you know.

MODERATE: Sometimes we are in between 2 volumes. We have a very wide range of volumes.

What is it that makes performing at the Fringe so special?

It’s a shop window for talent and it’s a bubble of creativity you don’t get the rest of the year. You only focus on your show because there is nothing else to focus on. Not only that, Edinburgh smells good, and we’d miss all our friends if we didn’t go because they’re all there too being brillo.

What has been your best moment there?

The first year that we performed with Showstopper (The Improvised Musical) and we sold out the run and had people queuing round the block, AND, we had Mike McShane guesting. Other moments involved the heat of the theatres and the contrasting rain outside, climbing Arthur’s Seat, bumping into unexpected festival angels (people who cheer you up), but always laughter. So many moments!

I think the moment someone draws an errrr, shall we say ‘rude symbol’ on one of your posters, it makes you feel like you’ve really arrived. This happened in 2011.

What was your worst experience there?

Doing my (Bratt) one woman show to a one man audience. Tough. Performing in a bad improv group (Trodd), one of those shouty enthusiastic harmless ensembles, but nonetheless not very good.

Have your preview shows gone to plan?

Yes. We’ve learnt a lot from each other and from our audience reactions. We got rid of a lot of material and put in a lot. The show in now in good shape and it’s the show we want it to be. We’ve listened to our guts and we’re proud to say we’ve found our identity. We’re always going to improvise even though we are trying not to, so, by end of run, the show will be two hours long.

Have you had to change much of the material since your preview shows?

We haven’t had to, but have wanted to! Mostly to do with sound effects. Bratt could have a new career as a sound engineer and Trodd’s always loved Foley after our Showstopper radio show. We also have a lot fewer costumes now. We’ve lost the wellies to tap shoes change and realise you only need to have 1 representational item of clothing to make the sketch work. Ahhh, the magic of theatre.

What will be the first thing you do when you get to Edinburgh?

Get to flat. Panic. Get to venue. Panic. Get to tech. Panic. Then drink too much and pretend to be a student for one night. Then make rules not to drink until the last night. Trodd will probably Skype her son.

Which acts will you be catching there?

Holly Burn. She’s weirder than us and we LOVE LOVE HER. John Robins & Charlie Baker, who gave us notes in our Bristol preview! The Showstoppers (when we’re not in the show- dedication!), The School of Night, Pippa Evans, Cariad Lloyd, Jess Fostekew. Trodd is looking forward to taking her son to The Scottish Storytelling Society to see The Elves and The Shoemaker.

What is the first thing you will do as soon as the festival is over?

Bratt will be filming from the 27th August so sleep will have to wait until October. Trodd will be trying to persuade her child that she’s not going to leave him! And The Showstoppers begin their West End run at The Charing Cross Theatre. There will probably be some tears.

Why should people go and see your show? 

Because it’s funny and we’re nice and we need an audience and to make back a couple of grand so Bratt can buy a wood-burning stove and Trodd can pay for all the babysitting… Catch us before we’re a cult (a cult of more than 2 that is).

We strongly recommend you catch the show which will be playing at the Laughing Horse @ The Three Sisters, Maggie’s Chamber, 139 Cowgate. Shows commence at 5:45pm (non-ticketed) with previews running from the 2nd August-3rd August and the definitive show from the 4th-12th, 14th-26th August.

BOX OFFICE: 0131 622 6801 / www.laughinghorsecomedy.co.uk

Be sure to keep up with them over on their website too.

Courtesy of Idil Sukan

Matt Roper: The Wonderful World of Wilfredo

July 24, 2012 |

Matt Roper, is a writer, comedian and songwriter, having performed in several satirical sketch shows. He cut his teeth in Newsrevue before moving on to co-write and perform A Touch of Roberts and Roper, and appearing in Pippa Evan’s Old Time New Time Music Hall, Twisted Christmas, Nice Mischief to name just a few. He has perfroemd a number of straight stand-up sets over the years, with a myriad of appearances at comedy clubs and music festivals alike, including Glastonbury no less. Recent radio credits include What’s So Funny? and The Comedy Club for BBC radio Four Extra.

Most recently, Matt has been reaching new heights with the creation of his stage character, Wilfredo, who is described as “a grotesque satire of a Mediterranean romantic signer”. The character is everything but charming; frequently salivating onstage, drinking and smoking his way throughout songs, all the while berating his musicians and audience members with insults and expletives. In theory this sounds just wrong, but, in practise, his grotesque charms and flirtatious manner have earned him something of a cult status on the music festival scene and among comedy audiences nationwide.

This year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe will see Matt performing as his comic alter ego in The Wonderful World of Wilfredo so we were delighted when agreed to answer our Edinburgh Festival Fringe questions:

Describe your Edinburgh show in three adjectives and explain why.

Musical. It’s all about the music really, and as Wilfredo will be telling you this year in song: he always turns to music, and that’s how he gets by. Grotesque, because Wilfredo’s character, shape, facial expressions and his manners are unnatural, freakish and utterly absurd. He’s such a clown, though he doesn’t even realise it. Infectious because Wilfredo truly believes in the power of himself. His self-confidence is such that his own belief in himself as the greatest entertainer on earth actually resonates among the audience. It’s the dogged self-assurance that people find infectious. Arrogant, yes, but it’s undercut by a charm. I was really, really very pleased with one or two of the reviews from last year’s show where they said they’d left the show truly happy. What more could I ask for than that?

What is so special about performing at the Fringe?

God knows. It’s both an exhilarating and an exasperating experience. The energy of thousands of performers descending on that beautiful city for three weeks really makes you feel you’re part of something truly awesome. Some nights we play to capacity audiences who shower us in laughs, applause and collective approval. On others we play to three Scandinavians and a dog, and silence.

What has been your best moment there?

Last year was my first Fringe, so it was all pretty special. A massive learning curve. Probably my best moment was feeling endorsed on the first night by the paying punters. When it’s all shaped up and it’s all come to plan. It was Mervyn Stutter’s 20th year on the Fringe last year and he held a big fundraising gig at the Pleasance Grand and Wilfredo got to introduce him onstage. An honour. Let it be said.

What was your worst experience there?

Oh, most likely just the wall that all of us hit at some point. The Fringe is a fucking marathon. I have a mate called Fatty. We call each other Fatty actually. She e-mailed me and I confessed I’d hit a wall and she said to me “It’s OK Fatty. Just climb over it.” Wise words, indeed. Climb over it!

Have your preview shows gone to plan?

Still a few more to do on the way up there. It’s a proper road trip of Totnes, Manchester, Lancaster, and then the Fringe. Rock and Roll, you see, in every way.

Have you had to change much of the material since your preview shows?

Not too much, but you know with this sort of act a lot of it happens and evolves onstage. It’s interactive, and it’ll probably evolve during the Edinburgh season itself. It’s not straight stand-up. It’s very much a set of self-penned songs and poems and anecdotes from a singer. Vegas styley. In his head, anyway.

What will be the first thing you do when you get to Edinburgh?

There’s me, my producer, and a musician. We’ll get there in the VW Passat I just bought, which I discovered today leaks water, at a ferocious speed, into the footwell when it rains. They won’t realise the truth of it until they read this, but we’ll be jugging out the water when we get there and trying to find a sheltered place to park the fucking thing. Then we shall each bagsy rooms and eat like kings before getting down to work.

Which acts will you be catching there?

I’m very much looking forward to seeing a show by Milo McCabe. It’s called Kenny Moon, This Is Your Life. He’s actually got his Dad in it, who’s an old-school comic. Mine was too. In fact they probably knew each other. He blogged an article about it, about rehearsing with his Dad and it literally had me crying tears of laughter as I could relate to it so much, the differences between the two attitudes to comedy and the frustration from both sides. Abi Roberts isn’t doing a solo show this year but she’s on fire right now. I’ve known her for almost fifteen years since we met doing sketch shows, and she’s doing spots around the festival. She’s outrageous really. Trodd en Bratt are on the Free Fringe this year, a fab double act who are inventive and funny and I like them very much and that is all. My producer is a diamond and has just bought us tickets to see Mark Thomas interviewing Tony Benn. Tony Benn. Just to write his name makes me feel good.

What is the first thing you will do as soon as the festival is over?

I shall get my little bottom down to Devon for a week, to be with old friends, and to go for a long walk on Dartmoor. Then to book a flight to India where, hopefully, I’ll spend Christmas this year. It is a land I shall be in love with forever more.

Why should people go and see your show?

Because as far as character comedy goes, there is no more a loving creature on the Fringe than the magnificent Wilfredo. He will charm you. He will romance you, and finally, he’ll seduce you. Boys, come see, come learn, come sigh.

You can cath The Wonderful World of Wilfredo at Just the Tonic at the Tron (Venue 51) at 10:20 pm from the 2nd until the 26th of August (Except the 14th).

All details of the show can be found here.

Katie Yossarian: Catch Comedy Showcase

July 19, 2012 |

Katie Yossarian has organised the second Catch Comedy night and this time will be raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support. This showcase will be presenting North-East England’s finest comedic talent. Whilst each act is individual in itself, they all share something in common – they’re bloody hilarious! Be prepared to expect a more than varied show each day from the likes of Simon Donald, Kunt & the Gang, Slap & Giggle, Sean McLoughlin, Lost Voice Guy, Dan Mitchell, Jeff Truth, Steven ‘friz’ Frizzle and more, including brand new acts. Given such a great lineup we decided to have a chat with Katie about her own set and the story behind deciding to orgainise this event.

How did you get into comedy Katie? Was it something you’d always wanted to do or did you fall into it unexpectedly?

I’d been writing songs about rubbish dates I’d been on, working on building sites and other things for quite a while & had always been involved in music open mic nights since I came up to Newcastle in 2006 for university. I’d go along, do a few covers & then play one of my ‘funny’ songs and people really seemed to enjoy them, but I’d never thought about doing stand up proper until I went to Edinburgh Fringe in 2011. One of my friend was doing a show with a guest every day and invited me to come and play one or two of my songs, so of course I jumped at the chance and took a week off work. I was so excited! Imagine me playing some of my daft songs at a proper festival! I chucked my keyboard into the car & drove up to Edinburgh. However, when I got there I found out that my friend had become ill and was in hospital (he’s ok now). I was advised to go to the venue to meet the other ‘guests’ and between us we just decided to carry on with the show. One of the organisers asked me if I fancied a proper slot and, despite having basically no material, I said yes. I’d been gradually increasing the introductions to my songs, making up stories about the people in them – I’d never thought of it as standup. So it didn’t seem much of a stretch to write a short set, sitting in my youth hostel, on Monday & Tuesday. Wednesday I was obviously shitting myself, but I had a few pints and went onstage! It went down a lot better than I expected (‘oh my God, people are laughing!’) so I returned every day for the rest of the week. It just seemed natural to carry on once I got back to Newcastle. The people I’d met there were already experienced comedians, and, because we were with each other almost constantly all week, we became friends very quickly. They were so supportive when I got back home, helping me find gigs, it was awesome.

How did the Catch Comedy Showcase come to be?

I really fancied putting on a special one-off night for my birthday in March. It originally started off as a simple idea – I’d sit there getting drunk and having fun in a small venue while me and a group of mates enjoyed a small, hand-picked selection of my friends perform. By this point I knew quite a lot of entertainers, including comedians, street performers, dancers, magicians, sketch artists etc. I was going to charge a small entrance fee and donate it to charity.

However, little ideas soon turn into big ideas & I suddenly found myself in charge of 10 support acts, a lovely headliner – Gav Webster, a large and very classy venue and an aim to raise £400. You know how it goes. I must admit, I really don’t remember much of the night. I only decided to go on and perform myself that night after peer pressure from my family who had never seen me before. I was too busy sorting out the music, the drinks, talking to my friends, running round like a mad’un.. to actually sit and relax. But I’ve been told it was pretty good, so that’s a relief. We raised over £500 for Breast Cancer Research!

Did you set it up by yourself or was it a joint venture with various comedians? Had you organized anything like this previously?

I suppose Catch Comedy as a ‘thing’ was my idea, but I couldn’t have done the night without the support of my friends and family. I know it sounds soppy, but I just had no idea how HARD it would be to run a night! Everyone makes it look so easy! I have to say that without the support of the wonderful Graham Oaks (the MC) I would have broken down and wept, and my family were great on the door, taking money & dealing with the charity raffle.

To answere your other question, no, I’d never organized anything like this in the past. I’m still slightly amazed with how it all went, I suppose it was quite an ambitious thing to do on my first try!

You have a great lineup of comedians. How did you go about choosing them and getting them all involved?

I guess I’m lucky to have such a talented group of friends! Seriously though, I’ve been doing this comedy thing for a year now & I am constantly amazed at all of the hilarious people I meet every week. It was quite tough to choose people, but I had a good idea of who I definitely wanted on. The good thing about comedians is that they’re a nice, fun-loving bunch (on the whole) and very rarely turn down the offer of a decent gig, especially if it’s for a good cause. I’d known Simon, Kunt and Dan for a while, so I just sent them a quick email & they were happy to help out. I’m in this comedy thing for the enjoyment of it, and I must say that the majority of it is getting out to gigs and meeting funny people – I’m just chuffed they all want to perform alongside me.

It must be seriously hard work sorting out your own act whilst organising everything else. How do you manage to juggle it all together?

I have honestly not thought about it that way! I see the two very separately; I’m just another act on the show. I will be hosting it, MCing I suppose, but I do hope to go on and do a proper set a couple of days. I suppose it doesn’t really matter if I don’t, because I’ve been invited to do other nights other than my own: Funny Filles, Funny’s Funny and Laughterholics so far, but I am hoping to get a few more as well.

I’d say the most difficult thing is juggling my full-time job (I work in engineering. We’re currently refurbishing powerlines for the National Grid, fun eh?) and comedy. Seriously, coming home after a full day and then managing to get myself out to gigs and things can be quite hard. Even harder is getting there and being awake enough to give a decent performance!

What about your own set? What can we expect to see from you, and how often will you be performing?

Well the thing about my set is that it’s fairly interchangeable. I’m a mixture between anecdotes and stories, musical stuff and ‘traditional’ standup. I rarely do exactly the same set each time, because I get bored. I do feel a bit jealous of acts who have a ‘set’ that is perfect and polished each time, but I enjoy mixing my material up.

I guess I’ll just have to say – I’ll see how I feel on the day! What you can definitely expect, though: Being the only girl on the building site, how it feels to be from Hull, the delight of the job centre and a couple of dodgy jokes about pirates. It’s gonna be good.

Have you performed your Fringe preview shows yet, and, if so, how have they gone down? Pretty much sorted for the main event or does it still need a bit of fine tuning?

Yes, I’ve done a couple – Laughter Surgery, Long Live Comedy and so on. I’m not sure about the rest of the comedians out there, but to be honest I’ve been treating every gig from about May and all the way up til August as a preview show! I know a lot of comics have an hour-long set that’s just them, so preview shows are important, but I’m not doing it that way this year so they haven’t been stressful for me. I’m just going to be doing my normal set & I’m mostly happy with it.

Like I said before, I do enjoy mixing my material up & I am constantly writing new songs and material, so obviously the new stuff needs a bit of practice before I unleash it on the general public! I’d say I was mostly prepared in myself, but I am getting a bit nervous on the MC front. I think I’m just going to go onstage, be friendly and focus on introducing and encouraging the acts.

It’s also great to see you’ll be supporting Macmillan Cancer Support this year. What made you decide to donate to this charity in particular? Apart from going to your gigs, how can people support this charity?

Thanks! Well, the way I see it is, I already have a job, and because I have so many acts I’m not going to make enough to give anyone anything substantial, so I might as well do something good with it. My charity of choice last time was Cancer Research, so I wanted to do something similar again. I, along with most people I know, have seen how fucking devastating cancer can be. Recently I’ve had a few friends who have been given the all-clear, but I have also had friends who weren’t that lucky. So I suppose Macmillan is relevant to my interests, and lots of other people’s too.

Aside from buying tickets (50% of sales profit will go to charity) and putting money in donation buckets at the gig (100% to charity), I have a justgiving page! So even if you can’t make it to Edinburgh, please think about throwing few pennies in this direction:

http://justgiving.com/catchcomedyedinburgh

The good thing about justgiving is that you can GiftAid your donation, which means more money for charity & less for the taxman! Hurrah!

Which shows, apart from your own, are you most looking forward to seeing at the Fringe?

I CAN’T WAIT to see East End Cabaret at the Fringe again this year! I saw them twice in 2011 and they are one of the funniest shows I have ever had the pleasure to watch.

Apart from that, I’m planning to go to as many of my friends’ shows as possible, most of whom are doing sets on mine. I reckon most of them have only agreed to do Catch Comedy so they can pimp their own shows out, but that’s fine with me!

Dan Mitchell: Free Egg

Simon Donald’s School of Swearing

Kunt & The Gang

2Facebooked 3

Jeff Lantern’s Truth Explosion

Lost Voice Guy

Sean McLoughlin

Making Life Taste Funnier

Oyster Eyes

I’m sure there will be more. Last year I just got into the spirit of things & ended up wandering into shows and having a great time. Can’t wait!

Thanks very much to Katie for spending a few moments with us. We highly recommend you check out some of the shows she is putting on at this year’s Fringe as there really are some great acts lined up, herself included.

See you there.

Update: There has been a slight change of plan and the show will now run from the 13th until the 17th at Cafe Camino, 7.30pm. Unfortunately Kunt and the Gang have had to be removed from the lineup but you can still catch them at their own Fringe shows.

 

MOVIE PREVIEW – THE LIMELIGHT

May 11, 2012 | 2

If you’re in need of a good dose of comedy then this could be just what the doctor ordered. The black comedy feature film “The Limelight” features an A-Z cast of some of the UK’s finest talent. Take your tissues with you though as you’ll be crying tears of joy and sadness.

If you thought comics have an easy life, with not a care in the world, think again. Writer/director and star of the movie, Glen Maney has been on a mission ever since he first came up with the script some 15 years ago. He wanted to show audiences just how much it really takes to be able to stand up on a stage and give it your all, regardless of what awaits you when the spotlight fades. That doesn’t mean we won’t be seeing any comic relief here though. Far from it.

The film itself will see its official release on the internet on the 20th of May. What better a time then to speak to Glen as he reaches the summit of a mountain he has been clambering up for so long.

I thought I’d leave it to Glen himself to get the ball rolling:

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/46083635″ params=”auto_play=false&show_artwork=true&color=1e2e5e” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

PPSF – The script itself dates back over a decade and you did in fact sell the option to script in 2001 but came up against financial problems as a massive 2 million pounds was required. Where did the idea for the script come from? Had you written any scripts prior to this?

I’d been on a creative writing course and I’d also been writing my own comedy for some time,so I knew how to basically structure a script and develop characters although to be honest this is something that improves over the years. I’d written a script about a pub football team which came back to me virtually the day after I’d sent it to agents, but when I read through it again, they were right. It was rushed and under developed.A  script has to be developed and developed until you’re happy with it.

I sent ‘The Limelight’ , which at the time was called a pretty cheesy ‘Tears of a Clown’ off to about three agents and one of them placed it.

PPSF- On writing the script did you have most of the actors in mind or did you choose the cast at a later date? I understand Ricky Grover was originally cast as the lead. How did you land the protagonist’s role in the end?

I sort of had Ricky Grover half in mind for the lead when I wrote it. I’d met him when I first started doing a few alternative gigs and he was so encouraging and we had a mutual love of boxing, so we hit it off straight away. I’d seen a lot of comedians live but when I saw his act at the Comedy Store I thought to myself ‘How is this guy not a household name?’. He was known in comedy circles and had a following for his BULLA character, but he wasn’t as well known as I felt his comedy deserved, so I thought he could bring a humour, an empathy with the man and woman in the street, out of what was a pretty pathetic character in my script.

Ricky read the script and loved it. When I sold the option, I put his name forward for the lead role, as it was envisaged that a couple of million budget was going to be attached.

Three years later I got the script back as the option had run out.I  was talking to Ricky on set,when he was making a pilot to raise funds for Bulla The Movie (eventually Big Fat Gypsy Gangster) and he said why not make it yourself. He agreed to come on board.

It soon became clear that Ricky wouldn’t have the time to play the lead because he’d have to turn down a lot of well paid work to do it. We never had much of a budget and Ricky was chipping in with that as well! (His own expenses – Cast and Crew breakfasts etc), so I suggested he play Al Moran (The Monster Manager). Ricky wasn’t that enthusiastic because the character is a bit of a monster, but looking back now Ricky is one of the few people I know who could have got away with being menacing and vile whilst injecting humour into the character. I think he does a great job.

So we advertised for a Gary Shand (the main character) and had a few actors audition but no one really captured the essence of what I was looking for. I was assisted at the time by Steve Hammal and Paul Long who were friends I’d made some shorts with under a heading of The Giggle Factory and whose opinions I respected and they both looked at me one day and said, ‘You should play him yourself’ .At first I didn’t want to do it but I did a screen test and whilst you’re never happy with yourself on screen, I thought I could get away with it. So I was cast! And loser Gary Shand was born.

PPSF- The lead character Gary Shand must have been a really difficult role to get yourself prepared for as you describe him as an ageing, struggling comedian fighting depression, alcohol dependency, schizophrenia and a marriage break up. I presume you have little in common with the role you played.

Ha,Ha. You presume right. I’m an ageing comedian (coming up to my prime!). I’ve had the odd struggle in life and sadly, I’m divorced, but that’s where the similarities end. Gary Shand is a mix of a lot of characters I’ve known in my life, both on the comedy circuit and off. People have asked who it’s based on and it is genuinely not based on any one person. In one way it was difficult to get into the role because I hadn’t experienced any of his weaknesses personally but in another it was drawn from people I recognised to such an extent it was easy.

The funny thing is that people seem to identify with him. I think that’s because we all know people who suffer from one of his problems, if indeed they haven’t suffered themselves.

PPSF- A fair few popular British comedies have had a very dark plot to them such as The Full Monty, Brassed Off and Wilbur (wants to kill himself). Why do you think Brits are so good at drawing humour out of the darkness?

I think our comedy in particular is born out of the need to escape depression. That’s how we handle things. If something major happens, some awful event, how do we usually get to hear of it? The news? Occasionally, yes, but more often than not,the text jokes start coming! There’s humour in every situation if you look for it. Some atrocities I can’t find any humour in, but we make a quip, not necessarily about the event itself, we brush ourselves down and we get on with it.

I once had two coach loads of Americans walk out of a gig because I said (three years after 9/11) I love those Americans but I don’t understand them. In a recent survey 23% of Americans said they wouldn’t fly again after 9/11. What I can’t understand is why they are still using buildings! A British crowd would have handled that even if it had happened on British soil. It wasn’t being disrespectful to the victims of 9/11. It wasn’t meant to hurt. It was a quirk that I found funny, so I said it. So the answer is I think we Brits are good at laughing at ourselves and we use humour better than anyone else to cope with tragedy. Let’s face it, we’re always dealing with tragedy. Why? I don’t know.

PPSF- Apart from Ricky Grover, you have got some fabulous talent working on the project. Tell me a bit about the cast and crew you got involved and how they all fit into the puzzle?

Well I knew Patrick Monahan from when I first gigged on the alternative circuit and we’d got on well. I thought he was funny but more importantly a nice guy and with a low budget feature it’s important you all get on and there are no prima donnas. I was loking to cast a good looking, funny, younger comedian and Patrick fitted all the boxes. Could he act? I think we found he could. The feedback on his performance was excellent.

John Robson who I got involved with the film because he has a great eye for detail and had overseen a few music films for his artists at Vandalism 360, had shared a flat with Mark Monero (formerly Eastenders –Wild Bill ) and was close friends with Phil Nichol and Craig Campbell, who I knew from gigs but not to any great degree. He wanted to use their talents and as we looked through the script there were perfect roles for them with the time they had available.

I was good friends with Jay Sodagar as we’d worked for the Laughing Horse together on lots of occasions and as we needed an Asian landlord, I got him involved. He looked at the script and said,’that’s not stereotyping is it Mr.Maney!’ He said it with a smile though and was onboard.

The leading lady we auditioned for, and Sonya Roseman had the look I wanted.

Steve Hammal who is as good a cinematographer as you’ll find and has a great name in advertising films and corporates is a good friend and has been for years and he agreed to do some camera work for us, as did John Cattle (Wight Trash) who makes his own extreme sports films and Simon Higgins from Sky God Films who’d made the critically acclaimed ‘This is Asa’ about a young boy who tragically died on the Isle of Wight. John Robson knew Simon and we both knew John Cattle.

We hired another professional cameraman and sound recordist via Talent Circle and called in all our contacts for favours with other roles like make-up etc.

So that’s the story really. Basically EVERYONE involved loved the script!

PPSF- In the end you managed to record the film for 50,000 pounds from your own earnings, 1500 pounds from Screen South and financial assistance from family and friends. This was on the back of the defunct National Film Council having refused to fund the project, in favour of other, more essential projects, such good old Harry Potter. That’s a pretty big risk to take (you, not the National Film Council). You must have been extremely convinced that your film would have a certain degree of success.

How then did you go about making sure the project would have the best possible team working on it with the now restrained budget you had to work with? I heard John Robson even said that you must be the only film production company who doesn’t have a camera.

I’m laughing thinking back to that. Yes,I bumped into John in the street on The Isle of Wight where we both lived although he had a flat in London. He asked what I was up to and I said putting a film together and starting a film company. He had read the script a year earlier and loved it. I asked him if he wanted to be involved because of his experience with music videos. He asked what equipment I had. I replied none and his answer was ‘’Brilliant. We must be the first film company not to own a camera! Yes, I’m on board! ‘  It’s worth pointing out that the next day we went out and bought two cameras, lighting and sound equipment and with Steve Hammal, John Cattle, Simon Higgins and of course our paid crew having their own equipment, we were more than well stocked from the equipment angle.

We had a good experienced team in place and their track records spoke for themselves. We felt very lucky. The amazing thing was they all loved the project too. They’d go to work and then come straight to our set, as and when the actors were available.

I believed that the story was a strong one and one that audiences of all ages would relate to but I honestly didn’t think the costs would escalate the way they did. We’ve spent £760 on London Travelcards alone and over £4000 on travelling expenses!  Just to buy breakfast, lunch and dinner for a crew of say ten film crew and five actors in the centre of London for example costs more than you realise and then you have to put them up in a hotel. I remember me and John Robson sleeping in a car to keep the costs down! The costs just escalated.

We had things like monitors, tapes, lenses and even hard drives to buy. There wasn’t the terabyte hard drives of today available when we first started! Anyway, the point is, the costs just mounted and before you know it you reason to yourself that you’ve spent too much to lose so you plough even more money in! I didn’t realise how much it’d all cost until the end! That’s the truth!

PPSF- All in all, the production process has gone on for five years. That is some serious dedication. Was there any time where you felt like packing in as it just seemed as though it would never get finished or were you always confident that you would reach where you are today?

There were LOTS of days when I thought it wouldn’t be finished! We had a hard drive, that wasn’t backed up, literally set on fire in front of our eyes and we had to go back and re-film. There were days when we’d get to a location for a second day of filming and overnight there’d be things like roadworks springing up! There were too many days to mention but there was such a commitment from everyone and so much goodwill, I had a sneaky feeling that one day it’d be finished.

PPSF- After all this time, what five words would you use to describe the entire process and the finished product?

Exciting, Frustrating, Humourous, Infuriating and Funny.

PPSF- Based on some of the reviews the early screenings have received it looks like the long journey has well been worth it with comments such as “The Limelight will make you cry but will also make you laugh and make you laugh like you haven’t for a long time”.

The film got it’s national premier at the London Independent Film Festival on the 20th of April, this year. How well did that go for you? Are you happy with its reception so far?

To be honest I’ve been blown away by it’s reception. Let’s be honest, we’ve made a small little independent film and to be getting reviews like the one you’ve stated from an independent film critic is just so pleasing it’s not true. The film won’t be for everyone and we’ll have bad reviews to come as well, I’ve no doubt, but yes, we’re pleased.

The reception to it at The London Independent film festival was more than we could have hoped for. You always hope that you’ll make a film that captures people attention but when you do it’s so gratifying I can’t put it into words.

PPSF- Something I must ask you. At the end of the trailer we see a guy walking around with his pants around his ankles? Can you enlighten us about that or will we just have to watch the movie to find out? It’s definitely got me intrigued.

Intrigued is good and yes you’ll have to watch the film. One secret I can let out though is that he was bloody cold! No porn film auditions for Gary Shand that day!

PPSF- The film is released on the 20th of May. It’s being released online via your website. How exactly will that work? What will people have to do to get their hands on it? Will it be available worldwide and do you have any intentions of releasing it on dvd/BluRay?

For a small film like ours the big problem is enough people knowing about it. We are initially going to distribute via a company called Distrify. David Wilkinson of Guerrilla Films has been of great help with his advice and knows the film market better than most. The film can be downloaded or streamed worldwide for a small fee via our website, you’ll literally go to the site, press buy the film, decide whether you just want to watch it on stream or actually download it and pay with your card there and then. People can also sell it on their website wall for a small income stream if they so wish, so it’s a good way of spreading the word with very little marketing budget.

We’re going to see what the feedback is like before deciding on a DVD run. It’s in our heads to do a limited edition after it’s done the festival rounds. We’re entered into some pretty big festivals worldwide that specialise in Independent film and I think a DVD release would come after it’s done the rounds in those.

PPSF- If the film garners the same kind of reception from the general public as it has from critics to date, what do you have planned for the future? Have you got any more scripts up your sleeve or are you going to focus more on your stand up career for the time being?

I have a few scripts up my sleeve and I’m working on a project with a Director called Malcolm Mowbray who co-wrote and Directed a film called ‘A Private Function’ many moons ago and has done a lot of film and t.v. I’ll tell you more once it’s set in stone.

I will be doing some stand-up but I won’t say concentrating on it as I enjoy performing but my true love is the writing of comedy.

PPSF- I mentioned earlier that the National Film Council rejected your film in favour of Harry Potter. Nows your chance for redemption. Let us know why we should all be watching the Limelight rather than a 3 hour wizard fest. (I think I left the easiest question til last here).

Well hopefully you’ll laugh more and relate more to the characters. It’s real and yet it isn’t. I HOPE it’s an emotional rollercoaster and we’ve relied on a strong script and good performances rather than a load of expensive CGI to make it watchable. Not that you’d want to see Gary Shand flying through the air on a broomstick anyway! Not a pretty sight!

My advice is,if you’ve seen Harry Potter, go and watch The Limelight and then you the viewer decide for yourself. We hope you enjoy.

A screener of the film was well received by the board of the Los Angeles Cinema Festival so it looks set to make it over the pond any time soon. We’ll keep you posted.

For now though, please check out the official site (where the film is available as of the 20th of May), the facebook group or follow Glen and the team on twitter: @limelightmovie

You can also check out a trailer for the movie on the website but I must warn you that you are in for a bit of strong language. I thought that might get you clicking on the link a bit quicker…. If you liked this article please show us your support and come and visit us over on Facebook.

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