Friday, 22 June 2012

Laughing Horse @ The Phoenix presents ANDY AND THE PROSTITUTES – THE MUSICAL Debut Fringe Show

You’ll laugh, you’ll weep – the banjo musical of the century.”
Andy Riley (The Book Of Bunny Suicides)

While I am sure that Andy and the Prostitutes are very aware that there isn't that much competition for the title, the idea of "the banjo musical of the century" persuaded me to drop my wariness about musicals and take a closer look at how a band with the sort of name that really can get a blog an immense amount of hits intend to take the Fringe by storm with only a band made up of top quality musicians and a fascination with taboos and fear.

Andy McKay - cartoonist, banjo maestro and leader of The Prostitutes is determined to prove that the banjo is the right instrument to lead the assault. "The banjo is a fascinating instrument with quite young roots in modern society," he explains. "It originated in Arabia but was brought to North America by the African slaves, so, as far as taboos go, the banjo has seen it all. I personally believe there is a spirit in the soul of the banjo that has the power to break down barriers and bring light where there was once darkness." 

The banjo's soul has filled McKay with a righteous enthusiasm. "Quite simply, as Dan Ackroyd said, ‘We’re on a mission from God!’ he adds, before pointing out that he has the band to back up his claims. "I am from a bluegrass background, Richard the violinist is from a classical background and Alex, the bass player is from a punk background so it is a mixture of ideas coming together."

Indeed, Richard Moore, the youngest member of the band is "a prodigy of Nigel Kennedy. he graduated from Brit School primed and ready to rapidly ascend the showbiz ladder." For the Fringe, the band has decided to challenge itself to create the musical - a genre that McKay is quick to embrace.

"What is a musical?" he asks. "It’s a marriage of words and song and that is exactly what we are doing. There is a narrative tying the music together which takes the audience on a journey. It might not be Blood Brothers in the West End but it will entertain in a not dissimilar fashion." Concentrating on those aspects of society usually hidden away lends the gig an edge that goes beyond a series of sketches into something that can stand next to the hoards of musical hopefuls who arrive in Edinburgh.

For the Prostitutes, their name has been a blessing. "We are certainly not forgotten very quickly," McKay laughs. "However, it has been an issue in the past and venues have even changed the name to make it less provocative (we were Andy And The Pros once) but most people see the funny side of it which is what we want. In terms of climbing to stardom, we are mainly falling down drunk in the other direction so it is not too big a problem!"

Andy And The Prostitutes - The Musical
3-26 August (not 6, 13, 20)
Venue Number 146: The Phoenix , 46 Broughton Street, EH1 3SA
Free Non-ticketed

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Dirty Paki Lingerie

Frankly, the less I say about Dirty Paki Lingerie the better it will be. I am so keen to be smart and clever - and irreverent - when I preview Fringe shows that I am bound to end up sounding obnoxious if I try to copy the spirit of this one woman monologue. Fortunately, Aizzah Fatima was on hand to tell me about her mixture of comedy and social commentary.

GKV: I have always been wary of the Fringe - what makes you want to bring your show here?

So I can air my dirty lingerie on another continent of course!

With the success of the play Dirty Paki Lingerie with sold out runs in New York City as well as Toronto, I want to bring the show to a wider International audience.  It's an honor to be part of the largest theater festival in the world.  
My European friends in NYC were insistent that I take the show to Europe.  They thought it was timely, and the sort of politically intelligent show audiences in Europe would just eat up.  I wanted to test out this theory, and what better way to find out then to perform for a month at the largest theater festival
in the world.

GKV: The title is pretty provocative...
The show is a whirlwind of personalities that will offend, make you laugh out loud, give you the rough stuff you want, and then finally cuddle your inner child.

GKV: And do you have a serious intent behind the headline grabbing title?

What makes this show stand out is that it transcends cultural boundaries, and allows people from all walks of life to see themselves in the specific stories of these six Pakistani American Muslim females.  In so doing, it humanizes Muslims.  
We are human after all; we only sell our second born to the devil.  It also gives a much needed voice in the arts to the female Muslim American experience.

GKV: How important is the balance between comedy and seriousness in the piece?
Being a Muslim female, I couldn’t think of a better weapon than comedy to show people the sexier side of American Muslims.  Yes, contrary to what you might believe, there is a sexier side to American Muslims. But you’ll have to come see the show to find out what it looks like.

Growing up as part of a Pakistani community in the U.S, I found it hilarious when Pakistani moms would comb through Urdu Newspaper matrimonials for their children.  Some of these moms are natural born sales people.  Yet they have never been given the opportunity to workoutside the home.  One of the characters in the show was inspired by so many older women I knew who would do this sort of thing.  You haveto be able to laugh at yourself to gain a deeper understanding, and hopefully to make a change for the better.

The challenge with writing a play that talks about politics, religion,racial profiling, bullying, sexuality, culture vs. tradition, and identity is that it can be easy to fall into the trap of sounding too preachy. The play tackles all these issues with humor, and that is what allows people to connect with the characters and makes it a successful piece.

GKV: What inspired the creation of the work?
The dirty Paki muse in her lingerie came to me and I just couldn’t say no.  Actually, I knew all these remarkable women, and felt compelled to tell their stories.  I also wanted to combat the growing Islamophobic sentiment
 in the US where people are opposing building of Islamic community centers and mosques.  
I thought if I can show people how similar the Muslim American community is to any other community, then it should help break down some barriers. 

The Assembly Hall - Baillie Room
1 – 26 August 2012
17:15.18:15pm (60mins)


Without wishing to trivialise the company, Out Cast Theatre are best remembered for their slightly sexual plays. The Jane Austen guide to Pornography, The Adventures of Butt Boy and Tigger - well, the titles ought to have been fair warning. So memorable are these titles, it's surprising that Out Cast have actually been away for two years, and are coming back with two new shows: Monstrous Acts and Mr Braithwaite Has a New Boy.
Artistic director ands script-writer Steven Dawson is aware of his reputation - and both shows do contain adult content warnings - but has a warm sense of humour about his work.

"In Australia I am known for my risqué comedies and disgraceful one-liners with a little willy-wobbling along the way," he admits. "However some of my more recent works have nobler aspirations with historical themes, settings and characters - Jane Austen, Michelangelo. I have also enjoyed playing with more stylised language than most of my audiences are used to. There is hardly any swearing in this one!"

There is also a considerable difference in the tones of Monstrous Acts and Mr Braithwaite. Dawson acknowledges that this might be an attempt to break out from the stereotyping of his plays. "It was noted in one of the reviews last time we hit Edinburgh that they would like to see something in my work not obsessed with sex," he remembers. "So I have given them just that. Some sex AND violence."

Monstrous Acts
is a prison drama that deals with issues of faith and punishment. A two-hander, it looks at the last days of two killers - one unrepentant, the other facing execution for a crime that was more accidental than malicious. Yet in their last days, the condemned find that their redemption could be found in the other's embrace.

"I found the story fascinating and surprisingly little known. I wrote it very quickly for the actors, keeping just one scene ahead of the actors to challenge myself and them," Dawson explains. "

It is harrowing, haunting, erotic, sometimes humorous but there is a beautiful sadness that stays in the memory. Though audiences may be challenged and confronted at times by the raw sexuality and violence there are stronger themes of power, faith and violence in the work."

Out Cast Theatre is Australia’s longest running, totally self-funded LGBTIQ theatre company. In 2009, Out Cast received an Edinburgh Festival Fringe Sell Out Wreath for "Jane Austen’s Guide to Pornography", and in 2008 was nominated for a Fringe First award for "Adventures of Butt Boy and Tigger".

Cygnet Company presents The Taming of the Shrew … as you’ve never seen before

Working through the Fringe's programme can be dispiriting: not due to the paucity of performances, but the sheer impossibility of finding out which shows have an edge. When it comes to Shakespeare, I'm always looking for the new angle: when I came across Cygnet Company, I noticed that they were coming from  the south-west (which always wins my Wessex loyalty), had gender-reversed The Taming of the Shrew and had persuaded ManKind Initiative to support their production.

Sorrell Meechan, an actor with the company, explains how this Shrew will be different. "Shakespeare's plays are often performed and often loved, however we are using a reverse gendered cast and a modern setting, using the original Shakespearean text (albeit greatly abridged) to look at the domestic abuse and oppression of men, in a society with a growing female dominance." 

While I can't agree that the society I seem to inhabit has anything like growing female dominance - the briefest analysis of advertising on television reveals that the patriarchy is in full effect, Cygnet have found the only way that makes another production of Shakespeare bearable - the radical remix. Furthermore, Shrew, if produced according to the original casting and played straight, is little more than a hymn to domestic abuse.

But Cygnet have recognised that theatre is not just about the stage. As Meechan points out, "the production has been a great success in Exeter, with most audiences staying rooted to their seats at the end, discussing the interpretation that we have presented to them. " This interested Mankind Initiative, a national charity that provides help and support for male victims of domestic abuse and domestic violence. 

The interpretation came from a casual conversation. "Our concept for the reverse-gendered cast and dark take on this usual comedy, came out of a night in the pub, a bottle of wine, and some good creative chat amongst friends - aren't most good ideas born in this way?" laughs Meechan. Then the hard work began. "In most years Cygnet has  taken shows to the Fringe: however this year the funding wasn't available, the students therefore took it upon themselves to raise the funds, choose and direct the show and take an entirely student-led production to the Fringe. We have been busily beavering away, standing in the rain at 6am in a charity car park, and, more glamourously, putting on shows with monologues and songs and auctions, all to raise money to bring the show to Edinburgh, so we can participate in the biggest performance festival in the UK." 

Although the script may be old, the inspirations are not.  Meechan continues "Our Director Louisa Wilde is mainly influenced by the theatre director Rupert Goode for his ability to add extra depth and inject new life into classical texts. Our Petruchio is inspired by Sell A Door Theatre Company, for their multi-dimensional characters and the world that they create and take you into."

And while the Fringe may often be a low budget delight, Cygnet have got an expanded cast. "With thirteen members of the cast and crew," Meechan boasts, "we have a number of influences between us which combine to produce a multi-layered production."

Shakespeare's usual length presented a further problem - in addition defining English theatre as based in the script, he likes the extended meditation over the brevity demanded by the Fringe's busy schedule. "Our Director then spent hours upon hours editing the text, cutting a long play down to an hour was no mean feat, Meechan remembers. "Teaching all the girls to walk in heels however, well that was like climbing Mount Everest."


13th-24th August (not 18th)

Tit for Tat Theatre

"Life would be a lot simpler if people would only stop doing stupid shit," begins the press release for Tit for Tat Theatre's Three Cities.  Given the amount of stupid shit I get through on a daily basis, I had to find out more about the performance. Lisa Carroll kindly agreed to explain it all to me...

Why the fringe?

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is unmatched by any other large scale arts event in terms of audiences, atmosphere, and of course, its range of wonderful shows. This makes it the perfect place to air a new, exciting and vibrant piece of writing to an international audience. The opportunity for emerging artists to be immersed in a culture of experimentation and expression is one not to be missed, especially with a play which speaks to such a diverse audience with its coverage of topical issues as well as comedic moments.

What will make Three Cities stand out this year?

Three Cities stands out simply for being a piece of engaging, witty and contemporary new writing performed by three talented actresses.

Three Cities invites audiences to explore the worlds of three women, each based in Dublin, London and New York. With its intimate staging, the show stands out for its comical treatment of issues which are pertinent to every one of us, offering a fresh perspective and a chance for audiences to laugh at themselves.

Where did the inspiration come from?

Three Cities began with the characters: each with elements drawn from the people that playwright, Lisa Carroll, has encountered when living in each city. Three Cities is permeated by media and current affairs as Lisa seeks to explore through these three loveable characters the extent to which we are shaped by our political surroundings as much as our relationships and experiences.

Do you see the production sitting in any particular tradition or style of theatre?

Three Cities draws upon elements of traditional theatre while seeking to address a contemporary audience. The play is structured by interlinking monologues, a technique often used in theatre which allows characters to confess, reflect and dream whilst simultaneously directly engaging their audience. Three Cities uses this technique to also explore what is said between the lines, with the overlap or disparity between each woman’s stories highlighting the malleability of narrative, the inconstancy of memory and the nature of perception.

Is there still a place for the script in the age of diverse theatre practices?

Theatre relies upon an interlinking chain of contributors, and the playwright has just as much as place in that chain as any director, designer or actor. Theatre is an expression, a response to what is happening around us, to other people – that can be pushed and experimented with just as much through language on a page as it can a devising theatre company or contemporary dance.

Playwrights understand the necessity and simultaneous difficulty of translating ideas into language as a blueprint for a number of artists to then interpret and transmit their meaning.
Look at Beckett: with his scripts he was not only more experimental, but more successful than a vast number of practitioners who would do away with scripted theatre or purport that it no longer has a place. Beckett’s work still has a profound impact on audiences and continues to be revived across the world.

Without tradition there would be no possibility for experimentation, whether on the page or off. Each style of theatre has its own merits but relies upon its opposite, or counterparts in order to operate, communicate with, and define itself in relation to these.

So, yes, the script still very much deserves its place in an age of diverse theatre practices.

Sweet Grassmarket, Apex International Hotel, Venue 18
13th- 17th19th-24th, 26th August
19.30 – 20.30
£8.00 (£7.00)

'I Heart Hamas: And Other Things I'm Afraid to Tell You'

As I have probably said far too many times, I don't do comedy, and even have a slight resentment at the way that comedy dominates the Fringe. It's not a reflection on the comedians themselves - although I fear that there is a trend for some unpleasant opinions to be bandied about under the excuse of "it's just a laugh" - but on my own desire to be punished by Serious Ideas whenever I enter a theatre.

Then again, I once reviewed Kunt and the Gang. And loved it.

Jennifer Jajeh's monologue, however, has the sort of title I can get behind: I Heart Hamas: And Other Things I'm Afraid to Tell You. Not that I can even begin to articulate an opinion on the Palestinian question (I struggle to understand the local council question). I just like the controversy it is likely to cause.

The set-up is pretty theatrical too: "It's a tragicomic solo show that weaves together humour, live theatre, multimedia and pop culture references," Jajeh says. "It was inspired by my move to the West Bank town of Ramallah in June 2000 where I watched the Intifada unfold over the next year and a half. When I came back and explained to my friends how we’d sneak out for pints and to underground parties while dodging tear gas canisters and gunfire, they urged me to start writing it down."

Since my knowledge of Palestine comes from the work of David Greig, Jajeh's reasons for the show strike a chord. "My show deals with the intersection of my Palestinian and American identities and what’s happening on the ground in Palestine in a comedic, provocative yet thoughtful way," she continues. "It’s a first person perspective we aren’t seeing in the media or the arts, and I think people are hungry for a fresh, very candid, female take on the issues."

And unlike much of the Fringe, I Heart Hamas is a seasoned production, not a new show that, frankly, could be anything. "For the past 10 years, I’ve had the pleasure of working as an actor, writer and producer in theatre and film on many inspiring projects; however,  touring this show for the past 5 years has truly been the highlight," she recalls. "It's allowed me to engage with live audiences in very immediate and satisfying ways, challenging my perspective and opening up conversations that people have been afraid to embark on publicly."

"The Fringe affords an opportunity to not only get my work out to a European audience who I think will resonate with my sensibilities, but also to gain wider exposure and support for the stories I’m seeking to tell. Plus, I’m a huge fan of Scotch whiskey."

Gryphon Venues at the Point Hotel (#109)
20:35 (21.55)
2-5, 7-11, 14-18, 21-25 August 2012

Wednesday, 20 June 2012



Richard Marsh and Katie Bonna combine drama and poetry in this funny story of two hopeful, hapless romantics who get drunk, get it on, and then get the hell away from each other. In her eyes, he’s a mistake. A mistake who keeps turning up at parties. In his eyes, she’s perfect. He’s short-sighted. But can they make a one night stand last a lifetime?

Why do you want to be part of the fringe?

We wanted to get out of London as neither of us got selected for the British Olympic team.  We're better at talking than running  (although there is some running in the play, both literally and metaphorically*).

Also, the fringe is a fantastic opportunity for unknown acts to find an audience.  Last year Richard went up with Skittles as a brand new performer no one had ever heard of.  He was able to get people to come by walking around for ten hours a day clutching small pictures of his face.  He left with some good reviews and bookings at venues like Battersea Arts Centre and York Theatre Royal.  As an unknown, he wouldn't have been able to do that anywhere else.

And what will make your shows stand out?

Our show is a funny, truthful, comic drama that combines poetry spoken directly to the audience with fourth-wall dialogue scenes. Writing partly in verse allows to conjure vivid environments and fast paced scenes.  It’s almost like screenwriting a stage play.  The main characters can comment on the action, adding (or undercutting) subtext.  There aren't many contemporary plays which use poetry, or poetry shows which use dialogue exchanges between two writer/performers, or romantic comic poetic plays which can make you laugh while welling up.

Does the background of both performers in poetry change the way that the performance is approached or experienced?

Katie has a very classical training in verse speaking, whereas Rich is from the streets.  The streets of Somerset.  The show actually uses relatively simple words and rhymes to express complex emotions.  It’s not a poetry show, but a play with poetry in it - so in performance we just have to play the truth of the situation and characters.  In short and in answer to your question, probably not. 

Is there any serious intent beneath the cheeky story line? 

Yes.  We're telling a sincere, human story in an entertaining fashion.  It's very honest and very specific - by being very specific we hope to create something universal.  Life is specific and we hope audiences will recognise situations and dilemmas they've lived through in the play (we all make idiots of ourselves at times…).  Responses at previews have been really positive - hopefully that will continue.

What brought the artists together to work on this, since they both have their own career and great reputations - why the need to team up?

We met at the brilliant poetry night Bang Said the Gun. We began writing together due to both living in Tooting and a shared love of love stories. But mostly because we both lived in Tooting. The partnership has survived Richard moving out of Tooting, due to strong artistic commitment and coffee in the centre of town. 

Working together allows us to tell a love story from the male and female perspective simultaneously.  Most writers who collaborate aim to create a shared voice, one that attempts to seem like it's written by a single creative entity.  Dirty Great Love Story makes a virtue of the different voices - the audience sees the often entirely opposite reactions of the two main characters to unfolding events.

* Katie is trained in physical theatre, Richard's stage running is amateur by comparison.

Pleasance Jack Dome 13:20
1st - 27th August (not 14th).
Previewing BAC, Latitude, PULSE and more.


I mean, it's a venal graveyard of art, slowly being destroyed by the cheap roll-call of bad comics and atrocious critics who are just trying to get attention...

Wendy Peace (Listen! The River):  This is going to sound very corny, but when I was growing up in Canada my dad, who was my guide to all things artistic (I mean this was the man who took me to my first Kabuki Theatre when I was 7)  told me about the Edinburgh Fringe. He'd never been, but he loved theater and the whole idea of all these artistic people coming together seemed absolutely amazing to him. That started, for me, an on going fascination and respect for what the Fringe is and has been for the past 66 years. Aside from my personal dream of coming to the Fringe, it seemed the perfect place for Listen! The River because of the Festival's openness toward new works and ideas that may seem less than traditional, or at least be presented less traditionally. Our play has a talking cat and a one-eyed dog. No one I have dealt with, from Charles Pamment our venue manager to any of the Fringe staff to the woman I'm renting my flat from has once made me feel that I have to explain or justify that. A festival where you can present anything from Shakespeare to politically relevant to socially provocative works to comedy and cabaret is truly rare and wonderful. I'm very excited to see other people's work. I'm coming up a week early to fit in as much as I can.

Eleanor Appleton (Rosie Thorn: The Patsy Cornish Saga):  This is the second year in a row that I have come with a ‘Rosie’ show and although I found last year incredibly challenging in many ways I also found it incredibly beneficial. There are so many networking opportunities and you get a great deal of feedback on your show which helps with future development. Also through the contacts that I have built up over the last year and the response that I received from last year I have managed to secure my venue at Surgeon’s Hall for free and have also been offered a slot on the Funny Women stage.

Alexa Kelly (A Man for All Times WEB Du Bois):  is the story about and African-American civil rights hero.  A man, who his entire life fought for “A fair piece of the pie” for all people.  Much like what Occupy stands for today!  W.E.B. Du Bois demanded education for all, equal rights, and, most poignantly today: "The right to choose motherhood at her own discretion". The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the greatest festival in the world with the greatest opportunity of visibility for a story about one of the most important, influential yet sadly neglected men in the history of civil rights movement, and we want to carry his story into the world at large. 

Monday, 18 June 2012


There are some shows that seemed destined for Fringe success - as a critic, it is my job to pretend that I have some special skill, divine these, then claim credit for having noticed them first. So, I am delighted to introduce Yve Blake, and eighteen year old from Australia, making her Edinburgh Fringe debut with Am I Good Friend?

Unfortunately, has already called Blake the next big thing: I am already playing catch up.  Since she is an award winning playwright (she won Playwriting Australia’s “Kicking Down The Door” Competition in her final year of high school) and is making a series of online performances, I decided I had better get in touch with her before she is rejecting writers unless they are writing for The Herald. 

What will make your show stand out at the Fringe in 2012?

In a word, PIE CHARTS. That's two. Forget the Pie Charts!
Here's something! I imagine that I'm among the youngest international producers at the Fringe, being only 18. Also, having written/designed/constructed every element of the show myself, AND considering that the show uses real "lifedata" from my real actual life (Such as secretly recorded phone interviews with my parents and friends) Am I Good Friend? is a uniquely personal show. Finally, it includes an impressive array of Arts and Crafts! and did I mention PIE CHARTS!

How would you describe the piece - what sort of theatre is it, and what inspired the content?

Am I Good Friend? takes the form of a live scientific experiment in which I am determined to measure the extent to which I embody the definition of a "Good Friend". I will do absolutely anything in the quest for MAX ACCURACY. It's evidence-based theatre meets performance art meets comedy meets Pie-Chart-Filled-Adventure.

The show is inspired by the fact that we all secretly aspire to be a super hilarious, ultra generous and superbly charismatic version of ourselves. In the show I call myself out on  everything I wish that I was, and everything wish that I wasn't. It's a completely candid and ultimately and heartwarming study of our desire to be like by everyone. 

How long have you been working in theatre, and are there any highlights of your career so far?

I've been working professionally in theatre for 5 years, (or since I was 13, as I'm 18 now) as both a Performer and a Playwright.  
As a Playwright, I was awarded “Best Play” at Sydney’s Fast + Fresh Festival when I was 15, and winning Playwriting Australia’s "Kicking Down The Door" in my  final year of high school. This year I've also had my work commissioned by the Australian Theatre for Young People and published by Currency Press.
I've presented other self-written performance art at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia and Griffin Theatre Company, and will soon be releasing a series of online performances that respond to hoarded objects and relics I've recently found in my bedroom.  
I'm currently a member of Advisory Panels at both the Sydney Theatre Company and the Sydney Opera House, where I'm mentored by producer Danielle Harvey (Former Exec. Director Sydney Mardi Gras).

Why did you decide to come to the Fringe?

Initially I'll admit, the idea of taking a show the Fringe terrified me! (nightmares of wading through flyers up to my neck on the royal mile kind of thing). Then, while premiering Am I Good Friend? at the Adelaide Fringe, I was approached by Louise Oliver, the participant development coordinator of the Edinburgh Fringe Society. She loved the show and insisted I take it to Edinburgh. A few drinks later I agreed. While there had been a really positive response to the show in Adelaide, (four stars, sell-out houses), her vote was the one that counted. I haven't had a nightmare since and now I can't wait to tour my first ever solo show internationally.

WHEN: 2.35pm August 4-25 (not Tues)
WHERE: Cabaret Voltaire, 36 Blair Street (Venue #338) | HOW MUCH: FREE
TWITTER: @yveblake | FACEBOOK: yveblake | WEB:

A Strange Wild Song; the new performance by Lecoq trained Rhum and Clay Theatre Company

I'll never forget the first time I took Lecoq seriously. Up until that point, I was vaguely aware of the school - somewhere in France - and the reputation - a physical theatre style that liked the clown. But suddenly, in the middle of Red Bastard's masterful assault on decency and alienation, my new live art hero posed and insisted that the audience "respects Lecoq." When I had stopped laughing at the dick joke, I decided that I might pay more attention to the style that was influencing this comedy genius.

Rhum and Clay are part of a new generation of Lecoq graduates - there's something like four companies from the same class at the Fringe this year. A Strange Wild Song is probably the only show that promises to "literally bring photographs to life" as well as "fusing live music, physical theatre and absurdist humour" featuring a man searching for meaning through a single roll of film.

Intrigued both by the premise and the growing influence of Lecoq, I sent my usual naive and ill-considered questions over to the company. That the answers came marked from Rhum and Clay adds to the mystery, even as they elucidate the aesthetic conspiracy.

"Lecoq inspires creativity," they inform me. "Its theatre is engaging and accessible: when done well it is absolutely captivating. Lecoq generates a community of artists with a shared language.  A testament to this is the amount of companies that have come out of the school.  From Complicite to last year’s hit company Theatre Ad Infinitum, success from Lecoq companies is carried by the quality of the work. It’s always our aim to create original theatre that meets those standards and creative values."

The line of Lecoq is clear: both of these companies have a reputation for pushing the strictures of theatre, without losing the audience. But why would a company want to bring this to the Fringe, where any creativity can be lost in the hustle?

Rhum and Clay dismiss my fears. "There is no better place to launch new work. The Fringe is a hotbed of creativity: press, international venues, festival organisers and audiences all thrown together in a beautiful and vibrant city.  If you can succeed in Edinburgh you can do it anywhere.  As a company we grow tremendously by being involved in the festival; it’s a brilliant buzz to be around thousands of talented artists from across the world and it never fails to have a positive impact on our practice and ambition."

The company did open their account at the Fringe effectively in 2011: Shutterland was critically acclaimed. "Our theatre appeals to a broad audience because it is very physical, visually cinematic and funny, but with a touching humanity at its core. We also happen to think it’s very good," they continue.

Even reputable reviewers were impressed by Shutterland, and A Strange Wild Song furthers the company's journey into new drama. "Though in subject matter it is very different, audiences might recognize a similarity of style with Shutterland.  We always endeavour to create theatre that is inventive, highly physical and funny." Yet this is no mere resting on their laurels.  "A Strange Wild Songis more adventurous and ambitious, both in narrative and production.  We have a multi-instrumentalist on stage, a highly mobile set and raised expectations. We have kept the sense of play and the strong visual elements of Shutterland and combined it with emotionally deeper characters and an engaging and touching story.  Everyone at Rhum and Clay Theatre Company is really looking forward to unleashing A Strange Wild Song on the fringe this year."

3rd-25th August 2012  9pm (60 minutes)  Previews 3rd / 4th – No Performances 13th & 20th       

Rhum and Clay Theatre Company was founded at l'EcoleInternationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq in 2010 and consists of Christopher Harrisson, Julian Spooner and Matthew Wells.