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.

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