Des O’Conner (Royal Vauxhall) Q&A


Edinburgh, the Fringe, why bother?

Every year I hear this and every year my answer is the same. Beyond the cynicism, fatigue and despair at fat cat comics snaffling ‘our’ audiences, the Fringe remains the most exciting place on the planet to unleash bold and exciting new work upon an audience that expect, nay demand, to be shocked, challenged and entertained. If your project is worth producing, it’s worth producing on the Fringe.

What have been the nuggets of inspiration behind your show this year?

Over the last twelve months it feels like the UK has been picked up and shaken like a snow globe. The last time this happened, to my mind, was the late 80s when everything was changing and it felt like the end of days. When glitz and glamour collide head first with anger, hatred and fear the outcome is explosive and creatively irresistible. That’s where Royal Vauxhall came from.

Stand-out Fringe moment to date?

Explaining to Nicholas Parsons that my show features Margaret Thatcher wearing a strap-on, closely followed by explaining to Nicholas Parsons what a strap on actually is and how it is used.

When you wished a hole had opened up in the ground and swallowed you up?

Trying to carry a heavy trunk filled with all of the personal effects of Freddie Mercury, Kenny Everett and Princess Di up the stairs in Waverley Station single handed while several hundred people queued behind me.

Your unsung heroes in the industry at current?

My thoughts are always with the people who have to clean a venue every night and open up every morning. At least the people tearing tickets get to see the shows. There is nothing worse than cleaning up after fun you weren’t a part of.

Three shows you must see this Fringe? 

Sarah-Louise Young’s La Poule Plombee, Chris Wilson’s Oh My Dad: Christ On A Bike and Showstopper: The Improvised Musical.

The one person you’d love to see your show and why?

I would love Kenny Everett to see my show. The more I’ve researched his life and demise the more moved I’ve been by his talent, his potential and the way in which he tortured himself and was never able to enjoy the fame that he had so richly earned.

The reason why one should come and see your show?

Over the course of 75 minutes you will experience every emotion known to humankind and come out with a head full of songs that you will be singing for the rest of your life.

The one thing in Edinburgh you must do? 

Climb Arthur’s Seat at dawn with someone you love or long to be loved by.

Ah sorry, you’re dead. But least you can have that dinner party you’ve always wanted. Who are you inviting?

Kenny Everett, Princess Di and Freddie Mercury. Oh, and Thatcher…with a strap on.

 Royal Vauxhall, Underbelly: Ermintrude   22.10 (23.25) 3-29 Aug (Not 15, 22)

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