Edinburgh, the Fringe, why bother?
That’s a very good question – one I’ve been asking myself for the last 8 years. Because I want to be applauded by a room full of strangers for 28 days in a row, and because I like Tartan.
What have been the nuggets of inspiration behind your show this year?
The show is based on the 70s and 80s Cold War thrillers of John Le Carre, so that’s a massive inspiration – Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy etc. It’s set in an alternative world in which Scrabble, rather than chess, is the game which the Cold War powers battle over. Although this has meant playing a lot of Scrabble, which is highly boring.
Stand-out Fringe moment to date?
Gigging on Arthur’s seat at sunset. It’s a lovely view, although you do risk breaking your leg on the night time descent.
When you wished a hole had opened up in the ground and swallowed you up?
When my parents banned me from going on the school caving trip.
Your unsung heroes in the industry at current?
The techies. Those little heroes who stand in the background, pushing buttons and flicking dials, why we performers hog all the attention. Let’s give them some recognition, but not too much. It could go to their head and they become power mad, starting a techie revolution in which we’re all enslaved to the buttons and dials.
Three shows you must see this Fringe?
South African clown act Mr Egg is fantastic. Having trained at Phillipe Gaullier he can act out a full orchestra using only a rubber band, and a full orchestra. Hugely inventive, and he only gets his penis out twice.
Hot new Oxbridge sketch act Bad Frank are getting really good word of mouth, despite not having gigged yet. Apparently they perform all their sketches facing the back wall. Brilliant.
And of course if you want improv go see The Improperverts – in which the gang take ordinary suggestions from the audience and turn them into weird, disturbingly sexual ideas that never outstay their welcome. A great lunchtime treat. Bring a raincoat.
The one person you’d love to see your show and why?
Vladimir Putin. I think it would bring a tear to his eye and soften his heart a little. Which, in this period of global instability, is good for everyone.
The reason why one should come and see your show?
It’s a high-octane, hilarious thriller in which I rush about the stage playing all the characters, heroes and villains. There’s spying, suspense, seduction and above all else – Scrabble!
The one thing in Edinburgh you must do?
Eat lots of fruit and vegetables.
Ah sorry, you’re dead. But least you can have that dinner party you’ve always wanted. Who are you inviting?
Normally the question would be, who would you invite to a dinner party, living or dead? If I’d died I don’t think I’d be in the mood for a dinner party. But I guess I’d invite Ghandi and Harold Shipman. Just to see where the conversation goes.
Nick Hall Szgrabble T-Bar 3:30pm