Who? Luke Rollason
What? Luke Rollason’s Planet Earth
Where? Monkey Barrel Comedy Club (venue 515)
Are you prepared for what this year’s Edinburgh Fringe has in store for you?
It’s my debut year performing a solo show, which I don’t know how you can ever be prepared for. Stamina-wise, last year was good training. Somehow I survived doing two shows a day (1pm and 12.30am: a wise combination) for the month – and I was lucky enough to perform this show last year in the same venue (The Monkey Barrel) for a few days. Then again, I still haven’t got a backup for my ancient overhead projector. This absolutely essential prop is currently held together by gaffer tape and at this stage is pretty much a ticking time bomb. This makes me about as unprepared as possible.
What is the premise of your Edinburgh show this year?
The premise of my Edinburgh show is that I am an intern in the bowels of a BBC which has had its budget slashed, tasked with creating the third series of David Attenborough’s Planet Earth, by himself, using office supplies. Oh, and all animals are extinct. This probably isn’t even the most far-fetched premise in Edinburgh. The backstory is mostly irrelevant – when latecomers miss all the exposition they don’t have much trouble catching up when I start birthing thousands of seahorses into their face.
What was the biggest obstacle you face(d)while putting this show together?
Absurdly, one of the harder things about creating Planet Earth is that nature is far more bizarre than any physical comedy show. The appeal of nature documentaries is in finding out things which you would never otherwise believe – but if you stick that in a comedy show, your audience will just think you’ve invented something and not even well. Natural selection, it turns out, is one of those comedians whose anecdotes you don’t believe a word of. Lizards with detachable genitalia? Pull the other one! Etc. Finding the line between creating something that is recognisable (example: male seahorses give birth) and something that is surprising (example: that man is birthing seahorses into my face) has been the key to the show.
Who would most enjoy your show?
David Attenborough. But assuming that he is too busy saving the world, my show’s ideal audience is anyone who is mildly familiar with the concept of a nature-documentary. If this is too much to ask I’ll settle for anyone who is familiar with the concept of nature, to the extent that they are aware that a spider is not a man covered in sellotape.
Do you have any other Edinburgh show recommendations?
I certainly do! The show I’m most excited about seeing this year is Kit Sullivan’s debut hour ‘Lad’ at Heroes @ Dragonfly. Watching him is like spending time with your best mate, but your best mate has gone a bit weird and eerie whilst you’ve been away and now he sticks dolls’ heads on sticks. In a funny way. He’s also one of the nicest people I know. Other recommendations: Wigwam Wonder Jam (I came up with the name, so the show must be good) which is a early late night clown party in a tent, Loose Brie Solve Everything, David McIver Is A Nice Little Man and Moon.
What is your favourite thing about Edinburgh as a city?
It’s hard to say when I’ve only ever been there during the Fringe, except for last year when I spent the last days of July wandering around empty attractions waiting to be filled by the incoming tide… But there’s lots going for Edinburgh as I know it. It’s filled with little pockets of brilliance that mean sometimes you feel you are in a giant village instead of a capital city. The charity shops and the people that volunteer there are a joy. I made friends with someone working in Age UK last year because I was doing a clown cabaret where I was trying new material every night. She would keep hold of bizarre rubbish for me that no one else would buy. One day I bought a scooter and a knight’s helmet, which I wore as I scooted home through the park. I didn’t do anything else with either for the entire Fringe, and I donated them back at the end of the month.
What are your plans for after the festival?
Somewhat idiotically, I decided what I’d most want to do after 26 consecutive performances of my show is drag the whole thing across Scotland to perform it again. So at the end of August I’m going to be performing at the 2018 Carlisle Fringe Festival, or at least my reanimated carcass will be. In between I’ll have a few days lying in stupor as the Heroes Blundabus is dismantled around me. I’ll claim to be helping but I’ll probably only manage to fold a few deckchairs, if last year is anything to go by. More long term, my plans are to perform at the Sea Life Centre in London, grow old and eventually die.