Who? (written by) Keir McAllister, (performed by) Jojo Sutherland, Jay Lafferty and Paul Sneddon
What? Madame George
Where? Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose – Doonstairs (Venue 24)
What are your feelings as you enter into this year’s Edinburgh Fringe season?
Keir: Much like I imagine a grouse feels as it enters into shooting season. I would love to tell you that I felt healthy nervous anticipation and excitement but despite this being my 15th Fringe at this stage it’s all angst, baby – pure, unadulterated angst…
Jojo: Excitement mixed with nerves and flashes of blind panic!
Jay: It can’t be that time of year again surely? It feels like I just finished last year’s show. It’s one of my favourite times of the year as I live in Edinburgh, so it feels like all your pals come up to your but for a month-long party. Although this year’s party might be somewhat tamer than the last few…
Paul: Every July, I have the same feelings of deja-vu, mixed with disbelief that another Fringe has come around so quickly. On top of that there is a mix of anticipation, fear and excitement.
What is the premise of your Edinburgh show this year?
Keir: I have a new play called Madame George about a psychic. I wanted to explore the nature of the things we choose to believe and how bitterly we will fight for those beliefs even when all evidence is to the contrary. Essentially, it’s about delusion which I feel is a very topical right now.
Jojo: A smart political observation of Brexit and Scotland’s place within that, beautifully disguised within the mind of a delusional psychic.
Jay: I am really lucky to have two Fringe shows with the Gilded Balloon this year. Alongside my 3rd solo show Jay Lafferty: Jammy, an uplifting show that turns the concept of luck on its head. I am also treading the boards as an actor. I was delighted to be offered the part of Jane in award-winning writer Keir McAllister’s brand-new dark comedy Madame George. The premise of the play is ‘a psychic in a slump’; a satirical examination of isolation and delusion with a subtle nod to the social and political stramash of ideas about identity in contemporary Scotland. I have had real fun getting into the character who isn’t all that she first appears to be.
Paul: I am doing two shows this year. I am acting in Madame George written by Keir McAllister, a dark comedy about our own delusions with a nod to the political stramash we currently find ourselves in. It’s on every afternoon at Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose. My solo stand-up show 60 Minutes To Save The World, which is at The Stand’s New Town Theatre is all about trying to find positive solutions to all the challenges civilisation currently faces such as Brexit, Trump, Climate Change and the current state of Scottish football.
What is the biggest obstacle you face(d) while putting this show together?
Keir: Funding, funding, funding. If it wasn’t for the wonderful Korens (Katy & Karen) at the Gilded Balloon co-producing this with Watch This space Productions (as they did with last year’s hit The Bench) this play would simply not be on.
Jojo: I genuinely can’t think of any; I get to spend my days playing around with some of my favourite people.
Jay: As hinted at early by the curb of my partying comment – I will be 7 months pregnant by the time August rolls around – eek! This is my first baby so I have no idea what I’m letting myself in for also just to make it super fun all my venues include a lot of stairs so if you see a pregnant lassie sitting on stars don’t worry I’m just having a rest. I have had to consider my mobility, stamina and costume for hiding said bump during the play.
Paul: Finding enough hours in the day, and enough days in July, to do all the shit that needs to be done before the start of August.
Has your attitude towards the Fringe changed at all in recent years?
Keir: My attitude to the Fringe changes every year. Because I live in Edinburgh, I see close-up how the Fringe evolves and changes. I think one of the main changes is that the expense for performers has risen dramatically. That needs to change if the Fringe is going to be sustainable and inclusive. It can’t be allowed to become the privilege of those who can afford it. Performers and venues must respond to this too – an example this year is both The Monkey Barrel and Gilded Balloon offering half hour slots for performers. I think this is great idea.
Jojo: I’ve been participating in the Fringe for over 20 years and not one has been the same, it’s always wise to go into it with an open heart and mind (I’m quoting from the play!) but I do believe that in real life.
Jay: I have become more aware of the industry side of things – the potential to make amazing connections that can bring you amazing opportunity outside of the Fringe. Last year Keir’s play was picked up by one of the biggest international publishing companies Josef Weinberger Ltd. when you have an experience like that it just reminds you that you never know who is sitting in that room watching you so every show has to be the best show you can do – ha! – nothing like adding a bit more pressure.
Paul: Every year, the older I get it seems to come around a lot faster than it did before. Is it really 2018 already?
Do you have any other Edinburgh show recommendations?
Keir: All the cast of my play are also doing solo shows and they are all brilliant so I’m going to recommend them – Jojo Sutherland: Riches to Rags, Vladimir McTavish: 60 Minutes to Save the World and my wife Jay Lafferty’s show Jammy.
Jojo: Well I’m going to egotistically recommend my solo show Riches to Rags, Gilded Balloon, Teviot 4.15pm.
Jay: Oh wow! I have so many friends performing someone will get mad for me missing them out. I would love to recommend Liam Withnail: Homecoming at Monkey Barrel Comedy. I have been doing my preview runs with Liam and his show is brilliant he gets better every year. Also, it’s not a show but do yourself a favour and visit one of the Bross Bagel pop ups at Gilded Balloon’s venues – they are the best bagels I have ever tasted – you won’t regret it!
Paul: Glasgow is very nice at this time of year.
Where would you like to be in a year’s time?
Keir: Right now – I think just anywhere not having anxiety dreams about doing another Fringe… but I think we know I’m going to be right here, doing exactly this.
Jay: Wondering how I’m going to get through the Fringe with a 10-month old on my hip? A themed mother and baby show perhaps? I doubt it though not with my penchant for the potty mouth.
Paul: Alive. PS (they we these separately!)