Back once again by popular demand for 2018, our Brighton Bites Q&As offer an, occasionally witty – often hilarious, insight into the acts donning their flip-flops and shades (or high-heels and lippy) to join the line-up of England’s largest arts festival, Brighton Fringe. With 2017 boasting almost 1000 events across 160+ venues and 2018 promising more than 300+ free events to widen access to performances, our Bites aim to give you a taste of what’s in store.
Here, PaddleBoat Theatre Company tells us about their show Margo & Mr. Whatsit which they’ll be performing at The Warren: The Hat.
How would you describe your show in one sentence?
An interactive adventure full of imaginary friends and brand new homes.
Why Brighton Fringe?
We came to the Brighton Fringe back in 2015, in our very first year as a company – and had such an amazing time. We’ve always said we’d love to come back – so finally, here we are again.
How did the show get to where it is today?
We create all of our shows in residency in primary schools in Devon – this way, we’re in direct contact with our audiences every step of the way, testing our ideas and learning from the creativity of the most imaginative people in the whole world – children. Margo & Mr. Whatsit was particularly influenced by a need that teachers were identifying – a need to have stories that represented children from different family backgrounds, in particularly looked-after children. So we began exploring the story of Sophia, and her quest for her ‘forever home’.
What do you think sets your show apart from all the other festival offerings?
Well, our show starts with a funeral and finishes in outer space, and yet we never ever leave the safety of Sophia’s bedroom. Our set of her bedroom was designed by 6-7-year-olds – and the sheer joy and inventiveness that comes with playing in a child’s bedroom is what makes Margo & Mr. Whatsit something really special.
What’s the show that you don’t want to miss at this year’s Brighton Fringe (apart from your own!)?
The Elves & The Shoemaker, by Above Bounds Theatre. They’re another Devon based theatre company who make beautiful work for early years audiences. Their version of The Ugly Duckling was amazing, so we can’t wait to see what their newest piece is like.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given, or would give, for performing at a fringe festival?
Pack light – the less time you’ll spend worrying about props, set and tech, the more fun you’ll have.
If your show was a piece of Brighton Rock, what word would run through it?
Margo & Mr. Whatsit runs at Brighton Fringe on 30 May – 2 June 2018.
Nicole Craft | Image: Matt Austin