Our Brighton Bites series offers short, witty and slightly tongue-in-cheek insights into the offerings at England’s largest arts festival. Rebecca Crookshank tells us about her show,Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, which is be performed at Sweet Dukebox.
How would you describe your show in one sentence?
A supersonic eye opening true story uncovering scandal in the military institution, you’ll be grooving to 90s tunes, laughing out loud and lingering with rage.
Is this your first visit to Brighton Fringe, if so what interesting tales have you been told about what to expect?
Yes, this is my first time at the Brighton Fringe. Where have I been?! There’s so much buzz around the festival. I’ve heard so many great things about the festival’s vision for developing work and artists. Sweet venues and the Brighton Fringe team have been really supportive and we were over the moon when we found out that the show had been selected for the WINDOW programme, a great platform for artists and future partnerships. Obviously it’s not going to rain? It will be tropical right?
How has the show developed on the way to Brighton?
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe last year, marking my debut as a writer-performer. It was a fantastic way to get the story out there, I play nine characters so this has been the ultimate challenge in my career so far. The four-week run resulted in five-star reviews, four awardnominations and bookings for a UK tour.
Supported by Arts Council England, I was able to develop the script ready for the touring version. The script was selected for publication for Oberon books and Channel 4 News wanted to interview me about the themes of sexual harassment and bullying in the show. The whole process connected the piece to wider audiences, gave me courage and crystallised my voice as a writer-performer. I’ve heard so many other shocking stories and accounts of sexual abuse, harassment and bullying after show from members of the audience and onlinein the comments feed from the Channel 4 news interview. The show has really got people talking and that’s exciting; now I wantto encourage a positive shift in cultural behaviour, instigatechanges in recruitment.There’s a lot of work to be done but we have to see it through.
How have you been preparing for Brighton Fringe?
I’ve been touring the UK since February, meeting fantastic audiences around the country. Taking the piece to new spaces and places is continuing to develop the platform for the piece. This current tour finishes at the Brighton Fringe and my connection to it and new audiences deepens with each show. The WTF team were invited to the Brighton Fringe London Launch in March. A selection of the WINDOW shows were asked to share a 15-minute snippet. It was great to meet other companies, the Brighton Fringe team and be part of the build-up.
We’ve booked our accommodation which is very close to the beach, I have high hopes for sunshine! I have close family who live in Hove so they are spreading the word and booking tickets, we’re all really excited.
What do you think sets your show apart from all the other festival offerings?
There’s so much on offer at the fringe his year but I’m pretty sure I’m the only writer/performer at the fringe who is sharing a first-hand account of serving in the military. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot not only offers an experience of what it’s like to be a woman in a man’s world but also includes shocking original footage of my time on the Falkland Islands, isolated on a mountain site with 28 blokes, trying to do my job. Sexual harassment in institutions is universal and every day we hear more shocking stories uncovering scandal in institutions. I think this story certainly gets people talking and sharing their own experiences and awakenings. On a lighter side though, the show contains sequins, a celebration of friendship and the soundtrack will certainly raise a smile. Oh and it contains penguins…
What’s the show that you don’t want to miss at this year’s Brighton Fringe (apart from your own!)?
There are so many shows and events I want to see. I am delighted be part of the WINDOW programme, surrounded by high-quality new work.I’mparticularly drawn toThe Sissy’s Progress,it’s about a homophobic attack, ‘a spectacle of provocation, celebration andhyper flamboyance…part dance and part walkingperformance.’ It sounds ace, brassy and brave, I can’t wait to see it. I also love comedy and I’m excited to see one of my favourite comic perfumers Sindhu Vee The Girl from Sindhustan, she’s the tallest and funniest Indian Woman you’ll ever meet, laugh out loud funny.
If your show was a flavour of Brighton Rock, what would it be?
Whiskey and tango of course, with a kick of spice and an edible image of a penguin through the middle. Can we make this happen?
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot takes place at The Brighton Fringe – 9-15 May 2016
For more information visit www.brightonfringe.org or www.wtftheplay.co.uk
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