Hello, this is an introduction blog. And this is the introduction to the introduction blog. This blog will continue over the next six weeks while we prepare for and perform in the Edinburgh Fringe for the very, very first time. Oh and I’m Sarah Glennister!
I write this tucked in the corner of a coffee shop in edgy Leek, where we rehearse our black comedy show Operation Perfect Teaset just after the town’s dance company work on their tribute to spools. Spools are important to Leek. We are currently less important to Leek than spools are, but it’s early days.
Operation Perfect Teaset began its life in December 2014 when I decided to fulfill a long-held dream and apply to the PBH Free Fringe. At this point, I had no idea what the show would be, but when asked to describe it, I promised to offer Poorly Executed Tap Dance Renditions of Significant Historical Events. It was a funny title. I had no idea what it meant.
A few days after I had applied, it dawned on me that I had promised an hour of sketches and I didn’t even have one in the bank, so my friend and fellow comedy writer Gaz Farnell agreed to help out (he sounded scared). We didn’t know what we would end up with, but six months later we’re delighted with our dark and bizarre creation.
Poorly Executed Tap Dance Renditions of Significant Historical Events has stayed in the show as Lynch-like mimes, surrounded on all sides by vignettes in the lives of deliciously controlling freaks. The most exciting part in the development of the show has been working with our actors Lynne Payne, Pat McConnell and Hannah Blakeley, who are really good at pretending to be imaginary people. They’ve also been really good at helping us redevelop sketches that weren’t quite working. Some of those that caused us the greatest trouble at the start are now the ones we love the most.
With only two days before our first preview at the King’s Arms Theatre in Salford, we’re currently working full tilt to get what is an increasingly ambitious show perfected to our satisfaction. There are artists working on set designs, which will be projected behind the actors; music producers mixing the backing to our songs; videos being made; and costumes sought. I was so tired last week I zoned out and stared, confused, at a man in a wheelchair who was the spitting image of Rolf Harris for a full 30 seconds before he started a slow, uncomfortable wave in my direction. I waved back. It didn’t get less awkward. I walked away.
Operation Perfect Teaset has been the most ambitious and most exciting project I’ve led and I’m thrilled to be taking a show I’m so pleased with to my first Fringe. Tell you what, I’ll let you know how it goes in my next piece. You’d like that wouldn’t you? Gooooood!
Operation Perfect Teaset performs daily
Silk (Venue 444) – 28a King’s Stables Rd at 12:05pm