With over 3000 shows at the world’s biggest arts festival, here at The ReviewsHubwe want to make the job of choosing your Edinburgh Festival Fringe shows that little bit easier. So here, answering our annual Five Fast Fringe Questions is Abi Roberts.
In one sentence tell us about your show.
Anglichanka is the story of how I went to live in the Soviet Union in the 1990s to become an opera singer at the Moscow Conservatoire (narrowly escaping death and serious injury) and how I returned there this year to become the first UK stand-up to perform stand-up comedy in Russia in Russian, beating Eddie Izzard to that accolade.
What made you decide to bring a show this year?
Last year, I just did an hour of material about myself, just the stuff I do at the big comedy clubs. This year, I wanted to do a show that told a story and as I have been speaking and around Russian stuff since I was very small, it had to be about Russia.Russia is pretty new to Stand-Up, so being English and female, was a challenge in itself. It was very novel for them to see a woman on stage, especially one like me..bold and brassy. That is not how women behave in Russia. They loved it though!
Russia is a country that few people know about or understand – how many people know that is the largest country in the world with over 200 languages spoken? Or that it is nearly three times the size of the US? That there are a significantly larger number of women in the Russian population than men? I think Russia will become increasingly important to us post-Brexit and there seems to be a hunger for people to know both what Russia was like in Soviet times as well as how it is faring now under Putin. I went to Moscow on tour doing three packed-out nights at the Moscow Comedy Club and it was SO different to when I went there previously, I just had to tell the story. It was scary then with the end of the Soviet Union, coups and so on, but it’s way scarier now.
Any advice you’ve heard or can give to anyone coming to the Fringe for the first time?
Pace yourself. Edinburgh is a slog and don’t get pished every night. That’s great to do when you’re in the first week but by the second week you will be on your arse…so take it easy, eat well and get a good night’s kip. Don’t worry about reviews…they are way less important than you think they are. Wherever your venue is, don’t overrun on your show and be REALLY nice to the venue staff.
What makes your show stand out from all of the others on offer?(Don’t say that it’s because you’re in it!)
I’m the only one doing a show about living in Russia and speaking Russian. My show is stand-up, but there are bits and bobs in it which make it a full-on show, in the widest possible sense of “show”. I’m known for the variety of stuff that goes into my stand-up – I’m physical, do voices and impressions and I have been known to sing. My show is designed to make people laugh as well as to think. I make no apologies for it being a funny show with jokes. I don’t “deconstruct” comedy – I’m just funny. Anyhow, come and see the show to find out!
What show, other than your own, do you not want to miss?
Three actually. I will not be missing Kirsty Newton’s show, Life Begins At Partywhich has also been directed by one of my favourite stand-ups, Phil Nichol. I will be also going to see my mate Carey Marx’sshowHero Of The Peopleand Carl Donnelly’sBad Man Tings.
Finally, the boring but essential bit…
Name of the show: Abi Roberts: Anglichanka
Venue: Voodoo Rooms Speakeasy (Venue 68)
Dates: 6-28thAugust (not 16th)
Time: 16:15(one hour)