It’s that time of year when we launch our annual series of Fringe preview Q & A’s. Here, Abi Roberts talks about her show Anglichanka.
In one sentence tell us about your show.
It’s a rip-roaring journey through my time learning to be an opera singer in the former USSR and my recent return after many years as the first UK comic to perform stand-up comedy in English and Russian in Moscow.
What made you decide to bring a show this year?
I did a version of this show last year on the Free Fringe and the reactions to it were phenomenal, it was nominated for two prestigious awards and it garnered a clutch of five star and four star reviews. I was asked by those lovely people at the Underbelly to bring it to a larger venue this year and so here I am. There are some updated bits in it and is a slightly different show.
Any advice you’ve heard or can give to anyone coming to the Fringe for the first time?
Oh yes. Edinburgh is a professional trade show over three weeks, not a playground. Its work time and it is hard. Make sure you have a show that you would want to see yourself. Don’t cane it in the first week, there is a temptation to overdo the drinking to relieve the stress of an Edinburgh show. If you over do it in week one, you will regret it in week two. Pace yourself, eat as many green vegetables as you can and avoid fried food. Don’t expect to be “discovered” in Edinburgh, the chances are you won’t be and that’s generally not how Edinburgh works. Make sure you see lots of other people’s shows…you will learn from them. Don’t whinge, nobody in Edinburgh likes a whinger. Don’t worry about reviews. They literally mean nothing outside the world of Edinburgh. Don’t talk about reviews, either yours or others, it’s boring and it’s a real no-no to mention someone else’s. If you’re a stand-up like me, don’t do competitions…they don’t make you a good stand up, they only make you good at doing competitions.
What makes your show stand out from all the others on offer? (Don’t say that it’s because you’re in it!)
It is the only show about Russia, it is funny (and by that I mean that the audience laughs at the material…it’s not a TED talk or a lecture, it’s a COMEDY show), it’s got a weird title, it features a dog that craps in a human loo, a babushka, Vladimir Putin, Yeltsin and Gorbachev and Aeroflot. Oh, and its already had loads of ★★★★★ reviews…five at the last count. Forget that bit I said about reviews earlier. They do matter.
What show, other than your own, do you not want to miss?
I will be seeing Jason Manford’s, Paul Foot’s and John Bishop’s shows (as we’re at the same venue, Underbelly) as well as Christian Reilly, Abandoman and Josh Pugh (we previewed together and I’d really like to see his finished show). There’s loads more I’d like to see but can’t as we clash time-wise.
Finally, the boring but essential bit…
Name of show: Abi Roberts – Anglichanka
Venue: Underbelly, Cowgate (White Belly)
Dates: 3 August 3 – 27 August 2017 (not 14)