Next up in our annual series of Fringe preview Q & A’s it’s the turn of Markus Birdman
In one sentence tell us about your show.
A heady mix of erudite bragging, autobiographical stand up, justifiable moaning, male feminism and glorious artwork told through the fairytale of Rumplestiltskin, rewritten with a post-Trump agenda, and animated with my own drawings and the silly voices of better-known comics than me.
What made you decide to bring a show this year?
This year marks 25 years of me gigging in various incarnations, and my tenth Edinburgh show. My daughter also did her first gig, as a singer. She’s 12. And I was asked to give a lecture to Lancaster University Performing Arts Students about life as a professional performer. From this came the idea of writing an open letter to my daughter, to the students and to my younger self, with ‘advice’ about what to expect. So it’s about hopes, dreams, expectations, despair and bitter regrets. My previous 2 shows have been re–interpretations of fairytales, so I chose Rumplestiltskin as a vehicle for all this. It’s a story about greed, ambition, integrity, and making a deal with a shady dude. Perfect themes for a study of showbiz.
Any advice you’ve heard or can give to anyone coming to the Fringe for the first time?
Come up the year before and have a sniff around. See how it works, or how it doesn’t. Look at the various rooms and what suites your needs and make some friends. You’re gonna need ‘em. Pack a cagoule, don’t drink too much and never share a flat with Paul Sinha. He snores like a drunken wilderbeast.
What makes your show stand out from all the others on offer? (Don’t say that it’s because you’re in it!)
I have rewritten Rumplestiltskin, animated it, and made it funny. I present this on a projector screen and narrate the story. I think it looks visually very beautiful and allows me to say a different range of things than I find possible in stand up. Plus the characters are voiced by Rhod Gilbert, Tom Stade, Lou Sanders, and Phil Nichol who plays a camp, violent, cross-dressing Rumple. Those guys really add an extra dimension. It’s a really unusual way to present stand up.
What show, other than your own, do you not want to miss?
I want to go see the Australian all-male Gay circus show, Briefs. They are the best. A cocktail of acrobatics, drag, boylesque, glitter and stomach muscles. I see as much Circus as possible. I find watching other stand ups a bit distracting, as I either despair that I could do it much better, or despair that I couldn’t. I’d have joined the circus myself, but I haven’t got the biceps. I did once shoot a corgi* out of a canon. Foolish I know, but, a bets a bet.
Finally, the boring but essential bit:
Name of the show:
Venue: Laughing Horse @Bar 50
Dates: 3 August -27 August 2017 (except 14)
*No corgis were harmed in the making of this Q&A