David Ephgrave talks about taking his one-man self-character-assassination show to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Name: David Ephgrave
Name of Edinburgh show: ‘David Ephgrave: My Part in His Downfall’
Venue: Just the Tonic @ The Caves (Just Up the Road)
Performance time: 12:00pm
Show length: 60 minutes
Ticket price: £5.00 / £4.00 concessions / £3 previews

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your performing background?
I’m either a multi-tasker or a Jack-of-All-Trades, depending on how you look at it; as well as being a comic I’m also an actor and musician, which has led to lots of jobs involving both, including playing John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Buddy Holly in various UK tours and a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it stint in the West End in ‘Dreamboats and Petticoats’. I’m also one half of the double act Doggett & Ephgrave and a stand-up in my own right, plus I’ve kept up an almost-daily blog for five years; the money rolls in, as you’d imagine.

Tell me about your show, what it is all about?
It’s essentially a one-man self-character-assassination with a few jokes thrown in for good measure; in it, I try to pinpoint the precise moment the 1991 holiday camp talent-show-winner, one third of 1998’s Best Band in Hertfordshire and 2002’s Most Promising Drama Student’s career went wrong; if I can work out when it was, I may prevent others from making the same mistakes. I also cast the net wider to look at the stupid things we obsess about that are ultimately irrelevant; for example, why are there so many verses to ‘He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands’ when only the first one was necessary?

How long have you been working on this show and what is it that makes it relevant to audiences in 2018?
It’s a life-long work-in-progress, though I started moulding it into a show at the end of last year. One of the main themes I discuss is how suffering from mental health problems can make you view everything you do from a wholly misinformed point of view to see no good in it – and how this negative mind-set can be stoked by careless outside influences like your friends and family, or the press in the case of the performing arts industry. It’s fair to say depression is a hot topic right now, but there’s still so much negative stigma, so if I can be more honest about my own experiences, it may make it easier for other people too. With any luck it’ll also help me.

Do you have any top tips for surviving the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – both for performers and visitors to the event?
The main thing is to not overdo it, as it isn’t a race. If you need a break from the relentlessness of the Fringe, spend some time doing something completely unrelated it. Look after yourself as much as possible by eating and sleeping as best you can – and try not to fixate about bad reviews as they often say more about the person who wrote them than they do about you.

What has been the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on stage?
I once introduced myself from an offstage mic to grab everyone’s attention and then fell over when I ran on. I was wearing new shoes without the requisite traction; apparently you should rub the soles with a cheese grater (rub the soles being my favourite Beatles album).

Who are your biggest inspirations in the industry and why?
Speaking of the Beatles, I’d have to say Paul McCartney. He’s one of the most prolific singer/songwriters of all time, whose solo career is completely underrated. If I have the same energy as him at his age, I’ll be winning.

Do you have any pre-show rituals?
I’ve managed to knock the sacrifices on the head, though I still look at pictures of them.

What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at Edinburgh Fringe?
I’ll make my yearly pilgrimage to see Phil Kay as he’s got the most amazing comic mind. I’m also excited about seeing my friend Glen Davies’ debut solo show ‘Gagging’ as I’ve been trying to talk him into doing stand-up for years.

Why do you think people should come and see your show over the thousands of others on at the fringe?
Because every ticket bought chinks away at the rock-face of my debt. It’s also on at midday, so there may be sandwiches.

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