INTERVIEW: West End Producer talks about bringing FREE WILLY to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Name of Edinburgh show: Free Willy
Venue: Assembly Studios 2 and Assembly Checkpoint
Performance time: 2pm (studios 2) and 4.40pm (checkpoint)
Show length: 1 hour. On the dot. Nothing more. Nothing less. Just as theatre should be.
Ticket price: Varies on how good looking you are.

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your performing background?
My name is West End Producer. I am the greatest producer in the world. I have performed in every toilet in the west end.

Tell me about your new show, what it is all about?
I’m in Edinburgh in search of Willy. I’m desperate to find the leading actor to play a killer whale in my musical adaption of the 90’s film classic – Free Willy. It will be the biggest sea mammal aquatic musical OF ALL TIME. Each show is the open auditions for my willy ensemble – yes, come along and you could find yourself being invited to the recalls of my dolphin ensemble, crustacean chorus, and pirouetting penguins. You could even be a crab. Ever had crabs? I have. It was a hoot.

How long have you been working on this show and what is it that makes it relevant to audiences in 2019?
Since my birth. Relevance in 2019? I’ve no bloody idea. But it’s fun.

Do you have any top tips for surviving the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – both for performers and visitors to the event?
Take care of yourself. It’s treacherous out there. And always wear protection.

What has been the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on stage?
Being fingered backstage by someone claiming to be an award-winning composer. I wasn’t ready for it. I should have relaxed more.

Who are your biggest inspirations in the industry and why?
I like understudies and swings. They have the hardest job. Learning all those bloody harmonies and dance moves. Nightmare. And The Krankies. God they’re good.

Do you have any pre-show rituals?
I lay on the script and allow the words to absorb through my body. Then I have my PA rub peanut butter all over my shoulder while whispering ‘you are a god’ into my left ear. It has to be the left ear. Otherwise everything goes WRONG.

What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at Edinburgh Fringe?
All of them. The best acts are the ones you don’t expect to see.

Why do you think people should come and see your show over the thousands of others on at the fringe?
Because they could be my willy of the day. And win some genuine, worn west end show pants. And besides, if they don’t, I will hunt them down and play ‘Memory’ on loop outside their room – FOREVER.

Thanks for having Tea With Wilma
My pleasure. But for future reference, I prefer coffee. Strong black coffee. Just like my men.


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