Name: Mathew Hamper
Name of Edinburgh show: AniMalcolm
Venue: Gilded Balloon Teviot, Debating Hall
Performance time: 11.30am
Show length: 75 mins
Ticket price: From £9
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your performing background?
I’m from the south, a little sea side town called Worthing. I initially got involved in theatre at school which kept me out of trouble as I was in a rebellious stage, and my life could have been so different…I did the National Youth Theatre and then trained at East 15 Acting School and I have been doing all sorts since.
Tell me about your show, what it is all about?
AniMalcolm is originally a book written by David Baddiel. It’s his third novel and the funniest yet. Story Pocket Theatre has brought the story from the book onto the stage with plenty of charm and quirkiness. I play Malcolm, who just doesn’t get animals. Which is a problem because his family loves them. They’ve got so many pets. He feels sort of out of place in his family, and it takes being in the animals’ shoes, or paws, for Malcolm to learn a few lessons.
How long have you been working on this show and what is it that makes it relevant to audiences in 2018?
We had a one week workshop, playing around with ideas. Then a bit of a break which meant the creatives could piece together things from the workshop. Then we had four weeks rehearsals before opening. It was a very creative atmosphere, and because the show is brand new it needed a little extra time to work things out. The creative team all had a clear vision of making this show. They did most of the work, we just get to play around and bring it to life. It’s relevant today because the show is about our relationship with animals, and at the moment there is a heightened awareness that we need to look after their welfare and their habitat.
Do you have any top tips for surviving the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – both for performers and visitors to the event?
Hmm I’ve done Edinburgh a few times now and what I have found is that having snacks with you is key. If you’re seeing shows and have to rush from one venue to another with hardly any time then a quick banana while running can make all the difference. Or maybe just better time management will help… also you can’t beat a quick nap.
What has been the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on stage?
I somehow managed to split my trousers at the seams, from the back right up to the flies, which meant an audience of about 500 saw my colourful undies. I then had to do the rest of the show with quite a strong breeze between my legs, which was actually pretty refreshing.
Who are your biggest inspirations in the industry and why?
There are so many. People like Nicholas Hytner, who made the National Theatre more accessible for people who couldn’t necessarily afford to go. I was training at the time and I watched so much stuff standing at the back of the Olivier theatre, which only fed my ambition. A few more for different reasons, Norman Wisdom, Olivia Coleman, Arnold Schwarzenegger, I watched too many of his films at a very young age.
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
I always like to brush my teeth.
What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at Edinburgh Fringe?
I want to catch up on shows that my friends are in or involved with, also catch up with past theatre companies that I have worked with. I’m also keen to be dragged along to shows I know nothing about and end up being pleasantly surprised. They can be the best experiences.
Why do you think people should come and see your show over the thousands of others on at the fringe?
They should come and see our show because it’s fun and playful. The music is great and catchy, you will find yourself humming the tunes hours later. It’s very funny, for adults as well as little ones. It’s pretty true to the book so if you’re a fan of David Baddiel, animals and funny things then come along.