Cliff Cardinal talks about HUFF at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Name: Cliff Cardinal
Name of Edinburgh show: Huff
Venue: Canada Hub, Summerhall, King’s Hall (Venue #73 41A S Clerk St)
Performance time: 16:15
Show length: 65 Minutes
Ticket price: From £9.00

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your performing background?
I dropped out of high school when I was fifteen and wandered into the back of a bar where the Video Cabaret was rehearsing their play New France. I started performing songs and stories in bars and on the street. When you rely on people’s spare change to earn a living you learn to write with immediacy. Now I’ve got two plays published, Huff and Stitch, and an album, This is Not a Mistake, available online.

Tell me about your show, what it is all about?
Huff is a dark and horribly funny story about Indigenous kids who abuse solvents and are at high risk of suicide.

How long have you been working on this show and what is it that makes it relevant to audiences in 2018?
The play has been touring since 2012. Indigenous youth entrapped in the suicide epidemic are Canada’s most taboo subculture – the one group we’re most afraid to talk about. Now, having toured twice to Australia, we know that our Indigenous kids are not the only ones fighting for air. Also, it’s just a good, dark, and funny play. We always need another one of those.

Do you have any top tips for surviving the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – both for performers and visitors to the event?
I’ve never been to the Edinburgh Fringe. With that in mind, here are my top ten tips for surviving the Edinburgh Fringe.
10. Chill pills. I’ve had my doctor prescribe Seroquel, which is a low dose of generic quetiapine.
9. Don’t drink too much.
8. Perform for the ushers.
7. Eat a lot.
6. Call your wife.
5. Do not hang out with Adam Lazarus (of Daughter).
4. Make friends. (But heed rule number 9.)
3. Exercise. (I probably won’t; but I keep it on the list anyway.)
2. Don’t get too high, don’t get too low.
1. Don’t believe the hype.

What has been the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on stage?
I really try hard not to let things like that happen.

Who are your biggest inspirations in the industry and why?
Michael Hollingsworth and Deanne Taylor of the Video Cabaret are my theatre parents. Hubert Selby Jr. gets cooler the longer he’s been dead. NOFX never answered any questions about their relevancy. Brian Drader is a way underrated playwright. Daniel MacIvor is my favourite existentialist. Pam Winter has the patience of a saint.

Do you have any pre-show rituals?
I light a candle in my dressing room and, while staring into his picture, chant: “Marlon Brando” three times. Also, me and the crew (Jen Stobart and Allan Day) listen to The Beatles before every show.

What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at Edinburgh Fringe?
Honestly, I’m not going to see anything. I’ll be too busy drinking.

Why do you think people should come and see your show over the thousands of others on at the fringe?
If you enjoy a dark theatre experience Huff should be on your list. If you’re easily offended, or at all faint of heart, please don’t come. You’re not going to have a good time and I don’t want you there.


Buy tickets to West End theatre shows (some great discounted offers)
Subscribe to my mailing list for all the latest theatre news, special offers and competitions