David William Hughes brings renaissance, music and comedy to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Name: David William Hughes
Name of Edinburgh show: Elizabethan
Venue: theSpace @ Surgeons’ Hall
Performance time: 3-11 at 12:05pm, 13-25 at 1:05pm
Show length: 50 mins
Ticket price: £9 full / £7 concessions

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your performing background?
I’m a musician and comedian who grew up in the UK but now lives in the USA. As a musician, my speciality is Renaissance music, which I’m passionate about bringing to new audiences. I’ve also done a lot of improv, with groups such as the Oxford Imps, and I teach improv and music in Boston, Massachusetts. I’ve been to the Fringe several times before, but this is my first time bringing my own solo show.

Tell me about your show, what it is all about?
This show combines my twin loves of Renaissance music and comedy. It’s a one-man musical, and the “one man” is Tobias Bacon – an Elizabethan who smokes too much – who somehow managed to die of Love in 1618. 400 years later, his ghost is back to tell his life story through jokes, audience participation, and genuine Renaissance songs, and hopefully to find out exactly how it is possible to die of Love.

How long have you been working on this show and what is it that makes it relevant to audiences in 2018?
I’ve been working on this show since September last year. I was incredibly inspired by two shows I saw at last year’s Fringe: Graham Dickson is the Narcissist and Owle Schreame’s Droll. If anyone is as sick of the news (Trump, Brexit, etc…) as I am, then they’ll enjoy the show for its pure escapism. It’s utterly silly, and will make you look at Renaissance music in a whole new way.

Do you have any top tips for surviving the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – both for performers and visitors to the event?
Don’t eat chips every day. Bring a raincoat.

What has been the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on stage?
I once did a gig for an audience who were all entirely nude. (They were a local naturist society.) People always say that, if you’re nervous, imagine the audience without any clothes on. Let me tell you, it really doesn’t help!

Who are your biggest inspirations in the industry and why?
As a comedian, Rowan Atkinson. His delivery is always perfect, and he makes the simplest word sound hilarious. As a singer, Alfred Deller and Iestyn Davies. Their voices and recordings are just great.

Do you have any pre-show rituals?
Yes: a vocal warm up, and then saying “Hello” ten times in the voice of each character.

What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at Edinburgh Fringe?
I definitely want to see Graham Dickson’s new show Timber, and also Sophie Duker and Lulu Poppenwell’s Duke Pop. And something weird: last year Staging Wittgenstein was awesome.

Why do you think people should come and see your show over the thousands of others on at the fringe?
It’s (probably) the only show on the Fringe that has a genuine sixteenth-century song about a dildo.


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