Eliza Hewitt-Jones talks about bringing VERY BLUE PETER to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your performing background?
I trained at Italia Conti, and since graduating have performed in various shows around the country. Some musicals, others plays. I enjoy all styles of acting but I’ve always loved comedy.
Tell me about your show, what it is all about?
Very Blue Peter gives you the chance to watch an episode of Blue Peter that never aired. The show is based around a famous controversy that happened in 1998, but in the show we say it’s a cover up for something bigger. It’s Blue Peter on acid. Featuring lots of different characters and tracks by Swedish Death Candy, it follows three rogue presenters as they present their version of Blue Peter.
How long have you been working on this show and what is it that makes it relevant to audiences in 2018?
I personally started working on the show this year. We had the R&D week in May. We basically had a week of improvising and sharing ideas, then, by the end of it, we had a full show which we performed as a work in progress. It was the best and the writer, Toby Boutall’s ideas really came to life. I think it relates to a 2018 audience for lots of reasons. 90s nostalgia is very in at the moment, so those who remember that generation of Blue Peter will recognise lots of characters and see them in a way they never have before. However, even if you’ve never seen Blue Peter, it’s funny and mad and we need that in 2018!
Do you have any top tips for surviving the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – both for performers and visitors to the event?
The sooner you realise that you won’t get any sleep and your diet will go out the window, the better. See as many shows as possible. Go to Hula café – it’s the best and their peanut butter smoothie will sort you right out.
What has been the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on stage?
In a black out once I lost my footing and fell off the back of the stage. Made a horrendous bang and the lights went up as I was sheepishly climbing back up. That was pretty embarrassing.
Who are your biggest inspirations in the industry and why?
Oh there are so many. I’m totally inspired by the work Milly Thomas is creating, her recent show Dust was brilliant, Phoebe Waller-Bridge is a queen, I’m obsessed with Meryl Streep and I have always adored Victoria wood, her comedy is timeless.
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
I warm up and then try not to think about the show for a minute, if I do I start to panic that I’ve forgotten the whole thing. Last year when I was performing at the Fringe I watched an episode of Tattoo Fixers every day before the show whilst I was getting ready, it became something I had to do before every show. Weird.
What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at Edinburgh Fringe?
Ah so many, I’m really excited to watch Sparks by Jessica Butcher, I saw it at the Vaults Festival and fell in love so I can’t wait to see how it’s developed since then. I’m also really excited to see Middle Child’s new show One Night Stand and Loop by BoxLess Theatre.
Why do you think people should come and see your show over the thousands of others on at the Fringe?
People should come see Very Blue Peter because it’s nothing like anything else you’re going to see! It’s completely off the wall. Expect the unexpected and come for a good old laugh and some nostalgia! There are so many characters – some you will love, some you will hate, and some that will make you feel awkward as hell. Come and join the mayhem!