Comedy duo Flo & Joan come ALIVE ON STAGE at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Name: Flo & Joan
Name of Edinburgh Show: Alive on Stage
Venue: Cabaret Bar – The Pleasance Courtyard
Performance Time: 4pm (extra shows at 2.40pm on August 4th and 5th)
Show Length: 1hr
Ticket Price: £12

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your performing background?
Well we are sisters, and make up the musical comedy duo Flo & Joan. We started doing Flo & Joan just over three years ago whilst we were living in Toronto and studying sketch and improv at the Second City Training Centre. Before this point we had never worked or performed together, other than both being in the chorus of various school shows and wind bands.

Tell me about your show, what is it all about?
We don’t write shows that are specifically about anything; that becomes a bit difficult with musical comedy because you can end up with a sort of song cycle-come-musical, which is not what we do as F&J. Instead we collect the songs we’ve written over the year, most often inspired by events or moments or things we have encountered – for example this year includes, but is not limited to sex robots, lady crisps and binge drinking – and then we arrange them in an order that is hopefully aurally and emotionally pleasing to an audience and link them up with a bit of connective tissue.

How long have you been working on this show, and what is it that makes it relevant to audiences in 2018?
We started writing new music as soon as we finished Edinburgh 2017, and will continue to keep spaces open in our new show until the last minute, just in case we are struck with genius in the last days before the festival begins. As we say, our songs are mostly inspired by things we encounter in our lives over the year, so lots of the topics we approach are on people’s minds at the moment. Some songs may only make sense this year, and others may live on forever. Who knows?!

Do you have any top tips for surviving the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – both for performers and visitors to the event?
As performers we go and see shows of people who do something we don’t/can’t so we can actually enjoy it. It’s cool to watch people doing a thing you would not or could never do, because your only option is to watch in admiration as someone is being really good at their thing; you’re not sitting there comparing yourself and thinking ‘now how would I do that?’

A tip for everyone is to get yourself down to Wings, which is a little restaurant tucked down an alley by Cowgate (please Google yourself for the specific location). They serve wings and nuggets with an obscene amount of sauces to choose from and they hit the spot for any mood you’re in, specifically a hangover. Honestly, the way we talk about them you’d think they were our sponsors, but we just love them!

What has been the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on stage?
There was a bit in our show last year where Rosie (Joan) walks dead-eyed into the audience and accidentally ended up kneeing a young boy in the penis.

Who are your biggest inspirations in the industry and why?
Doing musical comedy we are obviously hugely inspired by Victoria Wood. She just got it. Her lyrics are so specific and perfect and fun and clean. It was watching people like Tina Fey and Amy Poehler who had us chasing comedy in the first place, Tim Minchin is another big one for us, as is Rachel Bloom, who is a great example of how genre is so important in making comedy songs the absolute funniest they can be. And we owe a lot to Rod, Jane and Freddy.

Do you have any pre-show rituals?
Rosie: As we are being introduced onstage I always say to Nicola ‘I hope you have the worst show of your life’.
Nicola: And I reply ‘I hope you fall over as soon as you step on the stage’.

What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at Edinburgh Fringe?
Rosie: I’m really looking forward to seeing the American character comedian Kate Berlant. I saw a while back that she was coming over and was so excited. Also looking forward to seeing Elf Lyons, Rob Auton and Norris & Parker.
Nicola: I love Tom Walker. He’s an Australian clown who we fell in love with a few years ago, and now we take our friends to see him and watch their reactions to decide whether we can be friends with them anymore. If they are not struggling to breath from laughing the whole show then they are officially let go.

Why do you think people should come and see your show over the thousands of others on at the fringe?
Well this year we are scaling up. We’re bringing out a trumpet, we leave our chairs and move around, and there may or may not be a disco ball. Big moves for Flo & Joan. We challenge you to find any show with a better sell than those three offers.

Catch Flo & Joan’s brand new show ‘Alive on Stage’ at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe and check out for more details on their upcoming autumn UK tour


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