Jack Bence talks about bringing GULLIVER RETURNS to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Name: Jack Bence
Show: Gulliver Returns
Dates: August 2 – 26
Time: 14.00 (60mins)
Venue: Underbelly Big Belly

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your performing background?
I’ve been performing most of my life. I worked with the Youth Music Theatre UK (YMT:UK) until I was 15 and I’ve been working professionally since then in TV, film and on stage.

Tell me about your show, what it is all about?
It’s the story of a young woman’s attempt to bring back her husband. Something tragic has happened in their life that has led him to lock himself away in another personality, that of Lemuel Gulliver, and this is her final attempt to rescue him from that personality. She agrees to help him act out the book he thinks he’s written, Gulliver’s Travels, so that (in his mind) the audience can be saved from their savage ways. But what she’s really trying to do is find a way to pull him out of his fantasy.

How long have you been working on this show and what is it that makes it relevant to audiences in 2018?
We’ve just reached the end of the first week of rehearsals. One of the main themes is love and its struggles; something that everyone can relate to that in some form. Mental Health as well, which is something we’re learning to talk about a lot more these days. Plus there is a uniqueness to this show, which is always welcome at the fringe.

Do you have any top tips for surviving the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – both for performers and visitors to the event?
Berocca helps. Lots of Berocca. And for God’s sake wear decent footwear. I love Edinburgh and because there’s always something happening you end up covering a lot of miles. I think I got trench foot once.

What has been the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on stage?
I was doing an immersive classical piece once and slipped my number to a girl in the audience. I felt pretty proud of that but after dwelling on the moment for too long I forgot all my lines, went bright red and lost any sense of coolness I may of had up until that point.

Who are your biggest inspirations in the industry and why?
In Front of camera my heroes are Al Pacino and Dustin Hoffman. My favourite director is David Fincher. And on stage every time I see Mark Rylance I’m blown away.

Do you have any pre-show rituals?
I’m a big fan of plugging in the headphones and dancing my arse off.

What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at Edinburgh Fringe?
My friends at Shitfaced Shakespeare are always top quality and I can’t wait to see how they are going to do Hamlet. Also looking forward to seeing what’s going to be this year’s “big thing”

Why do you think people should come and see your show over the thousands of others on at the fringe?
It’s a very well written, well told story, but in a very fantastical setting. It’s unpredictable, dark, funny, riotous and quite bold as well. I think people will be able to relate to the struggle and the comedy that can come out of the situation these characters are in. It’s very human.


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