Name: Jo Calderwood
Name of Edinburgh show: Kiki Mellék: Law of Attraction
Venue: CC Blooms
Performance time: 1.45pm
Show length: 1 hour
Ticket price: Free (PBH)
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your performing background?
I’m an actress, writer and cabaret performer based in London with an alter ego called Kiki Mellék.
Kiki was born in 2016 and she’s been shaking what her surgeon gave her up and down the UK cabaret and burlesque scene ever since.
I wear paper mache, foam or fabric body parts to exaggerate Kiki’s obsession with body perfection.
My main passions have always been performing comedy, dancing and art and now I’m combining them all together.
Last year I won the ‘Spare Rib Superstar’ title in Liverpool and 1strunner in Burlesque Idol at the London Hippodrome. I’ve been acting for over 10 years.
Tell me about your show, what it is all about?
In a nut shell it’s a self-help cabaret seminar with burlesque, songs and priceless Kiki advice. She’s a fabulous beauty and lifestyle guru with her own unique (alternative) wisdom.
How long have you been working on this show and what is it that makes it relevant to audiences in 2018?
Kiki’s been developing (and physically growing) for a couple of years but the actual show has been devised and rehearsed over the last 3 months.
In today’s world we compare our lives on social media and are told that beauty equals success. I think we need reminding to laugh at these ‘beauty’ expectations/standards and we need to question them.
Do you have any top tips for surviving the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – both for performers and visitors to the event?
This is my first time at the Festival as a performer – so I’m looking for tips left, right and centre! I have visited the fringe before so my tips for visitors would be to go with the flow. Planning ahead is great but give yourself some time to have a wonder and see what takes your fancy. You never know what gems you might discover!
What has been the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on stage?
Hmmm… one of the earliest most embarrassing moments was my first college show and the first show my parents watched knowing that I wanted to go into acting professionally. We were performing Kafka’s ‘The Trial’ and I had a memorable role as a woman having an orgasm whilst brushing her hair. My parents were sat front and centre – directly in my eye-line. I shudder at this memory. I doubt watching their 17 year old daughter pretending to orgasm on stage is one of their proudest moments.
Who are your biggest inspirations in the industry and why?
In terms of female character performers, last year Rose Robinson and Lucy Pearman both had me crying with laughter with their shows. I’m also inspired by Colleen Ballinger (Miranda Sings) and Daisy May Cooper (Kerry -This Country). All these woman paint such hilarious, detailed characters that are raw and vulnerable. It’s so liberating and compelling to watch women being fearlessly brilliant.
Also, my director Alexander Luttley (Pi the Mime). He’s incredibly talented and just exudes creativity!
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
I get nervous every time, so I try to stay quiet and calm. I like to run through the script in my head and just before I step onto the stage I say to myself ‘OH F**K IT!’ It helps to remind me that its not a life or death situation and that ultimately it should be fun – that’s why we perform right?!
What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at Edinburgh Fringe?
I’ve got plans to catch a whole plethora of shows but I’ll also follow my own advice and go with the flow. I’ll definitely be catching Natalie Palamides: Nate, Suzi Ruffell: Nocturnal, Le Gateau Chocolate: Icons, Like a Sturgeon, Lucy Pearman: Fruit Loop, Ben Hart: The Nutshell, Great British Mysteries 1599? The Miss Behave Gameshow and I’ll be watching heaps on the free fringe, PBH have so many exciting shows to see!
Why do you think people should come and see your show over the thousands of others on at the fringe?
My show is full of giggles, the tunes are banging and the costumes are uniquely crazy – so a feast for all the senses. Oh and its Free, so you’ve got nothing to lose! I’m thrilled to be bringing my first solo show up to the Edinburgh Fringe, it’s a great, big bucket list ‘tick’.
Let’s celebrate life and laugh at the absurd… Lets hava Kiki!