Lauren Silver talks about bringing magic, comedy, ventriloquism, mentalism and illusions to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Name: Lauren Silver
Name of Edinburgh show: The Canterville Ghost (performing on alternating days with Wilde Creatures)
Venue: Pleasance One at the Pleasance Courtyard
Performance time: 2.45pm (on odd-numbered dates)
Show length: 1 hour 15 minutes
Ticket price: £6.00-£13.00

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your performing background?
I’m an actress, clown, musician and theatre-maker originally from Liverpool. I trained at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh and also in clowning and comedy with Philippe Gaulier and Spymonkey’s Aitor Basauri. I regularly collaborate with regional and national theatre companies including Liverpool Everyman, Tall Stories, Gonzo Moose and Guildford Shakespeare Company.

I co-produce and curate a monthly artists sharing platform ‘The Collective Artists of London’ and facilitate workshops on performance, devised theatre, and corporate team development using clowning, improvisation and comedy. My solo show SURPRISE! received a 5-star sold out run at Vault Festival this February and will be looking to tour in Spring 2019.

Tell me about your show, what it is all about?
The Canterville Ghost is set in a Music Hall where four vaudevillian performers – a chairman, psychic, illusionist and ventriloquist – present their take on Oscar Wilde’s gruesomest ghost story. The tale is interspersed with the performers’ individual speciality acts, songs and music – so you’re getting a bit of a two for one with your ticket price!

How long have you been working on this show and what is it that makes it relevant to audiences in 2018?
We’ve been developing this show for about 7 weeks which included 2 Research and Development weeks and 5 writing and rehearsal weeks. During this time we have learnt a variety of new skills including magic, illusions and ventriloquisim, as well as creating the framework, developing a script, writing original music, choreographing dance routines. Its been a busy time for everyone involved!

The Canterville Ghost not only celebrates the origins of variety entertainment, but in its ghost story, encourages us to ensure the brief time we have on this earth is spent well.

Do you have any top tips for surviving the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – both for performers and visitors to the event?
Hmm, now as quite a jolly anxious person – I’m a real advocate for some quality self care…

So I aim for good amount of sleep each night and at least one evening a week ‘off’ at my digs to cook something properly. It might sound a bit boring but over the years I’ve found it’s not possible to live on beer, no sleep and Aberdeen Angus burgers for a whole month – it makes you tired and sluggish.

What has been the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on stage?
Oh wow, OK I’d like to do both:

Embarrassing Moment: I walked out on stage as Dandini at Chipping Norton Theatre with a very long piece of toilet paper coming out of my trousers…

Funniest: Whilst performing Wilde Creatures last Christmas in the West End, I ended up spontaneously rapping the entire theme of Fresh Prince of Bel Air – with the rest of the cast and the entire audience joining in. It was utterly joyful and anarchic and a total improv ‘Yes, And’ moment, and still makes me smile.

Who are your biggest inspirations in the industry and why?
Spymonkey are my absolute favourites. They create beautiful, stupid, hilarious shows and I’ve always been inspired by them. I also adore Sally Cookson- her vision and the ensemble work is stunning and La Strada is still one of my favourite pieces of theatre ever.

And Tall Stories of course! They are a company who makes astonishingly wonderful theatre all whilst being a brilliant, kind and hilarious company to work for.

Do you have any pre-show rituals?
I do probably about 9 nervous wees before a show.

What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at Edinburgh Fringe?
Apart from our other show Wilde Creatures of course…
Nick Cassenbaum – My Kind of Michael
Silent Faces – A Clown Show About Rain
Alison Thea-Skot – Thea-Skot Through The Heart and You’re to Blame

Why do you think people should come and see your show over the thousands of others on at the fringe?
Where else can you see magic, comedy, ventriloquism, mentalism and illusions? And it’s dead good.


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