Name: Lizzy Skrzypiec
Name of Edinburgh show: Murder, She Didn’t Write
Venue: Pleasance Beyond
Performance time: 5pm
Show length: 1hr
Ticket price: £11.50 – £12.50
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your performing background?
I’ve been performing improv comedy for 11 years. I first began performing with the Bristol Improv society whilst I was at university there. It had links with local bars and venues to allow us to get a huge number of performance hours under our belts. Since then I have been performing with Degrees of Error for nearly eight years, with about eleven Edinburgh Comedy Festivals under my belt. I’m largely self-taught but have attended a number of courses run by esteemed and respected improviser/ actors.
Tell me about your show, what it is all about?
Murder, She Didn’t Write is an improvised murder mystery where we make up a bespoke play based on audience suggestions. One member of the audience is selected at random to become Jerkins, our detective’s trusty assistant. They decide which one of the audience suggestions to go with for the show and also pick who they want to be the victim and murderer. Then it’s up to the rest of the audience to guess whodunnit.
How long have you been working on this show and what is it that makes it relevant to audiences in 2018?
We came up with the format about six/seven years ago and have been tweaking it and changing it ever since to maximize our creative freedom as well as the audience’s enjoyment. I think when it comes to the current grim political climate a lot of people could use some goofy escapism. And when it comes to improv theatre in the UK, it feels like an art form on the cusp of breaking out into the mainstream. There’s no better time to go and see an improv show with high production values with good quality performance to make you fall in love with the genre.
Do you have any top tips for surviving the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – both for performers and visitors to the event?
Bring some First Defence – that anti-cold nasal spray that will stop you getting the inevitable cold when you’re feeling run down in the third week of the festival. Taking some time to look after your wellbeing and mental health doesn’t go a miss either. It’s a long time to be doing all that performing, drinking and socialising and it often leads to burning out.
What has been the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on stage?
During the early days of the fringe last year we did one of our first gigs with radio mics, because the theatre was so big. We rarely speak when we are in the wings because we have to pay such close attention to what anyone says on stage. However, I had just come of stage after a scene and hadn’t heard what my scene partner had named me. So, incredibly stupidly, I come off and whisper “Babes, what’s my name?” to them after the scene only to hear my whisper echo out across the audience. I was mortified! Lesson learned.
Who are your biggest inspirations in the industry and why?
I am a big fan of The Showstoppers, Austentatious and Racing Minds. Each is a great and talented group in their own way. Showstoppers have insane levels of group coordination, great showman ship and musical talent. Austentatious are incredibly smart, great at making a neat and tidy story and incredibly funny. Racing Minds have so much on stage chemistry and are so playful with each other. They are all inspiring in their own way – fabulous groups if anyone is looking to explore more improv.
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
We play a few games to get in sync with each other before going on stage. A strong group mindset makes for a good show. Also, some of us, me in particular, have an energy drink too. I swear, during the fringe, we must keep them in business.
What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at Edinburgh Fringe?
Of course I will see our improv inspirations plus Elf Lyons, Police Cops in Space and Willis & Vere.
Why do you think people should come and see your show over the thousands of others on at the fringe?
Come and help create, and then solve, a murder mystery. What could be more fun than that?!