A homage to Michael Barrymore comes to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Name of Edinburgh show: My Kind of Michael
Venue: Summerhall- Red Lecture Theatre
Performance time: 7.30 pm
Show length: 1 hour
Ticket price: £11 (£9.50)

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your performing background?
I am a writer and performer. Cutting my teeth of the streets of the UK doing outdoor theatre and confusing the public. I went indoors for the first time in 2016 with my show Bubble Schmeisis. This is a show all about going to the steam baths in East London and has been touring since the last time I was at Summerhall. Including a recent visit to Detroit!

Tell me about your show, what it is all about?
This show is all about my childhood hero Michael Barrymore. I believe he was one of Britain’s most important entertainers and was thrown out of the public eye after an unfortunate tragedy which got handled in an awful way by the homophobic media. So the show is about that story. It is also about how he influenced me and is the reason I do what I do. But it is also about the nature of entertainment and how we treat entertainers in a disposable way and don’t often recognize their art!

How long have you been working on this show and what is it that makes it relevant to audiences in 2018?
I have been dreaming of making this show for years but have been working on it for about a year with Danny Braverman and the support of the Battersea Arts Centre and the Yard theatre.

It is totally relevant to today’s audience for many reasons. We have recently seen sex abuse scandal after sex abuse scandal come out, with only a few years ago it all surfacing about Jimmy Saville. These would have been happening in a similar time that Barrymore was being crucified by the press. What it can show us now is how homophobic we were and hopefully give some perspective on the matter. Also the way we think about mental health has changed so much and addiction is now part and parcel of the entertainment world. So we can revisit this story in this context. But also in a time when there is a lack of working class voices on stage we can look to this show and see a real working class hero and give him the respect he deserves.

Do you have any top tips for surviving the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – both for performers and visitors to the event?
Look after yourself for god’s sake. Go swimming, or a jog or lay in and watch telly. Don’t over do it.

What has been the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on stage?
When I was doing a show for an elderly audience, at the climax of the show. Just as I said the main punchline of the show someone woke up and shouted, ‘where am I? What’s going on?’ I said don’t worry…nearly finished. It was a great moment.

Who are your biggest inspirations in the industry and why?
I really admire drag artists. They are people that play with performance and persona in such a beautiful and unforgiving way. They own the stage, they own their looks and their material. I get really inspired by what they do.

Do you have any pre-show rituals?
Go to the toilet about 15 times. Can’t help it….and sing ‘Any Old Iron’..but I like to get out as chat to the audience asap!

What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at Edinburgh Fringe?
* Jonny Woo
* Luisa Omielan
* Sh!t Theatre

Why do you think people should come and see your show over the thousands of others on at the fringe?
Because they will have loads of fun, re-live some 90s teli, and hear some great stories. Also it will be the only show about Barrymore around!


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