Neil Bell talks about The Political History of Smack and Crack at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your performing background?
I’m Neil Bell. An actor for 20 years. Born in Oldham, Lancashire. Grew up in Manchester, England. Worked with Danny Boyle, Shane Meadows, Mike Leigh and Penny Woolcock amongst many others. Never worked at Edinburgh Fringe before.

Tell me about your show, what it is all about?
The Political History of Smack and Crack is a love story set against a backdrop of riots and heroin addiction in Manchester from the 1980’s to the present day.

How long have you been working on this show and what is it that makes it relevant to audiences in 2018?
Not long! It is relevant because it makes sense of some of the madness which is surrounding them today.

Do you have any top tips for surviving the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – both for performers and visitors to the event?
Yes – Keep your hand on you ha’penny.

What has been the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on stage?
I had to properly snog an actress whose boyfriend was a couple of feet away in the front row. The packed house was completely silent and I could hear us slurping and him breathing.

Who are your biggest inspirations in the industry and why?
I like people who are beautiful and wonderfully unhinged – like Amelia Bullmore or Julia Davis – I hope they don’t mind me saying that. I also think from an acting point of view Mike Leigh is a genius. He made me want to be an actor. The swine.

Do you have any pre-show rituals?
I dance to Northern Soul.

What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at Edinburgh Fringe?
Norris and Parker – they are beautiful and wonderfully unhinged.

Why do you think people should come and see your show over the thousands of others on at the Fringe?
Because it’s a brilliant clever sexy piece of brand new theatre. They will feel like they’ve just had a long slow massage and ECT at the same time.

The Political History of Smack and Crack
Paines Plough’s ROUNDABOUT @ Summerhall, Edinburgh, EH9 1PL
Friday 3rd – Sunday 26th August 2018 (not 7th, 14th, 21st), 17:30

Twitter: @Offstage_UK, @w14productions, @sohotheatre, @painesplough, #smackandcrack


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