Nichola McAuliffe talks about what has changed for women over the last 75 years at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your performing background?
I lost my return ticket to my home planet so decided to go to LAMDA, train as an actor, leave with the Matthew Forsythe Prize for…no idea really…. then work in theatre, film, radio and TV and win lots more awards.

Tell me about your show, what it is all about?
Real people. 1943. Middle of the war, the woman who killed the Romanovs, a man who was openly gay in the first world war, a British Jamaican chauffeur orphaned by the Kingston earthquake and a Black GI brutalised by his white colleagues who wants revenge…. 25 years after the murder of the Tsar’s family, 25 years before the murder of Martin Luther King. 75 years on what has changed for women, people of colour and LGBT people?

How long have you been working on this show and what is it that makes it relevant to audiences in 2018?
I had the idea years ago to examine what King George and Queen Mary must have felt about betraying the Romanovs. But the play wouldn’t come till I discovered the friendship she had with Ernest Thesiger – outrageous aristocrat and wit. Then the other characters, Walcott and Monk introduced themselves. I wrote the play last October during my last holiday with my husband, legendary Fleet Street journalist Don Mackay. It’s dedicated to him.

Do you have any top tips for surviving the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – both for performers and visitors to the event?
Enjoy it, don’t get stressed and, if coming up from London, leave you liver at King’s Cross.

What has been the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on stage?
Falling asleep standing up as Queen Victoria in the RSC’s production of Poppy. There was a long pause, I opened my eyes to see the whole company facing me, ready for me to sing my line ‘Uneasy lies the Head that wears the Crown’. All I could see were 20 twirlies shaking with laughter and the conductor waving at me like I was a plane coming into land.

Who are your biggest inspirations in the industry and why?
Odd you call it ‘the industry’. Traditionally theatre was ‘the business’ and industry referred to film and TV. I can’t honestly say I have any.

Do you have any pre-show rituals?
No not really, just get in before the half, warm up, get the tutti on and get on stage.

What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at Edinburgh Fringe?
Very much looking forward to Philip Meeks new play Harpy with Su Pollard, Peter Straker’s Brel at the cabaret bar.. Jeff Holland as Stan Laurel, Simon Evans who makes me hoot. And all the things I don’t know yet that I’m going to love.

Why do you think people should come and see your show over the thousands of others on at the fringe?
It’s a new play that’s very funny. The cast is fabulous, from recent RADA graduate to Olivier and double Edinburgh Stage Award winner via legendary singer and Lewis Carroll- and the subject matter might give you pause for thought. And, hey, you really need to know what happens in the end.

Pleasance Dome (King Dome), Potterow, Edinburgh, EH8 9AL
Wednesday 1st – Monday 27th August 2018 (not 8th and 15th), 17:00


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