Name: Paul O’Donnell
Name of Edinburgh show: We’ve Got Each Other
Venue: Pleasance Jack Dome
Performance time: 10.50pm
Show length: 1hr
Ticket price: £11, £10, £9
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your performing background?
I am a solo theatre maker based in Coventry, and my work aims to expose the ‘ordinary’ in a ‘spectacular’ fashion.
I have toured my work across the UK, and have also begun to tour internationally. I am Associate Artist at Birmingham Repertory Theatre and Theatre Absolute and have worked with community groups at Arcola Theatre and Belgrade Theatre.
Now, to take on this beast of the Edinburgh Fringe.
Tell me about your show, what it is all about?
We’ve Got Each Other is an almost entirely imagined Bon Jovi musical.
The idea being that I (a poor solo artist) wanted to give you the full scale Bon Jovi musical I have dreamed up. However… I couldn’t afford the 35 cast members, or 7 piece live band, or extravagant costumes and opulent set pieces needed to carry this out.
Instead, you’re left with… well… me. Plus 180 lighting cues and 12 varied cover versions of Livin on a Prayer (acting as the score), and together you are invited to imagine the musical as it had aspired to be.
It’s a magical show in which you bring all the musical theatre spectacle and grandeur to life in your minds, assisted by my comedy driven narration of the show in live time. Somehow audiences leave feeling like they have just experienced a full musical when in actual fact you have watched a fairly blank stage for an hour.
How long have you been working on this show and what is it that makes it relevant to audiences in 2018?
I have been working on this show on and off for about two years now and I believe it’s exactly what the world needs right now; a bit of joy, a bit of escapism and a good ole giggle which celebrates our community spirit.
People have in the past described it as ‘the perfect austerity musical’… that connection was not intentional.
Do you have any top tips for surviving the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – both for performers and visitors to the event?
This is my first year at the Fringe as a performer so I’m hoping I work this out asap.
For visitors though, I’d recommend you reserve a bit of time to actually see Edinburgh a bit in among all the shows. The first year I went up as an audience member I saw absolutely none of Edinburgh and just dashed from show to show for three days straight.
When I came home after it all I thought ‘why on Earth did I do that?’ and so the years after I made sure I left time to explore too; climb Arthurs Seat, visit the castle.
I think it’s important to have some rest time in between shows.
What has been the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on stage?
Oh dear… embarrassingly grotesque… but I’m going there!
I had performed this show before in mid December, when I was under the full force of an incredibly boisterous bout of ‘man flu’. I, being the Beyonce that I am, trooped on stage and got through almost all of the show with no qualms. But then, in one of the shows energetic dance routines… with only me on stage… and no-one else to distract the audience, I did a glorious pirouette, and full on snot balled, in the most fabulously grotesque way.
When I spoke to audience members after the show, they kindly pretended they hadn’t seen it with “ohh… nooo… I hadn’t noticed!”
They had… you couldn’t miss it.
I danced on…
Who are your biggest inspirations in the industry and why?
I enjoy the work of New Art Club who are a dance theatre comedy duo.
Their work is something you can sit back and laugh along with but they also use their comedy to punch at the hearts of the audience. I aspire to do just that in my work.
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
I ALWAYS blow my nose… now.
What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at Edinburgh Fringe?
Oh my, so much to choose from. I’m looking forward to seeing Theatre Ad Infinitum’s No Kids and Dante or Die’s – User Not Found.
I’ve also caught these before in earlier developments but eager to see them again in their full forms; Baby Daddy by Elinor Coleman, Duckie by Le Gateau Chocolat and Sorry! by Susie Sillett.
Why do you think people should come and see your show over the thousands of others on at the fringe?
At 10.50pm at night, after a long day at the Fringe, you could sit in a theatre space and listen to somebody talk about their painful existence or emotional trauma, you could be depressed by the current state of the world or scared for our political future, you could question your existence or mourn the events of something tragic that happened way back when and head to bed unsure if this is the kind of world you want to partake in.
You could come to We’ve Got Each Other and join me in creating the best musical you have [n]ever seen… with Tommy, and Gina, and spontaneous docker dance breaks, and angels, and druids, and confetti cannons and hydraulic lifts… and Livin’ on a Prayer!
Together at 10.50pm, lets celebrate us being together because… “We’ve got each other, and that’s a lot for love”.
…I know where I’d rather be.
Hope you will join me for the perfect tonic to a long day at the Fringe.
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