Robyn Perkins makes 10,000 Decisions at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your performing background?
I’m a bit of a mixed bag. Before comedy, I had very little performing experience, apart from school plays. Even then, it was small roles because of my horrible singing voice. I was a biologist for a while, focusing in marine biology. I then became a landscape architect, which is what originally brought me to the UK. I’ve worked on big projects including Quartermile in Edinburgh, and the 2016 Rio Olympics. Comedy was a bit of a right turn, but I love how I can incorporate all of my past into my comedy. Comedy is so intellectually challenging.

Tell me about your show, what it is all about?
It is about decision-making, which is something I struggle with. The show goes through why we make the decisions we do and if our decisions are inherently for our happiness. There is a bit of science within the show, but nothing too overwhelming. The show is really fun. It has some silly bits, some clever bits and some spontaneous improvised bits. I think it is a really fun show altogether.

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 it loosely since 2017, but the show was completely revamped in January 2018. I think it is relevant in 2018 for two reasons. First, we are faced with an incredible amount of choice every day, so we are forced into thousands of decisions, daily. This is increasing with developing technology and shortening attention spans. Second, and more importantly, the show does cover some ‘me too’ moments. It is important to note, my experiences are not the extreme, but this is exactly why I want to talk about them. In order to stop uncomfortable moments on all levels, we need to talk. And so many women are silent because our experiences weren’t awful ‘enough’ or not extreme enough. Just because they are not extreme, doesn’t mean they are OK. When we start talking about all these situations, it increases awareness even more.

Do you have any top tips for surviving the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – both for performers and visitors to the event?
Eat blueberries. They are great for anti-oxidants, and help you think. Apart from that, water, sleep, and for people in the long haul, have a night at a nice Italian restaurant outside of the city.

What has been the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on stage?
Last year I did 125 gigs across the month. Being brain dead, I was hosting a show and within 2 minutes, I started one joke and ended it with the punchline of another. The audience did not find this funny, most likely because the punchline was from a rather ‘edgy’ joke. Unfortunately, none of my comic friends were even in the room to make fun of me. It was bad.

Who are your biggest inspirations in the industry and why?
I think three people, all different levels.
Robin Ince. He has such an energy and intelligence and is able to really weave science into his show. I love it.
Sara Pascoe. She has an ability to talk about really meaningful subjects in a truly funny way, without being preachy. That is the kind of comedy that can change the world.
Ian Smith. He is so inventive, clever and silly. He thinks in ways that are so inherently funny. I think he is the most underrated comic on the circuit.
And if I can add one more…Jarred Christmas. He is just, quite simply an amazingly funny comic, and a really good person.

Do you have any pre-show rituals?
I like to listen to hip-hop or cheesy a capella music. Anything that makes me happy and upbeat. Though most people do not agree with my music taste.

What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at Edinburgh Fringe?
It’s kind of the same list as above. In addition to Ian Smith, Robin Ince and Jarred Christmas, Darren Harriott is a beast. Adam Hess is hilarious and more energy than any human can hold. Matt Winning’s show sounds really interesting. I’ve gigged with Seann Walsh a few times doing new material, and he is an expert at observational comedy. And of course, two of my favourites: Russell Hicks (improvised genius) and John Hastings (just incredible).

Why do you think people should come and see your show over the thousands of others on at the Fringe?
My show is not just really funny, but it is intelligent, interesting, and silly. Who doesn’t want to know a bit about why we make the decisions we do? Especially when that is woven into stories about parents, dating and our personalities that everyone can relate to.

See Robyn Perkins: 10,000 Decisions at the Underbelly throughout the Edinburgh Festival Fringe from 1st – 26th August.


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