Isley Lynn talks about how sex never looks like the movies in new Edinburgh Fringe Festival show

Name: Isley Lynn
Name of Edinburgh show: Skin A Cat
Venue: Assembly Rooms, The Blue Room
Performance time: 4:10pm
Show length: 90 minutes
Ticket price: £12

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your performing background?
I’m a writer, so my “performing background” is basically the school nativity and misguided attempts at acting during university. I’ve been getting other people to perform my words for almost decade now. This is my second show at the fringe but I’ve had stuff on at the Royal Court and The National and in Austria and all those fancy places.

Tell me about your show, what it is all about?
Skin A Cat is about how my experiences of sex never looked like the movies, and about how I found out I had a tricky thing called vaginismus, which makes penis-in-vagina sex very difficult. It’s also about how we all feel strange and weird and gross and unloveable and lost at some point, and how we can all make better friends with our bodies. And it’s very f*cking funny.

How long have you been working on this show and what is it that makes it relevant to audiences in 2018?
This show won the Vault ‘Pick Of The Year’ Award in 2016 and was the opening show for the Bunker Theatre in London Bridge, and before that I had been working on it for about 3 years. I say “working on it”, but most of that time was spent worrying about my mom seeing “me” give my first blowjob on stage. We’ve been touring it this year at festivals before Edinburgh and the audiences have been just as raucous – I think that’s because we’re all still hungry for people to just tell the truth about the stuff we all go through. And that the truth is hilarious.

Do you have any top tips for surviving the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – both for performers and visitors to the event?
To be honest, I find the fringe really hard and exhausting. I don’t know how performers manage the whole bloody month. But those that do it well seem to have figured out that watching youtube in bed is as important as going to the parties and shows; that you don’t have to schedule every hour of the day in order to have a good time at the festival, or a productive one. I guess my advice is to be lazier.

What has been the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on stage?
I was reciting a poem once and got tongue tied, so instead of saying “reflections of each other’s sight” I ended up saying “reflections each other’s shite” – which frankly is a better line.

Who are your biggest inspirations in the industry and why?
I’m surrounded by hard-working, smart-working women, making incredible art with the half the resources of others, sometimes less. They baffle and galvanise me daily. I know lots of equally hard and smart working men, but they’re more readily rewarded for it, on the whole. The industry is waking up to the imbalances against people who aren’t the default white, cis, straight, middle class, able-bodied, male, etc etc etc, and the tide can’t turn quickly enough for me. I’m impatient.

Do you have any pre-show rituals?
Only shouting “toi toi toi!” to the actors. I’m pretty zen otherwise. It’s pretty out of my hands at that point.

What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at Edinburgh Fringe?
We’re sharing a space with Frau Welt, which I saw at Hackney Showroom and loved – mostly for Peter Clement’s elastic face. Fuck You Pay Me is also totally anarchically brilliant and sexy. Plus James Rowland is bringing his stomach-dropping show Revelations to Summerhall.

Why do you think people should come and see your show over the thousands of others on at the fringe?
Well, we’ve got loads of 5 star reviews, the fans have formed a little twitter cult, audiences are returning and bringing their families and friends, there’s always screams of laughter and a few tears too, and we tend to sell out. The cast are beautiful and beautifully talented, and you get to see them in all sorts of sexy, funny, naughty situations, staged super cleverly by director Blythe Stewart. And old white men have loved it just as much as anyone else (I have had some truly cracking conversations with all sort of people in the bar after). Basically, we’re the most sensational safe bet around!


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