Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your performing background?
We are zazU, a fivesome with a love of the surreal and silly. We met doing topical sketch show (and Fringe institution) NewsRevue and didn’t want to stop making comedy together when the run ended. Without the fetters of reality and news, our true personalities were unleashed and we created an alternate world called zazU. It’s like what the UK will be in 50 years time when Brexit really sinks its teeth in and makes everyone wear beige button-up tops and bans them from singing lyrics. You know, likely things.
Tell me about your show, what it is all about?
This show is something new for us. Usually we create a madcap adventure which is essentially a comedy play about a fete or the end of the world. This year we’ve created a madcap gameshow which lets the audience get involved and help settle a terrible zazUvian feud over whether a certain costume is a courgette or a cucumber. There’s a lot of games, characters, quiz-y bits, prizes and some awesome guest acts (different every night). It’s essentially Shooting Stars meets The Generation Game meets The West Wing (okay, maybe not the West Wing, but this feud is seriously political so, you know…). It’s going to be absolutely bonkers.
How long have you been working on this show and what is it that makes it relevant to audiences in 2018?
We’ve been developing it for just over a year and a half and we think it is exactly what the good people of 2018 need: a joyous distraction. There’s no political points, no horrible twists, no beloved football teams being knocked out of the world cup just when the end was in sight I mean that was just cruel; this is pure, unadulterated silliness. Leave your worries at the door and join in to remember what being a care-free kid felt like (but this time you can drink and swear). It’s certainly what we need after the last few years…
Do you have any top tips for surviving the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – both for performers and visitors to the event?
AVOID THE ROYAL MILE. It can be done. Okay, you may have to cross it once or twice but NEVER go along it. We have honed routes that avoid the mile and it’s made our Edinburgh experience so much less stressful! Also: be kind to flyer-ers. We’ve all done it and we’ve all had that one final person who broke us and made us weep into our overpriced beer for the next four hours (No? Just me. Okay then). Don’t be that person. Oh, and escape every so often into Holyrood park: you’ll remember what breathing is.
What has been the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on stage?
I personally do not grace the stage with my presence, preferring to sit at the back and scowl at anyone not laughing (I don’t do that, obviously…). But this year I am sort of onstage for the first time and… well… I think the embarrassment is in the future. As for funniest. One of us (no names. Okay, Tom) had to eat a whole mini jelly off a fork and one night he got it in his mouth and then laughed and sprayed the entire front row with jelly-spit. Oh, how I laughed!
Who are your biggest inspirations in the industry and why?
Monty Python – because they showed that silliness endures.
Victoria Wood – because she was the Emmeline Pankhurst of women in comedy.
The League of Gentlemen – because they loved their characters so much (even when they did horrible things to them) they let them drive the stories.
Smack the Pony – because they can tell a joke in three shots that leaves you howling.
Reeves & Mortimer – because they break all the rules.
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
The actors poo a lot and I rock back and forth whilst our wonderful Stage Manager says soothing things. We do like this one game where you have to complete a sentence to a rhythm which reveals more about each of us than we should ever really let happen.
What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at Edinburgh Fringe?
We can’t answer that, we love them all! Honestly, we never get to see everything we want to. But one of us (Maddie) has got a new one-woman play called ‘Pickle Jar’ which we’ve seen previews of and is A-MAZ-ING.
Why do you think people should come and see your show over the thousands of others on at the Fringe?
I think we’re the only one with a vegetable based feud that you can be an active part of solving? That’s like getting to fix Romeo and Juliet before everyone dies. But with vegetables. Which are funnier. (Also the winner gets Haribo…).
See zazUtinany at the Underbelly throughout the Edinburgh Festival Fringe from 1st – 12th August.