Willy Hudson talks about queer coming-of-age in BOTTOM at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Name: Willy Hudson
Name of Edinburgh show: Bottom
Venue: Summerhall
Performance time: 1-26 August (not 2, 13, 20)
Show length: 4.25pm
Ticket price: £10/£8

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your performing background?
Hello! My name is Willy, I’m a writer and performer from Devon. I recently graduated from The Oxford School of Drama and I’m an Associate Artist of the Exeter Phoenix. I like to confront social hang-ups with autobiographic storytelling, comedy, fusion of theatrical form and cracking soundtracks. I’ve just finished being a Lost Boy in Peter Pan at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre.

Tell me about your show, what it is all about?
Bottom is a ‘queer coming-of-age remix’ about Beyoncé, bums and burnt fish fingers. It unpicks the top/bottom dynamic in queer sex, looking at its wider placement and meaning socially and culturally. The show follows me through a third date where I try and be a top for the first time, in a world of zero hour contracts, drugs and Beyoncé. It’s got storytelling, song and movement. It’s a comedy but it has a big heart.

How long have you been working on this show and what is it that makes it relevant to audiences in 2018?
I’ve been working on it for about 2 years. It’s relevant because I’m talking about issues and stuff which is happening right now. Stuff which isn’t really being talked about – i.e how harmful the top/bottom labels can be. I’m putting queer stories and issues centre stage. I want to bring more representation to queer people, avoiding under written, stereotyped and unhelpful narratives.

Do you have any top tips for surviving the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – both for performers and visitors to the event?
Well this is my first time as a performer so I’m making my top tips up as I go along. So far I have a bag full of vitamins. And I’ll drink loads of water. And try and eat healthy. For visitors I would say go see what you will love, but also pick stuff you would never see. You will surprise yourself and broaden your taste. There is soooooooooooo much!

What has been the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on stage?
Erm I’ve definitely fallen off stage before. I just did a show where someone in the audience did the biggest burp I’ve ever heard in a quiet bit and had the whole auditorium stare at him.

Who are your biggest inspirations in the industry and why?
Bryony Kimmings – she has helped a lot with Bottom and I love her work. I think it has the perfect balance of personal/autobiographical focus with full awareness of the audience and that connection.
Also Beyoncé.

Do you have any pre-show rituals?
I don’t lick the stage or anything WILD. I try and keep it chilled. I always listen to the same songs and try and get into an empowered, confident mode. It can be hard doing a one person show as you don’t have someone to bounce the energy off.

What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at Edinburgh Fringe?
Loads! There is so much good stuff. Vessel, Awakening, Freida Love at Underbelly, all the ThisEgg shows, Really Want To Hurt Me, All We Ever Wanted Was Everything at Summerhall.

Why do you think people should come and see your show over the thousands of others on at the fringe?
Bottom is for people to say ‘this is what it’s like for me’ and for others to say ‘I didn’t know half of this stuff’. It’s got dancing to Beyoncé, honest storytelling and it’s a sharp comedy. It pushes queer representation on stage in a truthful way. It’s pink. It’s fabulous.


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