Kiwi comic Rose Matafeo won the top comedy gong at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival last month with her show HORNDOG. The 26 year-old New Zealander of Samoan and Scottish/Croatian heritage, who has been honing her standup skills since the age of 15 is only the fifth woman to take the coveted Best Show Award.
The ad for HORNDOG reads that Rose ‘has kissed 10 men in her life, AKA she’s a total horndog.’ It chronicles her barely functioning love life and mid-20’s angst. Her definition of ‘horniness’ is “girls putting 100% into something that’s not worth it.” They’re looking for a passionate relationship rather than love. As a film-mad, geeky teenager she had no luck with boys, so when dating happened she became obsessed. “Go hard or go home” was her MO.
In his review, the Guardian’s Brian Logan wrote, “…a volcanic eruption of standup… Matafeo’s neurosis, intelligence and flamboyant sense of her own ridiculousness make her a near-perfect comedian.”
I caught up with the charismatic Rose after her second show at London’s Soho Theatre where she’s performing HORNDOG until the end of month and she signed my drawing.
“Probably one of the finest satirical comedians this country’s ever produced,” is how Time Out describes English satirist Andy Zaltzman. He has firmly established himself in the vanguard of British comedy with his unique brand of political satire with a style that centres around verbal dexterity and an extensive use of the pun, especially the ‘pun runs’.
Andy has been performing at the Edinburgh Fringe since 1999 and has worked extensively with John Oliver. In 2004 they began hosting the POLITICAL ANIMAL stand-up show which Andy hosted solo from 2006, transferring to BBC Radio 4. From October 2007 until June 2016 Andy and John co-hosted the weekly satirical comedy podcast THE BUGLE. John left due to other commitments, and now Andy has a rotating group who share the hosting duties.
He is also a huge cricket fan, doing guest commentary on a variety of formats and contributes to a regular blog on CRICINFO. I took the opportunity to meet him at the Soho Theatre last month, where he was performing his SATIRIST FOR HIRE gig.
Audience members had the opportunity to submit ‘satiric-queries’ they cared about, which Andy satirised. I did this very quick sketch, based on the poster at the theatre and he signed it to my wife (a serial BUGLE devotee) and I and took a photo of it… probably for evidence in a visual defamation case.
Vicky Jones’ vicious relationship drama, THE ONE, originally staged in 2014, returned to the Soho Theatre for a two-month residency, ending this weekend.
One night, one room. Sexy, messed-up oddball couple, Jo (Tuppence Middleton) and Harry (John Hopkins) are drawing the battlelines of their relationship with sex, violence and throwing Wotsits (that’s a British brand of cheesy flavoured corn puffs for the uninitiated). They are trapped in a destructive cycle of love and lust, interrupted by an upset visitor, Harry’s former lover Kerry with her own agenda, who ‘re-equips’ the couple when they run out of ammo.
Described as ‘sadistic games of bored people’ a ‘forensic unflinching examination of the casual cruelty couples inflict on each other.’ In his review for WhatsOnStage, Alun Hood said, “The acting is astonishing: detailed and unsparing… a tremendously accomplished fusion of writing, performance and stagecraft, that entertains as much as it shocks.”
John, Tuppence and Julia kindly signed my montage scribble a couple of weeks ago at the Soho.
‘I’ve been dead for three days. A Woman. A suicide. A choice. A life. A lie. A truth. An ending. Of sorts.’ The brief summary of the 70 minute one-woman play DUST, written and performed by Milly Thomas.
After its award-winning, sell-out run at the 2017 Edinburgh Fringe DUST transferred to London’s Soho Theatre for four weeks in February last year. It was one of two plays Milly had running at the Festival, the other was BRUTAL CESSATION. DUST is the story of Alice, a twenty-something, high functioning depressive with a double-edged gift for masking how unwell she is. Alice takes her own life and is forced to watch the aftermath of her suicide and its ripple effect on family and friends, realising death isn’t the change she hoped for. The play serves to open up the conversation about the reality of living… and dying with depression.
“I wanted my play DUST to be a battle cry for life,” said Milly, who wrote it six years ago in response to her own mental health issues. “I was frightened to write it, I knew I would have to perform it”. It was a performance, which won her the Stage Edinburgh Award and described by Evening Standard critic Henry Hutchings as “courageous in portraying vulnerability. Alice is wildly profane who has a flippancy, born of being powerless, in life and death.”
I left this montage sketch at the Soho, which Milly signed and returned for me.
“Americans have different ways of saying things. They say ‘elevator’, we say ‘lift’ – they say ‘President’, we say ‘stupid, psychopathic git'”. One of comic legend’s Alexei Sayle’s infamous and now most apt one liners.
Voted 18th on Channel 4’s 100 Greatest Stand-up Comics in 2009, Alexei was a central figure in the alternative comedy movement of the 1980’s. His satirical style was based on cynicism and political awareness. The Emmy-winning British actor appeared in numerous TV shows but he was best known for his involvement in the iconic THE YOUNG ONES alongside Adrian Edmondson, Rik Mayall, Nigel Planer and Christopher Ryan. He played a many characters, but his main role was the apparently Russian landlord Jerzy Balowski.
Alexei was doing a few nights of ‘work in progress’ gigs at the Soho Theatre last week so I took the opportunity to meet him and get my drawing signed.
I always like drawing David Tennant- so expressive and he has always been kind enough to sign my scribblings over the years. His latest West End outing is the rakish titular lead in Patrick Marber’s revival of his own play DON JUAN IN SOHO at the Wyndham’s Theatre.
Last seen eleven years ago at the Donmar with Rhys Ifans, the play is a free-flowing update of Moliere’s 1665 comedy about a well- heeled hedonist. David is no stranger to seduction at Wyndham’s, having played the part of Benedick in Josie Rourke’s 2011 production of Shakespeare’s MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING alongside Catherine Tate.
David’s portrayal of the ‘Satan in a suit from Saville Row’ drew universal praise from the critics. The Guardian’s Michael Billington stating “It is Tennant’s performance that gives the play a disturbing ambivalence.” Eleanor Turney simply said “He’s an absolute bastard, but a charming one.”
“She’s absolutely hysterical,” said Jimmy Carr about fellow comedian, Wendy Wason. The Sunday Times added “charming, clever and funny.’ The Edinburgh-raised actress and writer’s initial career was in film and TV, appearing in TAGGERT, SHERLOCK, MIDSOMMER MURDERS, THE IT CROWD and in feature films such as THE LIBERTINE with the three Johnnies, Depp, Malcovich and Vegas. She branched out into stand-up comedy in 2004 at Edinburgh’s Guided ballroom, followed by successful shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – THINGS I DIDN’T KNOW I DIDN’T KNOW (2008), OTHER PEOPLES SECRETS (2010), FLASHBACKS (2011), HOTEL CALIFORNIA (2014) and last year, TINY ME, which she performed at the Soho Theatre in London for three nights last week. On one of those nights she signed this sketch for me.
Milton Jones? “Oh that’s the bloke with the shirts and sticky-up hair,” most people would probably say, according to the man himself, a regular panallist on BBC Two’s MOCK THE WEEK and one of the UK’s stand-out stand-up comedians. Known for his one-liners involving puns delivered in a deadpan and slightly neurotic style, his loud shirts and wild hair… and his sublimely surreal takes on the world. “I was walking along the other day and on the road I saw a small dead baby ghost. Although, thinking about it, it might have been a handkerchief.”
MOCK THE WEEK can be a hard show to do. It’s always seven people trying to fit through a door for two he said in a recent interview. But his advantage is his style. “Yes I win. I do short bits. I get in, chuck a grenade and get out quickly.” It’s a style The Guardian acknowledged, “No one can touch Jones when he’s in his stride.”
He did a couple of nights at the Soho Theatre in London last week trying out new material for his next tour and signed my sketch with a two-liner.
English character comedienne extraordinaire Maddy Anholt has had two sell-out shows in the past two years at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Following the critically acclaimed, five-star DIARY OF A DATING ADDICT in 2015, Mandy returned with RENT GIRL last year, co-written and directed by Hardee’s Singh Kohli. With thirty fast approaching and facing the Grim Wrinkler, Maddy goes online in DATING ADDICT to find the man of her dreams.
In RENT GIRL she introduces us to a myriad of characters such as Shazza, bastard child of Persia and South London, Belle of Brixton, Princess of Peckham, Queen of Quitters, Dame of Dickheads. Maddy also brought both shows to London. I left this sketch for her at the Museum of Comedy last year and she returned it signed with a nice thank you note.
Two women look at masculinity and patriarchy in TWO MAN SHOW, the latest hit show from RashDash’s high octane duo, Abbi Greenland and Helen Goalen. Actually it’s three women, Becky Wilkie joins them as the production’s musician. The eighty minute genre-defying sketch exploration of gender, language and humankind played this year’s Edinburgh Fringe, before a sold out month’s residency at London’s Soho Theatre. It won the 2016 Fringe First Award and due to demand will return for another run in early 2017.
The VERY physical theatre uses a combination of performance styles including music and dance to communicate what it means to be a man and a woman. As Abbi says on their website, “I make all the shows with Helen. We always give ourselves the best parts. At the moment we are making shows that are big and messy and angry.” Helen adds, “I couldn’t imagine performing in a RashDash show where I wasn’t a breathless, sweaty mess by the end.” In between all their theatrical turbulence they both found time to sign my sketch at the Soho.