Frankie’s Fringe Focus: Pippa Evans

This weekend, my Fringe Focus is with the (in my opinion) busiest woman in comedy, Pippa Evans.

I met Pippa through working at BBC Radio Comedy (as one of the very talented line-up of Newsjack, which used to be one of my favourite shows while I was in the department).

As well as showing off her wide range of voices on the radio (‘cockney urchin’ being a personal favourite), Pippa performs as musical comedy act Loretta Maine and co-founded Sunday Assembly with Sanderson Jones, which has quickly become a worldwide phenomenon.

This year, Pippa’s appearing in not one, but three shows. She returns to “too-good-too-be-true-but-actually-is-true-omg-how-do-they-do-it-?-true” Edinburgh Fringe staple, Showstopper! The Improvised Musical. Of course, Loretta Maine will be in full voice in Loretta Maine: Strong Independent Woman (Unless I Am Very Tired) and, in her Fringe debut, Pippa will be performing as… Pippa Evans, in Don’t Worry, I Don’t Know Who I Am Either.

Pippa talks about the scary notion of performing as herself for the first time in our interactive video – head over to Touchcast to watch it now!

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Frankie’s Fringe Focus: Jake Lambert

This week, I’m catching up with one-liner comic, poet and storyteller Jake Lambert.

I met Jake through the BBC New Comedy Award and he impressed me with his natural onstage personality and his sharp, witty one-liners. He’s got a great, broad appeal (and he’s thoroughly lovely too).

While we were filming my Dad decided to interrupt us by calling me to enquire about a certain iconic sketch group… You can see what happened below in this exclusive ‘uncut’ clip.

You can catch Jake performing his free show (shared with Dom Lister) at Dropkick Murphys at the Fringe this August. Click here for more details. He’ll also be performing at Comedy Cow: Prime Cut at the start of the festival too.

Click here to watch Jake guesting on Frankie’s Fringe Focus on Touchcast now! 

Frankie’s Fringe Focus: Bec Hill & Darren Walsh

Howdy Fringe-goers! I’ve got two Fringe Focuses for the price of one today (basically because I was rubbish and didn’t post this last week)

First up is the extraordinarily creative Bec Hill, whose signature performance style is ‘paper puppetry’. If you want to know what that means, watch the video with future Fringe Focus guest, the musical comic Jay Foreman, below…

She’s a busy woman indeed – aside from her paper puppetry creations on YouTube, taking control of Londoners’ social media profiles (to hilarious effect) on London Live’s CTRL Freaks and running the hugely popular Pun Run, Bec is responsible for a whopping three shows in Edinburgh this August. Catch a special charity edition of Pun Run, her kids’ show with Tom Goodliffe, Bec and Tom’s Awesome Laundry, and her own solo effort, Bec Hill in… Ellipsis, at the Guilded Balloon.

Watch Frankie’s Fringe Focus: Bec Hill on Touchcast

Next, it’s puntastic stand-up Darren Walsh, who first wowed me with his extra creative one-liners and sound-effects back at the BBC Radio New Comedy Award in 2012.

Darren’s definitely in the running for ‘best Fringe show title’ in 2014, with the imaginatively titled ‘Chicken Meow’ (watch the touchcast to find out why) which you can catch daily at the Heroes @ The Hive for whatever you’re prepared to pay at the end.

And do make sure you check out this amazing video of Darren at the O’Henry Pun-Off World Championships in Texas from earlier this year – what a hit rate!

Watch Frankie’s Fringe Focus: Darren Walsh

Frankie’s Fringe Focus: Hatty Ashdown

This week’s episode of Frankie’s Fringe Focus is with the marvellous comic, actor, presenter and writer Hatty Ashdown.

Not only is Hatty (a proper Kent girl like myself) a ‘quadruple threat’, she’s also thoroughly good company and has a unique personal style to be envied. Happily, she brought along a spare one of her signature headscarfs to help me get the ‘Hatty look’!

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Unfortunately I had to cut down the interview as Touchcast only lets me upload up to five minutes of footage so I had to lose a fair bit – including the titbit that Hatty’s attitude towards her audience is to try and ‘feel like a friend’, a bit like her aunties who she grew up with and were ‘the life and soul of parties’. Her first full-hour Edinburgh show, titled Hurry Up Hatty (after the Sham 65 song Hurry Up Harry), will showcase some of her strongest material and promises some ‘showbizzy bits’ along with observations about her ‘lazy family’. After Edinburgh she’ll be ‘putting it to bed’ so she can start performing ‘new stuff’.

You can catch Hatty performing throughout the Fringe at the Wee Pub at 15:45 – and it’s free! Watch the video here.

Frankie’s Fringe Focus: Phil Wang

Oh hi guys, I did another one of those Fringe Focus videos, didn’t I?

This one is with the super duper awesome Phil Wang, who delighted me by saying yes when I proposed shoving my iPad in his face and asking about his now legendary ability to craft ‘intellectual dick jokes’.

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See, here we are having a right laugh about them. Or at least I am. (It was my joke. Apparently I should stick to asking questions and sporting orange lipstick. Although even the latter is questionable.)

If you’d like to watch me getting interactive with Phil about his Fringe show, Mellow Yellow, simply go to my Touchcast Channel and watch it! (Give it a try, it won’t bite…)

Find out more about Phil Wang on his website.

Frankie’s Fringe Focus: Lead Pencil

Just over a week ago, I squeezed my way through the central London crowds to reach the Leicester Square Theatre. My mission? To meet the really very lovely Maddie, Louise and Dave of colourful, energetic sketch group, Lead Pencil for my latest Fringe Focus interview.

We had a chat about their 2012 show, their sketch comedy peers, preparing props for this year’s show and Manchester United fans. They’ve got great energy and are one of those acts that seem to enjoy being onstage and their audience – I’ve mostly seen groups who have ‘awkward’ onstage personas recently (not that I don’t enjoy them, or that they aren’t brilliant) – but Lead Pencil seem to be open to being themselves and that can be quite refreshing.

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Watch my interview with Lead Pencil here.

Lead Pencil will be performing on the Belly Laugh stage at the Underbelly during the Edinburgh Fringe at 6:20pm nightly. You can see them at the Brighton Fringe on May 17 and 18 (details in the poster above).

Frankie’s Fringe Focus: Tom Webb and Grainne Maguire

For the past couple of years, I’ve worked at the Edinburgh Fringe, trying to squeeze in as many shows as possible between the ones I was working on.

This year I’ll actually be going as a holiday – but I still wanted to do a project that celebrates the festival and the acts who’ll be performing there this August.

Each Saturday, I’ll be publishing a video interview with one of these acts on Touchcast, pulling in their posters, videos and much more. We’ll be chatting about their shows, previous festivals and the shows they’ll be in the front row for, come the summer.

The first of these interviews is with comedian Tom Webb. He’ll be taking two shows to the Fringe this tear, a stand up show, ‘MegaDudes Crime Club‘ and ‘MegaGames with Tom Webb‘, in which he plays mass-participation version of classic games with his audience.

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We chatted about his shows, giant games of Human Hungry Hippos and how nuts may help to stop you from going crazy during the gruelling festival schedule. Watch it here.

Next up I spoke to writer and stand-up Grainne Maguire about her Edinburgh panel show, ‘What Has the News Ever Done for Me?’, her first full-length show about bonnets and rain and incorporating 80s jeans and competitive dance moves into her last festival effort.

We Need to Talk About Bonnets

 

You can find out who Grainne would love to bring some ‘sex appeal’ to her panel show by watching the Touchcast here.

In the coming weeks, I’ll be talking to sketch group Lead Pencil and comedian Matt Winning.

Touchcast

Those of you who follow me on Twitter (hint, hint) may have noticed that I’ve been steadily developing an addiction to video blogging with Touchcast.

Touchcast is a video-based app that you can use on iPad, Mac and PCs to create shortform videos featuring ‘web within the video’ content, such as images, webpages, ‘click-to-buy’ links, Instagram and Twitter feeds. You can record video by cueing up this content (known as Vapps) before recording, or film first and add Vapps later – in other words, you could do a pristine, polished multi camera edit, upload it into the app and add the extra layer of vapp-based content before publishing.

Currently I’m using the former method and fairly sparingly still – I think the key to a good Touchcast is to not throw everything at your viewers but to acknowledge each vapp you’ve included. Hopefully one day I’ll also have a reason to use some of the other features, such as switching between front and back cameras on my iPad during recording and using the whiteboard to draw on the screen.

My first two Touchcast efforts were food-based, the first also serving as a review of Jack Monroe’s ‘A Girl Called Jack’ book  and the second using one of my favourite online recipes; salted caramel millionaire’s shortbread. They mostly feature images so you can actually see what you should expect when actually making the recipes.

With more link-heavy Touchcasts, it’s advisable to let your viewers know that they should save exploring the extra content until after they’ve watched the video once through (or they can put it on pause).

I’m hoping that in future I’ll be able to produce interview-based features. At the moment, Touchcast lets you record to up to five minutes at a time, but you can merge projects together to create a longer edit, so it might mean recording outside of the app, which I’ve not done yet.

Naturally Touchcast is great for shameless self-promotion, so I’ve recently uploaded a video about the interactive Writing for BBC Radio Comedy iBook I produced. If you haven’t already downloaded it for free from the iTunes Store, you can get it here or find an online version over at the BBC Academy of Production website.

Visit my Touchcast channel here and let me know if you give it a go!

The New Year list

I’m deliberately not calling this post ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ because I don’t think I need to change who I am – and nor should you – but because I’m a fan of a to-do list and this is a good excuse to create an ‘action plan’ for 2014…

2013 has been, for the most part, fine. It’s gone ridiculously fast too. There were big changes at the start and end of the year (I got dumped by email in January – ouch) and changed jobs (moving to EastEnders in late December), but for the most part I feel like I’ve coasted along.

However, everyone should take a moment to think about the good bits as well as the disappointing receiving of electronic communications and so here are a few of the highlights…

#Team NCA

The BBC Radio New Comedy Award returned in 2013 (we got a BBC Production Award nomination for the 2012 multiplatform element that I produced which was pretty cool) and I found myself without a budget so recruited a big batch of amazing volunteers to help film and edited each film myself. The core group of Producer Tilusha, Production Co-Ordinator Tam and Production Management Assistant Isma were bloomin’ hilarious and wonderful. And of course the most fabulous Executive Producer Alison Vernon-Smith and the stylish (and talented) Production Manager Hayley Nathan. My favourite production of the 18 months I spent at BBC Radio Comedy.

Grainne & J-Bugg shake up the Beeb

I found two excellent, talented friends in the new Radio Comedy bursary writers…

A Summer of gigs!

Thanks to Elena Dana, I finally started gigging in London, even making my jazz debut. And I got a new telecaster… now to get an amp (see 2014 to-do list…) I also wrote at least three songs I can count among my favourites.

Making my own damn icing, thank you very much

When I baked in the Get Flat in 2012, someone else was around to do the icing while I made the batter. My early solo icing efforts were watery and rubbish. Then one day, thanks to a Primrose Hill Bakery coffee buttercream recipe, I cracked it. (Although I did have a massive icing fuck-up the other day and had to buy the pre-mixed stuff for a Xmas party at Grainne’s but never mind…)

Comedy! Comedy! Comedy!

I saw some amazing shows and met some hilarious, lovely people this year. People who made me laugh included: Bridget Christie, Phil Wang, Steve Bugeja, Rob Carter, Katherine Bennett, Kate Lucas, Adam Hess, Tom Craine, Joe Lycett, Dean Sekhon, Peter Brush, Grainne Maguire, Mae Martin, Nick Helm Sarah Campbell, Nish Kumar, James Bran, Joe Davies, Ivo Graham James Acaster, Dane Baptiste, Jonny Pelham (and many, many more – go and check them out…)

Producing a book… sort of

In the New Year the BBC will be releasing an iBook about writing for Radio Comedy that I produced… I’ll post more about this in 2014!

Anyway, 2013 review aside, there’s loads for me to be getting on with next year, so here’s some stuff I’d like to do in 2014…

  • Buy amp to go with new telecaster (rather than playing through mixing desk connected to computer speakers)
  • Finish painting bedroom – there’s no longer a reasonable excuse for the large unpainted patch behind the wardrobe!
  • Cook a wider variety of foods (other than jacket potato, pasta and homemade sauce and stir fry)
  • Invite friends over more regularly to share wider variety of foods
  • Apologise less for the way I look
  • Be less passive when someone judges the way I look unnecessarily
  • Buy more cushions for my large sofa
  • Keep up the exercise and resist chocolate/ice cream temptations!
  • Practice guitar more
  • Find rhythm section to play with me and Reece (who I’m working on songs with)
  • Get keyboard out again
  • Record more music – and record it better
  • Read more on my Kindle
  • Find permanent contract
  • Renew ISA
  • Fill up ISA
  • Invest in more loose leaf teas
  • Save up for Canon 5D
  • Be better at getting people together – but not feel so guilty if I don’t
  • Enjoy self as much as possible
  • Blog more!

There’s definitely more – most of that reads like a shopping list! I must have January sales on the brain….