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

If you advertise your beliefs in your outfit, be prepared to talk about them…

The other day I was sat on the central line, music in my ears (but not so loud anyone could hear what I was listening to… probably something I should have removed from my playlist years ago) when the woman opposite me got up at Oxford Circus, pointed at me and started mouthing something at me.

I removed my headphones. It turned out she wasn’t mouthing, she was actually speaking.

“Me too!” She said. I looked down. She was pointing to my feminism necklace. I got excited.

“It’s from… um.. Oh…” I hesitated, before realising that it was from Thrift Ola, which is run by the former owner of Lady Luck Rules Ok (sadly missed). “Google Lucky Dip Club!” I called after her as she dashed off before the train started moving again. Since then, there’s been a pleasing handful of people who have commented or shared that they too are feminists. The custom name necklace I’m wearing in the photo below is now out of stock, but you can order your own ‘feminist’ necklace with companies such as the brilliant Tatty Devine and their name necklace service). 

Image

Once, in a branch of Carphone Warehouse, a guy pointed out my necklace and he confessed his mixed feelings about feminism. We had a perfectly respectable debate, where his chief concern was ‘how to approach women’ in clubs etc. I think that this is perfectly reasonable concern, but one can be easily addressed. Just be nice and respectful – it’s fine to go and say hello to someone, just don’t grope them, launch into aggressive sexual suggestions and so on and so forth.

On Monday I was walking through Kensington when a guy stopped me (saying a polite “excuse me”) said he liked my dress, asked me about myself and where I was going (in a non-creepy way). I genuinely was off to a gig with my boyfriend (I don’t really have many other reasons to be in that part of town), but I didn’t mind being stopped at all – I felt like I had control.

Now, I’m not suggesting that the male population needs to take tips from charity muggers and start stopping women in the street left, right and centre, but maybe the guy from the Carphone Warehouse should take note – respectfulness works!

More recently on the Central Line (that same Monday I ended up in Kensington) I was sat across from a man who wore a hat on his head with the bold (in both senses of the word) slogan that said “buy it or bang it”. I’m pretty sure this referred to women, although the phrase could quite as easily be applied to a fridge, among other objects. Obviously I didn’t ask him if he was a banger of white goods – I didn’t speak to him at all – but I doubt anyone will. If someone displays sexually aggressive misogynistic intent on their attire, it’s less approachable than someone wearing a one word representing a popular, if incomprehensibly controversial, ideology.

Now people have started talking to me about feminism in person, I’m keen to do it more often! I’m toying with ordering a Tatty Devine speech bubble necklace that says ‘talk to me about feminism’ to keep the conversation going…

Frankie’s Fringe Focus: Lou Sanders

The ninth (yes, ninth – catch up here) episode of my foray into comedy interviews, Frankie’s Fringe Focus, is with the wickedly funny Lou Sanders.

Lou is one of those stand-ups who are hard to compare with anyone else. She’s got a unique, almost anarchic, energy about her – you trust her onstage, even though you can’t predict what she’s going to do next.

We shot this in the ladies’ loo in the Camden Head (the Camden one, not Angel), with Lou’s friend holding my iPad. After this (and my video with Lead Pencil) I realised that the main (front) camera on my iPad simply doesn’t focus properly, so from now on, even if someone else is filming, I’m going to have to film using the front camera.

Luckily Lou looks nice in this video (while I look like I’m partly made of the sun… and not in a good way) and we chat about her amazing character The Money Lady, calculate the number of jokes on offer in this year’s show, Lou Sanders in Another Great Show Again, and cover tap dancing vaginas… just because.

Click here to watch the video now. It’s interactive so you can touch it if you’ve got that kind of screen – or click with your mouse if you haven’t!

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’!

Image

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: Matt Winning

This week’s episode of Frankie’s Fringe Focus features the dulcet tones (and joyful face) of Matt Winning.

I met Matt, like many of his comedy peers, through the BBC New Comedy Award. He stood out due to his energetic, slightly absurd, abstract punchlines and unique comic ideas.

Image

This was actually one of the first interviews I recorded for the #FringeFocus series, so I was particularly grateful to Matt for being a guinea pig of sorts! He’ll be sharing an hour slot on the PBH Free Fringe with fellow stand-up Lolly Adefope at the Southsider between the 2-23 August at 16:30. Matt and Lolly will also be appearing together as part of the hugely popular Bearpit Podcast Podcast – which is a snip at a measly three quid a ticket. In other words, go and see both – you won’t regret it.

Watch Matt Winning talk about his past and Future Fringe shows on Frankie’s Fringe Focus on Touchcast now.

Frankie’s Fringe Focus: Joz Norris

I’m going for my first ever weekend mini-break tomorrow, so I’ve released this week’s episode of Frankie’s Fringe Focus early – and it’s a proper treat, thanks to the lovely Joz Norris.

I’ve already seen a preview of Joz’s show, Awkward Prophet, so I was particularly keen to chat about it with him. As I’ve seen Joz in many guises over the past couple of years (including throwing Ben Target around a stage whilst encased in a ebony morph suit), I asked him if he could bring a couple of costumes with him, and he didn’t disappoint!

You can watch me chatting to Joz about dodgy trousers, Bowie wigs and girls (ooh errr!) over on my touchcast channel now.

Frankie’s Fringe Focus: Chris Coltrane

My latest Fringe Focus is with political activist and stand-up Chris Coltrane.

We met up to chat about his 2014 Fringe show ‘There’s No Heroes Left Except All of Us‘, but found that the space we planned to film otherwise occupied. Improvising in the baking hot sun, the ever-resourceful Chris ferried a wooden bench across the road from the pub, to a spot on the kerb.

Image

(Photo courtesy of @Chris_Coltrane)

We started recording, but my iPad had other ideas…

Luckily though, we soon got back on track, and so you can find out about why Chris got into performing comedy about activism, his favourite fellow political comics and how you can listen to his 2012 and 2013 shows for free – what a bargain!

Watch the interactive Frankie’s Fringe Focus with Chirs Coltrane 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’.

Image

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.

Image

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.

Image

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.