Usually one half of double-act Thomas Hardie, Caroline Hardie had to face Edinburgh alone last year after her comedy partner chose to have a baby rather than endure the unparallelled stress and pain of putting on a sketch show at the Fringe.
It was a success though, and Caroline produced a one-woman character effort that delighted everyone who saw it.
At this year’s Edinburgh Festival, Caroline is still on her own in Does My Face Look Big In This?, which looks set to introduce to a whole host of new friends stored in Caroline’s mind.
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On a scale of cardboard to Christmas, how excited are you for the Fringe this year?
Star on top of the Christmas tree excited thank you for asking. Though, if we could not mention Christmas again before November, I’d hugely appreciate it.
What’s your show about (in a maximum of two sentences and without using the following words/terms: unique, defiant, sassy, action-packed, thrill-a-minute, crazy, random, middle-class hip hop)?
Very succinctly put, it’s about putting the wow in daily routine. It’s also a mixture of stand-up, sketch and character; I like to be inclusive.
This is your second year as a solo character act. Do you miss being part of a double act?
Last year was tough going, but I had a lovely time doing the show in the end and it was wonderful to know I could manage it on my own, but I really missed Joy. She’s coming up to visit thought which is totally fantastic. Can’t wait. Though it’s my second year on my own, it’s my first year on my own on purpose, it’s quite a different feeling. Joy was pregnant when it came to applying for places at the festival but determined she was going to go with the baby and so we planned accordingly. Yes it was ambitious, but you don’t argue with a pregnant woman; she could totally take you in a fight. She could now actually. Don’t tell.
Do you have a favourite character?
Very difficult. Not sure. There are favourites to perform because it’s easy to ‘talk’ the character and you can play around more easily. It sometimes worries me which ones are easiest for me to ‘talk’. There are others where you like the writing the most and they’re fun to build stage by stage with the script. I think I have a favourite this year called Orthodox Australian Feminist (O.A.F. for short) – I tell you what mate, I bloody love her.
How do you decide what characters to put into a show?
Well, individual characters come from lots of different starting points and because this year’s show is driven by overarching narrative, it was probably more about deciding which characters not to put in the show. I had to say goodbye to two new characters that didn’t really fit in, however all is not lost as they are kindly forming the basis of an idea for next year, which was rather helpful of them.
What is the full range of emotions an audience member can expect from your show?
The full range. But with less emphasis on the rage end of the scale. One hopes.
Is your show easy to adapt for Radio 4 in case it wins the Fosters Comedy Award?
Yes – who should I tell? Can I just say, it’s lovely to be considered to be considered for the award.
It’s an interesting name for a show. Where does it come from?
It’s just what comes to mind when I look at lots of posters – I always think it’s possible to imagine the question in a speech bubble and it would fit the image. It’s actually hugely ill-thought out when you look at the tiny image in the programme.
Do you have a favourite Fringe memory?
Walking home in the late hours of the morning having met and chatted to people I’d never met before all night long.
What else are you looking forward to in Edinburgh this year?
Being able to see shows! Last year our show was at 7pm with PBH – the tail end of sketch o’clock and over in New Town- which meant I missed so many shows I wanted to see because of flyering fun – and of course doing the show itself. This year I’m on at 1.40pm at Underbelly – nice and central, and I am going to see show after show. Very excited.
Here’s a space to write anything you want about any subject. Go for it:
That’s very kind of you chaps, and ordinarily I would stay chatting, but I have to learn lines. And watch the tennis. And because I can’t cope with the pressure, possibly sit outside for a bit. And then feel guilty that I’m not learning lines. And then go and learn lines. And then watch the tennis. And because I can’t cope with the pressure, possibly sit outside for a bit. You get the idea.
Caroline Hardie: Does My Face Look Big In This?
July 31 – Aug 26, 1.40pm
Underbelly Bristo Square
£7 – £9