The Story Beast is the monstrous alter ego of John-Henry Falle, the most bearded member of modern Edinburgh Fringe sketch heroes The Beta Males. Here’s a Q&A with noted ancient wizard/bard/family entertainer.
Hello. How are you today?
Terrifying, thank you.
Are you ready for another month of Edinburgh Fringe action?
Oh, more than ready. Some of the Anglo-Saxon material is at least 10 Centuries old so well due an airing.
At this stage, how closely does your programme blurb match the content of your show?
You always want to give yourself wriggle room. I kept mine vague just in case it stopped being a comedy show and turned into a live human sacrifice to the glory of the Great Horned Gods of Old. If you want to find out what kind of show it is, you pay your ticket, ritually purify your flesh and kneel before the Red Altar of Cernunnos like everybody else.
What are your tips for getting people to see your show?
Believe that you have a good show. Or at least be very good at lying to yourself about it. If YOU like your show then that’s someway to convincing potential sacrificial victim…punters. Yes. Punters.
Is there anyone in particular you’d like to see in your audience?
Lovely geeks, the blissfully confused, beards who like real ale, people who have been sorted into Hufflepuff, sacrificial virgins.
Who are you sharing a flat with this festival and how will you help each other survive the month?
I shall be sharing a flat with the comedians Richard Soames and Adam Blampied. We have formed an accord: they don’t ask me to clean the flat and I don’t curse them to a half-life of weary wandering upon the shores of sleep where none can tell twixt nightmare and waking world.
Other than the great shows, what else are you looking forward to about your trip to Edinburgh this year?
The Auld Hoose pub, Deadhead Comics and Edinburgh Bargain Stores. Gladly shall I smite their enemies and sing songs of their glory and sexual prowess. I shall accept payment in kind.
What’s your topping at The Baked Potato Shop on Cockburn Street?
An entire scotch pie from Auld Jock’s Pie Shop.
Here’s a space to write about anything you want. Go for it.
Performing this show I have been delighted by the sheer number of audience members who know and love Beowulf, even if it’s just from the actually quite under-rated Ray Winstone movie. Favourites include a little girl in Brighton who knew the whole story and joined in, a UKIPper in Maidenhead who told me he liked it cos it’s “Proper British”* and a heckler who shouted “Do the bit where Beowulf fights all those Walruses”. So if you like Anglo-Saxon poetry, this is definitely the show for you.
*I did have to point out that Beowulf sets an excellent example of trans-European co-operation being as it is: written in a Germanic dialect, set in Denmark, and featuring a Swedish immigrant outsourced to do work (in this case Monster killing) that no one in the host country fancies doing.
The Story Beast
5-31 August, 10.30pm