Rachel Parris one of the best, most talented musical comedians and improvisers out there. In addition to her starring role in Austentatious (the improvised Jane Austen novel), she tackles inspirational speeches in her solo hour.
At this stage how closely does your programme blurb match the content of your show?
Surprisingly closely actually. Back in Feb when you write the blurb, I basically set myself the challenge of workshopping how to write an inspirational speech (which I’ve actually got to do in real life, in Sep!) and that’s still what the shows about, because I’m still very much working on it.
Have the momentous events of 2016 affected your comedy in any way?
Yeah definitely. My show doesn’t focus on things like Trump, or Brexit or Syria, but the reality of these things means that every reference you make to feminism, to war, to class and society, comes out a bit differently – it’s not a relaxed laugh anymore, because things feel so much on a knife edge. So you can’t make an easy joke about it, you have to write more carefully I think!
Who are you sharing a flat with and how will you help each other survive the month?
I’ll be sharing with most of Austentatious again, we’ve done that for a few years so we are used to each other! We’ve all been doing Edinburgh a while now and the best thing we can provide for each other is tea/whisky/peace and quiet. We are not rock and roll, except Graham Dickson who is a little bit rock and roll.
Any shows you are particularly excited about seeing?
YES. Sara Pascoe, Tez Ilyas, Phil Wang…Can’t wait to see Kathryn Bond’s new character hour and looking forward to seeing Dan Antopolski – he’s back!! and I always go and see Aunty Donna – I love them so much. I try to always sit front row for full fear-of-being-kicked-in-the-face.
Other than great shows, what else are you looking forward to about Edinburgh this year?
The end of it (specifically): for the first time ever, I’ve booked a HOLIDAY up in Scotland just as the Fringe ends so when they’re taking the scaffolding down I’ll be swanning around Loch Lomond! the dream!
What celebrity death hit you most hard in 2016?
Victoria Wood. My family would sit round watching every programme, every special, when I was growing up and I loved everything she did, her songs, her characters, her sitcoms and standup. I love variety and she was everything I want to be as a performer. Her musical comedy was really really good. People mainly remember that song about a womans weekly but if you listen to her others, she was a master of parody and a great songwriter.
Here’s a space to write about anything you want – go for it!
As I get older, I’m getting more into pop music and I can tell you with some certainty that Hoop Dede Hoop Di Hoop Do Hoop is my favourite lyric in Nikki Minaj’s repertoire. Also, if you listen to Justin Bieber’s “What Do You Mean” if you listen to the final few bars, he quietly, in the background, pleads, “Be more straightforward” and it makes me laugh every time.
Rachel Parris: Keynote
2-28 Aug, 8.20pm