The world's biggest arts festival, Edinburgh Fringe 2018, is right around the corner. Theatre editor Daniel Perks catches up with writer Jon Gracey, who is bringing Courtroom Play: A Courtroom Play to Pleasance Dome this year:

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2018 is open! For its 71st year, the world’s biggest arts festival descends upon the Scottish capital, bringing with it a series of productions that innovate, imagine and leap into the unknown. Fringe veterans and first timers share stage space, flyer side by side and plaster their posters all over the city to try and entice us in to witness their moments of magic.

Here at Miro Magazine, we are incredibly excited by the biggest offering that Edinburgh has ever seen. Throughout the festival, we will be profiling some of the shows playing this year, as well as reviewing, listing and round up every performance. This is our way of getting to know the theatre companies and performers that are hoping to sell out and share their success.

Next up in our Spotlight feature is Courtroom Play: A Courtroom Play, which plays at Edinburgh Festival Fringe from 1 – 27 August 2018. We caught up with writer Jon Gracey:

Describe Courtroom Play: A Courtroom Play in three words.

‘Blockbuster. Dramedy. Feminist.’

Is this your first Edinburgh Fringe performance experience?

‘As a solo writer yes, but I used to roll with sketch group The Beta Males from 2008-2013 so this isn’t my first rodeo. I am definitely both excited to get back into the thick of things and concerned in my absence everything will have changed beyond all recognition.’

Who else are you most looking forward to seeing while in Edinburgh?

‘I’m very, very excited to see Kill The Beast’s new show, Director’s Cut. Quite apart from the great writing and performances, their shows’ aesthetics – lighting, set, costumes, you name it – are always on point. Doing my first play this year has really hammered home how bloody hard that is, so my respect for them has reached new heights. They’re only on for a week, so book now.

‘Comedy-wise, on the strength of titles alone, John-Luke Roberts and Christopher Bliss’ shows are both going to be incredible, but would take up too much space to describe here. They’re both very funny humans though, so I’ll absolutely be checking them out. I’m also looking forward to Stevie Martin’s debut solo hour.’

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2018 Courtroom Play

Chazz Redhead

Who are your inspirations?

‘I’m really enjoying immersive/ interactive theatre at the moment – it’s so hard to do well, but so rewarding when you get it right. Board games, videogames and D&D are a constant source of inspiration, often for storytelling and mechanics. Taking a fun idea from a game and transliterating it into theatre is super exciting, too. Courtroom Play is hugely inspired by the Japanese videogame series Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, which is a super dumb and fun visual novel game where you play a defence lawyer desperately trying to get his friends off the hook for crimes they haven’t committed.’

What is your secret to surviving the intense, fast pace of the fringe?

‘Downtime. I get major FOMO and always try and overbook myself into seeing as many shows as I possibly can. I know this year that I’m cripplingly old now and I understand myself better, and taking time at home to relax, unwind, sleep and look after myself will lead to a better Fringe both for me and my precious, precious shows. Being at the Fringe is similar to being a freelancer, in that you could always be working, so you need to fight that impulse and impose limits on yourself, or else you’ll be working all the time, getting run down, and your work will suffer. Be nice to yourself.’

What are the future plans for Courtroom Play: A Courtroom Play?

‘Given this is a play about small towns in the south of England, I would love to tour it to small towns in the south of England. Or big towns! I’m so proud of this silly, funny thing we’ve made, and I want as many people to see it as possible. It’s expressly designed to be a fun, riotous night out that people are allowed to enjoy – there is little pretension here. Courtroom Play: A Courtroom Play is unapologetically mainstream. Touring and then an extended run in a lovely London theatre, please.’

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2018 Courtroom Play

Emily Lloyd-Saini

What is the best production you’ve seen in the last 12 months?

‘Appropriately enough, Agatha Christie’s Witness For The Prosecution at London County Hall – an actual old courtroom in Waterloo – was genuinely spine tingling. Sitting up high in the lofty chamber like you’re in the Wizengamot in Harry Potter was amazingly immersive. The play was very good – a nice, taut suspenseful mystery, well portrayed – but it was the setting that elevated it into something truly special.

‘On the spookier, but no less exceptional end, Picnic At Hanging Rock at The Barbican by Malthouse Theatre was a deeply unsettling and eerie production of the classic Australian novel. The set was very spare, abstract, but with clear intent. The still, creepy performances combined with excellent sound design and lighting left a strong impression long after the show was over.’

Is there anything else you want to highlight about Courtroom Play: A Courtroom Play?

‘We’re taking up another show to the fringe called Werewolf: Live, which is an interactive comedy game show based on the classic party game Werewolf (or Mafia). It’s loads of fun, got nominated for best newcomer at Brighton Fringe and is a show we’ve been building for years, having taken it all over the world. It’s very silly and I host it in a baller cloak. It’s got a great atmosphere and vibe and I’m so excited to take it to Edinburgh for the first time.’

 

 

Writer: Jon Gracey

Director: Benita de Wit

Producer: Treehouse

Cast: Katherine Rodden; Chazz Redhead; Lucy Farrett; Emily Lloyd-Saini; Mandy Dassa; Thom Tuck

Courtroom Play: A Courtroom Play runs at Pleasance Dome as part of Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2018 from 1 – 27 August 2018. For further information, please visit the venue website.