The world's biggest arts festival, Edinburgh Fringe 2018, is right around the corner. Theatre editor Daniel Perks catches up with writer & performer Jon Gracey, who is bringing Werewolf: Live to Underbelly Cowgate 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 Werewolf: Live, which plays at Edinburgh Festival Fringe from 2 – 26 August 2018. We caught up with writer & performer Jon Gracey:

Describe Werewolf: Live in three words.

‘Interactive. Comedy. Game!’

Is this your first Edinburgh Fringe performance experience?

‘It is for Werewolf: Live, but I’ve been to the Fringe for many years with sketch group The Beta Males. But that was from 2008-2013, so there has been an extended leave of absence. It’s exciting to be bringing something back up. As The Beta Males we took many narrative sketch comedy shows to the Fringe, from The Bunker (post-apocalyptic) in 2010 to Superopolis (super heroes!) in 2013. They were really fun, and gave me a great appreciation of the value of world building, as well as the glorious silliness and accessibility of playing with genre.’

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

‘I’ve heard nothing but great things about The Pin for years, but I always tried to get in on a pass and they were constantly sold out, so I’m going to stop being a tightwad and buy a ticket this year. I love the look of Jayde Adams’ poster and I hear she’s going to kill it this year. I’m also really intrigued by Owen Roberts from the excellent Beasts solo show – I Let a Six-Year-Old Write My Show. Such an amazing premise, can’t wait to see what he does with it.’

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2018 Werewolf Live

Image courtesy of Katherine Rodden

Who are your inspirations?

‘Honestly, it was taking a break for a couple of years. I went travelling with my partner, worked freelance and let some of the dust settle. It was then I discovered a huge love for board games, which when mixed up with all the sketch and theatre stuff I’ve done over the years has led to the creation of Werewolf: Live. Working and gigging and writing all the time is great, but tiring. Taking an extended break and zooming out was hugely helpful, and allowed stuff to happen in a gentler, more organic way.’

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

‘Guard your free time preciously. Going and seeing other shows is fantastic, and can be really enriching, but you’ve got to protect your energy. Have a safe, quiet home space where you can unwind, get loads of sleep, and give yourself a break. There are countless demands on your time, but you need to be ok with choosing none of them. If you go and see shows, try seeing something outside your remit. I still remember checking out a Korean circus/ cabaret show on a whim in 2016 that blew my mind and reminded me just how amazing the Fringe is.’

What are the future plans for Werewolf: Live?

‘We’d love to tour it around the UK – it’s a very cheap show to put on (in case any venues are reading – we’re a steal!) and the interactive element makes it always feel so fresh and fun. The main challenge is explaining what exactly the show is, but once people have played, the reactions are incredibly positive. We’d also love to tour Australia next year, and looooong term we think it’s would make a great TV show. Easy, right?’

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2018 Werewolf Live

Image courtesy of Katherine Rodden

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

‘This is cheating, because it was in 2014, but Mr. Burns at The Almeida still ranks as the best bit of theatre I’ve ever seen. Truly apocalyptic. To give a more modern answer, we saw an immersive show called Project Black Antler by Blast Theory at Brighton Fringe 2016 (sorry, still not answering it properly) which was one of the most intense, engaging things I’ve ever done. You had to infiltrate a potential white supremacist terrorist cell down a local pub and get info out of them and the whole thing was harrowing and confronting and brilliant. Oh and I saw Police Cops at the Soho Theatre last year and it was utterly brilliant – amazing, tight, high-energy sketchy-narrative comedy that had me in stitches and also gasping at their stagecraft.’

Is there anything else you want to highlight about Werewolf: Live?

‘Most excitingly, we’re doing a one-off charity show on 21 August – we’ve got some amazing comics lined up to play, and all proceeds going to Kidney Research UK, so you should definitely come to that!

‘I’ve also written a play which is being put on at Pleasance. It’s a comedy drama entitled Courtroom Play: A Courtroom Play – as the name suggests it’s very silly and fun, but with real heart. Think blockbusting Hollywood legal drama set in a small British town, or Legally Blonde meets Hot Fuzz. We’ve got  a lovely bunch of very funny actors and comedians bringing it to life and I couldn’t be more excited.’

 

 

Writer & Performer: Jon Gracey

Director: Viv Egan

Producer: Treehouse

Werewolf: Live runs at Underbelly Cowgate as part of Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2018 from 2 – 26 August 2018. For further information, please visit the venue website.