An Interview with Keith Brown


The internationally renowned wizardry of Mr Keith Brown will soon be sparkling around Vancouver. The Mumble caught up with the fellow for a wee blether…

Hello Keith, so where ya from & where ya at, geographically speaking?
Keith: I am from London, Ontario but I recently relocated to Toronto.

When did you first realise you were, well, magical?
Keith: Probably when I was 13. It’s when I got my first gig as a magician performing at a local pub down my street. I had already been doing magic for a few years but it was more of a hobby. It was around this time that I realized I was doing something special and that I could really pursue this as a career instead of just for fun. It was also when I realized how incredible lucky I was to be able to find my passion and have the support necessary to pursue it. Not everyone finds their passion let alone at such an early age.

This is your 28th time performing at a Fringe festival, having toured the world in the process. Do you think the appetite for magic is different in different countries, or is there a universality to what you do?
Keith: I think that magic is a universal language. Sometimes it’s best not to say anything at all and let the magic speak for itself. However, there are definitely cultures where magic plays a greater role and has a bigger cultural significance. I was recently in Africa and had to be careful of who I performed for in case they took it the wrong way. Where as in Asia magic is very much ingrained in their culture.

How did performing in front of the First Lady of Iceland turn out?
Keith: She sat front row with her 5 and 7 year old. They had a great time! I honestly still can’t believe it happened and all I did was have the courage to send an email and invite them.

You know a good show when its happened, what are the special ingredients?
Keith: Everything just clicks and it’s a well oiled machine. I think the special ingredients are being mentally and physically prepped. There’s nothing worse than doing a show sick or on zero sleep. Also, a willing audience. An audience that’s ready to have fun, participate and enjoy mystery. It’s a lot harder to win over an audience when they don’t want to be there. However, I find that’s rarely the case at Fringe. Standing behind the curtains and hearing the roar of the audience before you even walk out is usually a good indicator.

What does Keith Brown like to do when he’s not being, well, magical?
Keith: I like to travel, hang out with friends and family. My show is rather high energy so I enjoy my down time and doing something low key like seeing a movie, trying new food or grabbing a drink. I like learning new things, challenging myself and seeing the magic in everyday life.


You’ve got three famous figures from history coming round for dinner. Who would they be & what would you cook; starter, mains & dessert?
Keith: I’d invite Steve Martin, Gary Vaynerchuck and Dai Vernon, arguably the most influential magician in the last 100 years, and someone who has deeply influenced my thoughts and approach to magic. Runners up would be Elon Musk, Einstein, Kevin Heart, Howard Thurston, Johann Nepomuk Hofzinser, Salvador Dali & Jim Carrey. I already have a hard time deciding what I want to eat, but… Steak & goat cheese salad with a balsamic vinaigrette. Barbecued pears with blue cheese, pine nuts and dried cranberries. Make your own pizzas because who doesn’t love a good pizza? Dirt pie, dutch apple pie and vanilla ice cream. I am a child trapped in a man’s body.

If your performance style was a soup, what would be the key ingredients?
Keith: This interview is making me hungry. I’d go with a homemade hearty chicken noodle soup. Something that’s satisfying and filling, plenty of veggies and with the right amount of spice.

Do you find it difficult or easy to blend storytelling with magic?
Keith: Yes and no. Some tricks or effects can stand by themselves and don’t need a story. They are the story. However, others can really benefit from a story to take it to another level. To make it more than just a trick and give it some meaning. The hardest part is finding a story worth telling and pairing it with the correct trick. It’s also hard to find a story that fits my voice, my personality and my character. I see and come up with tricks all the times that don’t fit my performance style and would be better suited for another magician. Some of the stories I do tell in the show have taken a life time to develop, and I am still tweaking them.

You will soon be performing at the Vancouver Fringe – what have you got for us this year?
Keith: I have an interactive magic and story telling show that features the story of how I got to perform at a Stanley Cup party before I could even drive a car, as well as the trick that put me in the hospital. There’s everything from mind reading, feats of memory and magic classics. It’s magic with every day objects that you can find around the house or get from the store. It’s participatory magic that the audience helps create!

You’ve got 20 seconds to sell your show to somebody in the street, what would you say?
Keith: I was chosen Toronto’s BEST Magician and I am not even from Toronto. I was featured on TEDx and am a best selling author. I have been doing this for over 16 years, longer than I haven’t, because I love it and hopefully you’ll enjoy it just as much as I do!


Absolute Magic

Studio 1398

September 7 @ 5:00 PM (Half Price Tickets!)
Sun, September 9 @ 7:45 PM
Mon, September 10 @ 10:15 PM
Thu, September 13 @ 6:45 PM
Fri, September 14 @ 8:45 PM
Sat, September 15 @ 3:00 PM

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An Interview with Valour & Tea


Valour & Tea love Vancouver, & of course Vancouver loves Valour & Tea. The Mumble managed a wee blether with the intrepid duo…

Hello ladies, so where are you both from and where are you at, geographically speaking?
Val: At present, we are both located in Calgary, Alberta (Canada). But Celene arrived in Alberta by way of Prince George, British Columbia.

When did you first develop a passion for theatre?
Celene: Probably when I was around 9 years old and was cast as Mrs Claus in my primary school Christmas play. I’ve become a marginally better actor since then.

What for you makes a good piece of theatre?
Val: I believe good theatre accounts for its audience – it requires them to be there. If your audience watches your play and thinks “that would work just as well on screen as on stage” then you’ve missed out. I think this is why so many theatre practitioners are now leaning towards site-specific work, shows that require audience participation, and pieces that are immersive – all of those experiences demand that the audience be present in order for them to happen.

You’re washed up on a desert island with an all-in-one solar powered DVD/TV combo & three films, what would they be?
Val: Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, Carl Reiner’s The Jerk and Jim Henson’s Labyrinth

You’ve got three famous figures from history coming round for dinner. Who would they be & what would you cook; starter, mains & dessert?
Celene: Catherine II, Aphra Behn and Salvador Dali.
Starter: stuffed mushrooms
Main: charcuterie and cheese selection
Dessert: black forest cake (picked up from a bakery)

Stuffed mushrooms always remind me of family and home, and I think comfort food is a great ice-breaker. I’m not terribly domestic and wouldn’t want to be stuck in the kitchen whilst having such luminaries in my abode. Plus, I really like charcuterie.


Can you tell us about Valour & Tea?
‘Valour & Tea’ is the banner that Celene and I fly over our comedic misadventures. It provides us with an outlet for our mutual love for vaudeville-style duo comedy, as well as our other recklessly ambitious theatre projects. Our official-unofficial motto is “we can totally do that;” we chase our impulsive creative pipe-dreams with a profound bullheadedness and somehow make them work. And – amazingly – audiences seem to like it. Our work is character-driven, audience-interactive, often site-specific, and we always think we’re hilarious.

Six years into your creative journey together, what are you doing differently to when you started?
Celene: We’ve managed to introduce some order to the chaos – we didn’t really know what we were doing with our first show, DOES THIS TURN YOU ON? We had a lot of ideas but didn’t know how to refine and focus them into the greater story. As a result, DTTYO was very manic (though oh so fun) and I think we learned a great deal from that process. We also have the obvious benefit now of a long working relationship: we understand and trust one another. That encourages us to take risks and challenge ourselves, resulting in more interesting work.

You’ve done Vancouver before, with DOES THIS TURN YOU ON? – how did it go?
Celene: We love Vancouver as a city, and as our first non-hometown Fringe it was wonderfully welcoming of our weird clown sketch comedy show. The show received mixed reviews – I recall one person wrote at length about it and I was thrilled, thinking, “Yes, he got everything we were going for!”. And then I read a review where the critic’s one positive note was that it had a short running time. We didn’t lose our shirts, so overall I consider the experience a success. Vancouver is the last of the North American Fringe touring season, so it’s always really special to connect with other artists for one last hurrah. I think that’s part of the reason we keep coming back.

What are the ingredients to your style?
Val: Vaudeville, slapstick, physical theatre, music, dance and a teeny bit of puppetry.

Can you describe your working relationship with Celene in one word?
Val: Audacious

Can you describe your working relationship with Val in one word?
Celene: Intrepid


You’re bringing your new creation, Jan & Peg’s Ritual Sacrifice, to the Vancouver Fringe. Can you tell us about it?
Celene: Two well-meaning housewives, one Tupperware party, one search for the perfect sacrifice. Nothing is sacred in this irreverent romp through the perils of multi-level marketing, proper ceremony etiquette, and ambrosia salad. Join Jan and Peg for some good old-fashioned fun, and who knows? Maybe later a very special guest will be conjured… er, drop by. Come for the cupcakes, stay for the summoning!

You’ve got 20 seconds to sell the show to somebody in the street, what would you say?
Val: “Oh hi there, hon! What are you doing this evening? Maybe you’d like to attend my totally normal Tupperware party! It’s totally normal and not at all suspicious in any way – say, how’s your liver? You look like a guy who has a really nice set of internal organs. You should bring those to my party – Kidneys, too, okay? Super, hon, see you tonight!”

What will you & your play be doing after the Fringe?
Celene: There are no concrete plans yet, but as we build a repertoire of shows to draw on I think a tour is inevitable. We both love travel and there’s nothing like the working vacation of doing a project in a new city. And as a company we design our shows to be as low-waste and mobile as possible. Have art, will travel!


Jan & Peg’s Ritual Sacrifice

Tickets on sale August 8th

Performance Works

Sept 7 – 6:00pm
Sept 9 – 9:30pm
Sept 11 – 7:00pm
Sept 12 – 7:00pm
Sept 15 – 3:00pm
Sept 16 – 5:45pm


An Interview with Devon More


Devon More will soon be rocking into Vancouver with her Flute Loops. The Mumble caught her for a wee blether beforehand…

Hi Devon, so where are you from & where are you at, geographically speaking?
Devon: I grew up in Kamloops BC, and now live in East Vancouver, but I also spend a lot of time in New Westminster.

When did you first develop a love of performing?
Devon: I always wanted to be “an artist” – even before I knew what that was. At 6 years old, I learned my first instrument – the flute – at a summer music camp. Recently, my parents shared a home recording of me singing an “original song” (called “The Froggy Dance”) around the same age, so things haven’t changed much.

What are the strings to your showbiz bow?
Devon: I’m a vocalist and multi-instrumentalist, though I think of myself primarily as a songwriter – and there is always an element of story to my work. I tour my original musical storytelling shows to festivals across Canada. I’m the frontwoman and guitarist for Hang Lucy – a Vancouver-based punk-pop indie rock power trio (also featuring John Pigeon on bass, and Ariane Tasca on drums). We just released our debut EP this spring! “Stroke of Luck” is now available on iTunes, Spotify, and all digital music outlets. I perform musical works of “edutainment” at schools across British Columbia, where I also conduct workshops with young people and work with educators on arts integration. And I started my own indie theatre series in New Westminster.


Can you tell us about Way Off-Broadway Wednesday?
Devon: Way Off-Broadway Wednesday is the underground theatre series I run. It’s my effort to keep the “Fringe” spirit alive year round, and create a casual live performance space that is inclusive, unspoiled by market capitalism, and connects people face-to-face. It started by accident in November 2016: I was in the middle of a month-long run in the cozy cabaret-style back room of The Heritage Grill (a legendary local music venue in New Westminster, BC). And then He Who Shall Remain Nameless was elected on Tuesday, November 8th… Performing Berlin Waltz (my Cold War cabaret that details the history of the Berlin Wall and my years living in the city) the following night – to coincide with November 9th’s anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall – was strange: suddenly “Walls” were a hot topic again – and much closer to home. But it also was therapeutic and empowering to share the incredible story of the peaceful revolution enacted by ordinary people that ultimately destroyed the Berlin Wall and the oppressive regime behind it. I have been programming a different weird, wild, and wonderful weekly work ever since. Every Wednesday night, at 7pm, Way Off-Broadway presents a unique show, ranging from Fringe circuit hits, to intimate storytelling events, to first readings of brand new plays. And W.O.W. always operates at a postcapitalist price point: Pay-What-You-Want, with proceeds going directly to the evening’s performers.

What does Devon More like to do when she’s not performing?
Devon: Surf. Cycle. Swim. Be a super auntie to my 2 nieces and 1 nephew.

You’ve got three famous figures from history coming round for dinner. Who would they be & what would you cook; starter, mains & dessert?
Devon: Patti Smith, Bonnie Raitt, and Ella Fitzgerald. I’d cook whatever was in season at the nearest farmer’s market.

You are bringing FLUTE LOOPS to the Edmonton Fringe. Can you tell us about it?
Devon: Flute Loops is a comedic music-based play set at the rock concert of a hipster band: The Flute Loops have just gone viral, thanks to Thomas’ knack for translating face-melting guitar solos from classic rock into fancy fingerwork on the flute. I play Thomas’ girlfriend: a classical music-loving, quantum physics PhD student (and fish-out-of-water) who is filling in at the merch table for the evening. The concert doesn’t run as expected…and it might have something to do with my character’s thesis project, which aims to warp space-time – using the pressure of sound waves. It’s worth mentioning that she is heavily under the influence – of Stephen Hawking.

Where did the idea come from?
Devon: Flute Loops started at the intersection of music and math. I wanted the subject matter of this summer’s show to be relevant to my method of music-making. I often work with a loop-station so that I can live-mix the accompaniment for my songs, and in effect play several instruments at once; the result is a progression of patterns and intervals that made math seem like the natural choice. And math lead me to fall down the rabbit hole of Quantum Theory – which from a writer’s perspective is so rich with philosophical questions about the nature of space, time, and certainty. At it’s core, Flute Loops is an exploration of the “space between” – whether it be the intervals between music notes, the gaps in our subatomic structure, or the alienation we feel as humans.

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Can you tell us about the backing band?
Devon: If I am honest, I put a lot of my pet peeves regarding the worst of musician-types onto The Flute Loops’ band members. They’re a 4-piece band of attractive, straight white guys who managed to go viral thanks to a gimmick of instrumentation, sloppy, sexualized lyrics, and an infectious dance video. Thanks to this taste of fame, their egos have grown so big they can’t even be bothered to turn up on time for their audience. The Flute Loops’ also rely heavily on “samples” from pop music, which in turns inspires my character to sample some of the most famous riffs and licks – from the classical genre…! I had a chance to spend a month composing the soundtrack at the Lookout Arts Quarry (in Washington) this spring: the resulting indie rock songs explore the nature of space-time, and are embedded with traces of Ravel, Mozart, Strauss, and Beethoven – among others.

You’ve got 20 seconds to sell the show in the streets?
Devon: Flute Loops is a rock opera about quantum physics where anything that can happen does… Only suitable for patrons who like live music, strong female characters, and – this is important: who have a sense of humour. Another useful prerequisite would be a small degree of curiosity about the universe. We’ll warp space-time, and transcend all 4 dimensions…and sometimes the spirit of Stephen Hawking even swings by.

What does the rest of 2018 have in store for Devon More?
Devon: After spending 5 months on the road this year, I’m looking forward to a creative and productive autumn back home in East Van. I miss my Hang Lucy bandmates! We will be hitting local stages. I have a brain full of new story and song ideas to bring to fruition, along with an exciting season at Way Off-Broadway Wednesday.





Sat Sept 8 @ 6:15pm
Mon Sept 10 @ 8:15p
Tues Sept 11 @ 7:45pm
Thurs Sept 13 @ 5:00pm
Sat Sept 15 @ noon
Sun Sept 16 @ 8:15pm
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An Interview with Amy Shoshtak


Vancouver, watch out, because Gossamer Obsessions are coming to town with sketch comedy unlike any you’ve ever seen before. The Mumble managed a wee blether with the lady member of that most fearless duo…

Hello Amy, so where ya from & where ya at, geographically speaking?
Amy: I was born and raised in Edmonton, and now I am based in Vancouver.

When did you first develop a passion for performing?
Amy: As a kid, I was always putting on “plays” and “magic shows” for my family. I loved being in front of people! But then, the self-consciousness of being a teen crept in, and I became shy, and forgot about that passion. During high school, my very encouraging drama teacher suggested I join the improv team, and the rest is history!

So, Amy, your improv skills are much sought after, you’re like the Don. How did your teaching of improv come about & where are you with it today?
Amy: Well, I don’t know how much I am like a mob boss, but I certainly do love teaching! I started teaching years ago through Rapid Fire Theatre, coaching in their tournament for high school students, and also running classes for adults and children. In Vancouver, I teach with Blind Tiger Comedy.


Can you tell us about CHiMPROV?
Amy: It is Rapid Fire Theatre’s weekly long form improv show. It’s really excellent. Every Saturday you can catch different troupes doing very interesting improv. The troupes will experiment with editing, genre, and character in a long form setting.

Can you tell us about your trip to Monkeyfest in Bogota?
Amy: I visited Colombia several years ago to see my friends at Picnic Improv. They run a very cool improv school, as well as circus classes. Bogota was beautiful – I’d love to see more of South America one day!

What does Amy Shoshtak like to do when she’s not being funny?
Amy: I love going to metal concerts, and hiking in the mountains. I also love nachos.

Can you tell us about Gossamer Obsessions?
Amy: Paul and I started working together over a decade ago, doing improv at Rapid Fire Theatre. I really admired his approach to comedy. He always plays smart, while still sharing the joy he’s experiencing on stage. We got together to write a list of “Gossamer Obsessions”. Then we turned that into a performance. And then we wrote more, and started performing regularly. And so Gossamer Obsessions was born.
The show is framed by two curious narrators (The Vicar, and his Petulant Ward), who share parables and cautionary tales with the audience (these are the sketches). The tone of the show is purposefully whimsical, jarring, and still hilarious.

You & Paul live in separate cities. Do your creative processes involve a lot of skyping?
Amy: You nailed it! We skype every couple weeks and work on writing in google docs.

What are the secrets to a good sketch?
Amy: I think if it makes you laugh, then you are on the right track. Finding your own voice in creative work is one of the biggest challenges. Try not to worry about doing it right – just do it, and try it out in front of an audience!

Can you describe your working relationship with Paul Blinov in a single word?
Amy: Depraved.

You’ll be bringing The Morality Puns to the Vancouver Fringe, can you tell us about it?
Amy: The Morality Puns is our third full-length Gossamer Obsessions sketch show.

Where have the sketches come from?
Amy: The ether.

You’ve got 20 seconds to sell the show to somebody in the street…?
Amy: Saturday Night Live meets a fever dream. A critic once called Gossamer Obsessions “19th century stoner humour”.

What will Amy Shoshtak & Gossamer Obsessions be doing after the Vancouver Fringe?
Amy: After Vancouver Fringe, I’ll be working on my Dialogue and Civic Engagement Certificate at Simon Fraser here in Vancouver, and helping produce The 20th Vancouver International Improv Festival. Also, Halloween!


The Morality Puns

Revue Stage, 1601 Johnston St.

Friday Sept 7: 8:45pm – 9:45pm
Saturday Sept 8: 10pm – 11pm
Sunday Sept 9: 1:45pm – 2:45pm
Tuesday Sept 11: 9:30pm – 10:30pm
Friday Sept 14: 5pm – 6pm
Saturday Sept 15: 4pm – 5pm


An Interview with Rob Gee


The Vancouver Fringe is rising rapidly on the horizon, & impeccable wordsmith Rob Gee is, well, geeing himself up for his gigs, big time…

Hello Rob, so where ya from & where ya at, geographically speaking?
Rob: Raised in Derby, Living in Leicester, currently in Calgary.

Why comedy, what is it about being funny in front of other people that makes you tick?
Rob: I’ve always liked entertaining folk since I was king Herod in the school nativity. And the sound of a bunch of people laughing is lovely. Also, I sometimes talk about some pretty rough subjects in my shows, so it comes down to that thing George Bernard Shaw said about how if you’re going to tell people the truth, you’d better make them laugh or they’ll kill you.

You’re also a dab hand with a quill. Can you tell us about your poetry?
Rob: Anyway, basically I do stand up poetry, which is a bit like stand up comedy, but it rhymes and there’s no jokes in it. I used to do loads of poetry slams too. One of the reasons I’m looking forward to returning to Vancouver is its fantastic slam scene.

You’ve shared stages with numerous personalities & luminaries; who have been your top 3 & why?
Rob: Sue Townsend, who wrote the Adrian Mole diaries. She was a really interesting speaker and her books are hilarious. Tony Benn, old school Labour MP. He was a delight. Dick Fish, who sings for punk band the Subhumans. I grew up on punk rock, particularly the anarcho stuff, so Dick was a childhood hero. I gigged with his band, Citizen Fish, once or twice in the 90s, and then he started doing spoken word, so I gigged with him a bit more. He’s lovely and he always spoke to me like we were mates. I was all awestruck and dithery, but it didn’t seem to phase him.

You’ve got three famous figures from history coming round for dinner. Who would they be & what would you cook; starter, mains & dessert?
Rob: It would have to be the three wise men, surely? They’d be pretty interesting conversation with a few beers in them. Actually, maybe two wise men and a translator. I’m not a very cook, but I live in Leicester and there’s a lovely South Indian place near me. We’d go there.

You’re bringing a show to this year’s Vancouver Fringe, can you tell us about it?
Rob: It’s a murder mystery set on an Alzheimer’s ward. I was a psych nurse for a number of years and I also love murder mysteries. There was also a lot I wanted to say about dementia. So it’s funny, with the occasional moving bit.

What’s the difference between a Canadian audience & a British?
Rob: I can only speak in terms of Fringe festivals, because they’re the only Canadian audiences I tend to do. Generally speaking, Canadian audiences tend to be a lot bigger, because their Fringes are better – the whole model is different. This leads to more questions than answers, I know. You’ll just have to take my word for it. Also, Canadian Fringe audiences are orientated more towards theatre, whereas UK Fringe audiences (particularly in Edinburgh) tend to be more focused towards comedy. In terms of what they laugh at though, it’s actually very similar.

What is the creative process behind writing your comedic material?
Rob: It starts with the idea that makes you giggle, or at least ignites something happy in the old grey matter. Once that happens, I then I like to write many pages of drivel which, several drafts later, I then use to I bore the people around me. Then it’ll do a scratch performance in a pub near where I live, and then it’ll do a tiny Fringe festival somewhere I lick the beast into shape. And then it’s ready!

What are the key ingredients to your style?
Rob: I like lots of light and lots of dark. And it goes in and out of rhyme. And it’s both kinds of funny.

You have twenty seconds to sell the show to someone you are flyering in the streets of Vancouver – what would you say?
Rob: It’s like Clue meets Memento. (That allows a few seconds in case they’ve not heard of Memento, then I can refer them to Google…)


Forget Me Not

The Alzheimer’s Whodunnit

Revue Stage

Sept 6, 9, 11, 12, 15, 15 (times vary)

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Interview: A Jive Ace & A Satin Doll

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Anthony & Cleopatra; Napoleon & Josephine; The Jive Aces & The Satin Dollz; some unions simply transcend romance. The Mumble managed a wee blether with Ian & Bella…

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Hello Ian, so where are you from & where are you at, geographically speaking?
Ian: Originally from Essex and East London but I got a bit posher and moved to Sussex 😉. I was actually born in Liverpool while my parents happened to be there for work, so basically an Essex Scouser… 😉

When did you first realise your were a natural born performer?
Ian: I guess at the age of 9 when me and my sister put on a whole circus in the back garden for all the neighbors and raised money for charity. There had been a circus workshop in the park near our house during the holidays and it certainly inspired us.

Hello Bella, so where are you from & where are you at, geographically speaking?
Bella: Hello! I am from a town called Folkestone, in Kent, and that’s where I currently live!

When did you first develop a love of music?
Bella: I’ve loved music from a very young age. I started dancing at the age of four and developed a love for music beyond my years.

By 2018, what are the strings to your showbiz bow?
Ian: I think the main thing is really that I absolutely love doing this ‘job’ and I love the audience and making people happy. (I would say that goes for the whole band too). So because of that I feel I can entertain naturally so that’s the basis. I sing, play trumpet and ukulele. And I have the best bunch of musicians with me and we also love to surround ourselves with and nurture great talent such as the gals that are with us on this show – singing, dancing showgirls the Satin Dollz!

You’ve got three famous figures from history coming round for dinner. Who would they be & what would you cook; starter, mains & dessert?
Ian: They would be Louis Prima, Dean Martin and Elvis Presley – I would definitely cook (with a little help from the Grazia, our accordion player) calamari for starter, then sea food spaghetti with garlic and obviously Tiramisu for dessert, with a ball of gelato. Obviously it has to be Italian food with two of those guests being bonafide paisano

You have a wonderful, traditional voice – who are your influences?
Bella: I’m influenced by many artists including Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole and Eva Cassidy.

What does Bella like to do when she’s not performing?
Bella: I have a love for vintage clothes, so in my spare time I love to attend vintage events and go shopping!

Who are the Jive Aces & what is your role?
Ian: The Jive Aces are a six piece jump jive and swing band who have been together, same line-up, for 21 years. Some of us have known each other since school! We very often have extra guests with us usually at least a female vocalist but we have added more and more variety in recent years until this show at the Ed Fringe which kicks off a tour with the lovely Satin Dollz! I am the band leader, front man and co-founder and basically the ‘Ring Leader’ in this great show!

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Who are the Satin Dollz & what is your role with them?
Bella: The Satin Dollz are group of singing and tap dancing pinup darlings. We mostly perform songs from the 1940s with slick choreography and tight harmonies. We have three divisions, LA, Paris and London. I am the vocal captain for the London Dollz.

You are bringing a show to the Edinburgh Fringe. Can you tell us about it?
Ian: The show is “Swinging the Fringe” and is our first show at the Fringe with the Satin Dollz – it is upbeat fun jive and swing music with the gals tap dancing, singing and great choreography with colorful frocks and suits with the style and glamor of the 40s and 50s

How did the link up with The Jive Aces come about?
Bella: Originally through Facebook through mutual performers over 10 years ago. They first met in LA when the Jive Aces were touring over there and performed a show together at Warner Bros. Then when the Paris and London Dollz were started they invited us to do many concerts. We are doing a four show theatre tour in Northern Ireland in November and several UK theatres next Spring too.

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Can you describe your working relationship with Ian in one word?
Bella: Laughter

Can you describe your working relationship with Bella in one word?
Ian: Posh…

What will the Jives Aces & The Satin Dollz be up to after the Fringe?
Ian: This kicks off a theatre tour that takes us to Ireland, across the UK and even to the US – can’t wait!!

You’ve got 20 seconds to sell the show in the Edinburgh streets?
Bella: The UK’S No.1 Jive and Swing Band and a talented bunch of singing and dancing pinup darlings, what more could you want?

Swinging the Fringe

Assembly Checkpoint, Bristo Place

Aug 13th (21.30) 14th (18.30) 15th (15.00)

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An Interview with Sam Russell


Sam Russell is coming up from London on the sleek, slick wings of the Angel Comedy night. The Mumble caught him for a wee, mid-flight blether …

Hello Sam, so where ya from & where ya at, geographically speaking?
Sam: I am from a place in South London, called Streatham. We are famous for having London’s biggest indoor ice rink, a few nice green spaces and knife crime… All our attractions involve blades of some description. Currently I am on a large bed in a room at Edinburgh Business School on my first day at the Fringe, wondering if I should go back into town or just get as much rest as possible.

When did you first realise you could make people laugh?
Sam: There is an apocryphal tale that at about 4, me and cousin would stand on tables and not tell jokes as such, but say words in the cadence of jokes e.g.
‘Why is the pasta always wet?’
‘Because of the tomatoes!!!’
This did get laughs apparently, purely due to the confidence of the delivery rather then the quality of the writing. Something I still somewhat rely on to this day!

Can you tell us about Angel Comedy in London?
Sam: Angel Comedy is just a little bit magic. It started out just as many nights in London do. A free gig, above a pub (The Camden Head, in Angel), once a week. But due to the amazing talent and work ethic of the team its Aslan-like founder, Barry Ferns (see his show, ‘Barry Loves You’ every night of the fringe 9:00pm at The Tron) has assembled. It now owns the top two London comedy clubs on Trip Advisor. The original and their brand spanking new venue, the wonderful titled ‘The Bill Murray’ both running 7 nights a week. Angel runs under a great philosophy, which is basically London can be a massive rip off for everything. But not having much disposable income doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a laugh. It is still free to get in for all of the 8 o’clock shows at both venues, we have a bucket at the end and people pay what they can. What is lovely is you’ll see the student who could only throw in a couple of quid a few years ago, come back after landing their dream job and then throw in a £20. That’ the magic part! If you want to get a taste of that magic at the fringe, check out the Angel Comedy Showcase at 1:15 every day @ Espionage.

What are the differences between a bad MC & a good one?
Sam: A good MC put the night before themselves. A bad MC makes the night about themselves.
A good MC is a charming waiter serving a variety of different courses. A bad MC is a waiter who doesn’t really care about the food and just wants to go outside for a fag.
A good MC is a good parent making sure the bath water is the right temp for baby, not to hot or to cold. A bad MC throws the baby in the tub willy-nilly.
A good MC doesn’t let is show how much it infuriates them when audience members say to them ‘hey, you should try stand up’. A bad MC makes a sarcastic comment.

Can you tell us about Shoot From The Hip?
Sam: Shoot From The Hip is how I got into comedy. I went to Uni at Royal Holloway. There was an improv society there, which I had a few friends in. They kept asking me to give it a go and I kept saying NO. I was going to be a serious actor darling. Eventually they twisted my arm, I did my first show… and never looked back. Shoot From The Hip was born from that group of friends, and since November 2011 we have never gone a week without doing a show. This fringe is actually the longest I’m going to go without doing improv and I am already freaking out about it. The show we do is called a ‘Mullet’. Short up front, Long in the back. Basically the first half is fun improv games like ‘Whose Line’, and the second is an improvised 25 min play. We currently do three shows a week as well as one of theatre shows, for full details check out:

What are the three main differences between an Improviser & a Stand-Up?
Sam: 1. You’re alone in stand up. With improv you’re in a team.
2. I think you need to be a special breed of monster to do stand-up. But I genuinely think anyone can improvise, its just like learning to play like a kid again.
3. Stand up feel like being a great stage magician, you know all the moves to make it seem as if something miraculous has taken place. Improv on the other hand can sometimes feel like real magic. Something will happen on stage and we’ll all look at each other and think ‘How the hell did we do that?’

You’re washed up on a desert island with an all-in-one solar powered DVD/TV combo & three films, what would they be?
Sam: 1. 1978’s Superman. I would want something that would make me hopful
2. 2005’s The producers. I would want to laugh and that film never fails
3. A semial piece of pornagraphic cinima. Because I am a honest man


You are bringing your solo debut to the Fringe, LUCKY BASTARD. Can you tell us about it?
Sam: I started writing this show in January, about how lucky my life seemed and how I had a strange sense of guilt about it. I get to do my dream job, I am married to a very lovely woman and I’m all on the things that we in society think of as privileged: straight, white, male, middle class etc. However in March of this year, something happened that flipped this show on its head (I won’t tell you here, you’ll have to come see it). But it made me takes stock of my life and I began analysing more what luck is. Apart from adding this March event, the content of the show remained remarkably similar: Doing a Elmo voice to piss off cold callers, dealing with estate agents named Chad, meeting my hero… What changed was the perspective. The show is now about how when we are lucky we need to admit it and embrace it. Don’t always be looking for the next thing you want; wallow in the majesty of the wonderful everyday. And also when things are going shit, remember that they can always get better and that if you’ve got a tomorrow to make things better, you are a Lucky Bastard.

You’ve got 20 seconds to sell the show to somebody in the street, what would you say?
Sam: “Hey guys, looking for some comedy! Awesome! Well I’m doing my first show up here, I’m incredibly excited. It’s called Lucky Bastard. Its a hour of stand up comedy that I’ve been working of for the last year. I don’t want to spoil by giving too much away, so I’ll just tell you three things that you can look forward to in the show: 1. A pitch perfect Elmo impression. 2. Handy methods for getting cold callers to never call you again. 3. a philosophical look about what really important in life and how lucky we are to all be alive and enjoy this glorious day together.”

What will Sam Russell be doing after the Fringe?
Sam: Straight after the Fringe I am going to a convention in Leeds called Thought Bubble to pitch a comic book about Adam from the Garden of Eden, living thoughtout all of human existance whilst looking for his wife Eve, who has been kidnapped by God… so you know… normal stuff.


Just the Tonic @ The Caves

August 2-12, 14-26 (16.55)