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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www.thesatindollz.com

www.jiveaces.com

An Interview with Rosie Sings

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It is a rare gift indeed to be funny AND sing like an angel. The Mumble were honored, then, to catch a wee blether with Rosie Houlton…


Hello Rosie, so where ya from & where ya at, geographically speaking?

Rosie: Hello Mumble, well I was born in the city which lacks all culture – Milton Keynes! I now live in the city where culture thrives – EDINBURGH!

When did you first realise you could sing really well?
Rosie: When someone told me they thought I could and then I asked someone to teach me how to try and do it well.

Which singers inspire you?
Rosie: Oh SO many singers are inspirational and I am constantly learning! However the artists I’m listening to at the moment would mainly be Morgan James, Shoshana Bean and Anne Marie.

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When did you first develop a passion for performing?
Rosie: Being born a Princess I’m no stranger to performance. I grew up touring the UK with my Dad in the circus and I often got asked to help with his act which I found fun and got to have a small taste of ‘showing off’. It wasn’t until I started Rosie Sings where I found the passion because I can just express who I want to be in the ways I want. It’s more of a true and honest passion.

You’re washed up on a desert island with an all-in-one solar powered DVD/TV combo & three films, what would they be?
Rosie: Three movies to pick me up if I was ever to be bored of the sea and sand would be – From Up on Poppy Hill, Moulin Rouge and Batman Begins.

Last year you were performing at the Fringe. How did it go?
Rosie: Last year was my first show at the fringe however a lady from the audience after one of my shows did came up to me and say ‘I come to see you every year – but this year you were the best you’ve ever been’… so I’m going to go with what she said and say – I was the best I’d been!

What have you got for us this year?
Rosie: This year the show is about all the men from my love life… or as many as I can fit in within 60 minutes.

Your show is quite a mish-mash of styles, just what exactly ARE you?
Rosie: … I’m me Bitch … I love everything from Old School Garage to Whitney.

How much of Rosie Houlton the person is there in Rosie Houlton, the performer?
Rosie: All of the stories in my shows are factual. How I perform them and the confidence I have on stage is the Rosie I inspire to be in my day to day life… but usually I just spend my time eating oreo cookies while I bathe.

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Can you tell us about your band?
Rosie: The band well … the band are what bring my show to life and add the unique character and sometimes aroma most boys bring along with them. I’ve been a very lucky Princess indeed as I’ve had a wonderful time working with different musicians throughout the year which has helped adapt the show creatively. The arrangements for the show have mostly been worked on with my Fairy Godmother Neil Metcalfe, if you live in Edinburgh and work as a musician you will know or want to know Neil, he is a genius and I wouldn’t have a show at all without him. During August I’ll have the wonderful Doug Price flying over from Canada to take on the role of Musical Director for the Fringe. Doug and I worked together last year and it will be so much fun to have him back by my side to see what we can get up to this time! I’ve also worked with Linda Stewart who stepped in on keys Sunday 1st July who has been working with the musical Wicked and touring the world on cruises. But the boys who make me smile and often wet in my pants are the very tall, sexy Scottish duo you got to see me perform with recently – Damien Quinn and Callum Morrison. We will be seeing more of them alongside Rosie Sings in the future but for now my lips are sealed!

How do you select the songs for your show?
Rosie: The songs I select can be for a number of reasons. Most importantly I have to like the songs I’m using and make sure that they have relevance to my story. Sometimes the song comes first because it reminds me of a story and other times I have a story and have to find a song to go along with it.

You’ve got 20 seconds to sell the show to somebody in the street, what would you say?
Rosie: I’m the voice of an angel with the mouth of a sailor. I will sing some of the greatest love songs to compliment the stories of my turbulent yet fruitful love life… and I just discovered Gin, which has nothing to do with me turning 30.

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How will you know & feel when you have just given a good performance?
Rosie: From how it effects my audience. I’m always pushing myself out of my comfort zone and encouraging others around me to face their fears. With this show being specifically about the trials and errors of my Love life, I’ve already found in my previews it is connecting with some people who can relate to a mutual experience. The show is to entertain through being honest about who I am. I’ve made some mistakes and I’ve learnt some things and when an audience member connects with that and tells me afterwards, I find that really rewarding.

Can you describe the experience of performing at the Fringe in a single sentence?
Rosie: Last year I caught a photographer taking photos of me and so I stopped to smile at him, he said, ‘No don’t stop, I’m just here to capture your struggle.’

What will you be doing after the Fringe?
Rosie: I’ll be getting on the next plane to the hottest place where I will stay until someone pays for me to come home … and eat cheese.


Rosie Sings Facts About Love

Fingers Piano Bar

Aug 4-26: (16:20)

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www.Rosie-Sings.com

An Interview with Ben Dali

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Ben Dali is back at the Fringe, & each year he just gets better & better. The Mumble managed a wee blether with the boy wonder


Hello Ben, so where ya from & where ya at, geographically speaking?
Ben: I’m from North London 11 months of the year and Edinburgh the other twelfth.

When did you first realise you were, well, magical?
Ben: My grandpa used to show me magic tricks when I was a kid but it was shortly after uni I realised I was special – that I could really work out how people were thinking and what tactics they were computing, then exploit that for magical purposes. A few years later I discovered I could influence behaviour as well as predict it and things snowballed from there.

How did you get into performing your mystical skills live?
Ben: Working as an entertainer in the tourism industry carries a lot of public relations duty so I did vast amounts of close-up magic and mind reading then. After a few years with ample stage experience I learnt hypnosis and put a show together then started driving around entertainment venues, phoning and emailing social clubs and pubs to put my show on and taking any performance opportunities I could find to hone my craft.

What are the key ingredients to your magical style?
Ben: Hypnosis and Mind Reading can only work if you have a deep understanding of behavioural psychology and individual differences – how people think, adapt, and act in the specific environment you create at the exact time they find themselves in it. On top of that you need to be able to deliver your material so that the participants and audience are engaged and enthralled throughout. So I’ve crafted a unique stage persona in which I’m basically running two shows simultaneously – one for the volunteers and one for the unhypnotised audience. I try to be as entertaining, funny, educational and charismatic as possible to give as many people as possible some personal memories.

This will be your 4th Fringe. How have you evolved as a performer in that time?
Ben: Well my work ethic and place within the Fringe have certainly evolved over the years. My first time round in 2015 I didn’t know anyone, and was blagging my way through the month. My show was great but I’d been touring and adapting it for 4 years and nobody in Edinburgh had seen it before, but apart from that I was just taking on 100+ guest spots and trying to meet people. After that I started running my own cabaret shows, getting to know the cabaret and comedy scenes pretty well, working on new material and solidifying my place as the festival’s go-to hypnotist for the generation. I’ve also learnt to manage my time better and not burn out during the run. This year I’m even taking 2 days off which is a first!

What have you got for us this year?
Ben: So Trance Of A Lifetime is all new, with some exciting new sketches exclusive for Edinburgh, including tragedy on the Antique’s Roadshow, simulated nudity and the world’s first 5D cinema experience. As always nobody is picked on but invited to volunteer from the audience, and given happiness and confidence boosts to help them enjoy the rest of the festival. It’s going to be quite the extravaganza, with the biggest change being my timeslot – up til now it’s been 13:30 but now at 22:00 I can do more adult things that wouldn’t have worked before (but still no humiliation). With my variety show the Not So Secret Society we’re also in a new timezone at 18:30 so this is family friendly, all suitable for 8+ audiences with some really huge names across the festival which can be viewed on facebook.com/NotSoSecretEd. There’s a couple of special adult one-offs for people who miss the ol’ burlesque and x-rated comedy sets of years gone by.

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What does Ben Dali like to do when he’s not being, well, magical?

Ben: In general I’m also a pub quizmaster, and have spent the last year working as a teaching assistant in a year 3 class in North London primary school ahead of September when I start training to teach my own class for next year. While teacher training won’t leave me with much free time, I love appearing on TV game shows (most notably Countdown, The Chase and Take Me Out), movies, music and catching live comedy and cabaret.

You’ve got three famous figures from history coming round for dinner. Who would they be & what would you cook; starter, mains & dessert?
Ben: Well we’d have to start with Franz Mesmer the Austrian inventor of hypnosis as an artform. I’d love to find out how he realised he had his powers without having 2 centuries of inspiration before him like I did, and how he harnessed those powers for the purpose of entertainment. Then I’d like to show him how things have evolved since the 1770s. Alfred Hitchcock would need to be there, he’s a massive hero and influence – not just the quality of his films but the methods he used to create suspense and climaxes which I always think about carefully when designing new skits, trying to use the peaks and troughs in my pieces like a Hitch film. Finally my greatest hero of all time and the biggest influence on my public persona in the early years of performance was Richard Whiteley. I watched him constantly as a child then met him when I appeared on Countdown at 19. He was a beautiful man who mastered his craft as best befitted his personality and capabilities, was universally lovable and controlled that studio like it was his own living room in which his contestants, audience and viewers at home were utterly welcome. He seemed to genuinely like me in our short time together and I’ve often channeled my inner Richard while hosting gameshows and stepping on stage. For food, I don’t want to spend a moment away from my guests so we’d Uber in some gourmet Pot Noodles.

You know a good show when its happened, what are the special ingredients?
Ben: For a hypnosis show the key element in a good show is good volunteers. With most live entertainment there’s a strong correlation between the quality of the performer and quality of the audience, feeding off each other’s energy and propelling the show along. With hypnosis – sure, I can have a good day or bad day, the audience can be good or bad but everything pivots on how good the best subjects are at interpreting my suggestions. A show with 2 great volunteers and an audience who aren’t that into it with me on a rare day underperforming is still more special than a show with 5-10 volunteers who achieve mild trance and aren’t responsive even if the audience is enthusiastic and I’m at the top of my game. Of course, if all 3 of us are on form then that presents the kind of show that people will hold dear as their most memorable Edinburgh Fringe moment and that’s what I’m trying to achieve – so that when the punters tell their friends, family and colleagues what they did over summer, they’re telling people about my show. Trance Of A Lifetime does what it says on the tin.

At the 2016 Fringe you started running your own cabaret night, the Not So Secret Society, which has grown from strength to strength in both Edinburgh & London. Can you tell us about the idea?
Ben: Sure thing Mumble. So the Not So Secret Society was set up a few years ago in Glasgow by my producer Frodo Allan, who also ran the legendary Bongo Club Cabaret that introduced the concept of the variety show to Edinburgh. We started working together in 2016 and I was running another variety show, so he asked if I’d like to open a London branch of Not So Secret running monthly year round, which I did. When Ed17 rolled around we brought in a NSSS branch, and I scouted out some top acts from across the festival. I’ve done another year of the London shows and pulled in some really big names, so our database of acts is getting quite spectacular and that really shows in our lineups for this year.

Who have you got for us this year?
Ben: There’ll be about 80 different performers putting in appearances this summer and every one of them is immensely talented. The biggest names we’ve got are Rory Bremner and Jan Ravens, Stuart Goldsmith, Grammy winner Lady Rizo, Sweden’s Got Talent winner and Edinburgh’s undisputed best magician Charlie Caper, Best Newcomer 2017 Natalie Palamides, Carl Donnelly, Carey Marx, Mark Thompson – we’ve got performers from all the big name venues, sellout acts, and every show is different. Check out our full list of acts on facebook.com/notsosecreted.

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You’ve got 20 seconds to sell both shows to somebody in the street, what would you say?
Ben: Well I wouldn’t promote both shows in the same 20 second pitch, but… “Free hypnosis show! Trance Of A Lifetime!” Come to the festival’s funniest, most unpredictable and unforgettable show. Come on stage and get hypnotised or enjoy the show from the audience as you prefer.” For Not So Secret the promotion methods would depend entirely on the day’s lineup.

Using my own mind-reading powers, I do believe this might be your last Fringe for a while, whats the angle?
Ben: Yep, my last one. You’re a very impressive mind-reader. Or simply ‘reader’. I want people who have thought over the last few years ‘I’ll see him next year’ to know that there isn’t going to be a ‘next year’ again. And for those who have seen me before to come pay tribute to the past by witnessing my 21 swan songs. And for people who haven’t heard of me before to bask in the fact that they discovered me just in time. And to lead a more nocturnal existence for once now I don’t need to be flyering in the mornings, enjoy the night time cabaret scene a bit.

Well good luck with that Ben, & thanks for chatting. One last question, can you describe the experience of performing at the Fringe in a single sentence?
Ben: Thanks for having me Mr Mumble, it’s been a pleasure. Performing at the Fringe is the ultimate journey of self-discovery – when you’re pushed to the limits in the most competitive environment any performer can find themselves you get to know your strengths and weaknesses and work ethic and just how much you’re prepared to put in to achieve the best you can.


Trance of a Lifetime

Liquid Room Annexe

Aug 4-13, 15-21, 23-26: (22:00)

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www.bendali.co.uk