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Alison Thea-Skot: My all-time favourite Fringe characters

By | Published on Saturday 6 August 2016


Some of our favourite funny acts at the Fringe over the years have been pushing the boundaries in character comedy. It’s an artform somewhere between sketch and stand-up, as character comedian Alison Thea-Skot herself notes right here as she dissects the genre, namechecks her character comedy heroes, and revisits some of her own past creations.

Character comedy is weird, right guys? Let me be clear, I love it. But you stand alone on a stage, put on a wig and say a whispered prayer to the comedy gods. It lies somewhere between sketch and stand-up, but is in its own beautifully anarchic category. And over the last few years I have had the joy of seeing some of the best character comics transform and evolve the genre at the Festival.

Let’s all shout about the genius of Joseph Morpurgo playing ‘Static’, the joy of Joanna Neary as ‘Bjork’, the mayhem of Adam Riches as ‘Victor’, the fire of Emma Sidi’s ‘Banessa’, the charm of Katia Kvinge describing ‘Jazz’, the fearless Fraser Millward screaming “has anyone seen a coach”, Beth Vyse as ‘Olive Hands’ unveiling an enormous fake bum, Steen Raskopoulos singing ‘Spoiler Alert’… and so many others I haven’t mentioned – a stuffed, juicy, explosive list of my Edinburgh character heroes who have inspired me and continue to do so.

As a character comedian you can be whatever you want. It’s truly liberating. Each time I come up with a character it is a fresh part of my messy mind being given a voice. I love to structure absolute chaos.

So let me start by talking about my first ever creation. Ah the Halcyon days, when ‘Tiff Mason Britain’s Number One Vocal Coach’ was ready to stand on her head and prove she was a Human Tuning Fork. Yep I did that, EVERY gig. A headstand, followed by an Andrew Lloyd Webber number sung upside down, as an audience member hit my legs together. Welcome to my world folks. I loved her, but I’m sure I was crushing the odd vertebrae, so for sanity’s sake I decided to move on.

Another favourite has to be when I played the King Of NLP, Derren Brown, whose elaborate mind trickery went wrong and he would accidentally end up killing a hamster with a hammer, spraying the audience with fake blood. Big props to my Mum for hand-making a furry hamster so real the audience yelped. If in doubt, ask your Mum to make you a prop.

The character I am particularly in love with this year is DCI Spray Tits. She’s a strong female character in a male-dominated Scandinavian police drama. But she has tits that spray. She’s a maverick who can’t get her job done, because of her… yep, you guessed it, ludicrous spray tits. I genuinely came up with her in a fever dream, but there’s a message in there about how female roles are represented on television. I’ll explain it at the bar. So I guess I would befriend her. See her solving a crime and washing all the evidence away with her ridiculous character quirk.

This summer I implore you to seek out my Fringe heroes, because nothing encapsulates the spirit of the Festival more than seeing a creation from the brightest corner of a comedian’s mind. All hail the wig, all hail the accent, all hail character comedy!

‘It’s Thea-Skot In Here (So Take Off All Your Clothes)’ was performed at PBH’s Free Fringe at Cowgatehead at Edinburgh Festival 2016.

Photo by Alex Genn-Bash Photography