ED2016 Columns ED2016 Musicals

Liam O’Rafferty: Fringe survival tips from fiction

By | Published on Wednesday 24 August 2016

Paper Hearts

‘Paper Hearts’ is, and I quote, an “uplifting new British musical set in a high street bookshop”. With books on the mind, the show’s writer Liam O’Rafferty wondered what advice the characters of some of his favourite novels might offer as he embarked of his first Edinburgh Fringe production.

I’d start with Professor Moriarty. As a master criminal he is deeply flawed, but I admire him as a charming psychopath who would be good to have on your side. He would probably suggest that manipulation and blackmail is the best method when dealing with difficult individuals. Like reviewers maybe.

Mrs Haversham from ‘Great Expectations’ is another interesting character that intrigues, and whose advice would probably be to put my life on hold if I get a bad review, to remain bitter to the end of my days and never write another word.

As a mentor, Gandalf would be great. He likes a drink and would fit in well at the Fringe. He would tell me that this adventure will be good for me, and to stop complaining if the terrain gets too harsh or if the trolls attempt to eat me. There is great treasure to be found for those who endure. Could be hard work with conversation though.

Two heads are better than one with Zaphod Beeblebrox. His advice on how to charm female journalists and technicians would be entertaining. His line of “is this production boring you? Come with me, I’m from another planet”, could come in handy. Though he’s difficult to control when inebriated, I would expect, and is prone to upset people.

I finish with Atticus Finch, a man of high morals who believes everyone deserves a second chance no matter what their background. Atticus Smith, the protagonist in ‘Paper Hearts’, admires these qualities, but lacks the strength to carry through his beliefs and ambitions. Finch’s advice of staying sober and not bad mouthing another production or individual is something I will try and heed, no matter how awful I think they are. And if, by some cruel irony, I hear a producer or agent slagging off my show, I imagine he’d say to remain calm and respectful at all times. I’ll try.

‘Paper Hearts The Musical’ was performed at Underbelly Med Quad at Edinburgh Festival 2016.