ED2017 Comedy ED2017 Interviews ED2017 Quick Quiz

Quick Quiz: Eric

By | Published on Monday 21 August 2017

This August the Edinburgh Festival celebrates its 70th anniversary. To mark the occasion, we have asked a plethora of performers about their personal Fringe experiences. Today ThreeWeeks Editors’ Award winner Eric, who first performed his popular ‘Tales Of The Sea’ show at the Fringe in 2008.

TW: What was your first ever experience of the Edinburgh Fringe?
E: I first came to the Edinburgh Fringe in 2000. I had booked accommodation for one week. I saw show after show and absolutely loved it. Come the end of the week, I didn’t want to go home. So I asked if I could extend my stay. “No”, was the curt response – the B&B was fully booked. So, I walked the streets, knocking on doors, finding accommodation where I could, for a further week. During those seven days I was invited to perform various guest spots, which I readily accepted. I was now seeing up to eight shows a day and performing in three more. It was exhausting, but I loved it and resolved to come back to Edinburgh every year after that. And here we are!

TW: What’s the best thing you’ve ever seen performed at the Fringe?
E: ‘Bruce’. A children’s puppet show that was most definitely NOT for kids. It was from the same Australian company that had brought ‘The Adventures Of Alvin Sputnik – Deep Sea Explorer’ to Edinburgh previously. It was probably the best writing I have ever experienced. The twists and turns just didn’t stop – and all performed by a piece of sponge! Utterly Brilliant.

TW: What’s the worst thing you’ve ever seen performed at the Fringe – so bad it was good?
E: ‘Pearshaped’ is a new act night in London every Wednesday – it is billed as the second worst comedy club in London! During Edinburgh, ‘Pearshaped’ decamps to the Fringe. Its venue used to be in the back room of the Holyrood Tavern – the room there that is now the restaurant.

Brian Damage ran that Fringe venue at the time and many acts performed their one hour shows there. Indeed, it was the venue where Wil Hodgson and Laura Solon both won their respective Perrier laurels. Then, when all the shows were finished, at about midnight, the venue became ‘Pearshaped’. Up to 20 new acts, sometimes including myself, would do five minutes each and together they would often outnumber the audience by about four to one!

One night there were only two people in the audience, two middle aged local guys, who were both clearly very good friends and even more clearly very inebriated. They heckled throughout and were way past the point of being embarrassed by clever put downs – they simply would not shut up! It soon became clear that the gig was totally unplayable.

So Brian had the genius idea of turning the tables and getting them up on stage. What followed was an indescribable hour of off-the-wall antics that you simply couldn’t write. While all 20 acts sat in the audience in absolute hysterics!

That Fringe venue venture was also where Brian met his now wife Krysstal. She was performing her one woman show at the venue. They have been performing as a double act both off and on stage ever since. So a mad show and a proper love story – you can’t get any more Fringe than that!

TW: Which of the Fringe shows you performed in do you most fondly remember – and why?
E: Probably that very night at ‘Pearshaped’!

TW: Name a Fringe performer – past or present – who you’d like to join on stage? Why?
E: Those two blokes from ‘Pearshaped’, obviously! You would have to get them really drunk first though.

TW: Other than performing and seeing shows, what is your favourite thing to do in Edinburgh during August?
E: Drinking Caledonian 80 Shilling of course. But please drink responsibly!

Eric’s ‘Tales Of the Sea – A Submariner’s Yarn’ was performed at Just The Tonic at The Caves at Edinburgh Festival 2017.

Photo: Steve Best