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Quick Quiz: Josie Lawrence

By | Published on Saturday 29 July 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.
To kick us off, the cast of the iconic improv show ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway?’ get all nostalgic as they return to the Edinburgh stage once again. Today, Josie Lawrence.

TW: What was you first ever experience of the Edinburgh Fringe?
JL: Well, my first experience must have been around 1985. I was directing a Denise Black and the Cray Sisters show. The Comedy Store Players were up there and Paul Merton had a cold, so they asked me if I would step in, and that’s how I started performing with them. If I hadn’t have gone up there that year, things might have been very different. My first improv game of Emotions was with Mike Myers. It went really well! Mike said it was a “fine debut”.

TW: What’s the best thing you’ve ever seen performed at the Fringe?
JL: I directed the fabulous Linda Marlowe in her one-woman show ‘Berkoff’s Women’ at the Assembly Rooms in the late 90s. She’d been a long time collaborator with Steven Berkoff and had collated all his female characters and put them into one show. She won awards and still performs it to this day, along with about six other one-women shows. She’s an inspiration to all actors.

TW: What’s the worst thing you’ve ever seen performed at the Fringe – so bad it was good?
JL: I happened to walk into a late-night show one evening. I can’t remember the title of it, or who was performing it, but it was a one-man show and he seemed to just be very angry that there were only five of us in the audience. I have a vague memory of him talking at one point about his kidneys and his liver, but the rest is a blur.

TW: Which of the Fringe shows you performed in do you most fondly remember – and why?
JL: I think it’s got to be the first time that I properly went up to perform with the Comedy Store Players at the Assembly Rooms. We all shared a flat together. I think there was only one other improv show that year and ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway?’ had taken off as well. We just had the most amazing audiences and great fun on and off the stage. Acting-wise, the one I most fondly remember is ‘Picasso’s Women’.

TW: Name a Fringe performer – past or present – who you’d love to see participating in ‘Whose Line?’
JL: I think he’s such a stalwart in Edinburgh and so loved, that it would be lovely to see Arthur Smith join us. To me, he’s everything. A funny man, a poet, and a fantastic teller of stories.

TW: Other than performing and seeing shows, what is your favourite thing to do in Edinburgh during August?
JL: To be honest, I’m not a fan of crowds, which seems silly when I’m talking about the festival because it gets so crowded! It’s always lovely when you find that little quiet oasis somewhere and you can just sit and have a drink and watch the world go by.

‘Whose Line Is It Anyway? – Live At The Fringe’ was performed at the Assembly Rooms at Edinburgh Festival 2017.