Cuff’s director Tim Meredith breaks his rigid online privacy rules to swap Q&As with local rising stand-up star Rebekka Turner, one of five comedians performing on the Junkyard Five bill.
Tim interviews Rebekka
- Your show this Fringe ‘Junkyard 5’ features five stand-ups each doing 10 minutes; how did your group come together?
‘Junkyard 5’ was formed after we were asked by the owners of Junkyard Dogs, Laura Chatburn and Sarah-Jayne Brook, if we would like to put on a female five-hander stand-up show as part of their line-up of events during the Brighton Fringe. We are one of Junkyard Dogs’ in-house shows.
- If your audience had to contain one deadly apex predator which would it be?
I would pick the fox, because even if he is a carnivore that could rip you to shreds, if any literature or stereotypes are true (such as Fantastic Mr Fox) he would come and watch and judge the merit of the show and then decide whether or not he would rip you to shreds. Depending if he liked your show or not!
- Given the choice what would your one ultimate luxury be?
- You are giving audiences bite-sized chunks of quite a few stand-ups with this show – are any of you doing longer form sets and where can people go see them?
Some of the Ladies do run comedy nights. Sarah Charsley runs ‘Secret Comedy Club’ and jointly runs ‘Scratch my Funny’ at Artista and she will also be part of her sketch group Fannytasticals at the Duke Box Theatre on 26th May. Karen Blott and Katherine Atkinson have also started a new night called ‘Medusa Madness’. You can find me and my upcoming shows on my website: http://www.rebekkaturnercomedy.com/ or my twitter: @Realleela145
- Where would you most like to break in to?
Do you mean a building or comedy? For comedy I would like to do more full-on character stuff; people say my current stuff is characterful, but I mean dressing up and being a different person. I do feel however that I am not quite confident enough for character work just at the moment. I do a little bit of vocal stuff as well – I lend my voice to a community radio station in Wandsworth.
- Is there anyone that you try your material out on before it makes it to the stage?
Not really, I like to challenge myself and just go out there and try chunks of material. But if it is a joke that I am particularly stumped on for months on end, I will ask my Dad for advice or someone else I trust.
- What is your favourite heckle from an audience?
In my set I dance at around at the very start, however one time a random audience member put £5 in my trousers like at a strip club. That was more weird than anything, but that is why it is one of my favourite heckles.
- If you find yourself with a really tough room what is your go-to move to get people on board?
It really depends on what type of tough room. If for example you start off well but go downhill, or the audience isn’t liking your material* then I often revert straight to my impressions first or swap my style of joke to more one-liners. I don’t have quite the experience yet to be able to fully salvage every show that might be tough, but I am learning. Some rooms there is no rescue from, for example when the act before you picks inappropriate material or goes badly before your set, or when there is just a general bad vibe which is no one’s fault.
*however sometimes tough-looking audiences can be really deceiving and are actually having a good time.
- What is your one piece of advice for aspiring stand-ups?
Make sure to never get angry, sad or stressed before your set. It ruins your persona and puts you in the wrong frame of mind to perform – train delays don’t help this either! Everyone has their own ways of getting into the zone.
Catch ‘Junkyard Five’ at Junkyard Dogs, 142 Edward St, Brighton BN2 0JG; 11th, 18th, 15th May & 1st June @ 8pm.
Tickets £10 from https://www.brightonfringe.org/box-office/shows/view/junkyard-five
Rebekka interviews Tim
- What animal would be best at improvisation?The Horse… hooves are deeply amusing, and they can keep one hell of a straight face.
2. After last year’s successful whodunit themed shows, what new ideas are being incorporated for 2017?
More input from the audience, more action, and some of our cast have had children since last year so more sleep deprivation.
3. When getting suggestions from the audience, what topic, object or scene tends to come up most often?
Badgers and cheese… and spatulas. People are weird
4. How does Off the Cuff work around difficult e.g. not very interactive audiences?
All audiences can be great audiences, you just have to treat them right. Like a sexy ball of clay. With a ghost helping you.
5. I have noticed in the Warren brochure this year there is a lot more improvisation happening, how would you describe the current improv scene?
6. In stand-up, comedians will often edit work. How does an improv troupe edit material?
As a group, on the fly. The real skill is getting several people to all come to the same conclusion at the same time, on stage, every night… we spend far to much time in each other’s company.
7. How does the group decide what games to play? Is it pre-thought out or does it fall into place on the night of the show?
For this show we’re doing an hour long improvised episode of a TV-style detective drama, so it’s really different from a dames-based short-form show. Although, with the mystery-solving element of it and multiple characters all giving clues and building the plot together, it is sort of like one really big game. Over the 18 months or so that we’ve been developing this show, we’ve been tweaking the way we present it a bit but the fact remains that all the decisions are made live onstage.
- What skills do you think make up an excellent improviser?Kindness, humility, stupidity.
9. Is there any personal projects that you would like to promote? E.g. social media.
Nope, my online presence is limited to a facebook with privacy settings set to ‘fuck off’.
Catch Off the Cuff: Crime and Funishment at The Warren: Studio 3 (St Peter’s Church North, York Place, Brighton BN1 4GU), 11th-14th May at 8pm.
Tickets £9.50 (Concs £8) (Student £7), from https://www.brightonfringe.org/box-office/shows/view/cuff-crime-and-funishment
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