What fun we had enacting such eye-widening tales as Periods & Patriarchy, The Murder at Wobblescotch Manor, and the decidedly risqué When Cousins Marry, in the grand surroundings of the beautifully restored McEwan Hall.
We also mustn’t forget that much-loved staple of the Edinburgh Fringe calendar – Crosstentatious. A one-off special edition of the show where the ladies don the garb of gentlemen and vice-versa! This time around Rebels & Responsibility raised several thousand pounds for the excellent local charity Waverley Care. It also featured possums, jacuzzis and more recreational drug use than we think Jane would normally have included in her novels, but if you put Andrew Hunter Murray in a dress what more can you expect?
We shall have but a short rest in front of the blazing hearth before we set off once again, gallivanting across the country on our national tour, popping back only to frequent London’s Savoy Theatre for our monthly West End shows.
Thank you kindly to everyone who packed out the Hall, and see you next year, Edinburgh, you beautiful beast!
Although we return to the Edinburgh Fringe in August, and shall traipse around all corners of the nation come autumn, we have been restricting our recent activities to a monthly spectacular in London’s glittering West End.
How have we been filling our diaries in the meantime, we hear you incredulously demand?
Well, funny you should ask. Here are the myriad other performative places our eight proficient players are popping up:
The endlessly diverting Miss Rachel Parris will be performing a solo musical cabaret show on a grand piano (no less!) in the heart of London’s theatreland. Make your way to the gilded galleries of Zedel to hear her sparkling melodies on the 18th July.
Ever the oracular equilibrist, Miss Charlotte Gittins has been gallivanting all over Europe to grace the stages at international improv festivals in France and Austria, and shall shortly materialise closer to home at various fixtures of the London improvised comedy calendar.
Our very own smouldering cardsharp Mr Graham Dickson is currently perfecting a new solo show for Edinburgh, titled Timber. This Hollywood-set dystopian character-comedy fantasia will be playing at the Fringe at 5.30pm every day, and in the meantime London previews can be descried on 24th May, 9th June, 13th July, and 25th July.
In a stroke as appropriate as it is unheralded, the audaciously unblenching Miss Amy Cooke-Hodgson could recently be stumbled upon teaching MPs how to improvise at the Houses of Parliament this month, as part of a campaign to Save Arts Subjects in the school curriculum. Sans state duties she can also be caught devising the magnificent Bumper Blyton – An Improvised Enid Blyton Adventure at the Brighton Fringe this May ahead of their Edinburgh Fringe run.
Bashful grandee Mr Daniel Nils Roberts can be occasionally glimpsed at such comic evenings as Criminal Improv, Stand Up History and Bright Club in the near future, and is setting his house in order in fevered anticipation of a full Edinburgh Fringe foray with returning improv anarchists Racing Minds.
Spirited farceur Miss Cariad Lloyd, meanwhile, has been setting the airwaves alight with her snowballing success story Griefcast, which has graced the inky pages of The Times, The Independent and The Telegraph, no less. Not content with her own hit podcast, she has also popped up on another – guesting on Adam Buxton’s prestigious audio effort for good measure.
Angualar fabulist Mr Joseph Morpurgo is on the road throughout the hazy summer months with his critically acclaimed solo show Hammerhead: part Frankenstein adaption, part lunatic spoof of the post-show Q&A. After a sell-out Edinburgh Festival run, and a month’s residency at London’s Soho Theatre, this “uproariously funny” (The Guardian) comic extravaganza will be touring cities and shires alike.
And finally, brazen inveigler Mr Andrew Hunter Murray has this to say: “I’m in Australia with No Such Thing As A Fish. Don’t touch my stuff while I’m gone.”
“Ah! There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort”
After a delightful month in the festive crumpled geography of Edinburgh we are indeed returned home for some (dare we say) well-earned rest.
We performed twenty-five of Jane’s lost works over our time in the Scottish capital, and their titles and subject matter were increasingly unexpected and unique! There was ‘Belfast Pubs I Have Known’ – a lurid tale of drinking and culture clashes in Northern Ireland, with some decidedly regrettable accents. ‘Prude & Incredulous’ subjected that day’s audience to the unforgettable sight of Mr Joseph Morpurgo clad in nothing more than a top hat (artfully positioned), and the run was topped off with ‘Jane Austen’s Love Island’, which saw blushing couples competing round the campfire. Jane was truly a visionary. And if the top hat incident was anything to go by, she will have wished she couldn’t envision quite as much as she did.
And so, wearied and flushed, we stumbled back down south. But our respite shall not last long. For we are soon to embark on a tour to every corner of our pleasant English land. From Leeds to Swindon, from Bath to Buxton – our landau shall bear us from borough to borough, as we bring the forgotten scribings of Jane to the public once again. Every date can be found here.
What’s more, we shall shortly perform in the suitably swanky surroundings of Kensington Palace, no less! Jane would be proud indeed.
So forgive us if we make the most of our brief break, sip tea and read books by the hearth, for soon we will be leaping into literary action once again!
Are you sitting comfortably? Then we shall seize this chance to delightedly announce that Austentatious will very soon be coming to a radio near you! If your proximate receiver is switched to BBC Radio 4 at some as yet TBC point in June. Which of course it should be.
Yes, lovely Auntie Beeb has commissioned us to perform Austentatious on the wireless in recognition of the upcoming bicentenary of dear Jane’s death (18th July 1817, fact fans). We are over the moon about it (the commission, not the death), especially since it will be the first long-form improvised format the BBC have ordered since our good friends The Showstoppers had their own radio run in 2011.
The show will be recorded at the Drill Hall on May 5th, in front of a live audience (which as established alas rules out Jane herself), and will then be polished up and ready for transmission in the summer.
Thrilling as that is, it constitutes just part of what is shaping up to be a very, very busy summer for the group.
In August, we return to our spiritual home of Edinburgh for our 6th(!) Fringe in a row, where we will once again be donning our pelerines and pelisses to take to the stage in that divine supine bovine – the Udderbelly!
Before that, we’ve a smattering of performances across the land, including an appearance at the Cornbury Music Festival alongside our musical heroes Right Said Fred (we fully expect a rendition of ‘I’m Too Sexy For My Chemisette’ played on the harpsichord), and at the Wimpole History Festival, alongside our favourite subject at school: History.
What’s more, we’re somehow finding the time for not one, but two European jaunts to France and Germany. Sacre Bleu! Something in German!
And to top it all off there may well be another very special announcement being made very, very soon. Watch this space, dear readers…