The cast of Bumper Blyton are back again for the third year at the Fringe in Edinburgh! This year they’re playing McEwan Hall! (in the basement) so throw yourself back to the 1940s when you could delight in lashings of ginger beer, get a mouth full of tongue sandwich or your lips round a nice spotted dick, as they are about for the month of August.
Producer, Jonah Fazel, spoke with The Fountain about what we can expect from the show this year whilst providing his top suggestions for what to do whilst in Edinburgh.
TF: You are performing at the Edinburgh Fringe this year yet again, how exciting, what can we expect?
Bumper Blyton have their picnic hamper packed full of parody, ready for a riotous improvised spoof in the style of Enid Blyton. Each show is a unique spontaneous adventure where a cast of some of the UK’s best-known improvisers spin an entirely new tale using hand drawn audience suggestions. You can expect 1940s vintage attire, songs and a lemon sherbet on your way in.
TF: How many years now have you been coming to the Fringe?
This will be our third Fringe. We played the Counting House Ballroom for a couple of years – which is a great room and part of the Laughing Horse Free Festival. This year we’ve moved to McEwan Hall (in the basement!) with Underbelly. Some of our cast have been coming much longer. Our director, Amy Cooke-Hodgson, is on her 12th year in a row at the Festival.
TF: And how do you make it different every time, so your audience gets a touch of variety?
Well each show is inspired by audience suggestions, some of which are illustrated and rolled in to the action on our giant story dice. Every show is completely unique as we just can’t predict what our audience will throw in to the mix. With it being improvised – with no pre-conceived ideas about plot or structure – means that no two shows are ever the same. There are twelve of us in the cast in total but only six on stage per show which means we have a fresh dynamic daily and our audience really experiences a touch of variety each and every show.
TF: What are your plans for the Fringe, you must know Edinburgh inside out by now?
Stepping off the platform at Waverley Station at the start of August feels a little like we’ve returned to your second home and as most of our cast are quite seasoned we have our favourite hangouts when we arrive for the month. Rituals include all the classics: Mosque Kitchen for a curry, a trek up Arthur’s Seat to watch the sun set/rise, ice-cream at Mary’s Milk Bar, a bus ride to spend the afternoon at Cramond and catching (& loving) a couple of shows of a genre you wouldn’t normally pick (last year we saw an African children’s Gospel choir and Japanese knife throwing act- both wonderful). It’s always good to discover something new each year as well – keeping an eye out for new eateries and places to visit – as well as (of course) being knee deep in wonderful new pieces of theatre and comedy.
TF: And what are your future plans beyond Fringe?
We are heading out on a UK tour in the Autumn and early part of 2019 alongside our London residency at The Miller, once a month. We’d love to be able to take the show to some European cities and possibly even the Australian Fringes!
Bumper Blyton: An Improvised Adventure, Underbelly Dexter – Bristo Square, 1-27th August 4.10pm