From the makers of Boris and Sergey, Tatterdemalian and Skrimshanks, Flabbergast Theatre are back at Edinburgh’s Fringe to bring audiences a spectacularly immersive experience where they will be transported back to the 1800’s for a night of clowning, cabaret and debauchery.
Henry Maynard talks to The Fountain about the premise of The Swell Mob as well as his plans for the Fringe.
TF: You are performing at the Edinburgh Fringe this year, how exciting?
It’s great to be back at Fringe and this year we have been moving in new directions. We recently explored our first text based work with a Research and Development production of Shakespeare’s Macbeth that we’ll continue to develop, and The Swell Mob is our first foray into Immersive work.
TF: Your show certainly sounds intriguing, what is the premise?
Set in an 1800’s bar, we’ve created a work that the audience become a part of. The more you interact with the characters and explore the space, the more you will discover about the world, it’s inhabitants and the secrets they won’t have immediately on display. The bar is open for the whole show so you can sit and watch things unfold but the devil is in the details…
TF: And what drove the project, where did your influences lie?
The audience have always been seen as a part of our work, we’ve always created work where the fourth wall is at least flexible, if there at all. We are known for our puppetry work and more recently we have been working with contemporary clowning in the award-winning Tatterdemalion. We continue to develop and grow all the time and our most recent project before this was our first exploration of text based work. Moving into immersive theatre is another natural step for us as we grow.
TF: What are your plans for the Fringe, having been before, are there any tips or musts you would offer to first-time performers?
Fringe always seems too long and too short. There is so much to do work wise when you’re performing that often you see very little, but my advice to performers and visitors alike is see whatever takes your fancy. No matter what other people say or do, find the things you want to see. There is something for everyone and not everyone enjoys the same things. Apart from shows, I will take a little time out to walk Arthur’s Seat, a change of pace is a great thing in the hectic-ness that is Fringe.
TF: And what are your future plans beyond your show?
I hope future plans involve this show. We’d love to see it have a life beyond Fringe and let more people explore, enjoy, be bewildered by and elated in The Swell Mob.
The Swell Mob, Assembly Underground, 7:45pm (75 minutes), 1st – 26th August (not 13th)
Extra 6pm shows Friday, Saturday Sundays (except Friday 3rd) @FlabbergastT