1952. When an unsuspecting switchboard operator answers a mysterious call from a dying woman, she is entrusted with a top-secret message that pulls her into an international plot to destroy the world. This is the basis of Fringe show, Number, Please, which will be showing at Paradise in Augustines for the month of August. The Fountain caught up with director, Becca Chadder, about the show, and her plans for Edinburgh.

TF: You are performing at the Edinburgh Fringe this year, how exciting?

Yes it is very exciting! We’re looking forward to being back after our debut last year, but this time we’ll be doing a short tour beforehand with our new script so it’s a little different.

TF: Number, Please certainly sounds intriguing, what is the premise? 

It’s about what would happen if an ordinary woman accidentally became a spy at the height of the Cold War. Sheila Chadwick, a switchboard operator, receives a top secret message from a mysterious woman and has to travel across the country with a mismatched team of work colleagues and ex-boyfriends to stop the Nuclear Justice Association from starting nuclear war. It’s a ridiculously fast-paced romp through all the tropes of spy and action thrillers, with a few feminist twists along the way, and performed by a fantastically talented cast of six multi-rolling actors.

TF: And what drove the project, where did your influences lie? 

Number, Please is definitely influenced by British comedy legends from Monty Python to the iconic The 39 Steps, as well as the work of contemporary theatre companies such as Mischief Theatre. We wanted to create something fun and easy-going that audiences of all ages and backgrounds can enjoy while satirizing perhaps the most misogynistic genre: spy thrillers. Paprichoo believes that feminist theatre should be the norm, not a genre, so we’ve reversed a lot of the gendered stereotypes, such as the love-sick side-kick and the emotionally unavailable heart-throb, so that all characters are well-rounded and interesting, regardless of their gender.

TF: What are your plans for the Fringe, having been before are there any tips or musts you would offer to first-time performers?

We’re excited to get back into the madness of Fringe, and a definite must is good shoes and an umbrella! Fringe can be incredibly overwhelming as there’s so much going on, but because there’s something for everyone, there’s always an audience for whatever kind of show you bring!

TF: And what are your future plans beyond Number, Please?

Our production team will be working on the fabulous musical Chicago with The Edinburgh University Footlights to be performed in February 2020, and there are several new scripts in the works for next year’s Fringe, so keep an eye out!

You can see Number, Please at Paradise in Augustines from 3rd August – 25th August (Not 11th or 18th) at 16:50. For tickets, please visit www.edfringe.com