An absurd multimedia pelt through the history of everything. Fresh from taking London’s West End by storm in smash-hit, Austentatious, Daniel Nils Roberts attempts to cram the entirety of recorded time into just one show whilst at the Edinburgh Fringe. Will he cover it all? Either way it’s gonna be one hell of a ride. Daniel spoke with The Fountain about The History of the World in 1 Hour as well as his list of shows he is looking forward to.
TF: You are performing at the Edinburgh Fringe this year, how exciting?
It certainly is exciting, although gruelling too. Doing the same show 26 days in a row is a pretty strange experience – like Groundhog Day with more rain and battered sausage. You can’t beat the buzz of millions of people descending on the city, though, with performers staging shows in every nook and cranny (they literally do – there’ve been ones in a car, a tent, a shed, a cupboard. If you can fit a human in someone will try and do a show in there. Careful of leaving your luggage unattended. You’ll turn back round to find a student Pinter production has taken up residence in your sponge-bag.) I’ve been for lots of years in a row, and always get sucked back in by the carnival of delights! And the battered sausage.
TF: The History of the World in 1 Hr certainly sounds intriguing, what is the premise?
I’m not sure I could have made the title more explanatory, if I’m honest. I’ve set myself the not inconsiderable challenge of cramming the entirety of recorded time into 60 minutes, so come on down to see if it can really be done! From the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs, all the way to Brexit (surprisingly similar events), I’m going to have to somehow stuff it all in there. It’s basically an extremely silly romp through history, with lots of crazy powerpoint, videos and historical gags galore. Accuracy may not be its strong point.
TF: And what drove the project, where did your influences lie?
I’ve always been interested in history, but the show really came out of a desire to make something that barrels along at breakneck speed and generates as many jokes of loads of different kinds as possible – history provides a great vehicle to leap from topic to topic, and style to style. The possibilities for humour in history are literally endless. In terms of influences, maybe for this show there’s a bit of Claudia O’Doherty’s high-concept tech madness, Jonny Sweet’s cheery curveball inanity and Mat Ewins’ deranged video experiments, if any of those ring bells. If not, it’s just ideal for anyone who likes silly doctored pictures, and gags about salad. It’s basically a feature-length meme.
TF: What are your plans for the Fringe, having been before are there any tips or musts you would offer to first-time performers?
Cry outdoors. It will be raining so no one will notice.
TF: Is there anything you are keen to see whilst in Edinburgh?
I’m excited about new shows by Sophie Duker, Katie Pritchard, Alex Farrow, Alexander Fox, Ciaran Dowd, Demi Lardner, Josie Long, Moon and Tom Walker, but I’m mostly just very sad that Eric Andre sold out before I could get a ticket.
TF: And what are your future plans beyond The History of the World in 1 Hour?
I will probably take the show on to other festivals in sunnier climes (tip: cry indoors), but I will also be doing loads of shows with Austentatious. It’s a smash-hit improvised Jane Austen show that will be on regularly in the West End, and on tour across the UK in the autumn. So a lot of the time post fringe will be spent donning a cravat and swooning. So not much of a change really.
You can see The History of the World in 1 Hour at Underbelly, Bristo Square from 31st July – 26th August (Not 12th) at 16:10. For tickets, please visit www.edfringe.com