In 2011, Alexander Fox left school and went to music college, where he began an illicit affair with his drum teacher. Their lives became intertwined, then increasingly dark and dangerous as Alexander learned a few more lessons at college than he’d anticipated. Set in a recording studio around an electronic drum kit, Whiplash meets The Graduate in this drumming comedy experience, from the creator of cult hit Ringo, and one of the UK’s most innovative and adventurous new talents, Snare comes to the Fringe. The Fountain caught up with Alexander Fox about the show.
TF: You are performing at the Edinburgh Fringe this year, how excited are you?
I’m thrilled to be back at the Pleasance Courtyard. Specifically, in exactly the same giant inflatable igloo where I made my debut back in 2017. Two years later, I’m returning as a neater writer, a tighter drummer, and a wiser fellow who’s learned a few lessons along the way. Like not puncturing the wall of the igloo with a drumstick. You can’t buy memories like those.
TF: Your show certainly sounds intriguing, what is the premise?
It’s a narrative comedy set in a recording studio, with a huge electronic drum kit in the middle of the room. I tell a story about how, when I left school for music college at 18 back in 2011, I became involved in an extra-marital romantic fling with my drum teacher, Mrs Richardson. The eventual collapse of our affair leads directly to how and why I find myself at the Fringe, trying to record a drum-led album steeped in memories. It’s that, basically. But funny.
TF: And what drove the project, where do your influences lie?
Out of all instruments, I think the rhythms of the drums most clearly express the personality and emotion of the player. So I decided to combine raw comedy with raw primal drumming. Where my debut show Ringo was billed as ’Whiplash meets Yellow Submarine’, Snare is more like ‘Whiplash meets The Graduate’. Live music, jokes, romance, a decent Anne Bancroft impression – there’s something for everyone. For influences, can I split it between music and comedy? My drumming influences are legion: Stewart Copeland from The Police, Keith Moon from The Who, Ginger Baker from Cream, Jim Gordon, Steve Gadd, Bernard Purdie and, increasingly of late, Mitch Mitchell from The Jimi Hendrix Experience. Comedy-wise: Kieran Hodgson and Joseph Morpurgo stand out a long way on the contemporary scene; and Steve Coogan will always be my biggest hero, particularly via the less well-known Alan Partridge iterations and his other hugely-underrated characters.
TF: What are your plans for the Fringe, having been before are there any tips or musts you would offer to first-time performers?
In 2017 I did between three and four shows a day – between nerves and sprinting to venues I lost like 10kg, it almost killed me! So my plan is to keep it more relaxed this Fringe, only two shows per day: my pet project Shaken Not Stirred: The Improvised James Bond Film at 12pm, and then a nice long lunch before Snare at 6pm. So don’t go nuts, first-time performers. Also, the entire Festival is just a glorified front for selling Blue Moon beer. It’s just regular beer with a bit of orange inexplicably lobbed in, so don’t give in, buy local, stay woke.
TF: And what are your future plans, beyond the Fringe?
I can’t even think beyond the Fringe. Literally my entire focus at the minute is on practising drums for the big solo at the end of the show, plus giving the lovely audience who are kind enough to come and watch the best darn funny romantic wordplay-heavy omnisciently-narratively-compromised post-structuralist percussion-based comedy show they are, in all probability, ever likely to see. Or die trying.
TF: You can see Alexander Fox: Snare at Pleasance Courtyard The Green from 31st July – 26th August at 6pm. For tickets, please visit www.edfringe.com