A solo musical featuring multi-instrumentalist and award-winning polymath Brian Joseph, Normaler Than Everyone is in Edinburgh for the month of August. Through his songs, writings and photographs, made while his wife was going through cancer treatment, Joseph presents a funny, moving and altogether original portrait of a cancer caregiver, enraged by soup and terrified by the specter of ghosts. Co-devised and directed by Dani Bedau, Normaler Than Everyone is ultimately a meditation on love and mortality. Brian spoke with The Fountain about the show in more depth.

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

Is this a question? YEAH!!! It’s super exciting!! We are completely pumped! Very very excited. It’s a long time dream to come to Edinburgh Fringe. In fact, I have a Fringe poster from the 80’s hanging in my house. I have thought about this for DECADES. As for this project, I’ve been working on it for a year and a half with the brilliant director and co-devisor, Dani Bedau, and we are both thrilled to be coming!

TF: Normaler Than Everyone certainly sounds intriguing, what is the premise?

It’s a one man musical about my experience as a cancer caregiver for my wife. It’s full of photos (that I took of her during treatment), songs, and words that are not at all about ghosts. It’s funny and heart wrenching at the same time.

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

For this particular project, one thing that drives it is the subject matter. Cancer is ubiquitous. There is nobody who is not touched by it. You could almost say that it’s a (ahem) normal part of modern life. In terms of musical influences, I’m told that you can hear some of them in my songs and style. Randy Newman and Paul Simon are two that I often hear, as well as Elvis Costello and Jackson Browne… In photography, I’ve been influenced by many masters, but in particular the family photos of Sally Mann and Emmit Gowin.

TF: Have you been to the Fringe before, is there anything you are keen to see whilst in Edinburgh?

Never been, and yes, very keen to see so many things! All the great theatre, of course, but also, the beauty of Edinburgh, and all of Scotland! There are freaking castles! And, you know, lochs, and things! The truth is, we are coming to Fringe for the first time, with open hearts and minds. We are ready to see everything!

TF: And what are your future plans beyond Normaler Than Everyone?

Well, first of all, there are ongoing plans for NTE. There’s a book, an album, and a future for the show itself, at regional theatres in the U.S. and hopefully other countries as well. And… who knows, maybe something new next year for Fringe!


Normaler Than Everyone plays at The Gilded Balloon Nightclub at 12.05 from  July 31 to August 26. For tickets, go to https://gildedballoon.co.uk