Saturday, 24 June 2017

Dramaturgy Stock: Laughing Stock @ Edfringe 2017

Laughing Stock return with a new hour of comedy for their third consecutive Fringe, looking to improve on their two previous five star sketch shows. 

Kickstarted, self-produced and self-marketed, Laughing Stock have built themselves a loyal following both in London and Edinburgh, regularly selling out their 125 seater venue at last year’s festival and shifting over 2000 tickets. A good old fashioned word-of-mouth Fringe hit. 

What was the inspiration for this performance?

We draw inspiration from everyday observations. Laughing Stock are all London-based and a lot of our characters and situations are drawn from that experience. However, we all moved there from the country, so there's always a heavy undercurrent of the more parochial and regional communities. 

There is of course a lot of comedy in both.

It maybe seems a little churlish to try to dig for meaning in the often totally inane silliness of a sketch show. But, this year specifically, our show seems to have ideas that express the desire to live in the moment when surrounded by high achievement, high aspiration and the blurry world of social media that makes it hard to get a firm grasp on either. 

Is performance still a good space for the public discussion of ideas? 

Definitely. Performance has the ability to lure people into a room with the promise (and hopefully delivery) of a few laughs and then hit audiences with some feels when they least expect it. People's guards go up when confronted with words like 'debate' and 'discussion' and 'politics'. But if you can make people feel social injustice, or the effects of prejudice, or just that other people feel the same as them, then that can have a profound and lasting effect. 

How did you become interested in making performance?

As a group we've been individually interested in performance for a long time. But our time together at drama school taught us the value of devising and collaborative work. And how to distill stories and make them work theatrically. 

Is there any particular approach to the making of the show?

Just write loads, write loads of rubbish, anything, just thoughts and ideas...put them down. Then we sift through that, find stuff that we can all get on board. Then we test out the best stuff in front of lovely audiences and keep the ones that work. It's comedy triple distilled. like Smirnoff.  

Does the show fit with your usual productions?
Yes I would say so. Generally our performance style is a little cabaret-like in that you never know what is coming next. But over the last three years we've put on three shows and they have all conformed to that same principle of surprise. Music and movement also often have a part to play in our shows too. If we can make an audience laugh without saying anything, then we've won. 

Their show encapsulates the spirit of the Fringe. By turns wacky, irreverent and thought-provoking, the talented foursome interweave their storytelling with character comedy, observations, music, song, dance, physical theatre…the list goes on. Their ability to take on many diverse forms of theatrical storytelling through the medium of sketch comedy makes for a thoroughly unpredictable show, and one that they hope is both entertaining and edifying in equal measure.

Laughing Stock are:
Rhys Bevan - Self-styled ‘bad boy of Ambridge’ - Rhys can currently be heard as ‘lad’ Toby Fairbrother on The Archers. Previous credits include King Lear (BBC4 & The Royal Exchange Theatre).
Arabella Gibbins - ‘Sister to the stars’ Bella has watched her younger siblings Toby Sebastian and Florence Pugh leap headlong into the limelight. Good for them. Bella has performed at various theatres all over the country and can be heard serenading the public as her singer-songwriter alter-ego Arabella Vox. She also taught them everything they know.
Phoebe Higson - Apart from being niece to sketch comedy royalty (Mr Charlie Higson esq.) and technically being actual royalty (long story, would make a great feature…); Phoebe has starred in The Gin Chronicles and some the this country’s finest beer adverts.

Lewis Doherty - Not only is Lewis one of the stars of BBC3’s Hood Documentary, he is also from Nottingham, and used to be a groundsman. 
Laughing Stock met at Oxford School of Drama, on the postgraduate (1 year) course. This year’s show is performed with support from the New Diorama Theatre.

WINNER - SketchFest 2015 - Audience Choice Award; FINALIST - Gilded Balloon & So You Think That’s Funny Fosters Comedy Award 2015; FINALIST - Leicester Square Sketch Off 2016
Dates & Times: 4.20pm
3rd (prev), 4th (prev), 5th, 6th, 7th (2-4-1), 8th (2-4-1), 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd, 24th, 25th, 26th, 27th 
Tickets: Tickets: Preview: £6.50 Normal: £10/£11 Conc: £9/£10 

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