Interview: Brigitte Aphrodite and Quiet Boy on Their 2023 Edinburgh Fringe Shows
Between shows on the Fringe, we caught up with Brigitte Aphrodite and Quiet Boy (Gaz Tomlinson) to talk about their 2023 Fringe shows!
Brigitte, tell us about Living Legends (And Dead Ones Too) – what should we expect and where can audiences catch you at the fringe?
BA: It’s a punk poetry, intersectional feminist, live music, cabaret show!
Unearthing hidden story’s that colonialism, capitalism and sexism have left behind, through sharp, wild, and funny story-telling and a massive punk DIY art dress that illustrates all the legends of the show!
Every night we perform we ask the audience to think about a legend in their own life and an unsung hero is nominated to join us on the dress!
People leave smiling, hugging each other with tears in their eyes.
And Gaz, what about SAD – what we can expect from this meditative show?
GT: SAD is a gig-theatre show about music, grief, and healing. Grief and its cycles are something that we all must go through, it doesn’t mean that it has to be a lonely place.
SAD is a contemporary electronic classical composition with live music and performance, poignant, funny, insightful recorded voices exploring loss, journeying towards a crescendo of light, joy and hope.
Obvs, Brigitte made it with me so there are definitely moments of tickle as well 🙂
It’s often hard for men to open up about their emotional lives. What have you learnt making the show, and what advice would you give to men who are struggling to talk if they are SAD?
GT: Yes, this is a big problem isn’t it. It’s why bands like Idles resonate with so many men because they promote vulnerability, empathy, equality & that its ok to cry whilst smashing up their instruments and screaming angrily.
I’m lucky because I have my life partner Brigitte and the foundation of our relationship is to encourage each other to express ourselves. I think the hardest thing to do is to be open to receiving the loss of someone you love because it hurts so much, but if you find a way to not shut down your emotions to it, there is definitely some beauty to be found within that deep dark place and possibly a deeper connection to the person you have lost, which is forever.
What’s different about coming to the fringe this year and what do you love or loathe about it?
BA: It’s the first time I’ve done free fringe. Which feels really DIY and anarchic – what the Fringe should be about – I love it! The Finge is getting more and more expensive, which I loathe – something has to shift. We brought two of our own shows to the fringe at the same time! We have a little toddler, Sappho, and my amazing mum is staying in a camper van just outside of Edinburgh. Every day we drop our darling baby off, then flyer, deliver our two shows at opposite ends of town and at 9pm pick the baby up, take her to bed and then do it all over again!
I feel defiant that because I became a parent I won’t stop working or become invisible in my job. But the challenges are real! The patriarchy rears its horrible head again when you become a mum – you are ignored, pushed aside and there isn’t much societal or governmental support if you are Parent with a small kid. If it wasn’t for my Mum, I wouldn’t be able to work. So yeah, this is different!
I love meeting new people. I love a city overflowing with art and theatre and music. I love catching up with old friends from around the world. I don’t like most reviews – I’m not sure some more traditional theatre reviewers understand gig theatre. We have some beautiful stuff said about us. But I know, when we get a weird review that doesn’t even mention our epic music, that this reviewer has never been in a sticky indie music venue letting their soul loose to loud sounds. WE MAKE THEATRE FOR ALL PEOPLE, NOT JUST PRIVATELY EDUCATED, MIDDLE TO UPPER CLASSES! I feel really punk about that!
Who or what are your inspirations for making your latest work?
BA: The places we live and the people that live in them. People make a place.
The incredible legends I write about in the show (we researched 107) and whittled it down to 8 that are in the show! So many people inspire me: Kate Nash (always), Patty Smith, Rob Auton, Taylor Mac the performance artist, Neelam, Seradia Braley the poet.
GT: Nick Cave was a huge inspiration for this show because of the grief he’s been through. And transposing that grief into music with his album ‘Ghosteen’, which is about him losing his son. And especially the depth of the way that Nick Cave talks about grief – I found it incredibly helpful when I was feeling at my rawest.
Also, the other person that inspires me is Brigitte who has helped me to form an arc for this piece musically. In our previous shows, it’s Brigitte who usually leads. She’s supported me to lead on this show and to express my songs, music, and feelings. She’s been a huge source of inspiration now that I’m taking the lead role.
What are your favourite Edinburgh haunts?
GT: Get yourself down to M.F Coffee Project at Summerhall. They buy coffee cherries direct from coffee farmers in Nkhota, Malawi and ship those green beans to Scotland, where they’re roasted in Glasgow. The atmosphere is warm and joyful – like the coffee!
What are your Edinburgh tips for newbies visitors and performers coming to the fringe?
Spend some time enjoying other delights the city has to offer to find perspective.
If you find yourself feeling a bit wobbly…
- The meadows, the meadows in general, lay and look at the sky!
- Find one of the swimming baths around the city. Some of even have saunas like Warrender Swim Centre, it is so medicinal to grab a moment away to refresh yourself.
- Eat food! Mosque kitchen or Pavilion community café on the Meadows are divine.
- Head on a bus to the Portabello and dip your feet (or your whole self!) in the sea, then wrap up warm and grab a giant pizza slice at Civerinos over-looking the sea.
- Get lost in the botanical gardens.
- Eat the most delicious dinner your taste buds can handle at Macau Kitchen – Macanese & Malacca Portuguese on at Leonard’s Street. Just incredible home cooked food!
I am Joint Editor at To Do List. I like: nice pubs, film marathons, not doing real marathons, bad comedy, plays/musicals with shorter second halves, and the Oxford comma.