Fringe Factions: The Jocks vs The Nerds
Remember that guy at school who was brilliant at sports, but also really genuine and nice so you couldn’t hate him? Well, that guy grew up to be Craig Campbell, one third of The Lumberjacks alongside childhood friends Glenn Wool and Stewart Francis.
“It’s a stand-up show that’s a recall of what we did in 1998 and 1999. When we look back on our lives we’re in a pretty damn awesome position and we owe it all to starting out in a little room at the back of the Stand thirteen years ago.”
Campbell’s snowboarding, Wool’s “vagabond” life, and Francis’ “stratospheric” TV career keep the three separate for most of the year – another reason Campbell is so excited to be getting the Lumberjacks back together.
“I am going to be screaming at the crowd to get excited for Glenn Wool and Stewart Francis. I’ve known them forever and now we’re working together again. I’m doing a show with my buddies!"
Martin Mor is the living example of ‘hard on the outside, soft on the inside’. He once saved a man’s life by catching him and pulling him back onto the bridge with his pure man-strength. An ex-circus performer and stand-up veteran, Mor’s heart is about as big as his beard.
The show started off as “something I thought would be a bit of a laugh”, but it has morphed into a kind of psychological study. He’s commissioned several portrait artists to draw him, some sight unseen, some from descriptions by seven-year-olds, some that know him well. And he’s gone to even greater lengths than that.
“I posed for a life modelling class, you know where you have to be naked? It’s scary! I’ve literally got about twenty- five portraits of myself. Looking at pictures of yourself like that, it’s such a weird thing to do!”
“A geek is someone who is really enthusiastic and passionate about something,” reckons Helen Keen. “You hear people say ‘Oh, I’m such a nail varnish geek’. Geek has gone mainstream!”
Keen’s nerd credentials are self-evident from her popular Radio 4 series It Is Rocket Science, adapted from her previous Fringe show. This year, she departs slightly from her fact-based science festival-friendly M.O. with the more personal Robot Woman of Tomorrow. “When I was a kid I had these unrealistic expectations about what the future held. I’m looking at those unrealistic expectations scientifically and personally.
“I think the problem with robots is that they are a bit disappointing, that was part of it, my disappointment in thinking that we weren’t going to have these amazing artificial creatures everywhere, and then that made me think more broadly about what other things haven’t come true.” Expect lo-fi silliness, show-stealing shadow puppets, and one extremely loveable geek.
If a nerd is defined by their passion, Harry Potter actress Jessie Cave must have seen her fair share. In fact, the obsessions she was exposed to helped her form the idea for Bookworm, her show about an excitable enthusiast at the first meeting of her new book club.
“I get a couple of emails a day saying ‘Hi, I saw you in Harry Potter but I just don’t understand why you’re doing this.’ I find it so funny, I’m just doing it as a way to be creative. I see it as my job now, which is brilliant.”
Bookworm is a chance for Cave to showcase her life's loves. Bringing in everything from her early promise at tennis, to her drawings, to the unavoidable behemoth of Harry Potter, she says the character “is part of me. It’s very truthful, there’s no lies. Well, there’s some lies, but it’s very real!”