Edinburgh Fringe: 5 great Northern comedians

Feature by John Stansfield | 21 Jul 2016

Many of the ace up-and-coming Northern comedians we've profiled in The Skinny are now taking their first full hour to the Edinburgh Fringe. With the festival scarily imminent, there's no better time to check in and ask how much they're absolutely bricking it. 

What’s your show about?

Kiri Pritchard-McLean: Just a cool laid-back hour where I whine on about sexism and racism and how intrinsic it all is. I spice it up with some hard cold science too, just to really ensure it has no mainstream appeal.

David Stanier: My show is about just having a really great time and partying and I dare say it'll be silly. 

Will Duggan: Belonging and acceptance. It's also about 20 minutes too short. IT'LL BE FINE, OH GOD PLEASE LET IT BE FINE 

Sophie Willan: I've had quite an unusual background growing up in and out of the care system. My mother's a heroin addict and I've grown up surrounded by eccentric female Boltonians. When I was 23 I got all my records back from social services. In the show I explore who I am today through the professional opinions that have been written about me all my life.

Jack Evans: Oh god. Is it supposed to be about something? Because I’ve called my show Melancholy Poontang and for a good ten minutes am dressed as Detective Inspector Horse Hand. PANICKING NOW. If you drill down into the core, past the gentle gnomes we’ve murdered with fracking juice and the ancient remains of my hopes and dreams, I think the show’s about eagles.

Be honest pal, how have previews been going?

Kiri: Actually, OK? I mean my agents, my PR, boyfriend and director came to one the other day and I stunk up the room so hard I fundamentally changed the atmosphere but apart from that one, peachy.

David: Pretty well! I'm at the stage of concentrating on where to put props and how to pick up them up without looking like a big idiot. 

Will: I'm yet to meet an audience that all agree the show is as good as I think it is. No idiots though. Audiences have been nice. Apart from the bricklayer in Scotland who vocally hated it.  

Sophie: Really well! I had a sell-out preview run at The Lowry with standing ovations! I was nervous because the subject matter is quite dark but it seems to be entertaining people so I'm really pleased!

Jack: An emotional rollercoaster with hardly anyone on it, and it’s extra scary because it’s in Alton Towers a week after that bad death. But hey, no queues!

Is this your first time at the Fringe?

Kiri: No sir, I used to produce Edinburgh shows in my previous life working at a comedy agency. After that I limped up there with my stupid friends to do some sketch shows, like it’s the bloody 80s. It's my first year going it alone as a standup though, which is as scary as knowing that as an overweight, childless woman approaching 30 I am almost entirely invisible to society.

David: It is. First time ever. I'm running, jumping, and tucking my legs up to do a massive bomb in at that deep end. 

Will: First time doing a solo show, but I've been up in the past. Mainly dressed as a dog [in Phil Ellis’s award-winning Funz and Gamez], which, oddly, I miss.  

Sophie: I have been up previously with a solo theatre show, but this will be my first standup show.

Jack: Took a three-hander up with Jayne Edwards and Liam Pickford in 2013 but instantly got debilitating tonsillitis. Lots of cry-swallowing.

What are you hoping to get out of the experience?

Kiri: The dream is a month where I don't bankrupt myself self-medicating with booze and manage to avoid nightly arguing with my equally stressed partner. Also, a show I'm proud of. 

David: Everyone has lots of fun. Make some new friends. Become better at comedy. Massive success and adoration.

Will: Fame, fortune and critical acclaim. I will settle for having fun though. 

Sophie: I'm really pleased with where the show is at now, so I just want to get up there and perform it! I hope I manage to pack out the venue, perform to a raucous crowd and have FUN doing it.

Jack: New reasons to hate myself.

Which show are you most looking forward to seeing while at the Fringe?

Kiri:  So many: Brennan Reece, Emma Sidi, Goose, Lolly Adefope, Jayde Adams, Pete Otway, Sofie Hagen and I want to see how bad Will Duggan's show will end up being.

David: Phil Ellis is back without the children('s show). What is he up to this time? 

Will: Nish Kumar. The boy's got mad skills. 

Sophie: Well I can't wait to see Tez Ilyas' follow-up hour – I've heard bits of it and I think it's going to be a very powerful show.

Jack: My own, as it plays through my head at night, revealing every mistake I’ve made and how there is no way to fix them and everyone in the audience is my dad and he was right all along. And maybe Adam Rowe.

Kiri Pritchard-McLean: Hysterical Woman is at Pleasance Courtyard, 6pm, 3-29 Aug (not 15th) 

David Stanier's Silly Party is at the Mash House, 9.40pm, 3-28 Aug (not 15th)

Will Duggan: A Man Gathering Fish is at Pleasance Courtyard, 6.45pm, 3-28 Aug (not 15th)

Sophie Willan: On Record is at Pleasance Courtyard, 4.45pm, 3-28 Aug (not 15th) 

Jack Evans: Melancholy Poontang is at Cowgatehead, 4.45pm, 6-27 Aug (not 16th)