Natasia Demetriou: Doin' It for the Laughs
Fresh from a few previews down south, Natasia Demetriou speaks to us about her solo debut for this year’s Fringe, You’ll Never Have All Of Me
After a few years’ writing and performing with five-star comedy troupe Oyster Eyes, Demetriou is no stranger to the Fringe or to live comedy. Last year’s Free Fringe offering Doin It For The Cash gave her a taste of solo character comedy, and earned her more than a few four- and five-star reviews. Her writing has made its way onto TV in the form of E4’s The Midnight Beast and Anna & Katy, and as a performer she’s been showing up in Live at the Electric and Badults in the past year alone. So why is she so damn nervous?
Hello, Natasia! Please keep breathing.
I’m fine. Apart from having a nervous breakdown, I’m fine.
Sounds like a normal preparation for the Fringe.
Yeah. So self-indulgent, so ridiculous, what am I doing. I think me and my brother [Jamie Demetriou], our brains just aren’t wired for live comedy. They’re wired for sleeping.
You’ve been up to the Fringe for a few years with Oyster Eyes, how did the solo show come about?
Oyster Eyes is still very much a thing – we’d decide that we wanted to film more stuff together, and I had quite a few ideas while I was writing. Some stuff didn’t get used, and other stuff looked like more of a one-person thing, and then slowly that turned into ‘Well, maybe I could do a Free Fringe thing and see how it goes.’ Then the Invisible Dot approached me, and now all of a sudden it’s become the one-woman extravaganza that’s making me not be able to feel my skin.
The shift from sketch to solo comedy sounds more than a little bit stressful.
Doing sketch stuff is so much more fun, and so much less pressure. In a way solo comedy is easier because it’s your voice and you can just try it, but the process is much more daunting – it’s just you in a room with the most serious of faces.
Do you have a few people to act as sounding-board?
I have a group of people who I’m very lucky that I trust completely – like my brother, like Claudia [O’Doherty], Ellie [White], like Charlie Perkins, the producer. We have quite a nice group of sketch-character comedians who all trust each other, and who will go to each other’s previews and give notes, but on the whole it’s been a solo effort.
What can we expect from the show?
It’s a combination of me being myself and bits of stand-up, but mainly character-comedy, and not just throwaway characters. Any sort of storyline or narrative of the show is just... I’m doing a solo show, and by doing it I should be able to achieve some heavenly state. I wanted to be able to do all the things that have been in my head for such a long time, so I didn’t try to shoehorn in some kind of narrative. This is my first show, and these are all the things that I’ve had in my head, please laugh.
I’m sure people will laugh. It will all turn out okay.
Doing live comedy, being at the Fringe whatever you’re doing you feel like the world is ending and you’re the only one who can feel the brunt of the pain. But I’ve found having a gin and tonic is a good way to combat the nerves, I just need to find a happy medium between nervous and drunk. I’ll have a nice watered-down bottle of Bombay Sapphire at my hip at all times.