Jonathan Bucks sits down with The St Andrews Revue ahead of their first run at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, to discuss cocaine, fully clothed showers and no star comedy.
“Not so much the calm before the storm, more the storm before the storm”, Lorenzo de Boni tells me with mock frenzy in the midst of some final minute rehearsing, a slightly deranged high-pitched laugh betraying his cool exterior. “We’ve only been together for a year but we gel really well”, he continues. “It’s about getting over that initial hump. Three weeks in we’ll be fine”.
Sat in an empty Union in late July with nothing but the golfers for company, the St Andrews Revue are preparing for their first run at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, promising a carnival of grotesque and eccentric characters, a gentle smattering of Wills and Kate, cross dressing, pyrotechnics, child labour and a sweat shop.
All bar Mimi Von Schack have performed at the Fringe and know what to expect. “We only had two audience members in one show last year”, Christy White-Spunner tells me. “Thank God they were laugh out louders”.
Yet the players should have nothing to fear. A Public Display of Affection and The Crass Menagerie, both sold-out shows, garnered high praise indeed this year and should act as a fillip for their Edinburgh run. The troupe is reaching heady heights and their slot at Just the Tonic is certainly high altitude.
Joe Fleming is the brainchild behind the Revue, a somewhat demure and gentle leader in person but infamous for penning stinging assessments of Edinburgh shows. Notorious for his acerbic reviews in previous years, Fleming has elected to trade in his pen for a pair of curtains. For fear of his infamy on the circuit, “We’re not putting his name on our posters,” one tells me. Yet as a seasoned Fringe-goer, Fleming offered some apposite advice: “Prepare for the rain. I’ve been showering twice a day in preparation, fully clothed”.
One suggests a daily dose of cocaine, while Amanda Litherland, Director of Representation no less, swears by a diet of Guinness and crisps. “Don’t feel you have to take a flyer; but remember the flyer distributors are human too. And remember to wear comfortable shoes”, one advises, while another proposes: “expect the majority of the shows you see to be disgustingly mediocre”. Fleming, to the agreement of the others, suggests opening the Fringe Guide and simply planting your finger on a show.
The sheer quantity of entertainment on offer at the Fringe is dizzying and as such, the Revue has taken the reverse psychological approach. “We’ve billed our show as no star comedy”, de Boni tells me, deadpan. Yet after such a successful year together, even the most ardent naysayer would agree that a sparkling run awaits the St Andrews sextet.
The St Andrews Revue runs from 2-19 August (not 14) at 12.40 in The Fancy Room at Just the Tonic at The Caves. Tickets are priced between £6-£7.