Playwright Danielle Ward is currently pondering how to set a chainsaw to music for her new show Gutted: A Revenger’s Musical.
“Apparently, we’re hiring someone whose sole job is to mop up all the blood at the end of the show, then clean it out of the clothes!” exclaims Martin White of Gutted: A Revenger’s Musical, the gory, late-night comedy musical he’s penned with regular collaborator Danielle Ward. “The characters end up absolutely drenched, so there’ll be a lot of wipe-clean costumes. There’s a few beheadings.”
Along with The Revenger’s Tragedy, the all-singing, all-dancing, all-decapitating musical has shades of Hamlet and, amusingly, Batman Begins. When young Sorrow witnesses her parents’ murder, she plots to become the killer’s ideal woman, marry him and then murder his entire family on the weekend of their wedding. Yet all is not as it seems.
“It’s not that dark, it’s very cartoonish!” protests Ward. “I wanted to write something with a very traditional tragedy format, but make it funny as well. Her quest is obviously a sad one, but the family she kills are all ridiculously horrible characters, so you don’t feel any sympathy for them and they get bumped off fairly quickly.”
Gutted will be brought to life and to pre-meditated slaughter by an all-star comedy cast, including Fringe favourites like The Penny Dreadfuls, Colin Hoult and Doc Brown. White leads the accompanying band and is currently wondering how to “set a chainsaw
“I like the idea that people might be coming in a little bit nervous about what to expect. It’s got a midnight movie feel to it.”
After meeting at Robin Ince’s Book Club gigs, Ward asked multi-instrumentalist White to score her 2007 Fringe musical Psister Psycho about a killer robotic lesbian nun. The pair went on to create Karaoke Circus, the cult London show where comics and the public sing with a live band, which returns to the festival for one night only on August 17 at Assembly @ Princes Street Gardens.
“We just wanted to do a really fun thing where we got to play instruments” recalls Ward. “There’s never been a grand ambition for it. I guess most comedians want to be pop stars and to sing a song they love with a live band in front of a cheering audience. The people we’ve had on stage have been amazing – Jessica Hynes, Ben Miller, Tim Minchin.”
For now though, they’re focused on turning Gutted into an absolute bloody triumph. Ward would “love it to have a life beyond Edinburgh. There have to be more people than me who like both musicals and horror!”
“Ultimately Broadway” agrees White. “West End at the very least!”
Gutted: A Revenger's Musical, Assembly@George St, 6-29 August (not 10,17,24), 11.15pm, From £5, Tel: 0131 623 3030
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