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An Interrogation

an interrogation

Caroline Whitham interviews Jamie Armitage, writer/director of An Interrogation

SIX must be one of the Fringe’s biggest ever success stories. As co-director of the original production, did you have any inkling of how huge it would become?

No one knew what SIX would become. It’s the six year anniversary of the student production this year, and none of us ever could have imagined that this show, which started as a fun project for a summer, would define so much of the next years of our lives. Given that our original ambition was just to make a show that our friends and maybe a few strangers would enjoy, everything since then has a felt like a magical and delightful bonus to the original adventure.

How did you feel about moving on to a new project? An Interrogation seems to be a very different type of production.

I’m so excited to finally be sharing this story with audiences after it’s only existed in my head for the last few years. On a surface level, it’s about as different from SIX as it could possibly be. But I guess what links these seemingly contrasting projects is how they both look to bring the excitement of other mediums — pop concerts and TV detective thrillers — into the world of theatre. Hopefully An Interrogation is similar to SIX in that it creates a big collective emotional experience, though this time it’s more likely to be suspense and discomfort rather than the high level joy that audiences experience with SIX

What inspired you to write An Interrogation? Was there a specific message or idea you wanted to get across?

I have loved true crime for a long time, yet the original case which inspired the show was surprising for how the interrogation room was the main space where the truth came out. I sat down to watch the original recording of the police interview, which was quite roughly filmed on three fixed cameras, and initially thought I’d give it ten minutes max. Yet when I eventually looked up over an hour had passed. It was just two people sitting opposite one another in a police interview room, but the subtle manoeuvring in a contest where words were their weapons was totally engrossing. The contained setting, the tension, it felt so theatrical to me. I was specifically interested in the idea of how a seemingly respectable man could sit down for a voluntary police interview and through gentle but persistent questioning, the layers of the story would peel away to reveal a very different truth.

What should the audience expect from the show?

I hope that the experience is a thrilling and tense one. I want the audiences to feel like detectives, following every twist and turn of the case, looking for clues like the main character is doing, which can be pieced together to make sense of what has happened. My original thought when creating this was how fun and fascinating it would be to be an audience member in an interrogation room with a detective and a suspect, almost like you’re trapped in that space with them. Claustrophobic and intense, but hopefully in a good way.

Is there anything in particular you look forward to whenever you’re planning your Edinburgh stay? Any city highlights?

My favourite place to grab food in Edinburgh is Red Box Noodles. I’m certain I’ll be there in my first few days in the city, especially as it’s less than ten minutes from Summerhall. I also love exploring everywhere in and around Grassmarket, particularly the vintage stores like Armstrongs. My big Edinburgh ambition for this trip is to finally make it up Arthur’s Seat. This is going to be my eighth Fringe, and so far I’ve never tried to make the iconic hike, so will hopefully manage that this year.

Are there any other shows you’re looking forward to seeing?

I am so excited by Annabel Marlow’s solo show …is this okay? Annabel was in the original student production of SIX and is one of the most gifted comic performers I’ve ever had the fortune to work with, so I’ll certainly be going to see that. I’m also really looking forward to BACON at Summerhall, which I was sad to miss when it was on in London, but I heard the most phenomenal things about it. The producer of An Interrogation, the mighty Ellie Keel has two incredibly exciting shows at The Roundabout — The Last Show Before We Die & Bullring Techno Makeout Jamz, which I cannot wait to watch.

Any advice for first-time visitors?

For every three shows you know you want to see, always take a chance on a completely random one that you know nothing about. It’s so easy for a consensus to form at the Fringe as everyone is swapping recommendations with each other. Yet it is so refreshing to give your time to something that no one is talking about but you take a risk by going to see. And who knows? It could be your new surprise favourite show. It could be artistically inspiring in a way that you never would have imagined. And if it’s not…? Well, it’s only an hour.

An Interrogation
Summerhall – Old Lab
2-27 Aug (not 14, 21)


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