Words Claire Smith
Elf, we know you as a Comedy Award nominee as a solo performer but this year you’re doing a double act. How did that come about?
Duffy and I met over twitter during lockdown when I was trying to learn British Sign Language over zoom. He became my teacher and then through mime lessons we started to realise we had a really fun relationship and playful way of improvising and being silly together.
Tell us about your show – and how you’ll be using sign language.
Elf: We use clowning, visual vernacular and violent slapstick to tell the story of a bank heist. It’s all in mime, with no props. I make all the noises and voice it, and it is all in BSL
How do you two complement each other?
Elf: I am always in awe watching Duffy’s physicality as Visual Vernacular is one of the most mind boggling forms of mime I’ve ever seen. It’s breathtaking. Also, he’s a nightmare when it comes to sticking to the script. We try to muck each other over as much as possible.
Duffy: Elf’s improv ability is out of the world, I’m constantly in awe of her brain and things she comes up with, and I’m very comfortable to go along with it.
What have you learned about yourselves and each other from this partnership.
Elf: It’s an amazing challenge and opportunity to work with an artist as respected as Duffy. It is terrifying and exhilarating. It embodies all the beautiful things you aim for as an artist and all the things that make the Fringe an exciting place.
Duffy: The Fringe is a different world to what I’ve been exposed to. I’ve always performed in the sign language community, she’s taken me out and given me belief that my work can be accessible or mainstream.
Elf and Duffy Heist
Monkey Barrel Comedy (Venue 51)
August 2 – 15