Words: Claire Smith
So you’re doing a play in Edinburgh this year.
Yes. England and Son. But it’s not written by me. It’s written by Ed Edwards. I met Ed when I was coming out of his last play The Political History of Smack and Crack. I was saying to my mate: “That was brilliant” and he tapped me on the shoulder and said: “I wrote that.”
You didn’t write it – but you did work on it together.
Ed runs amazing workshops with addicts in recovery so I did some of those with him. I am seven years clean – and that is part of the story in the play. I love working with him and I love doing this play. I’ve never done anything like this before.
It’s a really gripping, thrilling story – it takes on themes about the end of empire, nationhood, domestic violence and masculinity. It’s really full on. It does have funny bits but it’s not stand-up comedy by a long chalk.
You’ll be doing some stand up shows as well – do they have a particular theme?
It’ll just be things I’m thinking about – lots of new stuff, stuff I’ve been trying out.
Why do you think comedy and politics go so well together?
Comedy is all about subversion, challenging power. It’s all about play. You can go on an adventure and come back and tell the story. I also love the fact you can talk to people and find out about their lives.
And you’ve never acted in a show you didn’t write before now?
No and I’m loving it. I’m sixty now and I like trying new things. In ten years’ time I’ll probably be talking to you about doing a shadow play opera.
England & Son
Roundabout @ Summerhall
Mark Thomas: Gaffa Tapes
The Stand 1
13th- 17th, 20th-24th August