Words: Caroline Whitham
You’re returning to the Fringe nineteen years on from your melon-smashing solo debut with Melons: A Love Letter to Standup Comedy. Should Edinburgh be bracing itself for a month-long melon shortage?
I have been preparing myself for a possible melon shortage as much has changed since my last melon onslaught in 2004, though I have already had to use an iceberg lettuce on one occasion and they are far less resistant than gala melons – so come for the comedy, stay for the side salad.
Your second show, Weapons of Empathy, sounds like a more relaxed affair. Can you tell us a bit about it?
I spent the winter of 2021 visiting 104 independent bookshops and they were all such wonderful spaces, whether big or small. I thought of all the stories on those shelves and how books have allowed me to walk in so many other people’s shows from working class women and civil rights activists to melancholy robots and quizzical Moomins. It is a show about the importance of stories and curiosity and wonder and being open to questioning the world you see and filling it with adventure.
Although you’ve long felt like a fixture at the Fringe, this is your first full run for twelve years. How does it feel to be back?
I am hugely excited to be back – for many years it terrified me, but there was a point when I stopped thinking about critics and career and just got on with thinking about what I could make – I love creating things and this is a fabulous space to stretch yourself.
Is there anything particular you look forward to whenever you’re planning your Edinburgh stay? Any city highlights?
I spend a lot of time in places like Lighthouse books and this year I thought it would be fun to have impromptu browsing sessions with any of the audience who fancy a stroll after my lunchtime show and also book picnics in the meadows on sunny days.
Are there any other shows you’re looking forward to seeing?
So many – Laura Davis, Lulu Popplewell, Circus Sonas, Gavin Webster, Eleanor Morton, Don Biswas, Ian Stone – I have only just started looking and I know I want to see some weird dance and a band that do something unexpected which leaves me uncertain.
Any advice for first-time visitors?
Make sure you don’t stick to just one big venue , take risks on anything that intrigues you , do not purchase any melons while you are here (I need them).
Robin Ince – MELONS: A Love Letter to Stand-Up Comedy
The Stand – New Town Theatre (Venue 7)
2nd to 27th August (not 15 th )
Time: 8.35pm (9.35pm)
Robin Ince – Weapons of Empathy
Gilded Balloon – The Museum (Venue 64)
Dates: 2nd to 27th August
Time: 1.00pm (2.00pm)