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EDINBURGH 2019: Alasdair Beckett King Q&A

EDINBURGH 2019: Alasdair Beckett King Q&A

Ahead of bringing his new show, 'The Interdimensional ABK', to the Edinburgh Fringe, flaming red head and Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year 2017, Alasdair Beckett-King, had a chat with us here at BroadwayWorld.

Tell us a bit about The Interdimensional ABK

My name is Alasdair Beckett-King, and ABK are my initials. Basically, they don't let you work in showbiz if your name is too long. That's why Benedict Cumberbatch had to shorten his name, which was originally the entirety of Lewis Carroll's Jabberwocky.

I'm an interdimensional comedian, and this show is about moving from the "A Timeline" (freedom, optimism, adventure) to the "B Timeline" (paper cuts, climate change, Noel Edmonds). If you've spent your whole life in the B Timeline, you'll know how hard it can be. So, I wrote a stand-up show to help make sense of the chaos. But I got a bit distracted, and now there's quite a long bit about Agatha Christie's Poirot.

What was the inspiration behind it?

Schopenhauer said we live in the worst of all possible worlds. And that was before we said "yes" to Trump, and "no" to giving a boat a funny name. So, it's clear that things have gone downhill.

I didn't want to do a tubthumping political show - I don't even mention Brexit. And I certainly don't have the solutions to the world's ills. But I do want to make a case for whimsical fun in a climate that can seem cold and ungenerous.

I also wanted to create an animated theme tune for myself, in the style of a Saturday morning kids' show from the eighties. Which is the most self-indulgent thing anyone has ever done, but it turned out quite nicely:

Who would you recommend comes to see it?

I'm really on the lookout for a wealthy patron and/or secret benefactor who will bankroll more of this nonsense. If that's you, please send your valet to my lodgings ASAP. As a struggling artist, I could die of consumption at a moment's notice.

Apart from rich philanthropists, my target audience is people who notice misused apostrophes, but don't make a fuss. People who are still boycotting Nestlé, but can't remember why. People who would spend a night in a haunted house, but would definitely be the one to die first.

Normal people are welcome too.

As somewhat of a Fringe veteran, do you think you know what to expect from the festival?

I wouldn't call myself a "veteran," although if I wear a stars and stripes bandana it does makes me look like a troubled loner. That said, I do have an idea of what to expect.

Every comedian at the fringe has performed a show to an Italian family of nine who don't speak English and won't take off their designer sunglasses. I fully expect the Lombardis to come back and sit in stylish, leather-clad silence again this year.

To stave off ennui and existential panic, I will take a chunky sci-fi novel by Ian M. Banks or Ursula K. LeGuin, or some other visionary with a middle initial. Escaping to another solar system will help me face the vicissitudes of audiences, reviewers and weather.

Finally, because I have red hair, I know I'll be asked for directions by an American tourist who has assumed I'm Scottish. And I will put on a Scottish accent and lie to them about Scotland for as long as I can. Did you know James VI was actually a closet velociraptor? Oh aye.

Are there any other shows you're hoping to catch in Edinburgh?

If you only see one show at the Fringe, it really isn't worth the trip. I never see all the shows I plan to. I always intend to go and see some students doing Chekhov or Ibsen, and then end up eating a massive baked potato instead.

So, with apologies to all of my comedian friends who I've forgotten to include, here are three comedy shows I'll be seeing if I don't eat an over-large baked potato and go home for a lie down:

Stand up - Josie Long: Tender.

Music - Harriet Braine: Les Admirables

Sketch - The Delightful Sausage: Ginster's Paradise

Alasdair Beckett-King performs 'The Interdimensional ABK' at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe from 31st July to 26th August (not 19th). Tickets and more information:

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