Amy chats to Lachlan Werner as they prepare to take their show LACHLAN WERNER: VOICES OF EVIL to the Fringe.

Hey Lachlan – here’s your chance to give an elevator pitch, can you give us a brief synopsis?

Hey! My show has been called ‘The Muppets’ meets ‘The Exorcist’. It is a truly stupid blend of physical comedy, ventriloquism, puppetry, voice tricks and actual real demonic paranormal activity.

The show follows a loud little witch called Brew (spoiler: she is a puppet) and a sickly boy called Lachy (spoiler: he is me), who for some reason is dressed like an alter boy. Brew decides to sacrifice Lachlan (apparently to help with his confidence?), through a series of very hoaxy, dumb tricks and treats, but then (inevitably) he gets possessed. What follows is a story of sexual empowerment and self-actualisation.

It’s basically a horny ridiculous, blood-drenched puppet show spectacular.

What inspired you to create this show?

The show loosely follows the same structure as a show I was making pre-pandemic (dramaturgically combining clowning and ventriloquism). I got very inspired during lockdown by reading about real Victorian mediums. They were mostly teenage girls, and they made money from faux possessions and behaved really inappropriately when claiming to channel someone else. It reminded me a lot of being a ventriloquist, and how you can get away with saying the unsayable while hiding and misdirecting people.

I thought the idea of a really serious, creepy Victorian ritual was so funny, and playing with the duality of innocent/evil as a ventriloquist could be really fun. I also just think it seemed obvious to combine theatrical horror with live ventriloquism and was surprised it hasn’t been done more. As a clown, it felt like a lovely cauldron full of exciting things to explore.

Have you performed at the fringe before? What are the best and worst parts of performing at the fringe? Or if it’s your first time, what are you most excited about?

Last year I came to the Fringe for a short run with a show called ‘Movements In Motion’ with the incredible Paulina Lenoir (creator of Fool’s Moon) and Laurie Luxe (exceptional director and co-creator of Voices Of Evil, and genius clown!) We did a high-art, huge-scale contemporary dance show about the 1518 Dance Plague on a little bus (the Blundabus). It was inspired by its stupidity.

However, this year is my debut solo hour, and first time doing a month-long run, so I’m both terrified and excited beyond belief. I just can’t wait to get dark, demonic and so so silly with everyone who comes to see it.

The best things are community and amazing audiences. I constantly feel so lucky to get to work within comedy and with such talented, kind and f**king funny people. And getting to do a show night after night for up-for-anything beautiful and wild audiences is like nothing else.

The worst things are the obvious – industry pressure, competitiveness, awards pitting artists against each other, and huge financial risk to artists.

What are the main themes within the production, and what can audiences expect?

It’s properly tricky to say anything on the themes without spoiling too much, but the show definitely uses ventriloquism and the tropes of possession to explore ‘finding your voice’ in many ways. In terms of self-assertion and sexual empowerment mainly, but people have taken so many things from this ritual and the meta-ness and stupidity of some of the material.

Some people think the show is very Jungian and explores shadow-self, I personally think the show mirrors the coming-of-age themes in Little Red Riding Hood.

AS WELL as all this, I think the show can be enjoyed simply as a really ridiculous (and quite epic) comedy show with slapstick, scares, puppets gyrating, interactive water spraying and lots of spectacles.

Finally, with so many shows at the Edinburgh Fringe, why should people book a ticket to this one?

I really do think this show is kind of what The Fringe is all about. Where else are you going to see a witch scream, while a twinky boy runs around in red, frilly pants, covered in fake blood, while demon voices appear to come from literally everywhere? Actual (queer) magic (with puppets).

LACHLAN WERNER: VOICES OF EVIL is on at 10:30PM from the 2ND – 27TH AUGUST (EXCEPT 15TH & 23RD), PLEASANCE COURTYARD (THE CELLAR) – find out more here!

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