Amy catches up with Lauren Shearing, who is at the Edinburgh Fringe in Mischief Movie Night!
Hi Lauren, how are you feeling ahead of the Fringe?
I’m thrilled to be back on stage with my brilliant pals, and in beautiful Edinburgh. I think there’s a general sense of everyone not being quite sure how this year will play out after such a long break, but our audiences so far have been reassuringly wonderful.
You began collaborating with Mischief Comedy over lockdown, what brought this about?
I was asked to come and audition, which is where I met Jonathan (Sayer), Nancy (Zamit) and Henry (Lewis) for the first time. We played out some scenes together and it felt immediately easy & fun; I remember telling my husband that I didn’t think I’d get the role, but that I was pleased nevertheless because I’d had such a lovely time with them all in the room together. And then I got the call! And now I can’t imagine what that time would have been like without Mischief in my life.
The lockdown livestream sessions were a hit, did it feel good to get to do Improv over lockdown?
Yes, I think we all felt overwhelmingly lucky to be able to work, and then to realise that people were enjoying the shows and to know that we were giving them something to look forward to. It was a real privilege. The New Year’s Eve show was especially lovely; knowing that so many people were tuning in, and that we were all hoping for better in the year to come. We were all incredibly nervous before the very first night, especially as improv is normally so dependent on discovering the show with your audience, but it became its own very special version of Movie Night, and I loved being a part of it.
Why improv? Did you always know this is what you wanted to do?
I started off working in sketch comedy and stand up, which I loved, but when I discovered improv it all clicked into place. I loved how collaborative and exciting it felt, and how it helped me to give up control and enjoy making mistakes – neither of which is my natural game, as my friends and family will tell you…
Do you get nervous going on stage when you have no idea what will happen next?
Yes! But it’s a good type of nerves, and it disappears as soon as you step out on stage with your pals and know that your only job is to make them look good.
Showstopper! And Austentatious are at the Fringe this year, are you performing in those too?
Yes I am – Austentatious are doing a short run of five shows at McEwan Hall at 1.30 pm from Tuesday 9th August, and Showstopper are performing every night at 9.30pm at The Pleasance Grand. So there are a few days where I have three shows a day, which seemed like a good idea at the time…
What can people expect from Mischief Movie Night?
Ah that very much depends on the audience suggestions! So far there’s been action, adventure and a werewolf romance. There is always a hilarious story, brilliant improvised characters and often very catchy songs. And Jonathan having a nervous breakdown if we don’t behave ourselves…
Showstopper! Now performs in the West End, how does it feel that improv is now getting a major stage?
Yes, I’m with Showstopper at The Lyric on Mondays back in London, and I first joined Showstopper when they were performing their West End run in 2015. It’s definitely a really exciting time for improv, with more and more shows being created and people starting to understand how unique & wonderful it can be.
Finally, with so many shows to choose from, why should people come to Mischief Movie Night?
I think the atmosphere of a Mischief Movie Night is unlike any other show, and there’s a real sense of community in the crowd and on stage. It’s a total one off every night that will never happen again, and it’s something that’s built between the audience and the cast together in the moment. Plus Henry Lewis often puts on an insane hat and plays a wizard, regardless of which genre we’re playing, and there’s nothing funnier than that!
ABOUT THE SHOW
Mischief Movie Night | Pleasance at EICC (Pentland Theatre) | 3-28 August, 6.30pm | www.MischiefEdFringe.com