INTERVIEW: SAUL BOYER (UNLEASH THE LLAMA)

Interview

Saul Boyer from comedy duo Unleash the Llama (Saul Boyer + Sam Rayner) answered our questions about their new, hit, one-man show, Man of 100 Faces.

– Tell us about Unleash the Llama.

SAUL: Our first play at the Edinburgh Fringe in the halcyon days of 2014, Nougat for Kings, was a swashbuckling period drama, but performed as if it were a pulp action movie from the 1970s: we needed a name for our production company that captured the sheer lunacy of the play. One of our delightful designers told us about his schooldays in Peru, and how the teachers would “unleash the llamas” to get the lazy kids to run. “And you know their spit? It burns!” It sent us into paroxysms.

– Who was Sir Paul Dukes?

SAUL: Sir Paul Dukes was the first spy in British history to receive a knighthood. He ran away from home at 16 years old, to pursue his dreams of becoming a famous musician in Russia, and soon found himself swept up in the ferment of revolution. He got involved in the storming of the Winter Palace in the first revolution of March 1917, when the Tsar was deposed in favour of the democratic government. He was then recruited by MI6 to replace their last spymaster in Russia, who was assassinated. Our play, Man of 100 Faces, charts just a fragment of his extraordinary life.

– How did the show evolve over your successful month long residency at the Edinburgh fringe?

SAUL: Edinburgh is our testing ground; this being my seventh Edinburgh Fringe. But, this is the first time I’ve ever done a one-man show. Playing a host of different characters crisply is a technical challenge, and the energy expended over an hour is quite immense; my shirt is drenched after every performance. Over the fringe, the characterisations became deeper, and the transitions became slicker. After the festival, Sam and I worked closely to rework the script and give the story the three-dimensional depth it needed to breathe, without losing the comedy.

– What’s next for Unleash the Llama?

SAUL: We are hoping to tour Man of 100 Faces nationally, and considering writing a sequel. We are also looking forward to revealing a new project to be premiered at the Vaults Festival early next year. It is the true story of a Sierra Leonean satirist who came to the UK in 1908 to make his fortune as “the greatest British writer the world had ever seen”. And we will definitely be back at the Edinburgh Fringe in the near future!

Man of 100 Faces plays at the King’s Head Theatre in London, 27 September – 1 October 2022.

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KALEIDSCOPE FESTIVAL | London, Alexandra Palace

Recommended

Following 2021’s triumphant, sold-out spectacular, Kaleidoscope Festival will return to Alexandra Palace on Saturday, 23 July, with more crowd-pleasing live music, DJs and comedy at London’s highest festival. With a backdrop that takes in sweeping views across the whole city, acres of parkland to explore, plus access to some of the hidden corners of the iconic Palace, this is a summer festival like no other. For fans, families and fun-seekers, Kaleidoscope is hard to beat, and this year’s line-up demonstrates it’s a favourite for artists too.

On the main Hilltop Stage, ORBITAL promises to bring proceedings to a scintillating climax following the inimitable Manchester sound of HAPPY MONDAYS. CHARLOTTE CHURCH’S POP DUNGEON brings a medley of bangers to raise the temperature as the sun begins to set, while THE MAGIC NUMBERS and HOUSE GOSPEL CHOIR will have crowds of all ages dancing all afternoon.

Over on the DJ Stage – Cloud 10 – the line-up is equally mouth-watering with CRAZY P SOUNDSYSTEM, CRAIG CHARLES, DJ YODA, ZERO 7 and PBR STREETGANG all performing on the terrace decks, whilst The Alternative Stage features the legendary Creation Records founder and music industry visionary ALAN MCGEE in conversation; comedy from trigger happy stalwart DOM JOLY and rising star SINDHU VEE; plus THE CUBAN BROTHERS will ramp up the party atmosphere.

There will ALSO be a host of entertainment for families around the festival site, including interactive theatre, workshops and story-telling. Meanwhile the Palace’s secret Victorian Basements will be opened up for people to discover; and there’s more line-up to be announced on all stages.

Book online for Kaleidscope Festival, running 1pm – 11pm on Saturday 23 July 2022.

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DISNEY IN CONCERT: A DREAM IS A WISH | Hong Kong, KITEC Star Hall

Recommended

The Hong Kong Symphonic Winds (HKSW) Symphony Orchestra are once again putting on a spectacular new concert that combines the thrill of a live orchestra with a cast of singers and clips from classic Disney movies on a cinema-style screen.

With only four special performances over the New Year’s Day public holiday weekend, audiences of all ages can enjoy orchestral selections from The Little Mermaid (1989); Beauty and the Beast (1991); Aladdin (1992); The Lion King (1994); Frozen (2013); and many more.

Although the HKSW Symphony Orchestra is a majority amateur ensemble, the standard is unbelievably high, conducted by celebrated conductor Fung Ka Hing. The gigantic ensemble fills the cavernous Star Hall at Kowloonbay, ably supported by extra percussion and rock instruments, in addition to wonderful sound tech.

The name of this concert is taken from the title song in Cinderella (1950): “A dream is a wish your heart makes”. This festive season, enjoy the magic of classic Disney songs, played as they’re meant to be played, in this family-friendly concert for all ages.

Playing 1 – 2 January 2022, 3rd Floor, Star Hall, Kowloonbay International Trade & Exhibition Centre, Kowloon.

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THE QUARANTINE QUILT | Cambridgeshire, online

Interview

Glimmer Theatre is a visual folk theatre ensemble who create female-led action adventure stories, and exciting community events.

Andrew Brock and Sophie Crawford talk about their new collaborative project.

What will The Quarantine Quilt look like when it’s complete?

SC: We don’t know yet! Come back in July and see.

AB: It will be an enormous patchwork quilt, made up entirely of little red and white patches, which will ultimately be displayed in libraries and museums across Cambridgeshire. People can submit their patches online or by post.

What inspired you to do this project?

AB: I’m from Cambridge originally, and Cambridgeshire County Council approached us for their new initiative, The Library Presents: in your house.

SC: We wanted to channel the lockdown life into something collaborative and artistic, and The Library Presents are producing this project.

AB: On Zoom, when you have a group call, it looks like a patchwork quilt. I thought that would be an amazing starting point for a project. Millions of individual squares of light, making up our isolated population. We want to draw those squares together literally and physically into a hybrid of physical and digital art making.

What sort of things are you looking for?

AB: We are very open-minded!

SC: It’s a chance for everyone to create something inspired by their time in lockdown. It could be a symbol of the virus like a facemask; or it could be something wonderful like a bird. I’m excited to see what patches people come up with.

How do people get involved?

AB: We are particularly looking for people to make real-life patches with needle and thread. We will send all the materials!

SC: Even if you’ve never picked up a needle and thread before – we want to hear from you! Just go on the website, it’s all there. You can submit digitally or you can request patches to be posted to your house.

Visit the Glimmer Theatre website to design your own patch and get involved in The Quarantine Quilt.

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