Through August, at Edinburgh Festival Fringe, ‘Myrtle Throgmorton, Ancient Heckler’ is being staged by a cast and crew all from rural Aberdeenshire. With thanks to Kieran Booth.
More sit-down than stand –up, enthusiast for all things Scottish and certified old trout, Myrtle Throgmorton is taking to the stage to ruminate on many splendid things: long life, comedy, gussets, Burns, decrepitude, pimping your Zimmer and so much more.
Created by former BBC Comedy producer Jennie Campbell / Chalmers, Myrtle insists she has been gently heckling at the Edinburgh Fringe since “before it began”.
Everyone is entitled to an opinion, so long as it is hers. Jennie has developed the character over many years and admits that the game old bird is now, worryingly, more ‘ego’ than ‘alter’.
Post- election, Myrtle has unwittingly become slightly more satirical, taking Jennie back to her comedy beginnings.
Myrtle’s accumulated years are off-set by the youthful vigour of contemporary dancer, Gordon Raeburn (“not proper dancing” MT ) and pianist, Sam Williams (“pianissimo, dear!” MT). The production could be unique on the 2015 Fringe as the cast and crew all come from rural Aberdeenshire; Gordon from Huntly and Jennie, Sam and technician Kieran from Barthol Chapel. Only the director, David Jackson Young, breaks the mould with his Borders roots.
The show is a mix of Myrtle’s musings and her comedy ABC ( Audience, Banter, Crudités ), Dance – a thankfully brief Pas de Zimmer salvaged by Gordon’s skills, live and original music from Sam and every show ends with a ‘surprise’ guest joining Myrtle for cheery chat over the tea trolley. The audience is completely unaware who the guest will be – indeed Myrtle herself may not be entirely up to speed until just before the off.
It could be a TV celebrity, an acclaimed author, a well-kent radio voice, a rising star ( that ‘I saw them first…’ moment ), an unknown character with a story to tell, someone with a great show and no audience or the joker from the café on the corner… A truly potluck surprise, in the spirit of the Fringe. And every one a guaranteed delight!
After a brief career as a London lawyer, and a briefer one cleaning houses, Jennie Campbell joined BBC Radio Comedy as a producer of such programmes as Week Ending, the News Quiz and the Edinburgh Festival compilations, scouting the Fringe in the 80s for hungry new young talent – Rory Bremner, Paul Merton, Arnold Brown, Helen Lederer, the Bodgers, Merry MacFun Co and many, many others.
On moving to Scotland, she switched from satirical news to the real thing and has been variously a radio presenter on Newsweek Scotland, news and current affairs producer, director of theatre, opera and musicals, drama teacher, arts organizer, serial committee member and session clerk. With Myrtle Throgmorton, Jennie makes a long overdue return to her ( now blue-rinsed ) comedy roots.
Venue: Greenside@Infirmary St. ( Venue 236 )
Dates; 7th – 29th August ( except 16th and 23rd )
Time: 17.15 ( Duration 55 mins )
Tickets: £10/£9/£5 ( SUCD )
Box Office: ( open from 7th August ) 0131 618 6968
or Edinburgh Fringe website at: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/myrtle-throgmorton-ancient-heckler
Myrtle is also making an appearance during the Haddo Arts Festival, a six-day festival of arts for all at Haddo, including classical concerts, Scottish Opera, exhibitions, schools workshops and Myrtle Throgmorton, Game Bird.
Wednesday October 7th, 7.30 pm at Haddo House Hall. Full details and tickets are available here: http://www.haddoartsfestival.org.uk