An Interview with Kevin Quantum

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The irrepressible & sorcerous talent that is Kevin Quantum is returning to the Fringe

Hello Kevin, so where ya at, geographically speaking?
I’m in Edinburgh, near the Botanic Gardens. Lovely part of the world.

When did you first realise you were, well, magical?
After being on a reality TV show. I was a physicist up until 12 years ago. Then I was plucked from obscurity to go on C4’s Faking It and found I had not just an aptitude but a love for being on stage. So I ceased the PhD and became a magician. Needless to say mummy was surprised.

You are a Guinness World Record Breaker, can you tell us about it?
Sure, like most of my work it was a collaboration, this time between myself and Royal Blind Charity here in Edinburgh. We brought 2000+ people together and I taught them a magic trick. The biggest magic lesson ever! It was so surreal.

What does Kevin Quantum like to do when he’s not being, well, magical?
I play in a tennis league, I compose music for guitar and bass, I spend time with my family. My daughter is 4 now and I love spending time with her. I have a huge family (mum is one of 9 kids and dad is one of 7 so lots of cousins, uncles, aunts etc ) and I’m one of 4 kids myself. We’re close and I really take the time to spend time with them. I love them all.

You know a good show when its happened, what are the special ingredients?
From the performer’s side, there are three things. 1) attention to detail. 2) Rehearsal. 3) Heart.

What does your perfect Sunday afternoon look like?
Well it’s definitely summer, and I’m somewhere warm but with a gentle breeze. And I have a scifi book and nothing on my to do list. That’s real magic.

Which corner of the planet has inspired you the most, & why?
This year Adelaide, I got so much from watching the shows at the Adelaide Fringe in February. And so many of my friends from the Antipodes are here this year! Check out Josh Glancy, Tom Walker, Zach and Viggo amazing acts. A wonderful city. I made friends and won awards and had sell out crowds. Kinda the perfect overseas tour. I’m not really one for the city-city tour circuit. It’s pretty tough moving every day somewhere new, so when a festival opportunity arrises then I’m well up for it. Edinburgh and Adelaide have lots in common, they both come alive during the fringe. I felt right at home.

What is it about being performing in front of other people that makes you tick?
The buzz. The adrenaline. It’s the best. With the magic/science thing I get to be an engineer when not performing building cool props and illusions.

You’re performing at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe; what are you bringing to the table?
This year it’s NEON FUTURE. A show that examines what the future is. With magic. And laughs. In it I examine our evolution using the only discipline able to illustrate our incredible possible futures, here, in the present: magic. Having spent half of my adult life studying physics and half magic, I explore the exotic space where science and magic meet.

What does the rest of 2019 hold in store for Kevin Quantum?
Moving house! And to be honest, not too much more. I’ll likely plan a tour and get on with other jobs when they come along 🙂

Neon Future

Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose

July 31 – Aug 26 (18:00)


An Interview with Aylin Eleonora

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When Flamenco touches your soul, all you can do is dance…

Hello Aylin, first things first, where are you from & where are you at, geographically speaking?
I consider myself a global citizen, I have Finnish and Turkish in me. I have lived in Finland, Australia, in the UK, was schooled in France and have been living in Spain for the last 16 years. I am located in the centre of Madrid, downtown, in La Latina.

When did you first realise you could dance?
I started with ballet and contemporary at 4, but I really got hooked when a friend told me about a Flamenco class in Seville. I had no knowledge of Flamenco whatsoever, and the level was too high for me, but somehow I felt I was getting it. That this is a language in which I could express myself and be understood.


How did you get into Flamenco?
My flatmate at university took me to a Flamenco concert at the Komedia in Brighton. From that moment I was enamoured. Although my approach, attitude and personality have changed, I am still on that path.

What is it about being performing in front of other people that makes you tick?
Before finding Flamenco I dreaded performing in public, but there is something honest, universal and captivating about Flamenco that gives me power and energy to dance in front of a public. Beautiful movement is also something that elevates me and I enjoy a lot watching ballet.

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Can you tell us about your training with the Flamenco masters?
I started my training in Andalusia, continued in Madrid where most of the professional Flamenco dancers have been training for decades, and completed my Masters at the Institute of the Arts Barcelona/Liverpool John Moores University, that offers a dance education with both UK and US influence. At the IAB I got to explore my creative practice got to explore my creative practice more in depth and got used to think through my dancing and dance my way out of troubles. Generally speaking I struggled finding a teacher that would guide me in a foreign land and culture and help me grow as a person, not just a dancer. However, I have taken classes with some excellent professionals and learnt from talented dancers. In Flamenco you also learn from musicians, and from having to perform with very little or no previous rehearsals with the group. When I traveled to Cuba and was invited to ballet events I learnt a lot about dance discipline and guts.

What does your perfect Sunday afternoon look like?
I often work on Sundays as well, but I enjoy winding down by listening to jazz and relaxing by the pool whenever possible.

You were in Edinburgh last year, with the Dance-forms 75th International Choreograper’s showcase, how did it go?
It was a very special experience participating in Susana B. Williams´showcase. I was lucky to get an excellent review from TheWeereview and get to work with some great professionals in the dance field. I am participating this year as well.

You’re performing at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe; what are you bringing to the table?
We try to create a moment on stage that is pure and elegant. You will see shapes, energy, forms and also feel the power and poetry of dance expression. You will also discover Raul´s musical universe that is very profound.

Where, when & how did the idea for VIVIR originate, & is the reality fulfilling your vision?
Originally it was a need for me to simplify, try to do a Flamenco performance with minimum elements. This show has been developing in the studios of Madrid, also inspired by the Mediterranean landscape, during the last 5 years. Singing, that is a central element of Flamenco, helps the dancer to grow on stage, and gives dramatic power to a performance – is not present in this show. Filling that void has been a challenge, but satisfying both personally and professionally.

You premiered VIVIR in Australia earlier this year, have you tweaked the show since?
After returning from Australia, I have taken ENSUEÑO FLAMENCO, another show in our repertoire, on tour to Finland, an ensemble featuring some of the top artists of the Madrid Flamenco scene. I have also given workshops in Ukraine, and been busy with pre-production. We performed excerpts of both shows at the Madrid Conservatory, and I´m taking VIVIR to Avignon for the month of July.

Can you tell us more about the non-traditional musical styles instruments Raul Mannola will be utilising?
In this show Raul plays the traditional nylon-string flamenco guitar, as well as steel-string acoustic guitar to provide a wider variety of sounds. He also uses the electronic tampura to get the Indian drone for some oriental flavoured improvisations. Come and get a taste!

What are your dreams or plans for the future?
I would love to work with a choreographer. Although ballet specialists might not like this, I want to include a number with pointe shoes in my repertoire, to give voice to the more fragile and lyrical side of me as a dancer.

You’ve got 20 seconds to sell the show to somebody in the street, what would you say?
I would dance a “llamada” or a “pataíta”. If you are not sure what it means, come and find out!

VIVIR: Flamenco Guitar & Dance 

C venues – C Aquila

Aug 10-18 (18:25)

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An Interview with Ty Jeffries

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Ty Jeffries has a widely adored diva alter-ego, & her name is Miss Hope Springs…

Hello Ty, first things first, where are you from & where are you at, geographically speaking?
I left the pandemonium of London’s Pimlico for sleepy Somerset about a year ago. It’s absolute bliss here! I live in the middle of nowhere. It’s so quiet. I can think, rehearse and write in peace.

Can you tell us about your famous father?
So, my late father was the British character actor, screenwriter and director Lionel Jeffries. He starred in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, with Dick Van Dyke, and made masses of movies in the UK, many with Peter Sellers, and films like Camelot with Vanessa Redgrave in Hollywood back in the 60s. He also wrote and directed the much loved classic family film The Railway Children.

Can you tell us about your training?
I was trained classically in piano, voice, composition and violin at the prestigious Purcell School of Music in London from the age of 13. It stood me in good stead.As well as my career thread, as my piano playing nightclub chanteuse alter-ego Miss Hope Springs, I also write and perform my own original classical piano music, which was very recently featured on BBC Radio 3 Essential Classics.

What is a ‘Gender Illusionist’ & how did you become one?
I sometimes even call what I do Gender Tromp L’Oeil. Anything but ‘drag’. I suppose I have always been fascinated by the Golden Age Hollywood movie stars of yesteryear, and I wanted to emulate the female artists of that era. I approach what I do as a character actor/actress. I’ve always been fascinated by transformation, the power of makeup and masks and how you can magically become someone else and access different parts of your personality. My transformation takes a good 2 hours before each show and, once I am fully Miss Hope Springs, I don’t even respond to my name Ty. He has left the building and Hope takes over.

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So, how did you get into ‘Gender Tromp L’oeil’?
I come to it from a love of showbiz and movie stars and old Hollywood musicals. Compared to other ‘drag acts’ my show is really not a drag act. It is theatre. And that is the thing I’ve been up against all along. There is a lot of prejudice in this country about drag. Not so in the USA, where it is perceived as an art form. Here you are battling the image of a ‘cock in a frock’ miming to Barbra Streisand in the back of a pub.

Can you tell us about Le Crazy Coqs & your role with them?
I was very lucky to be invited by Jeremy King and Chris Corbyn (OBEs) to open their new cabaret room Crazy Coqs in Piccadilly in 2012. It’s pure art deco and the most beautiful cabaret room in London, right smack in the heart of the West End, now possibly better known as Live at Zedel. I’m lucky enough to say that I have been resident there pretty much ever since. The programme, the room and the quality of what you get there is the best in the country.

What is it about being performing in front of other people that makes you tick?
I simply love the in-the-moment interaction with a live audience. They stimulate me. You are bouncing off each other like sparks. Sometimes you have to work a little harder to win them over but I always get there in the end. It’s like a brief but very intense love affair. There’s a lot of adrenalin involved. I compare it to an extreme sport. Some people like to do ironing as they jump out of an airplane at 10,000 feet…I perform live.

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Where & when did you get the idea for for Miss Hope Springs?
Listen, I’ve been writing songs since I was 7 years old. I had my first publishing deal at 16 and went on to be signed to Elton John’s Rocket music in the 80s. But, to be frank, I was getting nowhere fast. I was writing what were considered ‘old fashioned’ songs back then, suitable for Judy Garland, Peggy Lee, Lena Horne and to be honest no one was interested. Then along came the renaissance of ‘Vintage’ and suddenly my songs were considered classics, new standards. Well…Judy, Peggy and Lena are all kind of difficult to get in touch with these days, so I created my own diva, Miss Hope Springs, the never quite made it, down on her luck nightclub denizen. It’s been a wonderful roller-coaster ride ever since.

How has the character evolved since then?
Her look has evolved… although intrinsically the same. Just more her. She has developed an extremely rich and fully populated backstory (she now lives with her husband Irving and his ‘close’ hairdresser pal Carlos in a camper van in Dungeness). I suppose having played the part for 7 years now, I know her inside out. In fact it’s difficult to know where she ends and I begin…or is it the other way around?

Miss Hope Springs is performing at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe; what is she bringing to the table?
Whatever she’s bringing, she’s bringing it to the piano! Live, original vintage Vegas-style songs in an array of styles, from toe tapping showstoppers to heartrending ballads. She’s a lovable character who people really relate to. Her ‘Ritz to the pits’ story is one of thwarted ambitions and broken dreams. It’s a laugh a minute,plus a few moments of turn-on-a-dime pathos that have been known to bring tears.

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How important are your self-penned songs to show?
I created Hope as my muse. The songs are the reason she exists. Each one reveals another moment in her life, another thread, her hopes and aspirations, her ups and downs. They are closeups into her mind. It’s a universal story. I think that’s why people of all ages and persuasions relate to her so much. And you’ll go home humming a few of the songs, The Devil Made Me Do It and A Seedy Little Nightclub in Pigalle, amongst others, are famously ‘ear worms’. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Can you tell us about your famous fans?
I’ve been so lucky since I started to have had a glittering array of celebrities come to the show. From marvellous Miriam Margoyles who is truly a joy, and ravishing Rula Lenska who’s become a dear friend, to Marc Almond and Will Young, who’ve both been to catch the show a few times. Pete Waterman loves the songs, which with 22 number ones is a good sign. Oh! and The Pet Shop Boys and Frances Barber too…who, funnily enough, are on directly after my show in the ‘Bijou’ as part of the Assembly Rooms Edinburgh Fringe.

You’ve got 20 seconds to sell the show to somebody in the street, what would you say?
It’s without doubt the best show you will ever see in your life! Even though I say so myself (laughs)… If you want to be entertained to within an inch of your life, get your butt down to the Bijou and don’t forget it’s a chance to dress up in your sequins, boas and bling. Miss Hope Springs is a firm believer that MORE IS MORE!

Its Miss Hope Springs

Assembly Rooms

Aug 1-24 (20:20)

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An Interview with CTC Dance Company


Fresh, young & dynamic, CTC Dance Company are set to wow the Edinburgh Fringe. The Mumble caught up with three of the team…

Hello Christopher, can you tell us about your training?
Chris: Originally I started training more in acting and drama when I was in secondary school. I was introduced to Musical Theatre at Melton College in the Midlands studying my BTEC Diploma. This is when I explored the creativity and devising of work. It wasn’t until I started training at The Urdang Academy did I discover Dance. At this moment I fell in love with it and made sure that I was practising, rehearsing, and stretching all day, everyday. I studied in Jazz, Ballet, Tap, Commercial and Contemporary alongside Acting and Singing. I feel that training in all of these areas has really helped mould the way I perform and choreograph.

Hello Jac, can you tell us about your background in theatre?
Jac: I trained in Musical Theatre at Italia Conti Arts Centre and on graduating performed for a year, with my first contract being Romeo and Juliet at Shakespeare’s Globe. Having always written (Book and Lyrics) I put performing aside to focus on my writing and creative work and I set up O’Kody Arts which focuses on producing theatre with issues based on mental health and run outreach programmes across London to ensure arts training is accessible to all.

As a commercial performer, you have danced for several pop sensations; who has been the easiest to work with, & who has been the hardest?
Chris: The easiest artist to work with I would say was Fleur East. She was so lovely to all of the dancers and spoke to us all during rehearsals and before the show! She also was fine with us all asking for those Instagram selfies haha! The hardest haha! Well I wouldn’t say any has been hard to work with fortunately but the artist who just did her own thing was Rita Ora. She’s absolutely lovely but definitely did what she wanted to do!

Hello Denzel, you know a good show when its happened, what are the special ingredients?
Denzel: A show that also has the story at the heart of it, and is expressed in such a way that makes you question and challenge your own life choices.

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Jac O’Kody

You’ve got three famous dancers (dead or alive) coming round for dinner. Who would they be & what would you cook; starters, mains & dessert?
Jac: Alvin Ailey is just purely iconic and the music from his repertoire is just soul food in itself. I’d also invite Bob Fosse and Paula Abdul as they are my biggest inspirations as each have one of chronic health problems I have (Arthritis and RSD). I’d have to keep it real and treat them too a roast for a main and give them that British home food, with Borsch soup as a starter as I’m half Belarussian and for desert cheesecake. Always cheesecake.

You’re washed up on a desert island with an all-in-one solar powered DVD/TV combo & three films, what would they be?
Chris: What a question! My films would have to be: Coach Carter (Inspirational), The Matrix: Reloaded (Action) and Pocahontas (Disney).

What does your perfect Sunday afternoon look like?
Denzel: Ah for me it’s spending time with my family. A roast dinner at my mums or stew chicken and rice at my great grannies.


Can you tell us how ‘CTC CØMPANY’ came about?
Chris: CTC CØMPANY came about from working on my first short dance film called ‘Imperfections’. I asked a group of dancers who I knew and wanted to create something that was intimate and truthful as most of Concept videos I’ve created before have been more commercial based. As we were creating the movement within the studio, it felt like such a company vibe and from then I was like, I want to have a company. From creating in my truth I found that the style of the company is a mixture between; Contemporary, Jazz, Physical Theatre and Afro Beats. All layered with intention of movement.

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Denzel Westley–Sanderson

How did you get involved with ‘CTC CØMPANY?’
Denzel: I worked with Chris on Jesus Christ Superstar in 2017 and he asked me if I’d be interested in collaborating on a new idea. Flash forward a year and a half later, via a workshop, and now I’m so excited to being at the Fringe!

CTC has a growing reputation for reformulating the term ‘dance theatre,’ – why is that & what freshness are you bringing to the table?
Jac: The great thing about entire concept of ‘dance theatre’ is that their are no boundaries or limits to the different kinds of art forms you can integrate and establish into one singular piece of theatre. I think this is what makes it the natural style of IDENTITY as while it is movement based due to to being created by Christopher who specialises in movement the collaborative process of how the entire show was devised allowed space for peoples talents to contribute whether it be spoken word, music, singing, acting. There are plays, ballets and musicals and now there is Dance Theatre, its clever not greedy.

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You’re involved in a show at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe; can you tell us about it & what is your role?
Jac: I am Chris’s associate choreographer so I’m involved both behind the scenes and in rehearsals. Assisting Christopher in preparations before hand choreographically, being a second set of eyes in the room. I will also be Rehearsal Director when we go up to Fringe standing in for Christopher as he has another very exciting project going on! Can’t wait for you to hear about that one too!


Christopher Tendai

Where, when & how did the idea for Identity originate, & is the reality fulfilling your vision?
Chris: Identity came about when me and my director Denzel Westley-Sanderson met up in January 2018 and said let’s put on a show. Most weeks we would go for lunch at a cafe in Wood Green and discuss about what kind of show we wanted to make that came from a dance and theatre background. After a few months of devising we wanted to create something that could connect to an audience and inspire. From Imperfections we wanted to discover what moulds a persons Identity. Identity…. Boom! There was our title! In August 2018 we held a workshop week with 8 dancers and at the end showcased whatever we had to an audience. The feedback we had was so so positive and from then we knew we had something special that we wanted to share with the world. The reality of the show fulfilled my vision and then some! I can’t wait to share it with audiences at Edinburgh Fringe and help inspire others to be proud of their Identity and show them that they are powerful beyond measure.

You’ve got 20 seconds to sell Identity on the streets of Edinburgh, what do you say?
Denzel: Through the narrative of dance/movement and spoken word, if you have ever felt insecure, not good enough then we have a message for you and we want to share our journey of self-discovery with everyone.

What does the rest of 2019 hold in store for for ‘CTC CØMPANY?’
Jac: The rest of 2019 will be preparations and the start of our annual tour, all going well. So get down to watch the show and see what you think, we can’t wait to share it with the world!


Greenside @ Infirmary Street

Aug 12-17, 19-24 (16:10)

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Shirin Majd: Kooch

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The Edinburgh Fringe is all about talented performers, & there can be few in the city this August as talented as Shirin Majd & her ensemble

Hello Shirin, where are you from & where are you at, geographically speaking?
My background is Iranian but I’ve been living in Australia for the last 8 years.

Why the big move?
One of the reasons that I moved to Australia with my family is to become a solo singer, which I couldn’t be in Iran to perform publicly as a soloist. But I started my musical training and pursued my singing career in Iran.

Can you tell us about your training in the arts?
At age 10, I began learning classical guitar and then at age 17, I began studying classical singing and joined the choir of Tehran Symphony Orchestra. I went to Armenia to participate in Hasmik Hasagorchian classes and later attended summer courses at the prestigious Universitat Mozarteum Salzburg, studying with Professor Alessandra Althoff and Barbara Bonney. In 2010 I went on to study Opera and music at the Johann-Joseph Fux Konservatorium and at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz, Austria for one year. Since I moved to Australia, I continued my education in classical singing with Margaret Schindler and Lisa Gasteen. I graduated in Master of Music Performance (Classical Singing / Opera) and Master of Vocal Pedagogy at the Queensland Conservatorium. I’ve also completed Diploma of Sound Production.

Where did your appreciation of Jazz come from?
14 years ago in Iran my teacher gave me a new song called “Summertime” by George Gershwin from Porgy and Bess Opera. This is a popular song between classical and Jazz singers. I really loved it and I started listening to different version of the song. While digging, I came to Ella Fitzgerald’s version and then my appreciation of Jazz got stronger and continued till now.

What does your perfect Sunday afternoon look like?
In Australia, with the sunny and nice weather, I would like to be on the beach with my family, friends or alone; listening to lovely music and reading my book.

You’re performing at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe; what are you bringing to the table?
I am really excited about my performances in the Edinburgh Fringe. I will perform my new project called “Kooch”, a multi-art performance based on Folk songs (we chose these songs in different languages such as Farsi, Turkish, Spanish & English) which Mastaneh (composer and one of the creators) and I gathered them. I will sing in western classical style on jazz arrangements of folk music along with a dancer, videos and visual art. This will accompany us to interpret the meaning of the songs.


Can you describe some of the musical styles from Iran?
We have traditional style music (Dastgah and Magham), and singing folk music as well. However, these days like other countries the pop and fusion music have become more popular. Personally I like fusion music based on Folk or traditional Dastgah.

What is the cultural landscape of Iran in 2019 – are women more readily accepted there as performers there?
In my last visit 5 years ago, I noticed that women are more involved in the music industry compared to the time I left Iran but since the government rules are still against women’s freedom to sing solo or play instruments, the government can ban musicians from performing. Iranian women are always active and they are fighting against the rules, which restrict their freedom as a human being.

Who are you collaborating with & what are their roles?
Sydney Cabioc is my Show Manager for these performances, and Mastaneh Nazarian is the composer of Kooch project. Iraya Noble (dancer) and Douglas Kemp (guitar bass) are our Edinburgh-based guest performers joining Sweet Sound Ensemble, along with Saxophone, Guitar Electric and Percussion. I will also introduce my next project and music in this performance which are composed by Mahyar Alizadeh and Basir Faghih Nasiri.

What is, would you say, the quintessence of Nazarian’s creativity?
I have been working with her for more than 3 years now. I think she is really creative and she has this ability to explore her feelings in her compositions and arrangements. She captures a unique and personal narrative style.


You know a good show when it happens, what are the special ingredients?
I think the special ingredient for a good show is a good artistic idea, which can have a perfect impact on the audience and engage different art forms to achieve a better result. Then, I’d develop that idea by working with a professional crew whom have similar contemplations. As an Artistic Director/Singer, I am always looking for opportunities to collaborate across cultures with exceptional artists from Australia and abroad. I believe in the energy of teamwork.

You’ve got 20 seconds to sell your show on the streets of Edinburgh, what do you say?
What is “home” for you? Come to the show, Kooch, and hear Shirin Majd and her ensemble perform a special and beautiful arrangement of folk songs from around the world. Enjoy a fusion of opera, dance, jazz, and visual arts presented in traditional and new songs from the Farsi, Turkish, Spanish and English languages. Enjoy an evening of travelling the world without leaving the excitement and comfort of the Edinburgh Fringe!

What does the rest of 2019 hold in store for Shirin Majd?
I will have a tour around Australia in October and November of the Kooch project, which is really exciting. I will publish my new Album, “Secret,” by the end of 2019 which is in two languages, Farsi and English.


Paradise in Augustines

Aug 19-20 (19:20)

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An Interview with Mandy Muden


Blending the magic of comedy & the comedy of magic, Mandy Muden is ready to wow the Edinburgh Fringe…

Hello Mandy, where are you from & where are you at, geographically speaking?

When did you first realise you were, well, magical?
4 years old. I got a doll and my brother got a magic set for Christmas. I wanted the magic set he wanted the doll.

Can you tell us about your training?
I was privileged to be mentored by the legendary Pat Page and comedy clubs. Also I just worked as hard as I could.

Can you tell us about your experience on last year’s Britain’s Got Talent?
I just loved it. There are all sorts of nonsense saying ti is fixed, I didn’t feel that at all. I had a ball.

Has BGT changed your life?
I’m a lot busier.

You’ve been on TV quite as bit – which appearances do you like to watch back the most?
I don’t watch any back. I can’t bear to see myself on TV

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You’ve got three famous entertainers (dead or alive) coming round for dinner. Who would they be & what would you cook; starters, mains & dessert?
Bette Milder, Joan Rivers and the amazing Jonathan. I would probably just get in a couple of crates and something herbal to smoke.

What are the creative processes behind writing your material?
Just sit down and write. I find it very hard but that is the only way.

What is it about being performing in front of other people that makes you tick?
Its the only place I can relax. Because you can’t think about anything else.

You’re performing at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe; can you tell us about the show?
It will be comedy and magic. I just want people to have a good laugh

How do you find blending the two pillars of your style; magic & comedy – is it a fine art?
I find most things funny. I really find it hard to take anything seriously.

You’ve got 20 seconds to sell your show on the streets of Edinburgh, what do you say?
Come and have a laugh and see some magic.

Mandy Muden is Not the Invisible Woman

Gilded Balloon Teviot

July 31-Aug 26 (16:00)

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Spangled Cabaret


The Blue Arrow Club
March 18th, 2019

It’s always exciting to fetch up at a venue you’ve not been to before and the Blue Arrow in Sauchiehall Street didn’t disappoint. You walk downstairs from the slightly hidden entrance to enter a warm, welcoming and cosy space, home to the famous Spangled Cabaret, billed as being the longest running monthly alternative variety show in Glasgow. “Expect the unexpected” we are told. “No holds barred”. I assure you, the announcer wasn’t kidding.

Anna Secret Poet got the show off to a riotous start with his hilarious music act. He may have been only one man and a guitar, but he played like a whole band as he regaled us with ever crazier lyrics, including one song concerning sausages and another on eyebrows. Hot on his heels came one Derek McLuckie who tore down and burst through all kinds of messy prejudices with the kind of language that would have been deeply shocking if it hadn’t transcended the crass-ness by being totally funny, and somehow poetic and fascinating all at the same time.

And that was only about a half hour into the show, with so much still to look forward to. As the evening progressed the atmosphere developed a perfect rhythm that gave a new meaning to fun and entertainment, and an entirely fresh and different take on the concept of cabaret itself – I guess that’s why it styles itself as “alternative”. Because the venue was so relaxed with its red lighting along walls and glorious sexy stage, taking it in became more and more of a joy, encompassing poetry, drag, burlesque, magic.


As to the performers, all displayed a great sense of open-ness with the audience as they performed their widely different individual variety acts, and yet coalesced with each other to create their part of the artwork. For you realise that cabaret done well IS an art form; it holds you close and then opens you up in all kinds of ways in a glorious display of sensations and emotions. You feel there is sincerity and a genuinely warm welcome throughout, not least in the burlesque acts by Miss Innocence Bliss and Kim Khaos, who graced the stage with outstanding beauty and wonderful strength.

We had been promised an evening where there were no safety nets; where things could become explosive and exposed, and where the performers on stage, with clown-like directness, would not hold back from giving us personal opinions, experiences, gripes, vulnerabilities. This is thundering cabaret at its very best – total, inexplicable lovely. I can only say thank you for a great evening’s entertainment from wonderful and talented people speaking out loud and very proud but also pious and considerate. It’s on every month – you have to seek it out and come!

Daniel Donnolly