Edinburgh Fringe: Arna Spek, interview

Greet the midnight hour with Dutch comedian Arna Spek and special guests. Can Arna survive in Brexit Britain? Join this BBC Radio 4 New Act competitor for awkward tales of trying to fit in.

AAA caught up with Arna for a chat in between shows.

How has your Fringe been so far?

Hard work! Midnight shows are unforgiving! You need to be out there to let people know about your show all the time, because it is not that likely they just going to wander in. But I’m having a brilliant time doing it.

Tell us a bit about the show you’re in?

It’s a stand-up comedy show about museums. I tell people all the funny bits, the weird and wonderful and the secrets about the place that I work in as my day job. I am also from the Netherlands originally so I talk about feeling like a museum piece myself in the UK.

What’s the audience reaction been so far?

Surprisingly sober! I was prepared to play to many drunken people this Fringe, but have had none so far. Instead I’ve had amazing, really keen audiences that are up for a laugh at midnight. I think if you are going to make the effort to decide you want to see a show at midnight about museums, we are going to have fun!

 Do you read your reviews? Do negative ones bother you?

I have not had any bad ones yet. Still waiting! I always think though, that if you allow yourself to take the good reviews on board you also have to take the bad ones seriously as well. However, rule number one, good or bad, give yourself a deadline about when to stop feeling happy or sad about it! Because neither feeling will ultimately improve your performance.

There’s thousands of shows on – why should Fringe-goers fork out to see yours?

Because its Pay What You Want and the only show about museums on the Fringe written by someone who works in one daily, so I can give you all the gossip. It’s also effectively the most middle class themed show on the least middle class time you can get: midnight.

Are there any other shows on this year you’d recommend?

To start your day at the Fringe I would go and see Alice Devlin: Extra-Curricular at The Mash House at 11.40. It is a great way to wake up if you are not a morning person like me! And Ellen Waddell’s ‘It’s Better To Lie Than To Tell The Truth And End Up Alone In A Ditch Crying’ is worth the short trek across the Meadows to the Cellar Monkey – hilarious writing from a very funny lady! And unfortunately, Lisa Maria Berg’s show ‘The Love Of Stationery’ I will never see as it is on at the same time as my own show, but I have heard great things from the audiences coming out every evening!

What’s on your hit list to see?

Lucy Hopkins at Heroes of The Fringe and Ed Burns – going to see him is a bit of a tradition of mine as seeing him perform at the Fringe three years ago inspired me to do the same! So I’m saving his show till the end of the Fringe. No pressure, Ed Burns.

What do you like to do in Edinburgh on your day off?

Spending it with my family who are coming over from the Netherlands to experience the Fringe as well. We will probably go to a museum…

Do you agree with those who say the Fringe has become too big?

I don’t think so. The bigness is part of the attraction I think, what makes it famous. The fact that there is a show in every cupboard is great and people come here to go and see stuff they normally would never take a chance on. That is the power of the Fringe. Edinburgh is unique in its size.

Can you recommend a bar or restaurant in Edinburgh?

This is my first Fringe and I haven’t had that much time, really, to have a good restaurant dinner, but I love Elephant and Bagel. It takes a while before you can get a table, but once you get one you understand why! The place has the best atmosphere in Edinburgh, you will not want to leave.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen in Edinburgh this year? 

A man in a tent, his head out of the tent, trying to flyer people passing the tent.

Although the lovely people who came to find me at midnight to ask if my show has any jokes on Mimsey, the data base program the museum uses, because they were a fan of another data base, is a weird and wonderful treasure I will keep with me for a long time.

Sell your show in no more than ten words

Stand-up comedy show about museums, their gossip and Dutch people!

Arna Spek: Museum Piece, Just the Tonic at The Caves (Venue 88), until 26 August, midnight, www.edfringe.com 

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