Edinburgh Fringe: Liz Richardson (Gutted) interview

Liz has got an embarrassing problem and these yogurts aren’t helping; her body’s acting up. After sell-out performances at HOME Manchester and a national tour of hospitals, Liz Richardson shares her real life experiences living as a twenty-something with ulcerative colitis (an inflammatory bowel disease) in this shameless tale of love, laughter and lavatories.

Co-created by Tara Robinson and described by audience members as tight, witty and compelling, Gutted is a frank and funny exploration of our relationship to our bodies when they fail us.

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

How has your Fringe been so far?

Good in lots of ways, a bit dodgy in others – I managed to get gastritis for the first half of the week so I’ve been making it up by now seeing double the amount of shows and smiling twice as much.

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

Gutted is a one woman show about my own life living with Ulcerative Colitis (an Inflammatory Bowel Disease). It’s a story about the relationships along the way, the shame we feel with illness but also the joy and good things that can come from suffering. It’s a comedy as well as an informative piece of art!

What’s the audience reaction been so far?

Really good. Audiences go on the journey with me so are often very moved (I can sometimes see tears reflect in the lights) or they laugh hard, or they sit and learn something about something they had never even heard of – an invisible disability. I quite often have people waiting to talk to me after the show as they just want to share their own story with me about their life with illness or someone they know.

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

My co-creator (Tara Robinson) and I decided that I wouldn’t read any negative reviews as it wouldn’t help with me performing as well as I can… but so far, to the best of my knowledge (they may not have been telling me!), the reviews and blog posts have all been very encouraging.

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

I think audiences get an all-round package with Gutted – there’s a love story, a laugh a minute, they might be quite moved but mainly it’s a very honest and open human story about being human, about our bodies not always doing what we want them to do – this, at some point in our lives, happens to us all.

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

I really enjoyed A Girl & A Gun by Louise Orwin. I am a fan of comedy, too, so have seen a variety from great clowning and slapstick to stand-up. Trygve Wakenshaw & Barnie Duncan: A Different Party was very funny.

What’s on your hit list to see?

I have tickets for Hot Brown Honey as evvvveryone has been telling me to go and see it. I’ve also been waiting for my husband to arrive so we can go and see £¥€$ (LIES) at Summerhall this weekend.

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

We don’t have a day off! We’re here just for two weeks, so doing a show every day but it’s in the afternoon so I like to enjoy a coffee and a walk in the morning and a catch up with people and then go see shows after my own show. I enjoy running, too, but am yet to go up Arthur’s Seat!

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

It certainly is big and I always feel for the residents of Edinburgh having their city bombarded, but it’s still great that there’s so much entertainment that people create and want to share… whether this can be honed in is another debate which I shan’t start on now.

Can you recommend a bar or restaurant in Edinburgh?

We had a lovely dinner with my family at The Rabbit Hole, which is around the corner from my digs. The Argyle Bar is next door too – so that’s always good.

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

I saw a friend’s partner’s dark comedy piece by The Ship of Fools: Welcome to Paradise. This isn’t for the faint hearted and you need to ‘get’ clowning to not be offended. But it was superbly executed and the humour is so so clever.

Sell your show in no more than ten words…

Shameless tale of love, laughter and lavatories. Honest and witty.

Gutted, Pleasance Dome (Jack Dome), Bristo Square,until Sunday 13 August 2017, 2:40pm, www.edfringe.com

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