Edinburgh Fringe: Athena Kugblenu (KMT) interview

Tired of the conventions of both the left and right, KMT – acronym for the Caribbean Patois expression ‘kiss mi teeth’, a mouth gesture used to show annoyance – is a debut hour that finds a new way to talk about politics, class, race and identity at a time both ends of the political spectrum couldn’t be any further apart. Whether you agree or disagree, Athena Kugblenu’s thought-provoking observations will have you laughing out loud.

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

How has your Fringe been so far?

Brilliant. I found a place that does fried plantain and my show gets better with every performance (it was great to begin with though!)

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

KMT is a show that covers all kinds of issues like politics, race, class, sexism… I go into world events and use my personal experiences to explore the idea that we are all wrong about something. I use the show to subtly argue the best way forward is to laugh at our own inadequacies before we shriek at other people for theirs 

What’s the audience reaction been so far?

I think people really like it! After one performance one person gave me a can of Strongbow, which I think is a significant offering of approval.

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

No! I have been avoiding them all Fringe, though I was overly animated by 5 stars I saw stuck to one of my posters. I  would rather use audience response to gage the success of my show and I’ll take on board the comments of reviewers in September when I am less fragile

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

Because they will leave my show better people.

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

Yes! Dana Alexander, Bilal Zafar, Twayna Mayne, Tom Goodliffe, John Lynn and Ken Cheng.

What’s on your hit list to see?

Half Breed – a play that has been getting rave reviews, also The Fall, another play that people are raving about. Comedy-wise I’d like to see Tape Face and Jess Robinson.

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

Be as normal as possible – stuff I would do if I was back home. Cook tasty food, maybe go to the gym, read a bit. Very, very low key.

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

I’ve only ever known the Fringe to be big so I have no other reference to compare it to. I think there are A LOT of shows and the real issue is curation and quality control – it must be so hard for audiences to decide what to watch and if they are disappointed by rubbish venues or dodgy acts it reflects badly on the Fringe overall. But that’s the point of the Fringe, isn’t it? It’s like comedy Russian Roulette and that isn’t always a bad thing. I think audiences understand that and it’s part of the fun.

Can you recommend a bar or restaurant in Edinburgh?

Wulmamen Cafe St Leonard’s Street – it serves Afro-Carribean food and visiting there is an act of self care for me. Or a Korean place on Buccleuch Street – can’t remember the name, but it’s proper good food there.

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

Nothing is strange in Edinburgh during August.

Sell your show in no more than ten words

Watching KMT is a hilarious, life changing experience

Athena Kugblenu: KMT, Underbelly, until 27t August.

For tickets visit www.edfringe.com

Leave a Comment