Andy Barr: Tropic of Admin asks and answers the question ‘what if a school administrator were marooned on a deserted tropical island?’ We wanted to know more, so we fired over a Q&A.
Hi Andy, tell me about ‘Tropic of Admin’.
This show is drawn from my experiences working as a school administrator in a state-maintained secondary school and from my experiences of imagining being marooned on a tropical island. As I’ve been previewing this show, different friends have taken very different messages from it but my favourite reading is that it’s about the effects of neoliberalism on the capacity for imagination. I challenge anyone to replicate that interpretation at the Fringe.
What does Edinburgh mean to you?
Edinburgh means getting to see all the people I know in London testing the limits of their abilities to create, perform, drink, dick around and eat badly. It’s also a great way to get away from the doldrums of working at school during the summer – nothing happens and you get cabin fever.
Who inspires you and why?
I’m going to try and not reel off my influences as they’re probably pretty similar to other comedians of my background. Instead I’ll pay lip-service to my pals – I’m really inspired every time I do or see a show with the Weirdos who are never short on inventive, anarchic ideas and the unrestrained silliness to see them through to a batshit payoff. The same goes for acts like Sean Morley and Barnaby Thompson (Barnaby is not at the Fringe this year, Sean Morley is doing two showings of his Earned Helplessness and also hosting a one-off of the comedy anti-competition The Glang Show).Find my Facebook profile and cross-check my friends list with the brochure for a definitive Barr recommendations list for the fringe.
Describe your best or worst experiences on stage.
Best and worst experiences on stage were probably both during a show I did with my sketch group Consignia (we call them dreams not sketches as this frees us from the troublesome requirement to have narrative thrust, characterisation or a satisfying conclusion) last year. The show was at 1am and the venue had shut early the night before so we performed the show twice in a row. To our surprise the entire audience stayed for the second hour so in order to mix things up a bit show number two was performed nude and at an advanced state of drunkenness. Go and see Consignia’s Panopticon at some venue miles away from anything at around 11pm.
Describe your best or worst review.
‘(Andy Burr)’ – Notts Comedy Review
If you weren’t a performer, what would you be?
Administrating in a school without any form of escapism.
What was the last book you read?
Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban – a journey through a post-apocalyptic Kent largely indistinguishable from my own experiences growing up in Folkestone in the 90s.
Are you entitled to any of the A.G. Barr soft drinks fortune?I’m not sure. My dad implies that we are distantly related but I would welcome the efforts of any budding amateur genealogists who would be interested in verifying my entitlement.
Imagine that the BBC have asked you to produce a primetime show. What would it be and who else would be involved?
It would be An Evening with Consignia Live in which Phil Jarvis, Nathan Willcock and I sit in the middle of a large, glitzy, entirely empty (aside from three chairs and a phone) taking calls from planned guests, audience and finally cast and crew telling us that they have decided to cancel due to serious concerns about the content and organisation of the show.