This year, Paul Vickers returns to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe with his cabaret creation, Mr Twonkey, in Twonkey’s Private Restaurant. In a piece that contains no spoilers, Martin Walker talks to Paul about making people laugh.
“It’s my most accomplished work to date it. I feel I am finding my voice and not just my singing voice I mean my actually inner voice witch as you can image is absolutely terrifying for me.
“It’s essentially me running my own restaurant with a bunch of stragglers’ from the back of beyond. Will I go out of business? What’s on the menu? Who’s dining tonight? Those kind of questions get answered, sort of, through absurdist song and story. It’s a patchwork table cloth interwoven with some real laughing frog moments.”
“It’s like that little Dadaist café in that sleepy little street in Switzerland where the revolution started.”
How do you describe your act to people who haven’t seen you before?
“No different to the way I would describe it to people who had seen it before. In fact it’s a new show so only a small hand-full have seen it. I hold no prejudice to Twonkey virgins I would treat them with the same sprit. I like to be a little misleading and mystifying so that people are surprised or horrified when they turn up for the show.
“The whole key to good entertainment is surprise never give away too much its damaging. So I would say it’s a one-hour pow-wow of song, dance, fairytales and black magic.”
You use a lot of props. Do your ideas come from the prop, or do you find a prop to fit your idea?
“The idea usually comes first, but now weight can play a part. I use a bag, it is about four and a half foot by two made from durable polyester with a zip pocket and a telescopic handle. This year has been all about keeping it light. It can be difficult if I go for a drink after the show with a bag that size, people just don’t want be around you you’re an inconvenience and an eyesore.
“So this year when I have an idea that needs a prop I think I’ve got 110 litres to play with tops. For example I have funny routine with a heavy silver kettle has been cut from the show. After all I’m not a department store.”
Why did you choose to be a cabaret performer and how did you get started?
“I was told to do it by close personal friend they said: what have you got to lose you can sing like sugar and know how to turn it on.”
If you were curating a comedy show for television, who would be your guests?
“Jeff innocent, Lewis Schaffer, Myra Dubois, Chewbacca and Kristen Schaal.”