In the next in our interview series with Aussies set to light up the Edinburgh Fringe Festival next month, I catch up with Anya Anastasia – self-described writer, thinker, composer, activist, slacktivist and cabaret femme fatale – who will be bringing her acclaimed production The Executioners to the famed event.
What can you tell us about the show?
It’s a neo-cabaret digitally enhanced explosion of musical comedy, political satire and feisty social observation cutting cunningly close to the bone, delivered in stacked heels and a showgirl medusa head-dress made of selfie arms clutching iPhones: an ode to the narcissism of millennial expression and ritual.
What can we expect?
We have a unique and original style of both wordplay / lyricism and musicality. All of the songs are refreshed every 5 seconds up-to-the-minute topical informed accusations and observations with enormous scope. The music thematically has a glorious breadth of tonality and genre, spanning from lyrical beat poetry spat out over rampaging bent gypsy-circus piano, to epic soaring ballads, to classical piano, Indian Sitar and wonky accordion, with additional (subtle) tips of the hat to artistic protest songs of other decades. The central character is a wickedly funny and startlingly earnest caricature of the current crop of socially aware but technologically absorbed clicktivists. And yes, there is a fight scene.
Where has the show played before now?
This show was performed to huge critical acclaim in the Adelaide Fringe, gaining multiple 5 star reviews, a Best Cabaret, Critics Choice, and Made in Adelaide Award, the last of which came with funding to support the show’s Edinburgh touring, and comes with the accolade of being the South Australian Festivals Cultural Ambassador in the UK.
Can you tell me a little bit about how you have evolved this production since you first started performing it? Will you be making any changes for Edinburgh?
Yes updates are always being made! The world is changing fast! News gets old FAST! It was a show written in the context of Australian political climate and social observations crafted into a show, so I’ve been busy in London adapting it for the UK. It hasn’t been too big a task because many of the issues the show is addressing are globally relevant and more specifically challenging the status quo in first world Western nations – philosophising, provoking discussion, and naming the ethical dilemmas.
Why should audiences come see your show?
This show will make you split your sides laughing after it’s made you squirm time and time again! Fierce unapologetic razor sharp satire that calls into question what the hell we’re doing with our lives, what the hell we’re doing for our World, and why coconut water doesn’t come in coconuts.
What sets Edinburgh Fringe apart from other events?
Edinburgh Fringe is a place to feast on art. I find people really love to just completely submerge and explore- open to new ideas and thoroughly keen to be entertained for a very large chunk of the day! The audiences have stamina and arrive to the Fringe with a ravenous appetite! It’s bloody fantastic to behold.
Do you think being from Australia gives you an advantage in any respect at Edinburgh over, say, someone from the UK?
Australians certainly have a reputation for producing some of the best cabaret on the circuit at the moment, many of our quality acts who’ve cut their teeth on the Aussie circuit come to the UK and seem to be met with a huge reception. I suppose we also have a pretty brutal training over there of evolving our careers where you have to have a new hour for touring every single year, and we’re used to long seasons 4-5 weeks of doing back to back shows. That’s pretty good training!
What’s next for you after Edinburgh?
After this we’ll be back to Oz for the Melbourne Fringe performing at Gasworks, and then preparing for a huge run at Adelaide Fringe next year and my debut Melbourne International Comedy Festival season.
The Executioners runs nightly at the Edinburgh Fringe from 1st to the 26th of August at 8pm, with the exception of Monday 13th August, at the Gilded Balloon Teviot – Wine Bar. For tickets and more details, head HERE.