Tell us about your show. Why should we go and see it?
I like to imagine that this show is a completely fresh take on ventriloquism: a satirical, biting conversation between myself, a white South African ventriloquist, and my puppet, Chester Missing, of SA TV fame. Talking to yourself can be dangerous. Chester Missing is known for saying the unsayable and getting away with it, because he’s a puppet and doesn’t really exist (please don’t tell him I said that). I suspect that Boris Johnson has the same superpower. In the show I want Chester to roast some racists, but instead he decides to start with my own racism. That traitorous bastard. The rest is an hour of you getting to laugh at my expense while Chester drags me through my own misconceptions about race, how apartheid and colonialism have shaped my entire life, and takes on most of the racist establishment with it. Why should you see it? It’s a funny as hell double EMMY nominated South African puppet, who himself has literally gone to court fighting racism, talking about racism.
Are you flying solo or are you part of a team?
I’m my own team. It’s myself and a very opinionated puppet.
What are your hopes and dreams for the Fringe?
It has taken years of reinventing my style and voice to translate what I do with ventriloquism in South Africa to be understandable to global audiences. I am hoping they connect as powerfully with this conversation on racism, and the quirkiness of a puppet saying it, as my South African fans have.
What makes you laugh?
What makes me laugh is a mix between irreverent silliness and comedy with something to say, comedy that delightfully smacks power in its conceited, entitled face.
What is it that made you a performer?
What made me a performer was being an oddball who didn’t fit in at the rugby playing all boys schools I went to in Cape Town, what gave me something to say was developing my voice and studying social anthropology in a country grappling with the legacy of apartheid.
How will your audience think/feel differently after an hour in your company?
This show allows audiences to vicariously self-examine their prejudices while my own puppet forces me to self-examine my own. It is uncomfortable and funny, and leaves people entertained and self-reflective. I hope it will provoke audiences to be more likely to speak up when they see racism and diffuse the assumptions of guilt and blame people often mistakenly add to the conversation.
Whose show – apart from your own – are you looking forward to seeing at the Edinburgh Fringe?
What’s the most useful piece of advice you’ve been given?
My mother used to quote a Shakespeare line to me, as weird as that might be: “to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man”. Be the you-est you that you can be, is what I got from that, ironically, for a ventriloquist.
Do you have a favourite Fringe memory?
This is my first Edinburgh Fringe, but in South Africa I once had a drunk guy come stand on stage right next to me with no shoes on and holding an open can of beer for 5 min.
Who is your showbiz/Fringe idol and why:
Loyiso Gola, he’s a friend who paved the way.