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  • Writer's pictureHinton Magazine

Edinburgh Fringe Fest - A Terrible Show for Terrible People

A Terrible Show for Terrible People is a raunchy, feminist physical theatre clown show, with movement, dance, burlesque, some audience participation and some props. Prominent among the props are pickles. Performed by one performer, with only two spoken words, Bonnie He brings a fresh perspective to physical comedy: Asian American, female, and unapologetically horny. This is a celebration of female sexuality, desire and connection.

Performer, Bonnie He and show director, Bruce Allen tell us all about their anticipation for the reactions of a British crowd, creating a show with no language barrier and why they want women at their show.

This is your international debut – how do you think British audiences will react to this feminist, raunchy physical theatre show?

Bruce: Americans love raunchy British male clowns like Rowan Atkinson and Sacha Baron Cohen... so I hope Brits love raunchy Asian American female clowns like Bonnie in return!

Bonnie: I, and my bank account, really hope that Brits are also feminist perverts.

Bruce: I think they are, they're just more repressed. Also, our physical comedian friend Viggo just won Britain's Got Talent so I feel the UK is prepped for an invasion of weird clowns.

A Terrible Show for Terrible People has won no less than 7 awards already – how does that feel?! Are you particularly proud of any of them?

Bonnie: Sensible people say that you shouldn't base your self-worth on external validation. I feel that I'm winner on the inside... because I'm a winner on the outside! External validation feels incredible - please never take it away. I am not a sensible person. I am a clown.

Bruce: We're proud of the unique ones like "Fringiest Show" and "Craziest Solo Show" which sound like they were made up. Those were a delightful surprise!

Bonnie: I don't want to play favourites, but I am quite fond of the awards that came with statues. Award statues are really good for external validation. But in all seriousness, I'm most proud of my Best Comedy award from the Hollywood Fringe Festival. It was already a tough category to win in, and I'm very honoured to have received it for my absurd physical comedy clown show with only two words.

The show has practically no dialogue – does this mean it’s suitable for all cultures/languages?

Bonnie: It is! At the core of it is about someone looking for love and human connection, and that experience is universally relatable. But the protagonist is a woman, and all pursuits come from a woman's point of view, so this show would probably work best in a culture that isn't, you know, sexist.

Bruce: If the culture is super sexist, they probably need this show to come and stir things up though!

Bonnie: Ultimately there's no language barrier and anyone from anywhere can understand what's going on. Everyone can relate to the uniquely human struggle of wanting. And for those with a discerning eye, there's an evolving but subtle narrative from death to rebirth.

Who is the dream audience?

Bruce: I've seen tons of women get a massive kick out of it. We're flooded with dude-centric raunchy comedy, and for women it's slim pickings, so women are a big part of our dream audience. I've also seen people who came to laugh in turn be delighted and surprised when they find out there is a sweet and quite moving story arc.

Bonnie: Men are invited too, of course. You never know when a man might come in handy (wink wink).

The title is so intriguing. How did you decide on it?

Bonnie: Haha, thanks! I wanted a title that conveyed it was a comedy from the onset, so I had to pick my words carefully. I'm actually quite fond of words, despite only saying two of them in the entire show. No sensible theatre person would call their own show 'Terrible,' but as we have established earlier, I am not sensible. I am a clown, with a very clowny show called A Terrible Show for Terrible People, who hopes that Brits like a 1-woman, 2-worded, 7-award-winning, feminist, raunchy, physical comedy theatre show.

A Terrible Show for Terrible People will be performed at Underbelly Cowgate (Iron Belly) at 11.10pm from 3rd – 27th August (Not 14th or 21st) with BSL interpreted shows on 9th, 16th & 23rd.


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