Edinburgh Fringe Fest - String V SPITTA
every kid within a 5-mile radius of the Kings Road wants charming, classical musician Silly String (Ed MacArthur – Dreamland, Bad Education), and his Silly Songs. Meanwhile, SPITTA (Kiell Smith-Bynoe – Ghosts, Taskmaster), is a Grime bar spitting maverick from East London who’s shaken up the kids entertainment scene. In String V SPITTA, these two big hitters of the children’s entertainment circuit are forced to put aside their rivalry, swallow their pride and perform as a double act in a once in a lifetime booking: little Anastasia’s sixth birthday party. And you’re invited.
Kiell and Ed took some time out of their busy schedules to tell us more about their characters of String and SPITTA, their successful Soho Theatre run and some sound advice from Simon Farnaby…
Audiences may know you both from TV – what brings you to live comedy?
Ed: Our live act’s been going for nearly seven years, so if anything, the question should be, ‘what brings you both to TV after all this time in live comedy?’. The answer? Money.
Kiell: I’m actually in live comedy for the money and TV is because of my love for the arts.
Although the show is set at a children’s party, it does touch on some serious themes; in particular class. Tell us a bit more about that?
Ed: Our characters allow us to talk about serious things but in a very silly, very frothy way. Playing an elitist classical musician like Mr. String is strangely thrilling. The more snobbish and derisory he is about MC SPITTA and Grime, the more the crowd seem to enjoy it.
Kiell: It was important to us to use the time on stage to make some kind of commentary. Not necessarily a message that you have to take home but something to think about other than how fast I can make a balloon dog.
The show has already had a very critically successful run at London’s Soho Theatre – do you think the Edinburgh audiences will react in the same way, or find different things to love?
Ed: We're always tweaking and upgrading, plus we tend to improvise and play around with it every night anyway. I do this because it’s a compelling creative choice. Kiell does it because he’s never truly learnt the script.
Kiell: The script is only a guide though, isn’t it? That’s what Simon Farnaby says. People keep coming back because they love the characters but they also get to see them thrown something new each night.
Is there everything you’d normally find at a children’s birthday party in the show? Songs, games, magic?
Ed: All of the above. Kiell and I were both actually children’s entertainers when we first moved to London, so we’re drawing on years of experience, observation and humiliation.
Kiell: Aw that sounds like we moved from the country together to make it in the big city. To be clear only one of us waits for a green man at the zebra crossing.
Lastly, how do you think Mr String would do on Taskmaster?
Ed: Very, VERY badly. If I may praise a fellow colleague, Kiell was brilliant on Taskmaster because he’s excellent under pressure, he’s always in the moment and he’s naturally free from concern, much like a very young, very small child in that respect. Whereas myself and String are uptight and anxious, preferring extreme preparation and leaving nothing to chance. That show rewards the Kiellian approach of living by your wits.
Kiell: Did you just think of that just now? What a talent. I can’t wait to get back on the stage with you man.
String V SPITTA will be performed at the Pleasance Courtyard (Above) at 8pm from the 18th – 26th August