THEATRE: Vikki Stone - "Comedy has nothing to do with gender"
Written by: Violet Myers
From producers Diane Paulus and Randy Weiner, the creative minds behind Punchdrunks’ sellout show Sleep No More, comes a new immersive theatre experience so bizarre it may just be genius. Inspired by the bard’s most popular comedy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Donkey Show takes place in the queue for a disco nightclub, and features fire eating, acrobatics and a soundtrack straight out of Boogie Nights, what’s not to love?
We caught up with Vikki Stone, actress, comedian, songwriter and general superstar, who will be leading this motley bunch of disco heads afro first onto the dance floor.
Hey Vikki, how are you doing?
I’m good thank you! I’m just backstage getting ready for our first preview.
Can you tell us a little about the show?
It’s quite a strange one, going from iambic pentameter to car wash in the phase of ten seconds! But it’s great – it’s got everything! It’s immersive, it’s got fire, acrobatics, massive songs, it’s a proper night out show!
What’s your role in the show?
I play Oberon and a gender swapped character called Mia. So I get to be a man and woman. It’s so much fun playing a man and surprisingly liberating donning a beard. Although…
Are you fan of this recent surge in beards we’ve been experiencing lately?
It’s not that I’m not against them, but we have definitely reached peak beard.
Had you done Shakespeare before?
I did in drama school as everyone does. I actually did Midsummer Night’s Dream ten years ago with Punchdrunk, we did it at Chelsea Flower Show in this beautiful garden. It was immersive too and really, really fun. It’s great to do the show again in such a different way.
You’ve had an incredible career in comedy (with the Guardian naming Vikki as one of five to watch at the Edinburgh Fringe and having won multiple awards). What do you say to people who think women aren’t funny?
Well it’s nonsense isn’t it? First of all, you can’t generalise a whole portion of society on anything and secondly, yes there are women who really aren’t funny but there are also men who aren’t really funny. Comedy has absolutely nothing to do with gender. That’s one of the reasons I love this show – it turns gender on its head!
Kudos for having performed at The Royal Albert Hall, what was that like?
It was mad. I’d had these comedy songs commissioned by the national youth choir and it had its premiere there.
We see you’re quite the fan of Phillip Schofield – having written a song about him and having serenaded him with it on live TV – Can you elaborate on this life long crush?
He’s just someone I’ve always gotten up with in the morning and I love him. I also wrote one about Brian Cox, which I performed at a show, when I finished they surprised me with him being right there, in the flesh! But it’s funny, me writing that little song about Brian Cox lead to me performing a song about quantum theory at TED Talks.
Do you have anymore songs about older gentlemen waiting in the wings?
No, that’s my two done!
What’s the best part of your job?
The huge breadth of things I get to do. Right now I’m getting ready backstage for this amazing show, next week I may be on a panel show or composing a new song. I’m so lucky to get to work on such great projects with such brilliant people. There really is never a dull moment.
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