Interview with Adam Meggido

Adam Meggido from Showstopper! The Improvised Musical takes some time to talk to Voice about three shows he's involved in this year at EdFringe, inspirations, and gives advice to young people.

Interview with Adam Meggido

Edinburgh Festival Fringe preview questions


Could you first introduce yourself to the reader?

I'm Adam Meggido. I perform, write, direct, compose and produce. I like making theatre – I don't mind if its improvised or scripted so long as it is exciting and has a sense of risk, liveness and danger about it!

How would you describe your show?

Showstopper! The Improvised Musical has everything you could possibly want from a musical – song-and-dance routines, soaring melodies, characters you care about and sweeping storylines – it just happens to be entirely made up on the spot, 100% improvised from audience suggestions. It first played in Edinburgh ten years ago in an 89-seat portacabin and has been sold out ever since. It has enjoyed a series on BBC Radio 4, played in twelve countries and, last year, became the first improvised show ever to win an Olivier Award (Best Entertainment and Family).


Me and Sean McCann (both from Showstopper! The Improvised Musical) will improvise a fully-authentic Shakespearean play – yes – in iambic pentameter, with all the wit, imagery and wordplay of the original! Along the way we might dip into any other writer from the past 3,000 years from Sophocles to Seuss, from Pinter to Poe... AND all the while we are competing against each other for the audience's favour. At the end of each show the audience decides which of us will be crowned 'Rhapsode'. It's very funny. And might even be moving.

Nina Conti: In Therapy

A brand new show in which I play Nina Conti's therapist. She comes to the sessions with Monkey and we improvise the full hour. Will she learn how to give up Monkey or will Monkey teach us all something new? This is a world premier!

Why do you want to perform at Edinburgh Festival Fringe?

This will be my thirteenth Fringe and my tenth year in-a-row. It is a joyous Festival. There really is nothing like it.

What differentiates it from other festivals?

No other festival comes anywhere near the sheer range and variety of shows, venues, performers, acts etc. It is as if someone split the art-atom revealing a whole universe of entertainment, exploding across a beautiful Gothic city.

Do you think the Fringe has changed over the years? If so, how? Are these changes positive or negative?

Ahhh you know, change is good….

What first motivated you to enter the industry?

Fear of sports

Who were your inspirations?

Laurel and Hardy, Tom Waits, Theatre de Complicite, David Lynch, The 'Weird Tales' movement of the 1920s-30s, Stephen Sondheim, EE Cummings, Harold Pinter, Maurice Ravel, JS Bach, David Mamet, Lou Reed, Dr Who, The Marx Brothers, Igor Stravinsky, Fawlty Towers, The Larry Sanders Show, and many of my friends who I am very lucky to work with.

If you didn't have your current job, what would you probably be doing?

Living statue? No I would kill myself. Dead statue.

If you could have any job in the world, what would it be?

This one

What is your earliest childhood art memory?

I used to write, direct and produce little sketches at school from the age of six. We rehearsed them in the breaks and then put them on at the start of class. I have always been popular when distracting other people from doing things they didn't want to do.

Do you ever feel any pressure to be a social commentator, or constantly update material to respond to events?

With all three of my shows at this years Fringe being improvised, you can pretty much guarantee some topical material. There is no 'pressure' to do so, we simply explore stories that the audiences want to hear.

Equally, do you think there has been a shift in public sentiment that has affected your work?

Well, in hard times, comedy flourishes…

Describe the last year in 5 words or less?

Three-hundred-and-sixty-five (ahh shoot, ran out of words)

If you could work with anybody, from any point in history, who would you pick and why?

The Duke of Wellington. I heard he could be a bit of a diva and I guess I'd like to know if that was true.

Why would a performer opt to do either a ticketed event or participate in the free fringe? What are the benefits and limitations of both?

On the Free Fringe you keep what's in the bucket but might have to use the bucket if there's a leak

On the ticketed Fringe there are lots of buckets and very few leaks but you have to give away most of your takings to bucket-owners

What advice would you give to someone who wants to take a show up to the fringe?

Only do it if you love it.

(Also – Strindberg tends to be low on laughs)

When and where can people see your show?

  • Showstopper The Improvised Musical

Pleasance Courtyard (Grand) (venue 33) 6pm (2-27) with a few late night shows too!

  • Rhapsodes

Pleasance Dome (venue 23) 2pm (14-27)

  • Nina Conti: In Therapy

Pleasance Courtyard (venue 33) 3.30pm (23-27only)

And where can people find, follow and like you online?

I am here: @adammeggido

  • Showstopper! The Improvised Musical is performing at Pleasance Courtyard at 18:00 on 2nd - 27th
  • Rhapsodes is performing at Pleasance Dome at 14:00 on 14th – 27th
  • Nina Conti: In Therapy is performing at Pleasance Courtyard at 15:30 on 23rd – 27th

For tickets and more information visit the Ed Fringe website.


Tom Inniss

Tom Inniss Voice Team

Tom is the Editor of Voice. He is a politics graduate and holds a masters in journalism, with particular interest in youth political engagement and technology. He is also a mentor to our Voice Contributors, and champions our festivals programme, including the reporter team at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe..

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