Interview with Abigail Dooley and Emma Edwards (aka A&E Comedy), creators and performers of Witch Hunt

Emma was obsessed with flamenco dancers as a child. She drew them constantly and is still very fond of polka dots and stamping.  At 3 years old Abigail painted her cat, literally.

Interview with Abigail Dooley and Emma Edwards (aka A&E Comedy), creators and performers of Witch Hunt

Could you first introduce yourself to the reader?

Abigail Dooley and Emma Edwards. AKA A&E Comedy. We’re bringing our show Witch Hunt to The Pleasance for this year’s Fringe.

How would you describe your show?

A ritualistic voodoo brouhaha designed to hex the pricks and predators. Think Vic and Bob do The Crucible. Directed by Cal McCrystal. 

Why do you want to perform at Edinburgh Festival Fringe?

It’s the biggest, most incredible opportunity to showcase our work, and also the most, fun, inspiring and social month of our year. 

What differentiates it from other festivals?

It’s pretty unique. Most festivals only run for a couple of days. This is a month of high octane, festival fun which can induce Groundhog Day syndrome. Other differences include cobbles, men in uniform with huge canons and Harry Potter fans.  

What first motivated you to enter the industry? Who were your inspirations?

Abigail trained at a London drama school and set her sights on becoming the next Dame Judy but settled with being an idiot instead. Emma had no such lofty aims – she just liked dressing up and showing off. We’re inspired by maverick, kick arse creatives – Vic and Bob, French and Saunders, The Mighty Boosh, Kathy Burke, Tina Fey.

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

Abigail would have become some kind of mystic. She'd be wearing a lot of velvet and keeping crystals in her bra for good luck. Maybe with a pet ferret. Emma would have a job involving capes, shoes, cutting the bullshit, cocktails and wigs. So maybe the House of Lords.

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

Prime Minister. 

What is your earliest childhood art memory?

Emma was obsessed with flamenco dancers as a child. She drew them constantly and is still very fond of polka dots and stamping.  At 3 yrs old Abigail painted her cat, literally.

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

We don’t feel pressure, but the role of art Is to reflect the world we live in. Our work is very personal and we aim to make work that is truthful and connected to our lived experience in the world. We write all our own material and so are always tweaking shows them to keep them current.

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

Over the last few years the appetite for female led work has grown which is great. Audiences want to hear from different voices and there is a strong support for work that embraces inclusivity.

Describe the last year in 5 words or less?

Enraged, engaged, staged.

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

Edith Sitwell – she’s the ‘cut the bullshit’ writing guru we need. Elsa Hildegard 

Baroness von Freytag-Loringhoven. Who doesn’t love an avant-garde Dada-ist Vaudille performer? 

Franca Rame and Dario Fo – Bouffon specialists and we’d get to spend time in Italy in the 60’s.

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?

If you can afford to do a ticketed event it can pay off as it raises your profile and being part of one of the bigger venues helps with ticket sales and reviews but it can bankrupt you. The free fringe community is brilliantly supportive and if you are financially strapped, a more sensible option. It’s a good place to start if this is your first fringe, but be prepared to perform to one man and his dog occasionally.

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

Take your best work. You are one of thousands of shows so you need to stand out. Find an experienced fringe performer and ask it they’d mentor you. It’s overwhelming so schedule in TLC time – a walk in the Botanical Gardens etc. Eat fruit and vegetables once a week to prevent scurvy.

When and where can people see your show

Our show, Witch Hunt is on at the Pleasance Dome 5.30pm, everyday except 13th.

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

  • Twitter @ae_comedy
  • Instagram @comedy_ae 
  • Facebook A&EComedy 
  • Go to our website for all information about us: www.aandecomedy.co.uk

You can see Witch Hunt at Pleasance Dome, Jack Dome 31st July to 26h August at 5.30 pm (not 13 Aug). For tickets please visit https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/witch-hunt

Header Image Credit: Paul Winter

Author

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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