Electrifying gig. Thrilling theatre. Tongue-twisting vocal gymnastics. Mary Shelley’s original, re-imagined with songs, soundscapes and sonic trickery. Experience the power of the human voice breathing life into monsters all around us. Frankenstein will leave you asking: who are the monsters we fear? BAC Beatbox Academy is Battersea Arts Centre’s homegrown young collective. Having performed at The Royal Festival Hall, Latitude Festival and appeared on Gareth Malone’s The Choir (BBC Two), the collective make their Scottish debut this year at the Edinburgh Fringe. Co-directors, Conrad Murray and David Cumming spoke with The Fountain about the show as well their plans for the show.
TF: You are performing at the Edinburgh Fringe this year, how exciting?
CM: This is MAD exciting -yes! Can’t wait to be down there with the whole crew- ABH, Glitch, Native, Wiz-RD , Grove and Aminita. It feels like it is a celebration of all the hard work that we have put in, to be taking a show to a proper big venue.
DC: Yes, we are very excited to bring our show to Edinburgh Fringe. It will be some of the casts’ first time at the festival so they are very much looking forward to it!
TF: Frankenstein certainly sounds interesting, is it close to Mary Shelly’s story?
CM: It follows the themes and ideas viscerally, and as our response to it. We do loosely have a monster and a doctor, but we use these characters as ideas.
DC: We took Shelley’s story as more of a jumping off point, but the show does follow the plot thematically, especially in relation to the Monster’s arc.
TF: And what drove the project, where did your influences lie?
DC: We were influenced heavily by the tone and mood of the book, but also by the life experience of the cast members. They drew upon their own stories to reflect back upon growing up in the modern world. Also, just as Shelley utilised a new form of writing (i.e. the Gothic novel) so too did we use new forms of music making (beat-box) and music genres (grime, rap, hip-hip, house) to tell our tale.
TF: Have you been to the Fringe before, is there anything you are keen to see whilst in Edinburgh?
CM: We are really looking forward to be at the Fringe this year as we haven’t performed there before. I think just hoping that people come and enjoy the show really. We will be performing at the Traverse Theatre which is a really big deal for us.
I have been to the fringe a couple of times as a punter. I like just going cold to things and watching any old ting.
My tip would be to definitely check out Beatboxer SK Shlomo, who is a legend in the game.
We are also creating curtain raisers with Leith Academy as a collaboration with the Traverse and Edinburgh International Festival that I’m incredibly excited about.
DC: I (David) have been to the Fringe many, many times – my main tip to newbies is to make sure you eat enough fruit (surprisingly hard to do during festival season) and not to beat yourself up too much if you are too tired to see a show. That being said, my record was seeing 27 shows whilst also performing twice a day for a month. Oh, and biggest tip of all – befriend someone with venue pass for one of the Big 4 so you can get into the Performers bars!
TF: And what are your future plans beyond Frankenstein?
CM: I want Frankenstein to tour the world and end up at Sydney Opera House! Who knows eh?
I would like to create a show with dance and maybe something based on a classical piece of music. It’s all about timing and the ensemble at the time.
The BAC Beatbox Academy will keep meeting and jamming every week, and I hope to have many projects around, and spread my methodology of BOOM! TEE! CLA!
DC: World-domination! Well, almost! We’d love to take the show on an international tour. We’re part of the British Council showcase this year so it is a possibility. We think that given the show is about growing up in the modern world and primarily told through music and beats, it has a huge international appeal. Plus these 6 performers are insanely talented – the world deserves to see them and vice-versa!
You can see Frankenstein: How To Make A Monster at Traverse Theatre, Theatre 1 from 6th – 25th August at various times. For tickets, please visit www.edfringe.com