FESTIVAL COMEDY | Kiri Pritchard-McLean
HER DARK MATERIAL
Serial killers, horror stories and black humour have all heavily inﬂ uenced the comedy of Kiri Pritchard- McLean. She tells Marissa Burgess that it’s all about revealing difﬁ cult truths
K iri Pritchard-McLean is set to be pretty busy this Fringe. She’s performing her second solo show Appropriate Adult, acclaimed sketch group Gein’s Family Giftshop (of which she is co-writer) are up for their third outing, and there’s a one-night performance with Jayde Adams of the witty homage to the musical in Amusical. A mixed bag you might think, but one theme that will no doubt unite all of Pritchard- McLean’s work is a dark sense of humour, one which is particularly highlighted in Gein’s. ‘People say to us “oh you’re really dark”: Jesus, you should see the stuff we throw out! We think we’re giving a really tempered version of what we do,’ she laughs. Pritchard-McLean blames her Anglesey upbringing for that twisted sense of humour. ‘I think it’s because I grew up on a farm and you’re immediately confronted with pretty horrii c things. When I was young, I read horror stories like Frankenstein and Dracula, and used to scare myself to sleep with them.’ But the inl uences are also there in the comedy she favoured. ‘The i rst comedy I got really excited about was the League of Gentlemen, but I used to really like Billy Connolly and Richard Pryor because it’s all difi cult, hard, dark stuff. Something that reveals an uncomfortable truth
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Appropriate Adult will no doubt be i ltered through those inspirations as she looks at the past year of her life. ‘It’s been a big one in that I broke up with my partner of eight years and decided I was going to adopt and not have children biologically.’ In the show, Pritchard- McLean explores her discovery she’s not the only one to favour adoption over parenting. biological d ‘I thought I was weird o that I didn’t want to y have kids biologically n, but it’s really common, t amongst that
Gein’s Family Giftshop
especially millennials.’ Preparing for adoption, she’s mentored and volunteered with disadvantaged children. ‘I think if you’re poor, you’re automatically vulnerable as there’s less in place to protect you. I’ve got an hour a week I can spare: we probably all have. It’s a no-brainer for me; why wouldn’t I turn up and take an interest in someone else outside of my friends and family?’
Pritchard-McLean’s socio-political awareness is also apparent in her All Killa No Filla podcast with fellow comic Rachel Fairburn. Though the pair have an interest in serial killers, there’s nothing salacious about their podcast and the gags certainly don’t make fun of the victims. What has emerged is how the killers’ actions are representative of attitudes and policy of the time. She cites the case of nurse Beverley Allitt who killed four children in her care. ‘At the time we had a Tory government and the hospitals were so under-staffed that you have a nurse who has no qualii cations being taken on to look after kids who are really sick.’ Possibly less socially responsible will be the third outing for Gein’s. ‘That show is going to look very different this year in the aesthetic and the type of stuff we’re doing on stage. It’s an evolution and a revolution. Also we’re not coming back just for the sake of it.’
Kiri Pritchard-McLean: Appropriate Adult, Pleasance Courtyard, 5–28 Aug, 8.15pm, £7.50–£10 (£7–£9.50). Previews 2–4 Aug, £6.
Gein’s Family Giftshop: Volume 3, Pleasance Courtyard, 5–28 Aug, 10.20pm, £8–£10.50 (£7–£10). Previews 2–4 Aug, £6.
54 THE LIST FESTIVAL 3–10 Aug 2017
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