The absurd prop comedian Luke Rollason wowed Binge Fringe Magazine with a Work-In-Progress version of his show back at the 2021 Edinburgh Fringe. We’ve managed to clip his wings briefly and baby-birded some digitised alcohol into his little beak to see what sort of answers we can get about the revised version of his show, Bowerbird, landing at the Edinburgh Fringe 2022 in just two days time. Check it out and drink up!
Jake: Hey Luke! The last time we saw you, our reviewer Daisy warned that those with an aversion to buttcracks should avoid your show. Do buttcracks still feature and how has the piece developed since then?
Luke: Bowerbird has changed massively since then! The show is now appropriate for all opinions on buttcracks. I replaced the famous “bit where we see Luke’s buttcrack” with a respectful silence.
Because I’m a prop comedian, in many ways I’m carrying around the same objects a year later but my relationship to them has shifted. It used to be clear that this show was me bringing everyday items to life – but these days I’m not sure if they still need me more than I need them. It has become a show about how we form emotional bonds with the stuff we surround ourselves with, as an alternative to the difficulties of human connection.
We’re programmed to see faces in objects. I’m not sure we’re programmed to go as far as enact a soap opera about infidelity and a marital breakdown with a set of sieves, though, but that’s where I’ve ended up.
Jake: You describe Bowerbird as a “psychedelic domestic breakdown” – how does it feel performing that for nearly a whole month at the Fringe?
Luke: I wish I’d asked myself this question when I was writing this show. If I had, I probably would have written “Luke Rollason sits down comfortably for an hour” or “Luke Rollason: My Favourite Memories.” But art is pain. The pain of repacking your broken props and broken heart every day after a show, holding both together with rolls and rolls of duct tape, before making the mess all over again the next day.
But I love how a show transforms over the course of an Edinburgh Fringe run. What an audience can experience in that final week is an accumulation of so many bizarre encounters with total strangers over the course of a month. I love making the kind of work that transforms slowly over time.
Jake: You confront the mundanity of everyday life in your show, do you have any advice you can share as to how we can rethink the humdrum of our daily lives?
Luke: My favourite thing to do in any crowd is try to guess who knows each other and who are strangers. You can imagine whole relationships between the most mismatched pairs just because they briefly faced the same compass point. Of course, this is much harder at Fringe, because everyone is wearing merch from their show.
Jake: Now that we’re gearing up for Fringe season, what are you most excited for?
Luke: Me and my housemates (Christian Brighty and Amy Greaves, who are performing Playboy at the Pleasance) had a long argument about what the best chips are in Edinburgh. I am such a sucker for overpriced poutine from a food truck, because paying £8 for a box of chips really lets me believe it is a full meal.
Jake: Fitting with the themes of our magazine, if your show was an alcoholic beverage (think cocktails, shots, beers, be creative!) what would it be?
A virgin Aperol Spritz. Because my show is vividly colourful, but it is also at 12.30pm. And instead of a little cocktail umbrella, I’d stick in a full-sized one.
Jake: Is there anything you recommend our readers to see while they’re up in Edinburgh this August?
Luke: I’d love to recommend some shows. There are a bunch of wonderful weirdos doing their debut Fringe shows this year and they deserve all the attention they can get. Christian Brighty is taking on Bridgerton in his absurd period drama Playboy. Crizards, the UK’s lowest energy sketch act, have written a cowboy musical. Julia Masli is performing a clown epic about an immigrant’s odyssey to buy a hotdog. And Northern double act The Lovely Boys – featuring Mikey Bligh-Smith, who has a secret little cameo in my show – are bringing the most brilliantly bizarre comedy show you’ll see this Fringe.
You can catch Luke Rollason: Bowerbird before it flies away between August 3rd and 28th, except on the 10th and 17th, at 12:30 in Monkey Barrel Comedy: The Hive, Hive 2. Tickets are available through the EdFringe Box Office.