Binge Fringe Magazine

INTERVIEW: A Digital Pint with… Amy-Beth Hayes, bringing ‘CRACKED’ to VAULT Festival

Writer-Performer Amy Beth Hayes is bringing a uniquely themed show to VAULT Festival today, set in the “cut and thrust world of walls and floors”. CRACKED is a show about tiles, with the central character working in a tiling showroom. The show quickly descends into a dark comedy however, with a thrilling plot about our relationships with our pasts. We sat down with Amy to talk all things tiles, escapes, wipe-clean surfaces and Percy Pigs.

You can catch CRACKED from today, 7th Feb up until the 10th Feb at 20:00. The show is a Work In Progress. Tickets are available through the VAULT Festival Box Office.

Hi Amy Beth! Your new show CRACKED is all about… tiles? Or is it? Tell us some more.

“Haha, yes it’s about tiles! (My character works in a tiling showroom!). But it’s also about how far we’d be willing to go to help a friend and the theme of escape. This could be escape to exotic places – my character often fantasises about the glamorous locations the tiles are named after: ‘Palermo, Aspen, Acapulco!!’. But it’s also about escape from the dark places in our past. And ‘Percy Pigs’. There’s a lot of ‘Percy Pigs’ in the show (my character is addicted to them!).”

The central, unnamed character is described as “charming, unsettling and darkly hilarious” – how have you found creating those qualities and do you find you relate to her in any way?

“I am always drawn to playing challenging characters. In fact I often play women who are a little ‘off kilter’…We all have ways of coping with the cards we’ve been dealt in life and we all have emotional crutches that we turn to and make us feel better. That could be drink or drugs but for the character in CRACKED, it’s Percy Pigs. There’s a childlike naivety to her so she’s able to get away with a lot of things and we don’t hold it against her. In fact we kind of cheer her on! That’s what I wanted to create: someone who makes you feel complicit in their actions. We might not condone what she’s doing, but we enjoy being along for the ride!”

CRACKED is your first time as a writer-performer. Can you tell us a little about your writing process and why you’ve made the decision to write and perform?

“In all honesty I was about to re-tile my bathroom and I was looking at lots of tiles online! I noticed how tile names were often very exotic sounding – these far flung places like the ‘Sahara Collection’. I just made that up(!) but you get what I mean(!) It got me thinking about the idea of escape and about a character who might be running from something in her past and who craved a fresh start. That got me thinking about how tiles are basically wipe clean (as opposed to say carpets which aren’t) and then I knew she had to work in a tiling showroom.”

You’re used to performing as part of an ensemble on stage and screen. How does performing on your own compare?

“It’s weird!!! But I discovered in rehearsals that she’s not alone because she feels like the audience are her mates and it’s all quite fun. She’s extremely candid with them and loves to make them laugh and in this way she gains their trust. This gives her permission to share her biggest (and darkest) secrets. It’s an intimate, rewarding relationship. It’s a mutual exchange.” 

What are you most excited about for VAULT Festival 2023?

“I’m so excited I get to finally play this character! I just hope people love her as much as I do! I’m chomping at the bit to see other shows as I love new writing and think that anyone creating their work deserves a medal!! Apart from anything I’m just so excited that this is my first time at the Vaults!”

Is there anything you want to talk about freely? 

“Everyone should watch out for Three Little Birds, a comedy drama coming soon on ITV written by Lenny Henry. It’s got a great cast and it’s a very warm and moving story about three women who came over on The Windrush from Jamaica. I’m playing a slightly unhinged 1950’s housewife!!”

Fitting with the themes of our magazine, if your show was an alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage (think cocktails, mocktails, shots, beers, be creative!) what would it be?

“Take 20 Percy Pigs, whizz them up in a blender with some Barcardi, Grenadine and fresh orange and pineapple. Strain into a highball glass and decorate with a Percy Pig and pineapple slice. ‘Percy Pig Planters Punch’. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.”  

Jake Mace

Our Lead Editor & Edinburgh Editor. Jake loves putting together novel-length reviews that try to heat-seek the essence of everything they watch. They are interested in New Writing, Literary Adaptations, Musicals, Cabaret, and Stand-Up. Jake aims to cover themes like Class, Nationality, Identity, Queerness, and AI/Automation.

Festivals: EdFringe (2018-2023), Brighton Fringe (2019), Paris Fringe (2020), VAULT Festival (2023), Prague Fringe (2023), Dundee Fringe (2023)
Pronouns: They/Them