Ready for a dose of silliness and laughter? We sat down for a pixelated pint with Charlie Vero-Martin, the character comedian taking us all on a lovely Picnic this evening at VAULT Festival. We wanted to find out about the eccentric show, what it takes to create character comedy and what you can expect from a show advertising itself on the basis of a wise-cracking wicker basket. A lot of fun, I’d expect. Take a read!
Tickets for tonight’s performance at VAULT Festival have now sold out. But Charlie assures us you can join her for checkerboard-blanket fun at Leicester Comedy Festival and Glasgow Comedy Festival later this year. Tickets are available through the relevant links provided.
Hi Charlie, your new character comedy show is themed around you trying to have a nice picnic – fighting off the distractions of sneaky salamanders, anthropomorphised baskets and sea urchins. What gave you the inspiration for the show?
“Coming out of the pandemic I decided to scrap the show I’d written for 2020 completely and start afresh. I wanted a show that would be full of joy and silliness to lift our spirits full of puppets, characters, improv and stories. I realised though that there can be no light without shade. A lot of these surreal characters come from my anxieties about the environment, mental health and religion as well as my darker sense of humour. So while on the surface this seems like a wholesome picnic it could descend into a mini Midsommar…”
Tell us a little bit about the process that you use in coming to put together a comedy show like Picnic.
“Usually I like to “write on stage” in a sort of improvise, rinse, repeat method. However, for the first time, I’ve been working with a director, Kat Cade, who comes from a sketch/stand-up/drag background (she also lives outside of London with two young children) who has encouraged me to commit more to paper. I started working on this show with her over a year ago, which is also much longer than I usually give myself, and she encouraged me to generate and write as much material as possible before settling on a format or themes.”
“The show has changed so much since I originally pitched it to VAULT last summer and now has a totally different name! Kat has been great at pushing me to make the show bolder and more cohesive. I probably have about 2 hours worth of new material and only 50mins of it will get in the show. We recently restructured the whole show and removed a large part of the stand-up element. It was sad to lose so much but it was definitely necessary to help with the flow. I’m therefore writing a whole new ending just now! This is why the show is billed as a work-in-progress and it will definitely develop more between VAULT and the Edinburgh Fringe.”
What kind of laughs can the audience expect? Give us an idea of the atmosphere you’re hoping to create.
“This is a very silly show. There are lots of things designed to tickle you and bring you joy. There is some dark humour too. I’d say a mix of big shock laughs and the kind of giggles you get sitting at the back of church.”
Now that we’re gearing up for VAULT Festival 2023, what are you most excited for?
“This is my first ever time performing at VAULT Fest so I’m just really excited to be part of it. This will also be the first time I’ve performed this show to an audience in its entirety so I’m excited to see what they make of it.”
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?
“I think it would be a G&T but specifically the ones that come in a can because they’re perfect for picnics.”