Binge Fringe Magazine

INTERVIEW: A Digital Pint with… Philippa Dawson, showing off her ‘Character Flaw’ at EdFringe 2023

Sitting at the intersection of neurodiversity, womanhood and queer acceptance, Philippa Dawson’s exciting new show Character Flaw is landing at EdFringe next month. The show is based on Philippa’s story, starting with an ADHD diagnosis and taking us into her world of coming out, identity, and acceptance of neurodiversity in society. Join us for a pixelated pint where we discuss trumpet solos, storytelling and mushrooms.

Catch Character Flaw at Greenside @ Nicolson Square – Lime Studio, August 4-12, 14-19, & 21-26 at 17:20. Tickets are available through the EdFringe Box Office.

Jake: Hey Pip! Your show ‘Character Flaw’ is landing at EdFringe next month, and is an autobiographical look at your experience with ADHD alongside your Queer journey. Tell us why you decided to bring the show to a Fringe stage.

Pip: Hi Jake!  Gosh, well taking a show to Edinburgh Fringe has long been something I’ve aspired to do. I’ve said for years that I’d put this idea on paper and apply to Fringe. But inevitably, mostly because of ADHD, I’d miss the deadline or be engrossed in something else.

But when my mum suffered a stroke at the start of this year, I realised how life can change so quickly and it’s important to just ‘do that thing that keeps you up at night’!

I’ve never been one to do things by halves. ‘All or Nothing’ is very much an ADHD trait. So, I’m doing the full run, with a packed script, lots of sound, lighting, props, costume, music, song and plenty of energy.

Jake: Tell us a little bit about the process of taking events in your own life, as well as your relationship with neurodivergence, queerness, and womanhood, then making it into a storytelling piece.

Pip: Before this project, though I’d seen countless solo shows, I’d never believed I could create one.  I had so much to share, and I knew my stories were worth hearing. I’ve often been told to try comedy, or “just get up on stage and tell your stories”, but I could never find a way to link them together. That is until, I was diagnosed with ADHD!  Finally, all the ridiculous and hilarious, yet often painful, experiences from my life were connected.

I began to learn where they came from. I learnt what was really happening all those years ago when I was lost in school, or got into trouble, had anger problems, or denied my sexuality. How all the unbelievable anecdotes of my life have happened. And ultimately learnt why people say, “that only ever happens to you Pip!”.  Once I knew where all of this had come from, I couldn’t not share everything, even the messy and uncomfortable parts, in the most honest way possible.

Jake: The show features storytelling, sketches, anecdotes and a song! Tell us a little bit about what the audience can expect going in and what you’re hoping they will take away from it all.

Pip: The audience can expect to be entertained from the word go.  From the moment I enter the stage I begin unpacking the chaos, props, and noise from inside my mind, for 50 minutes.  There is a lot of storytelling and sketches with eccentric characters, which are interrupted by voiceovers, announcements, personal anecdotes, and music.

After the London preview, I’ve also realised audiences can expect to laugh, sometimes cry, but mostly laugh! I deliver a lot of information on stage, not just about my experience, but I open the wider topic of women’s experiences in general. However, I’m very aware that whilst interesting, facts and information can lose their impact or feel preachy when delivered in the wrong way, and so I’ve found ways to bring everything to life. If you come to see Character Flaw you can expect to be moved by, and learn about, neurodivergence, but mostly, you can expect to laugh!

Jake: Tell us about your relationship with Edinburgh and the Fringe – have you been before and how are you feeling about it all now we are a month away?

Pip: This is my first show at Edinburgh Fringe! My first solo show ever actually. I have flyer-ed for friends shows in the past and loved being in the Fringe bubble. I saw more shows than I’d ever seen in my life and met tons of people. The atmosphere, and nightlife, was like nothing else.

I am really looking forward to being up there again, but I am a little nervous about how I’ll pace myself.  I know I’ll be so excited, wanting to see lots of shows again and go to all those parties … but perhaps, for the first week at least, I’ll take it a little easier and have some early nights. Maybe.

Jake: Given the themes of Binge Fringe, if your show was a beverage of any kind (alcoholic, non-alcoholic – be as creative as you like!), what would it be and why?

Pip: Lions Mane Mushroom tea.  It’s become the drink of this project for me.  I used to hate mushrooms, but I tried it… and it tastes like Horlicks, comforting and warm. It has amazing focus and concentration benefits.

So, if Character Flaw was a drink, it would be Lions Mane Tea. Because it awakens you, holds your focus, lifts your spirits, people are always interested to hear about it, it makes you feel good, and it’s great for people with ADHD. With folklore and fairy links, and 100s of different sexes, Mushrooms are queer as well! They have connections running underground and there is so much going on below the surface, much like ADHD! They also grow best in nature, the countryside and off the busy paths – that is so me.  When all has given up, fallen trees, forgotten ground, they find life and come out of the most unexpected places bringing positivity and they are just so fun and friendly to look at and I’ve honestly never related to mushrooms so much in my life!!  I’m going off on a tangent here and feeling quite emotional.

So, yes, Mushroom Tea. Just like Character Flaw, once you try it, you’ll love it! (I should go into advertising).

Jake Mace

Our Lead Editor & Edinburgh Editor. Jake loves putting together 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 (2023-24), Dundee Fringe (2023)
Pronouns: They/Them