Serving up a sizzling, gruesome new take on class divide, All is Pink in West Berkshire County comes to EdFringe this year with an eccentric roster of larger-than-life socialites. We sat down with Harry Daisley from Aireborne Theatre, the show’s writer and director, to dig into this sumptuous dinner party for four set in a near-future where all meat consumption has been banned. Join us for a pixelated pint as we explore his inspirations, EdFringe aspirations, and everything that goes into making and marketing this mouthful of a show.
Catch All is Pink in West Berkshire County at theSpace @ Symposium Hall (Annexe) from August 14th – 26th at 17:05. Tickets are available through the EdFringe Box Office.
Callie: Hiya Harry! All is Pink is an opulent, grisly dinner platter of political theatre. Could you tell us a bit about what’s going on in West Berkshire County?
Harry: I’d describe the show as a rich cocktail of class divide, a bit of grit and a bit of gore. The play centres around The Abbey Family, an infamous melting pot of imperious, obnoxious, and snobby larger-than-life characters. The play is set in the near future, where all meat consumption has been banned – but the Abbey Family are having none of it and, in order to sate their cravings, tap into an unsavoury slice of black market dealings. We follow this family as they welcome in their daughter’s working-class boyfriend for an extravagant dinner turned tumultuous, isolating class battle.
Callie: Well, this sounds like a really fun, meaty story to sink your teeth into. What sorts of things inspired you during the writing process, where has this all come from?
Harry: There’s certainly a lot of different inspirations pulling at the play, firstly being my own family. I grew up in Berkshire, though my mum’s from Bradford and my dad was born and raised in Scotland. I think growing up alongside Northerners in a very stereotypical ‘Southerner’ region, there’s a certain angsty cynicism that bubbled up in my teen years. I think this play serves as both a testament to my own roots, as well as a more broad commentary on the North/South divide.
So I knew I wanted to talk about class from the get-go, but I wanted a fresh take on political theatre, which is where the grit and the gore comes into it all. I study medicine, I’m no stranger to a bit of blood and gore, so when writing this play alongside studying for my final exams it felt natural to tap into that – merging these two opposite poles of my life together and birthing quite a grisly play.
Callie: Your socials have captured a fair bit of the workshopping process of this play – how much do you feel that your actors have influenced the story and characters during the show’s development?
Harry: Oh my gosh, so much. When I wrote the script originally, it had a quite raw, dry, and edgy feel to it. Since our first test reading a few months ago (with an entirely different cast), it’s evolved so much. Workshopping it with the new cast has been absolutely monumental – the actors have absolutely thrown themselves into it, injecting their own personalities, experiences, and flair. They’ve really made each and every character their own. As soon as one of my scripts meets its actors, it really is like spinning straw into gold. I absolutely can’t praise the cast enough, they are just so talented. A huge shout out also to our production team, they’re really amazing and bringing all of our wild ideas into reality.
Callie: Now, this is of course your EdFringe debut, and it’s a totally different landscape than the local theatre scene. Do you feel prepared?
Harry: I am a little bit terrified and absolutely thrilled to be taking this show to Edinburgh. It’s been a goal of mine ever since I wrote my first play at age fourteen – I wanted to get a show to Fringe before I turned twenty, and I’m nineteen now so I’ve just about made it. More generally, I’m just so excited to soak up as much theatre as possible and really learn as much as I can – at such an early stage in my writing career I trust that Fringe will be as equally humbling as it is educating. I can’t wait to meet other fearless young creatives that are taking risks and talking about the ‘now’.
Callie: This year at the Fringe, there’s been a lot of focus on social media marketing through TikTok and Instagram – can you tell me a bit more about how you’re promoting ‘All is Pink’?
Harry: It’s been really fun! Our team is very marketing-savvy; We’ve had several promo days, getting to film in and around a manor house, and our cast and crew are absolutely TikTok naturals – they come up with some truly cracking content that really shows off the charm of the show. We’re really trying to pitch our show virtually, we want all our pages to serve as a sort of virtual shop window. I feel like long, lengthy media is less and less eye-catching nowadays, so we’ve aimed for all our content to be 30 seconds or less.
Callie: So, what do you want your audience to take away from the play?
Harry: I think there’s a variety of things you could take away from the show, really based on what you take into it. For someone who might resonate a little too much with the pomp and vanity of the Abbey Family, I’m hoping the show can induce a bit of self-awareness in them. For others, I want to provoke a new sense of defiance towards class divide.
Political messaging aside, I just want the audience to have a really good time. The show is a lot of fun, has a lot of kooky, crazy, scandalous moments, and I think especially with political theatre it’s important that the audience can have a good laugh amidst all the serious bits. I’m hoping that this play will be a kind of palatable, delicious little morsel about the dangers of class divide and I think that will resonate with a lot of people.
Callie: One final question – if “All is Pink” was a beverage of any kind, what would it be?
Harry: without a doubt, a Bloody Mary. It’s a show about opulence and a Bloody Mary is an Abbey Family favourite – but perhaps the connection runs a little deeper than that. You’ll just have to see the show to find out!