Binge Fringe Magazine

INTERVIEW: A Digital Pint with… Aidan Sadler, Bringing Armageddon to EdFringe 2023 with their New Show ‘Melody’

Get ready for an exploration of normalising the apocalypse, the price of a meal deal, and having a quick visit from your dead nan. Aidan Sadler’s new show Melody lands at EdFringe next week with original synth-pop tunes and world-class stand up comedy. This new show has been created in between their central London residency and establishing the radical community-led production collective Weird Wood, Aidan has certainly had a lot on their plate! We managed to pull them aside for a quick pixelated pint to find out all about Armageddon, politics, existentialism, and grassroots performance.

Catch Aidan Sadler: Melody at TheSpace on the Mile – Space 3 from August 14th to the 26th (not the 20th) at 21:50. Tickets are available through the EdFringe Box Office. And you can use code EARLYBIRD for 50% off tickets on TheSpaceUK and EdFest.

Lorne: Hi Aidan, you’re back in Edinburgh with your new show Melody. You have taken some new directions since we last saw you, with your queer production collective Weird Wood and a London residency. How does it feel to be returning to where it all began in Edinburgh with a new show?  

Aidan: Hi Lorne! Oh my god I’m so bloody hyped. Whilst doing 8 shows a week with the sharks of the Central London Cabaratti has been a wonderful experience nothing quite beats the hype of Edinburgh and fringe work! And honestly I can’t wait to transfer the skills I’ve learned performing so regularly to my own work. It truly does feel like a real return to what actually made me a “thing” all those years ago and I can’t wait to get stomping down the royal mile, shouting abuse at silent discos and crying into a pile of discarded flyers at 4AM.

Lorne: Melody is a satirical exploration of the current political and economic climate, can you talk us through the inspiration for the show and what led you to exploring these themes in a cabaret-variety setting?

Aidan: The history of cabaret is so cool and a lot of what makes it special is that it’s deeply rooted in political satire. It’s so liberating to make work that blends a really bloody good night out with some real punchy messages. In the last year I’ve had the pleasure of working with some real legends in the scene and they’ve definitely inspired and influenced my work for the better. The original reason for the title was that life in the 2020’s feels less like one song with one melody and more like an old acid Jazz EP with too many soloists. We’re marching to the beats of so many drums (post-pandemic, cost of living crisis, technological dominance) it’s becoming increasingly difficult to figure out which trauma goes in which box!

Lorne: You hint at ‘normalising the apocalypse’… should we expect a dash of existentialism sprinkled in with the synth-pop?

Aidan: Me?! Existentialism?! Never! The show features a lot of fun stories that deal with the end of the world through my lens (being blockaded by Just Stop Oil at Pride in London, getting stranded in Portugal, being visited by your dead nan, the usual), and I think the only through line is being alive and trying to live in the moment whilst also being haunted by your every move via hindsight. Without spoiling too much I think the show very much goes on a journey of figuring out our place in the current socio economic crisiseses and ends with a message of unity, togetherness and downright British apathy! 

Lorne: You have a unique style of fusing gig theatre and music with stand-up in your shows. Tell us about your process of putting the show together and how you create in this genre defying form.

Aidan: My process? Cry in a mirror for 12 hours and hope for the best! I usually get all of the stand-up written first with my sweet baby boy George Bricher and try to work those themes into the music of the show. This is my first time fusing my original music with Edinburgh so it feels like a real risk! I called in for the help of my very talented friends (Garrisons guitarist Rob Fincham, Dirks & Tapper’s Joe Tapper and Night Owls Hannah Louise) to help me turn what was essentially google docs of lyrics and voice notes of me mumbling into my phone into well produced little ditties! Ditties, I said ditties.

Lorne: Your previous award-winning show ‘Tropicana’ was accompanied by a soundtrack of electrifying 80s hits and Melody promises some belting original synth-pop tunes. What is your relationship with this era and style of music and why does it feature heavily across your work?  

 Aidan: I think a lot of queer people find comfort in the music and the sounds of the 80s – after all it was really the dawn of an era of outward androgyny. Without turning this interview into a history lesson I remember finding pictures of the likes of David Bowie (Ziggy era, of course), Grace Jones and Pete Burns and hoping that some day I could express my gender like them. I’m eternally grateful for the work those firebrands put in back then because I owe my own gender journey to them. It’s also a fabulous era of music to perform – high camp, high drama, high vocals! 

Lorne: You’re performing with theSpaceUK this year, a venue notorious for its support of grassroots artists and your production collective Weird Wood specialises in platforming underrepresented artists. With the wide discussions around accessibility at Edinburgh Festival Fringe this year, why do you think it is important to create these access platforms for artists and audiences?

Aidan: Oh god this is so important. For so many (myself included), the Fringe is supposed to be an easy way for people with important messages to be able to have pathways into the industry. With the festival becoming so unaffordable and even more barriers are being put in place so that even the artists who do manage to somehow source the funds, they may not be guaranteed an audience. It’s so frustrating because so little is being done by the institutions in power it feels like it’s often up to the artists to do the majority of the work. I’ve grafted myself sick for this beautiful festival, and if only I were offered reasonable support it would have been so much easier (and I feel like that’s coming from a relative “success story”!) In order to make MELODY more affordable for fellow artists and audiences alike I’ve decided to run an affordable ticket drive to try and make my art readily affordable for anyone who may choose to see it. I’m not doing this show to make money – I’m doing it because I want people, all people, to see my art.

Lorne: 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?

Aidan: When I was growing up I had an older sister who used to bully me rotten (we’re mates now, don’t worry) and she’d make me a special drink with olive oil and fruit juice and milk and washing up liquid and tell me it was a milkshake and I’d fall for it every time. That wouldn’t be my beverage, I just wanted to share that story. Melody would be Coca-Cola.

Tickets are available through the EdFringe Box Office. And you can use code EARLYBIRD for 50% off tickets on TheSpaceUK and EdFest.

Lorne Elvin

Lorne has a background as a musician and composer with an interest in sound design and storytelling through music and audio. They are deeply passionate about accessibility and artists taking strides to create inclusive and accessible theatre. Lorne has a love of gig theatre as well as stories that explore the nuances of gender, our relationships with identity, and our bodies, on stage.

Festivals: Prague Fringe (2023), EdFringe (2023)
Pronouns: They/Them