The Heist promises to be comedy horror - "Corror". Broadway Baby was intrigued, so we set out to learn more.
Quite simply, the unique development process of a Heretical Productions’ show is what makes it the way it is. The show is as much the end result of our own anarchical brain-wanderings as it is a devised piece, and that moment when somebody stood up in rehearsals and said “Wait, what if zombies were afraid of polar bears?”
Tell us about your show
The Heist is the third instalment in our anthology of original long-form pieces, in a style which, over the years, has developed into a unique fusion of chaotic comedy with elements of classic horror and thriller (a brand which has become affectionately dubbed "Corror"). The new show tells the tale of Marmaduke Blennerhasset, masterful thief and intrepid adventurer, who becomes entangled in the affairs of evil megalomaniac Antonio Superyacht (proud owner of the world's largest superyacht). As the story unfolds, Marmaduke is torn between the love of his life and his own irrepressible urge for stealing. Delivered through an inimitable blend of slick physicality, eccentric characters and wicked humour, this exciting new chapter transports you to desolate catacombs, uncovering arcane technologies and ancient relics of human endeavor, all whilst exploring the tumultuous affair between man and trees.
Why did you decide to take your show to Space UK this year?
After a year’s sabbatical working on new material and exploring some new ideas, Heretical Productions was well overdue another visit to Fringe. Now with three prior visits under the belt, we have certainly developed a taste for the late nights trying to cram in as many shows as possible, the hours spent meeting every individual imaginable while flyering on the Royal Mile, and the cheerful banter with our friends at Space UK. For us, the Space provides the mainstay of our visit, as we believe that the success of a show is directly dependent on a healthy relationship with the venue staff and organisers. Not to mention bonds formed with other like-minded performers at the venue parties!
What makes your show unique amongst the thousands of others at the festival?
To quote a recent blog post on the website – ‘On the occasions when we've either had someone sit in and join us for rehearsal, or in the interviews we've given, you can see the growing astonishment/fear in their widening eyes as the thought, "Wait... they're like this in real life?!..." rounds on them like an angry bear.’
Quite simply, the unique development process of a Heretical Productions’ show is what makes it the way it is. The show is as much the end result of our own anarchical brain-wanderings as it is a devised piece, and that moment when somebody stood up in rehearsals and said “Wait, what if zombies were afraid of polar bears?” was usually the moment when a key plot point or character trait slipped snugly into position like a Rolo into the old-shape Smarties tube.
The same goes for our sound and lighting design. People often remark that the cohesion between what goes on stage and around it is what makes a Heretical Productions show different, and the recipe for this is simple as the above. With actors, musical and technical directors in the same room together from Day 1, the end result is an immersive experience which truly fills the otherwise plain black set with minimal or no props.
What has been the biggest challenge in getting your show ready for Edinburgh?
Undoubtedly one of the toughest challenges Heretical Productions has faced with this most recent endeavor is our own burgeoning attention to the little details. In the old days, most scenes were liberally ad-libbed (sometimes to the point of being semi-improvised) and the general framework of knowing where a scene needed to go and who needed to end up dead (or, perhaps more critically, not dead) was usually sufficient for the cohesive flow of a piece. However in recent years, with the new practice of breaking down show footage scene by scene and the valuable experience of shows taken to Fringe, our own editorial eye has become much more critical and allowing a scene to ‘simply progress’ is no longer a feasible option for the standards we now expect of ourselves.
This is not to say that the new material does not still have a heavily improvised feel, but whereas the old shows relied on this to create laughs, the reality now is a finely honed anthology of many iterations of that same scene, and savage editing tactics when an element was not polished, not necessary or simply not that funny.
The end result is that The Heist has taken a whole year longer to make Fringe-ready than its predecessors. While we love Fringe dearly and would happily spend eleven of the twelve months a year pottering round at 2AM trying to find that show that handed out free bacon sandwiches, the show is always central to our Fringe visit and we won’t bring it until we love it.
How did you create your show?
Heretical Productions shows tend to be reasonably non-formulaic in their conception. Ideas, characters or even whole plot lines tend to be born of someone’s spur of the moment idea, usually while playing Call of Duty or eating bacon. Sometimes, even stumbled or mis-delivered lines can lead to a new idea or just a different approach to an existing scene (what if all nightclub bouncers spoke like a 19th century gentleman’s gentleman?).
One thing that it is true to say, however, is that a show is never finished. Fringe presents a fascinating platform for this trait, as performing a show every day to a different audience for two to three weeks inevitably results in different reactions to different deliveries, and a show never leaves Fringe the same way it went in. Fond memories of the three days preceding one show recall the musical director arriving on opening night to find that the original ending had been scrapped and a different main character now ended up dead.
Can you tell us a bit about your company’s background?
Heretical Productions began as a group of schoolmates involved in various extra-curricular drama activities together, many of which set the tone for the years to come. The annual play-in-a-day challenge (in which a show went from title to stage in just 24 hours, including full lighting and sound design) was a highlight of everyone’s calendar, as was the 27-hour long ‘Monty-Pythonathon’, in which all 45 episodes of Monty Python’s Flying Circus were performed back-to-back.
From there, Heretical Productions proceeded to work on original material, performing it in (at first) the school hall and gradually in small venues in and around our hometown. The final lineup, including pianist and technical director, was finalized after covert arrangements preceding the very first titled show “One Night Stand”, in which promises of alcoholic beverages and cuddles were made. The lineup has remained as it was since that night, although it is rumoured that in order to be ‘set free of his masters’, the musical director need only be presented with a cheap bottle of Rioja.
Production Company: Heretical Productions
Venue: theSpace on the Mile, Space 2 (V39)
Dates: Aug 7th & 8th (Previews), Aug 10th-15th, Aug 17th-22nd
Times: 20:40-21:40 (1hr)
Twitter Handle: @heresyisafoot