Arts & culture

Fringe for a day

Award-winning drag performer Kate Butch on chips in the bath, her Fringe show Wuthering Shites, and her favourite ways to enjoy the city

How would your perfect Fringe day begin?

My perfect Fringe day would begin at around 9:30am, when I would elegantly wake up, drink coffee from a cafetiere, eat a decadent French pastry and look ahead to the coming day. Unfortunately I’ve been waking up on a deflated airbed at 2pm every afternoon, but a girl can dream!

What are your favourite venues around the city for buzz and then a bit of peace and quiet?

For a bit of buzz, I love each venue’s highly exclusive artists’ bar (I’m blackmailing all the door attendants so I get in everywhere), and love to sip on a G&T while desperately trying to flirt with a comedian off the telly. For some peace and quiet, I like to take myself off to a little café, sneakily people-watch and jot down ideas for future shows.

What’s your ideal run-up to a performance and how do you wind down afterwards?

It takes a little time to apply my makeup, which I do while belting out a couple of the greatest showtunes (apologies to my neighbours), just to get my voice ready and warm for the show. Afterwards, I’ll run a lovely bath and soak in it with a good book, an enriching face mask, and the greasiest chips I can find.

Kate Bush in the video for ‘Babooshka’

What brought you to writing a show centred around the iconic Kate Bush, and what are some of your favourite Kate Bush moments?

It actually came about because audiences were outraged that I’d named myself Kate Butch but never did any songs by my namesake. I wanted to be creative with how I approached it, and decided to use the framework of a jukebox musical, an artform that I love for their nonsensical plots, stupid references and the way they shoehorn songs into a plot that doesn’t suit them. 

My favourite Kate Bush moments include the fabulous music videos for songs like ‘Babooshka’ and ‘There Goes a Tenner’. Another iconic time is when she shared a Michael Aspel interview with my other favourite icon, Victoria Wood; they’re not really sure what to make of each other but they have a camp old time nonetheless!

Tell us about almost getting a free Porsche at one of your shows…

There’s a bit in the show where I stage a marriage between myself and a man in the audience, to the tune of ‘Cloudbusting.’ Each night I ask them to improvise some kind of wedding ring (we’ve had knotted crisp packets, bits of string, etc.) but in this particular show he put his car keyring on my finger! There was a Porsche logo on the keys and I decided that I’d married the right man, and drove off into the sunset!

Who is your hot ticket at this year’s Fringe? (apart from your own show, of course)

I’ve LOVED so many shows this year. My highlights include Rob Madge’s My Son’s a Queer… which is a beautiful portrait of how families should treat their queer members, and standup shows from John Luke Roberts and Jess Fostekew, who are hilarious and delightful people you’d be happy to spend an hour in the company of.

Tell us something we don’t know about being a Fringe performer.

We’ve each had about 10,000 flyers printed. We don’t want to have to do anything with the leftovers, so just take them when offered. Please.

Best thing you’ve seen or overheard at the Fringe so far…

So many DOGS! Bring your dog to Edinburgh please, and bring them to ME.

Kate Butch: Wuthering Shites runs until 27th August at Assembly Rooms. For info on Kate and future tour dates, head here