Arts & culture

Fringe for a Day

Actor and writer Olivia McLeod on being a romance addict in her show – Junk Monkey – her Fringe hot ticket and a whole lot of carpe diem

How would your perfect Fringe day begin?

Waking up mid-morning after a 10-hour sleep (unheard of). Coming downstairs from my university accommodation to a small crowd of people who are clamouring for my flyers. “Flyers, please!” they chant. Flyering is now done for the day, and I haven’t even left my accommodation! So then I go to breakfast at The Pantry, where I can miraculously get a table, and then a double feature of two inspiring and hilarious shows that pump me up for my own.

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

I’m at the Patter Hoose, which is great, but I love visiting Teviot too. It’s a real rabbit warren of shows, there’s always a ton of people milling around, and you just know that whatever’s on next is going to be great. In terms of peace and quiet, Bento across the road from Patter Hoose is my happy place. I consumed countless teriyaki salmon boxes there last year, and I expect to double that this year. 

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

It’s probably indulgent, but I give myself a full hour and a half before my show. I watch a TV show I’ve already seen a million times while I eat and do my face, then I lie about and breathe for a bit. When I get to the venue I jump around and stretch a little and then basically just try to keep myself feeling normal until it’s time. Afterwards, my ideal wind-down is actually rolling straight into another show if I can! It’s a great way to shake off however my own show went, and I love seeing as much as I can while I’m here. 

Your show – Junk Money – is about obsessing over a girl on a train and then trying to find her again. I guess we’ll have to come to the show to find out if you do… but what else can you tell us for now?

It’s a revoltingly personal show, which is exactly what I like to see in theatre. It’s fast-paced and set over one day as Olivia trainwrecks her life to find Mae again. It’s a show for the oversharers, the romantic addicts, and the obsessives. If you’ve ever embarrassed yourself in front of a crush, then you’ll find something to love in it.

Did that experience of missed connections change the way you live your life – are you much more carpe diem-inclined?

Absolutely – I am constantly stressed that making one decision means I miss out on something else. Something I’ve been teaching myself in my real life is that the first decision is the right one, and to follow that storyline down to its natural conclusion. Sliding doors be damned! 

Lou Walls Vs. The Internet

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

Lou Wall Vs. The Internet. There is no one else doing comedy like Lou Wall. They are absolute dynamite to watch, have a totally unique style, and also an ability to make incredibly vulnerable shows that are screamingly relatable. 

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

You must learn to giggle. I mean it – giggling will get you through the festival. It’s hard, and long, but you’re around the most creative and funny people in the world, and nothing is so bad that a good laugh won’t make it feel better.

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

The silent disco. God, to have that level of social confidence. It screams ‘Edinburgh Fringe’ to me and I actually genuinely love when they parade through Bristo.

Olivia McLeod performs Junk Monkey at Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose until 27th August (except 20th)