Write because you want to, not because you have to.
It's quite rare to go to a show that includes drinks and food as part of the ticket price AND is held on a relaxed Sunday, so Louise Lawson's show Tea and Scones will be the perfect show to take your parents / grandparents to, as a way of getting a bit of Adelaide Fringe fun into the weekend!
Playing along as the lovable character Mavis, Louise hopes to entertain her audiences with hilarious jokes, brilliant real-life stories, and a fantastic way to celebrate the weekend!
I was fortunate enough to meet Louise and do an e-interview with her, regarding her upcoming show - have a read of our exchange below:
Can you please tell us a bit about your show, Louise? Louise: Tea and Scones with Mavis is a comedy where I weave rapid one-liners, puns, jokes and visual comedy amongst true life stories. Mavis is a middle-aged character with dubious dress sense and a propensity to share too much information about her personal life. She has come to visit you for Tea and Scones.. which is included on arrival for all guests. Rarely feeling herself at family functions, because she was told it was inappropriate, Mavis enjoys telling you about her relatives with little regard for their privacy. The show has a small interval where you can purchase something from the bar and a cheese platter to share.
What inspired you to create your show? Louise: I have grown up on a steady diet of British Comedy shows from the BBC, starting with The Two Ronnies, The Goodies, Dave Allen and Little Britain. Thus my love of that humour was spawned. My Dad and I would always tell each other made up limericks and puns. So after nearly 50 years collecting funny things in my journal and various characters being born such as Cecile the French maid (a self-serving fraud who is averse to cleaning) and the Gairy Fodmother (Fairy Godmother in spoonerisms).. this new character – MAVIS was born fully formed and with a wealth of material. So many people from my age group and older have the same sense of humour because they too grew up watching these TV comedies. So not only is MAVIS funny but she is a reminder of the fun and laughter that families shared together in their living rooms. The good old days before you grew up and life became much too serious.
What is the basic premise of your show, without giving too much away? Louise: Your long lost relative you never knew is coming to your house for a visit from somewhere in the UK. So, you are putting on the Traditional CWA greeting.. Tea and Scones so you can give her a warm Aussie welcome. Then the afternoon proceeds with Mavis firstly confessing that she"came on the plane, but made it look like an asthma attack so it was alright!" Mavis tells her stories without breaking into a smile, while you, on the other hand, cannot believe that she said what she just said! Not shy to add visuals to her descriptions of her cousin's wedding night, or her trip to the gynaecologist. Mavis is very, generous with other peoples private information, the biological processes of life and will cause your mind to create mental imagery you'll never get over! Married to a large animal vet back home, Mavis has some first-hand stories to tell you about how to collect semen from a bull, which you never really wanted to know in the first place. Mavis is the long lost relative you wish you never knew.
Who would you consider as your target audience for your show? Louise: In general it is fine for anyone over 18... but probably appeals more to those 30 plus through to 100. In one of the shows, a dear old lady in the front row laughed so hard she spat her false teeth. This would be a great show for anyone to bring their older people along to.. so they can brag to their friends that they went to Fringe, and you can earn some browny points. You will still enjoy it and pick up a few good jokes and one-liners to use yourself.
How did you score the venue Cabaret & Performance Space at The Girls Place for your show? Louise: My wife and I have a long relationship with the owners of The Girls Place, as we are regular performers there in our Cabaret shows and community events. We really love the venue as the food is cooked there fresh and home-style, and it is an all including space. LGBTIQ friendly and wheelchair accessible with bar facilities and always a welcome hug if you would like one!
What are you hoping for your audience members to experience by attending your show? Louise: I believe that if I can make someone laugh, then I have had a great day. I think that in this day and age, we laugh too little and a lot of comedy is aimed at complaining or making fun about life or other people. Mavis is a gentle "torrent" of comedy where it is mostly clever language and making fun of Mavis more than anyone. I would love audiences to leave feeling like they have had a massage from the inside, and the worries of the every day have been completely forgotten for a few hours. It is cheaper than a visit to the shrink and comes with food.
Will you personally be making the scones and tea or are you hiring someone to cater for those needs? Louise: I am not making the scones.. which is a lucky thing! They are made right there in the kitchen at the venue that morning by Sue from the Girls Place. She has her Nanna's old recipe adding to the homely feel. They are also enormous scones., with mounds of topping… so one will fill you up.
When you're not performing, what do you do with your time? Louise: Mavis and I are not that different I have to say! Mavis tells you she is married to a large animal vet.. and this is true of me! I co-own a cattle vet business and it is a full time and after hours job. But being able to have a mobile phone these days and not confined to a clinic, I have time to work on my comedy for our cabaret performances, house concerts and other creative pursuits. I am the author-illustrator of a comedy ebook series about animals for grown-ups who never did. I also have a PhD in Ecology and am involved in awareness of Antarctic conservation issues.
How did you get involved with the Adelaide Fringe (AF)? Louise: With Georgia Darcy, I have been involved in the Adelaide Fringe for 5 years and also in the Feast festival for the same time. We also travelled to France to perform at the Avignon Festival OFF in 2015. This year we have 2 shows in the Fringe. Of course, I have "Tea and Scones with Mavis" as a solo show 17th Feb and 3rd March both at 3pm. I am also the comedy character Cecile, the French Maid In Under the Paris Sky. This is a comedy cabaret, with beautiful French language songs by Edith Piaf and Zaz, sung by Georgia Darcy. This is also at the Girls Place on February 22 Dinner and show and February 23 Lunch and show.
How long have you been participating with AF? Louise: We have had shows in the Adelaide Fringe and Feast LGBTIQ festival for 5 years,"Georgia with a G", My Fairy Godmother Sucks and "She'll be right love, I sing Piaf". We have also been in the Eurovision song contest in the Garden representing France.
If this is your first time, what are you anticipating from this year's participation? Louise: This is the first time I am doing a solo show. I have been Cecile the French maid and the "Gairy Fodmother" a spoonerising character in the show My Fair Godmother Sucks. I am so looking forward to a full comedy show of Mavis as it is the next step for me as a performer.
Is there anything else that you'd like our readers to know about you and your show? Louise: YES! The Adelaide Fringe is NOT limited to the Garden and Gluttony.. there are hundreds of fabulous shows around the city and country where you see really leading edge performances and art in the community. Support local artists. The Fringe was started to share new and varied talents that you may never have heard about.. not big named acts from the TV with big budgets to get your attention. Adelaide and South Australia has people of phenomenal world-class talent, who live making coffees and boring day jobs to support their passion. Show your support for them and see something brilliant that you would have missed right under your nose.