In today’s blog I present an interview with Rob Lloyd – friend of the blog who was away from late April to late August visiting the States, Canada and the UK performing at various festivals in those places. Enjoy!
Hi Rob! You’ve had a really busy year in 2017 – and it’s not finished yet! How have you been coping?
Ha…I love working…I love performing. So I don’t really see it as coping, I just need to keep my calendar in order.
So you’ve performed shows in many cities across the world this year. Where exactly have you been and where have you performed?
I’ve had four months away from Australia. Touring to different Festival around the Northern Hemisphere. My first stop was Tampa, Florida to perform at the first ever Tampa Fringe Festival. Then I took the train to Orlando, Florida to perform at America’s longest running Fringe festival, The Orlando Fringe. I then flew to Ottawa in Canada for their Fringe Festival. I then kicked on to the Toronto Fringe Festival, I then finished off my trip in Edinburgh for 4 weeks. It was second time performing at the world famous Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
What shows have you been performing? This tour was all focused on my Doctor Who themed one-man comedy show ‘Who, Me.’
Have you managed to visit places where you weren’t performing and you were able to relax? And what have you seen away from your native Australia that you really enjoyed?
My trip away was fortunately a good balance of work and place. The first stop on my trip (before Tampa) was actually Hawaii with my family for about a week. I’m not much of a beach bum so I never actually got to the beach but I am a huge film buff so I was excited to go on the Kualoa Ranch Film Location Tour. This is the location of such films & TV shows as: Jurrassic Park, LOST, Hawaii 5-0 & Kong: Skull Island. I also enjoyed attending a ‘traditional’ Luau with my family. This was my first time in Hawaii.
My girlfriend Caitlin then met me in Ottawa where a highlight for us was enjoying their annual ‘Ribs Fest’. We then flew to America and had a mini holiday two places we’ve always dreamed of visited and finally got to see them for the first time…Boston & New York (where I presented a one-off performance of my show at the Off-off Broadway venue UNDER St Mark’s). Highlights in Boston were the historical tours, Film/TV location tour & a night at Boston Impro…where Caitlin was invited on stage to perform in an all women’s show. In New York we saw three Broadway show (Anastasia, Waitress & Present Laughter with Kevin Kleine), one off Broadway Show (the Harry Potter inspired ‘Puffs’), another Film/TV location Tour and basically explore Midtown, Uptown, Times Square & a little Brooklyn.
We had a few days in Toronto before Caitlin had to return home, we went to Niagra Falls on Canada Day and even went to a really funky Harry Potter themed bar called Lockharts.
I was also lucky enough to get to London for the first time and even Cardiff. In London I saw all the clichéd sights: Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, Big Ben, The London Eye, I saw a play at The Globe, crossed Millennium Bridge, visited Abbey Road, went to Platform 9 3/4 and saw a performance of The Comedy Store Players…amongst many other things.
No West End plays this trip…that’s for next time with Caitlin.
Finally I had the chance to ‘train it’ across to Cardiff to visit The Doctor Experience before it closed for good.
What have the performing highlights of the year been for you?
Opening Night of Who, Me. at Orlando Fringe…in front of an appreciative, almost sold-out crowd. I even got a standing ovation.
Getting to do a one off performance of Who, Me. in New York freaking city!
Closing performance of Who, Me. at Toronto Fringe was exceptional. I performed barely an hour after Jodie Whitaker was announced as the 13th Doctor in front of a house packed with excited Whovians…I even came out before the show and chatted with them about the announcement.
Have there been any lowlights in both travelling and performing this year? And if so, how do you get past them?
Doing one festival is a tough process that takes a lot out of a performer emotionally, physically and creatively. Doing five festivals in a row…stretches you to the limit! Any festivals that aren’t as supportive or helpful to their artists really takes its toll on you as does tough nights where audiences aren’t as support or are downright hostile. However when you take to think about how fortunate you are to actually be halfway around the world doing what you love and get the opportunity to see shows, meet people and visit locations you wouldn’t have the chance to do at home…that perks you up.
What place had the best audience you performed in front of?
Orlando Fringe…no doubt! Orlando has such an experienced, knowledge, educated and supportive audience community. They all know each other, they share opinions about shows they’ve seen, they understand the difficulties of putting on shows, they are respectful and understanding. It was the safest I’ve felt in a festival environment in years.
What are the most important things when touring a show overseas? Who’s helped you with your shows and how important is the support?
Organisation is key. You need to be almost one festival ahead but also making sure you enjoy the festival you are at. My entire US/Canada Tour was organised by me but I received a lot of help and support from my billets in Tampa, Orlando and Ottawa. My theatre technicians in every city. Particularly my tech in Ottawa and Toronto, I had the same tech for both Fests, Lydia. We worked so well in Ottawa she agreed to join me in Toronto. My season in Edinburgh was organised by my Manager Nic Clark…he was helpful with all the negotiations when my venue there and contacting media outlets.
Have you met anyone famous during your 2017 travels?
I was fortunate to meet quite a few ‘celebs’ on my trip:
-In Orlando I had photos and chatted with Alice (Alice in Wonderland), Chewbacca, BB8, Baby Groot and Kylo Ren.
-I ducked over to Montreal for a day to meet David Tennant (The 10th Doctor Who)
-In London I met Neil Mullarkey (from The Comedy Store Players)
-In Edinburgh I met Mike McShane and Colin Mochrie (from Whose Line is it Anyway?)
You’ve just started a run with a brand new show (for you) at the Melbourne Fringe Festival – Invasion of the Body Snatchers. What’s the show about? And what can the audience expect?
The show is based on the classic 50s novel and inspired by the original movie. It’s about alien invaders duplicating human beings and replacing them with emotionless, blank ‘pod people’. The audience can expect a fully immersive experience, I play all the characters, I’m in complete black and white costume and make-up. You will be fully absorbed in the action of the show.
How have audiences been reacting to the show?
It’s a rather intense play. So audiences have been responding accordingly…I feel like the audiences have been holding their breath for an hour. The play is that tense.
What makes the Melbourne Fringe Festival so great?
They allow me to do nerdy stuff like this…they are my enablers.
Where is the show playing, when is it on and how can people get tickets?
The show is on at The Arts House (North Melbourne Town Hall). Until Saturday Sept 30th at 10:30pm. Sundays at 9:30pm. No shows Monday.
Tickets are available at the door or online at:
If your readers use the Promo Code: BLANKS they get cheap tickets.
Thanks for the interview Rob! Take care – and May YOUR Journey Never End!