These Infants aren't so Terrible.
Oliver Lansley is a co-founder of Les Enfants Terrible a company we first came across in 2008, winning " Best Entertainment".
They triumphed again the following year with 2 awards for their darker
piece " Ernest and The Pale Moon", Best Actor ( Joe Woolmer)
and Best Director ( Emma Earle).
Their 2010 event " The Vaudevillains" was a grand piece of theatre
taking over the Pleasance Dome for a day with Sue Appleby
triumphing as Best Supporting Performance in a Musical.
We didn't see them in Edinburgh last year but we did see their
disturbing piece "The Infant" at the Weston Studio, Cardiff.
This year they are back with a new show and Oli kindly took time
out of his busy schedule to tell us about this years show.
"This year we will premiering our brand new show- 'The Trench' at Pleasance Two.
It's exciting for us as this is the first time since Ernest and the Pale moon in 2009 that we've premiered a full run of a show at the festival- (Vaudevillains being a one night only event).
As the title may suggest it's set during the first world war. I've just recently finished the first draft and it's quite epic! But then considering the subject matter that's not really surprising. It's very early days but we think it's going to be somewhere between Pans Labyrinth and Orpheus in the underworld with a bit of journeys end thrown in for good measure!
After the monster of a show that was Vaudevillains (12 cast, full band etc) - we are going back to a smaller more intimate show like The Terrible infants. We will also be collaborating with the extremely talented singer/songwriter Alexander Wolfe on the music".
We also caught up with the Producer of The Trench James Seager who let us know about his Edinburgh experiences.
When was your 1st Edinburgh festival?
My personal first was in 2001 with a show called Travis' Prophecy which was a little bit of a baptism of fire. We were performing at Hill Street Theatre which is a great place but the show slightly struggled! The following year was the first year Les Enfants came to Edinburgh with West - a completely different experience but still pretty mad!
Why did you come?
I had heard a lot about it but I was contracted to a show that was on in London that transferred so I had little choice - must have had a lasting impression as this year is my 12th consecutive year!
What did you expect?
I knew it would be hard work but beyond that it exceeded all expectations. Its the best platform in the world.
How did the reality differ from your expectations?
I guess the first year for me as an actor not involved in the production side of things made me appreciate how hard the producers had to work in every aspect - from chasing reviewers to audience members.
What is the best thing about the festival?
The buzz, the atmosphere and the opportunities it can offer. Because of Edinburgh we have toured Norway, Poland, Czech Republic, Malaysia, Singapore and Australia!
What is the worst thing about the festival?
It has lows and it can be a bit of a bubble. I remember one year a war had started somewhere around the globe and it took 5 days for anyone in Edinburgh to notice! Plus people can get obsessed with reviews and ratings!
What has changed over the years?
Generally comedy has got bigger obviously but this is not entirely the venue's fault (as many think it is) but public demand. Stand up on TV has increased massively over the last 6 years making huge stars who people want to see when they come to the Festival.
A/ For the better – Quality has increased
B/ For the worst – Slight increase on comedy results in it almost becoming a comedy festival rather than a fringe festival
Roughly how many shows do you see each festival?
Unfortunately not as many as I would like to as I normally am too busy but I try to see at least about 30.
What was your favourite Edinburgh show to watch?
Other than our shows (!) probably Jesus Hopped the A Train that was back in 2003 I think, in the Gilded Balloon and was directed by Philip Seymor Hoffman. Also Tim Minchin's first show when he came as an unknown was pretty exciting. And any show by Demetri Martin and Daniel Kitson.
What was your worst Edinburgh show to watch?
Wow that would be naming and shaming but it was a play about Salvador Dali that made me want to destroy everyone and everything in the world. That bad.
Who is your favourite overall performer (s)?
Daniel Kitson - without a shadow of doubt.
What is your favourite venue?
To watch shows Pleasance
What is your favourite place to eat?
Somewhere that doesn't cost the earth! Mussel Inn on Rose Street
What is your favourite place to drink?
What are you most looking forward to in Edinburgh this year?
Premiering our new show The Trench at Pleasance Two - we are very excited about it.
Further information can be found: http://www.edfringe.com/whats-on/theatre/trench
or on tour : http://www.lichfieldfestival.org/blog/2012/04/the-trench/
Oli will shortly be on your television screens playing Kenny Everett in BBC 4's forthcoming drama "The Best Possible Taste".
The Terrible Infants, Ernest and the Pale Moon and The Vaudevillains have been published by Oberon books in one volume: http://oberonbooks.com/edinburgh/les-enfants-terrible.html
The Infant has also been published by Oberon: http://oberonbooks.com/edinburgh/infant.html