Skirting the Fringe: Peter Michael Marino already Desperately Seeking the Exit?

Skirting the Fringe: Peter Marino
Skirting the Fringe: Peter Marino

Hello, what’s your name, and what on earth are you going to be doing in Edinburgh this August?

Hello! My name is Peter Michael Marino, and I am an Angloholic. That’s not a real word, but it’s what I call myself in Desperately Seeking the Exit which I’m performing at the Fringe for the whole month of August.

Tell us more about your show...

My show is a solo comedy about the making and unmaking of the West End musical flop Desperately Seeking Susan which I wrote and conceived.

It took two years to create this doomed musical, which features the hit songs of Blondie, and it shuttered after a month. Good times!

I’ve told the tale to so many people over the years (mostly in late-night bars) that I decided to tell it all in one hour to a bunch of theatre-loving strangers at the Fringe. Seems like a good fit, yes?

How are you preparing for your marathon Fringe run?

Ironically, I’m not doing any running or physical exercise to prepare for the marathon run; most of my prep is mental. So, I’m reading as much as I can about the festival and talking to folks about their experiences.

It does seem like a massive undertaking, but I’m from New York City. I’ve handled the crowds and constant bombardment of light, sound and colour for years. It should be an easy transition. But, talk to me a few weeks in and we’ll see how well I’m adapting. And yes, that was a plug for another interview down the road [laughs].

Food and/or drink – what do you take to keep you going through the madness?

I drink a bottle of Magners cider during the actual show. Well, that's not true. I drink out of a Magners bottle filled with coconut water. It keeps me hydrated and keeps my mouth from drying out while I’m talking. I do have some concerns about finding coconut water in Scotland. Any leads on that?

As for food, I am allergic to gluten (wheat, bread, rye, malt, etc) so I think I will be eating a lot of salad. I’m pretty sure you have salad there?

London’s taken some of the hype with the Olympics this year – what do you think is the best way for Edinburgh to grab it back?

I think that anyone who avoids the Olympics (like myself) is the kind of person who enjoys and appreciates the arts, and clearly the festival is THE place to be for that. As long as Edinburgh keeps promoting great shows at the Fringe, like my own, they will get all the right people at just the right time!

What’s your favourite part of the Edinburgh festivals?

I was at the festival two years ago directing a small cabaret and I enjoyed meeting so many diverse people and seeing so much incredible theatre, dance and comedy. There’s something about the energy there that’s addictive and that’s why I decided to go back with my own show. Oh, and I like all the swag. And street performers who paint their faces to match their costumes.

What would be your biggest piece of advice to any performers coming to Edinburgh for the first time?

Do your homework! This is a huge creative venture and a massive financial investment. You want to be as prepared as possible. The whole world is watching. Read Ian Fox’s and Mark Fisher’s books. They’re full of great advice.

Get on Twitter and Facebook and use it to connect with others at the Fringe every day. Engage! Read the emails that the Fringe Society sends out. They are wonderfully organised. And keep a blog! I kept a blog about mounting my musical and now it's a full-blown show.

Whoever else are you most excited to see in Edinburgh this year?

I’ve marked quite a few faves, and I can’t really say whom I’m most excited about. That’s like picking your favourite child. Naturally I will see a lot of solo and comedy stuff, but I’m looking forward to discovering that little show that’s out of the way that no one knows about that everyone will soon be talking about.

What’s been your most memorable festival experience?

I wish I had some! Other than connecting with so many fellow artists two years ago, and remaining friends with them, I only have fun, sweaty memories of that time. I’m sure I will create new memories this year – many of which will be erased by the end of the night at the local beer garden. Hence, I will blog on a minute-by-minute basis.

Any favourite Scottish word/phrase?

Sheena Easton.

What would be your best tip for any punters coming to their first Fringe?

Again, do your homework. Wear comfortable shoes. Download the Ed Fringe app. See the Free Fringe shows! And then, have a heart and put some coins in the performers’ bucket.

And finally, when/where/how can we see your show?

You can catch Desperately Seeking the Exit in all of its wacky, dishy, Angloholic glory at Laughing Horse @ Edinburgh City Football Club (7 Baxter’s Place, Leith Walk) every night at 18:00. I promise you a good time. And if not, I will put money in your bucket!

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