Thursday, 24 May 2012

STAR INTERVIEW: Leicester Comedy Scene speaks to Peep Show's Isy Suttie

Isy Suttie - writer, songstress, comedian, star of Peep Show - is bringing her tour show 'Pearl and Dave' back to Leicester. Previously seen during the Comedy Festival, she is returning to the Y Theatre this Friday, courtesy of Bottle Rocket Comedy Club. I was lucky enough to speak to her about the tour, her home town, and how she deals with the reviewers...

So what can those that didn't make it along in February expect from the show?
 "It's a story about two people and their relationship online. I play both people and there's bits of my lovelife in there as well, so it's quite personal. It's quite sad at times but funny at other times, so it isn't gag-a-minute, it's slightly more theatrical. Hopefully people will come away feeling like they've laughed a lot, but felt something else too. I wanted to do something with a bit more of a story to it, rather than it all being about me, and parts of it are sung as well."

Are the characters and story based on real people and events then?
"It's all pretty much based on real-life people and experiences, and there's a bit of Welsh in there as well if there are any Welsh speakers in the audience!" Isy's efforts to learn the language of her partner's homeland have taken a back seat recently since she started learning to drive (see what I did there?) "I don't have time to do both, and I thought I might be able to learn to drive in Welsh, but I realised I don't even know the Welsh for left and right! So I decided to concentrate on the driving. We do try and speak Welsh for about ten minutes a day though."

The story is based in Matlock, where Isy grew up. "It was brilliant growing up there, it's a very creative place and I'm really proud to be from there. I was quite lucky to grow up in a picturesque area, with hills and caves outside my door. I used to do a bit of rock climbing and abseiling, and go for walks when I could be bothered, but often when you're a teenager you don't want to walk anywhere unless it's to the pub! Now I live in London, I appreciate it a lot more."

So are you pleased to be playing in Leicester again?
Going to Leicester or Derby's quite a big deal when you're from Matlock, it's like the streets are paved with gold! I like playing Leicester. Sometimes when I play here people from Matlock turn up which is always quite nerve-wracking - it's much harder performing in front of people you know, but I'm always very glad when they come and support me. I do like Leicester audiences though - they're always lovely, and Adnan's a great promoter, and a fantastic comedian as well." (that would be Adnan Ahmed of Bottle Rocket Comedy Club, by the way).

Did you get a chance to catch any other shows when you were here for the festival?
"Sadly I had to rush off after my show at the festival, but I had a look at the programme and I could see how many brilliant acts there were. The festival's a really great thing, it gets people into Leicester who might not have been there before and the quality of acts is really good. They have lots of new acts as well, which is important, because it's quite hard when you're new trying to get gigs".

You took this show to Edinburgh, where reviews can be crucial to a show's success. Do you take much notice of your own reviews?
"I don't read my reviews when I'm in Edinburgh, but then you have this horrible day afterwards when you think right i'm gonna read them all today. Inevitably some are good and some are bad so I just think 'right that's it, I'm not gonna think about them again'. The good comments you can use on your gig posters, but I try not to dwell on them. If you get a bad review it can be hard to stomach, but if you respect the publication or the reviewer then maybe it can be useful in the long run. I know some comics don't read their reviews at all - I quite admire their discipline. I couldn't do that".

Professional reviews are one thing, but how about comments on public forums like YouTube/internet message boards?
"I don't really look at forums or YouTube comments because you're always gonna find horrible things, you have to think how useful they're gonna be. It's good to read the good comments but it's not worth the hurt that you feel when people write horrible stuff. They're not really thinking of you as a person, but it cuts so deep. Everyone's different, but I certainly don't Google myself or search for comments about myself on Twitter - that way lies a strange introspection that's not healthy."

So do you think paying too much heed to other people's opinions could hinder you creatively?
"Yeah, it's good to feel like you're pushing yourself. If you try and experiment and take risks, some of it will naturally fail and you will get criticised and that's alright - it's much better than playing it safe the whole time. If you take a risk and it pays off that's even better, so you shouldn't ever let worries about reviews and critics interfere with your desire to push yourself".

And finally - music, comedy, theatre, writing -what's next for Isy? 
"I quite like doing a bit of everything, so while I'm touring I'm filming a new ITV sitcom called Great Night Out, which is set in Stockport. So it's a bit mad touring, getting 4 hours sleep, then a train to Manchester for filming and then onto another show. If only I could combine the driving lessons with all these journeys, but I'm not allowed to go on the motorway! Apart from that we're filming more Peep Show in July (hooray!) and writing a pilot for Sky - a musical sitcom, which is really exciting. I'd quite like a holiday at some point..."

I know the feeling, Isy. Catch 'Pearl and Dave' on Friday at the Y Theatre. Get your tickets from here:

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