Alice R Fraser is descending on the Sydney Fringe with not one but two shows: Stories for the Coping Hearted and Word crime/Thought Crime. I had the pleasure of talking with her and finding out why comedy is so much more fun than filling out legal forms all day.
So you have two shows in the Fringe Festival: Stories for the Coping Hearted and Word Crime.
I’ll be doing 16 shows in 10 days, which seems like a lot, but after working in corporate law you get a sense of how hard you can push yourself for a project; it gives you that work ethic and the knowledge that you can just slam yourself and I try to apply that to my creative work!
In Stories for the Coping Hearted you’re sharing the limelight with Adam Yardley, have you worked together before?
Adam and I have known each other for 5 years, we were involved in theatre sports and the arts revues together at Sydney Uni and have done similar projects and it was just a great opportunity. Sydney Uni does a great story night once a month (Project 52) and we love the idea of storytelling and it’s becoming popular again: people sitting in the dark around the fire together telling stories is very fundamental to ‘human nature’ and we wanted to bring it into the modern world. I’m hoping to experiment a bit and do a serial story over the 6 shows with 6 stand-alone parts, so every show will be different. We’ll have different guest storytellers each night as well.
What can we expect from Word Crime/Thought Crime?
Word Crime/Thought Crime is a ‘double solo stand-up show’ with me and Matt Wakefield doing 45 minutes each. It means I can be a bit freer than in Coping Hearted and I can be a bit more open with the stories I tell and the way I perform…Word Crime will be my first solo show, the first long stretch onstage so I’m quite excited about that. Matt and Adam are also very different to work with which is great, because you know you’re not fooling yourself, I don’t have to just rely on myself hoping I’m performing well and we can bounce ideas back and forth, get honest feedback from them and we can work on things together.
This jump from being a lawyer to doing stand-up…how did that come about?
People tell you to do law if you’re interested in words but that’s not really what legal practice is about. I did theatre sports and revues throughout Uni then went to Cambridge and did my masters in English literature and got to do some sketch and stand-up with the Footlights there. I came back, finished my law degree and worked as a lawyer and found it wasn’t for me at all.
Did you practice your stand-up in the court room?
I was a grad lawyer in a corporate department so I didn’t get to wave my hands about as much as you might imagine, I was filling in contracts and forms and reading documents 800 pages long and if you get it wrong someone would lose $800 million. That’s either your bag or it isn’t. For me it wasn’t.
What’s your favourite part of performing?
I love words and the effect words can have and there is no other venue where you get to see so immediately how you can impact people…you make them laugh or be serious and you see it happening on their faces as you’re doing it.
Do you ever worry about people not laughing at your comedy?
That’s part of the challenge, if one joke doesn’t work you try something else and you try to adjust and tailor what you want to say based on how their minds work. Every audience is different.
Is there anything at the Fringe festival that you are keen to see?
I’d love to see ‘Me Me Me’ with Andrew Wolfe, Cam James and Marty Bright; David Cunningham is one of the funniest men I know so I’d be keen to see whatever he’s doing as well. Women-wise, Gen Fricker is going great guns. There are so many good shows coming up…ideally we’ll get some of the best acts in for the storytelling show so the audience can see some interesting names as well as just us.
Intrigued? Of course you are! Find out more below:
Word Crime/Thought Crime and Stories for the Coping Hearted are both showing at Bedlam Bar + Food from 11-27 September. With 16 shows between them you can make at least one of them so jump on our website and get your tickets!