Books Every Fresher Should Read
Arts
48 views
48 views

Books Every Fresher Should Read

Anonymous - September 19, 2018
France in Fine Fettle
Sports
61 views
61 views

France in Fine Fettle

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Dive into Brightonian Culture
Arts
56 views
56 views

Dive into Brightonian Culture

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?
Arts
89 views
89 views

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?

Anastasia Konstantinidou - September 15, 2018
Students’ Union Apologises for ‘Sexist’ Beermats
News
33 views
33 views

Students’ Union Apologises for ‘Sexist’ Beermats

Jessica Hubbard - September 20, 2018
520 Views

Brighton Fringe comic Joseph Morpurgo on satire, Frankenstein and his fictitious nine-hour, one-man show

At The Badger we sat down with multi-talented comic, three-time Chortle Award winner and Edinburgh Fringe favourite Joseph Morpurgo to discuss his show Hammerhead. Following a three-week sell-out run at London’s Soho Theatre, Hammerhead has embarked on a nationwide tour which will come to Hove’s The Old Market as a part of the jam-packed Brighton Fringe programme.

Hammerhead takes the form of a post-show Q&A following a fictitious nine-hour, one-man production of Frankenstein spanning 12 languages, 85 different characters and a performer with an outrageous ego. Morpurgo emerges onstage, all pomp and pretension, to embark on a ludicrous spiralling of audience immersion, musical theatre, multi-media tomfoolery and riotous comedy.

Here’s what Morpurgo had to say when he sat down with Theatre Editor Georgia Grace.

GG: It’s such a unique concept to have the performance in the style of a post-show Q&A. How did you get the idea and what convinced you that it was the way to go?

JM: I always liked the idea of building an elaborate stage show that you never actually saw. There’s something so interesting about crafting this richly detailed show that the audience only ever saw from the periphery – and for what I wanted to do, it just made sense.

GG: What about the significance of Frankenstein? What made you feel that it was the right stage show to juxtapose your performance against?

JM: Well the show is an adaption of Frankenstein in and of itself. It’s about a young, overambitious creative who produces a hybrid mess that comes back and destroys him. For me personally, I read the book when I was really young – maybe nine or ten. I was so scared I used to hide it under my bed; it was a real source of fear for me growing up. I think with books though – especially the classics – you tend to read them at different points in your life and they change with each reading. So I read it again as a teenager, again as an adult, and lots of course in the build up to the show. I think it’s interesting as well how Frankenstein is very different to how we think it is through popular media.

GG: It’s interesting you mention that because the same I think can be said for Jekyll & Hyde which our musical theatre society at Sussex recently put on. They’re quite similar in style and in the ideas they explore as well, I think.

JM: Yes, I can assure anyone who liked Sussex’s Jekyll & Hyde that they’ll find something to enjoy in Hammerhead! (laughs) There is a musical element to the show as well – although I don’t want to give too much away.

 

GG: There certainly seem to be a lot of elements coming together in the performance. You just mentioned music, but it’s also comedy, it’s got that grand one-man show vibe and it makes use of audience participation. Would you say any of those elements are more central than the others?

JM: I’m first and foremost a comic. My solo shows have always been comedy shows. Under than umbrella of comedy though, I like to play around with different genres and formats. While some of the themes are quite ghoulish and grizzly, Hammerhead is ultimately a fast-paced, funny, silly, surprising show.

GG: And central to the comedy of course is the fact that at its core this is a piece of satire.  One of the major things you’re satirising is the performer’s vanity or hubris. Is this something you’ve had experience with in yourself or the people around you?

JM: Anyone who can produce something and go up on stage with it must have some component of self-importance – I’m as guilty as the next person. There is a long and rich history of parodying pompous actors, but what attracted me was the fun of the Q&A set up. I really want to subvert that dynamic: the pretentious questions you get, the performer going completely off topic in a very self-absorbed way…

GG: Would you say you’re satirising the audience as much as the performer then?

JM: Yes, definitely. It is a very immersive piece; the audience gets very involved. It’s very fun though – it’s not audience participation in a nerve-wracking way. It’s all very daft and the audience often comes of it feeling like they’ve really bonded.

GG: Another aspect your satirising is the chaotic funding process that’s allegedly taken place to bring Frankenstein to the stage. Is there an important point you’d like to make about the financial or societal state of theatre at the moment?

JM: Nah. (laughs) It’s just a fun trope. Right now in theatre, that is just the necessary route taken to get stuff made. In comedy, the process is so different – you don’t need to really worry so much about funding – so it’s not a world I’m familiar with.

GG: Lastly, obviously here at The Badger we’re coming from a student perspective. Do you have any words of advice or encouragement for students reading who may be interested in getting into comedy?

JM: I got started in comedy when I was at uni, and a lot of my friends came from a Sussex Uni background in particular. It’s an amazing time and you really should throw yourself into it. I got started aged 18 or 19 by going to an improv group and everything sprung from there. I’m amazed looking back at how I had the balls to put myself forward like that. If you are interested in comedy: do get stuck into the open mic scene; find improv groups; if you want to write something, you will find people who want to get involved. Plus you probably have more energy than I do! (laughs) Use it or lose it!

You can check out Joseph Morpurgo’s performance, Hammerhead, at The Old Market from Wednesday 30 May until Saturday 2 June.

Tickets: £12 standard / £10 concessions (including students)

Image Credit: Paul Blakemore

Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam
Books Every Fresher Should Read
Arts
48 views
48 views

Books Every Fresher Should Read

Anonymous - September 19, 2018
France in Fine Fettle
Sports
61 views
61 views

France in Fine Fettle

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Dive into Brightonian Culture
Arts
56 views
56 views

Dive into Brightonian Culture

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?
Arts
89 views
89 views

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?

Anastasia Konstantinidou - September 15, 2018
Students’ Union Apologises for ‘Sexist’ Beermats
News
33 views
33 views

Students’ Union Apologises for ‘Sexist’ Beermats

Jessica Hubbard - September 20, 2018

Leave a Reply

Join the Badger Team

Apply today!

Latest Posts

Books Every Fresher Should Read
Arts
48 views
Arts
48 views

Books Every Fresher Should Read

Anonymous - September 19, 2018

Starting university comes with both exciting but potentially daunting changes, with both moving away from home and studying at degree level posing to be two new challenges.…

INCREDIBLES 2: The Sequel with a Feminist Twist
Film & Theatre
51 views
Film & Theatre
51 views

INCREDIBLES 2: The Sequel with a Feminist Twist

Anonymous - September 18, 2018

One key film in the development of anyone who grew up in the early 2000s was The Incredibles (2004). It’s comedy, vibrancy, and general sense of fun…

France in Fine Fettle
Sports
61 views
Sports
61 views

France in Fine Fettle

Anonymous - September 17, 2018

Prior to the start of the quadrennial tournament this summer, football fans across the world grew sceptical over Russia’s credentials and ability to host the most prestigious…

Dive into Brightonian Culture
Arts
56 views
Arts
56 views

Dive into Brightonian Culture

Anonymous - September 17, 2018

Boredom is impossible when you throw yourself into everything this weird and wonderful city has to offer. The specific and unique cultural wonders of Brighton are indeed…

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?
Arts
89 views
Arts
89 views

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?

Anastasia Konstantinidou - September 15, 2018

During this year’s Pride Festival, Brighton had the honour of welcoming international pop star and voice of the early 2000s, Britney Spears, to the main stage. Undoubtedly,…

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate
Campus News
1146 views1
Campus News
1146 views1

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate

Jordan Wright - April 27, 2018

Student society Liberate the Debate’s most recent event was cancelled over a lack of compliance with the Students' Union's (USSU) requirement for a neutral chair - a…

Students’ Union Apologises for ‘Sexist’ Beermats
News
33 views
News
33 views

Students’ Union Apologises for ‘Sexist’ Beermats

Jessica Hubbard - September 20, 2018

The University of Sussex Students' Union (USSU) has apologised after 'sexist' beermats were found in Dig-In Boxes in Freshers' Welcome Bags. The beermats were provided by Brush…

Sussex Lecturer Accused of Making Transphobic Comments Ahead of Brighton Trans Pride 2018
News
92 views1
News
92 views1

Sussex Lecturer Accused of Making Transphobic Comments Ahead of Brighton Trans Pride 2018

Jessica Hubbard - September 15, 2018

Kathleen Stock, a philosophy Lecturer at Sussex, was accused of making transphobic comments in July 2018. This followed various interviews and blog posts by Stock. Stock told…

Welcome 2018 Freshers!
Campus News
95 views
Campus News
95 views

Welcome 2018 Freshers!

Billie-Jean Johnson - September 15, 2018

Ah, Freshers. You’ve no idea the amazing year you have ahead of you! As you read this now, you’ve probably met your flatmates and maybe even met…

A conversation with Kathleen Stock on Transgender Identity
Opinion
97 views
Opinion
97 views

A conversation with Kathleen Stock on Transgender Identity

Jessica Hubbard - September 15, 2018

Kathleen Stock, a philosophy lecturer at Sussex University, met with controversy after criticising the government’s reform of the Gender Recognition Act (2004). The amendment would ‘de-medicalise’ the…

Verve Couture – Musicality, kitsch & ignition: the beginning of a series
Arts
400 views
Arts
400 views

Verve Couture – Musicality, kitsch & ignition: the beginning of a series

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - June 17, 2018

Pictured: Zac Black At Proud Cabaret audiences were spellbound as if at night at the circus, yet this was not like Angela Carter’s magical realist novel; Verve…

Fleabag on stage at The Old Market – review
Arts
403 views
Arts
403 views

Fleabag on stage at The Old Market – review

Florence Dutton - June 11, 2018

[caption id="attachment_35513" align="alignnone" width="2400"] Fleabag at Soho Theatre[/caption] Last Monday at 8pm at Brighton’s The Old Market, I sat myself down in my theatre seat eagerly awaiting…

Fleabag preview
Arts
375 views
Arts
375 views

Fleabag preview

Florence Dutton - June 2, 2018

[caption id="attachment_35513" align="alignnone" width="2400"] Fleabag at Soho Theatre[/caption] Following the mass success of the Bafta award-winning BBC Series, DryWrite and Soho Theatre are about to hit the…

Brighton Festival: Ezra Furman at the Dome
Arts
436 views
Arts
436 views

Brighton Festival: Ezra Furman at the Dome

Georgia Grace - June 1, 2018

Having completed my final semester of university with modules on punk history and queer arts, it was fitting that I rounded off my end-of-assessment celebrations by attending…

Arts
449 views

The Tempest review

Georgia Grace - May 30, 2018

As the sun begins to set over Hove Green, tinnies of Red Stripe are cracked open, tartan blankets are strewn, and families tuck into their picnic hampers.…

A Glass Half Empty review
Arts
394 views
Arts
394 views

A Glass Half Empty review

Georgia Grace - May 27, 2018

For those of us coming to the end of another year of university study, the prospect of careers, marriages and babies may seem a long way off.…

DollyWould at The Old Market review
Arts
368 views
Arts
368 views

DollyWould at The Old Market review

Alex Hutson - May 27, 2018

Sh!t Theatre’s DollyWould is a hilarious, thoughtful and experimental performance piece. The award winning show has the Sh!t Theatre duo integrating comedy, storytelling, personal experience and music.…

UCU Launch Petition to End the ‘Hostile Environment’ at Sussex
Campus News
563 views
Campus News
563 views

UCU Launch Petition to End the ‘Hostile Environment’ at Sussex

Billie-Jean Johnson - May 26, 2018

The Sussex branch of the University and College Union (UCU) has launched a petition calling for Vice-Chancellor Adam Tickell to end the 'hostile environment' at Sussex. The…

Arts
316 views

Shakespeare in the sun – The Tempest preview

Georgia Grace - May 24, 2018

In a world of dystopian King Lears and female Hamlets, Shakespeare’s classics are constantly being reimagined for the modern day. There’s something oddly refreshing then about the…

Review: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)
Arts
927 views
Arts
927 views

Review: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)

Sophie Coppenhall - May 23, 2018

What a phenomenal contrast these two films present when watched side-by-side. In essence, together they are capable of tracing inner and outer metamorphoses of their subjects. The…

Dollywould at The Old Market preview
Arts
376 views
Arts
376 views

Dollywould at The Old Market preview

Alex Hutson - May 22, 2018

From the 22nd May - 25th May 2018 DollyWould will be showing at The Old Market. An exciting new show, presented by Sh!t Theatre, who won the…