Edinburgh Festival Spotlight: Mother’s Ruin

Edinburgh Festival Spotlight: Mother’s Ruin

To find out more about Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2017 and the spotlights, please see the introductory article.

Next up in our Spotlight feature is Mother’s Ruin, which plays Edinburgh Festival from 2 – 27 August 2017. I caught up with actor Maeve Marsden:

Describe your show in three words.

Gin. Humour. Harmony.

Is this your first Edinburgh Fringe performance experience?

No, Libby Wood and I performed at Gilded Balloon in 2012 with our cabaret act, Lady Sings it Better and Tom Dickins first came to the Edinburgh Fringe ten years ago, starting out ripping tickets at the Spiegeltent and ended up performing duets with Amanda Palmer. Our director, Anthea Williams, is particularly excited as she has worked in the UK (as the Associate Director of bushfutures at London’s Bush Theatre) but this is her first Edinburgh Fringe production.

We’re all incredibly excited to come back to Edinburgh; the Fringe Festival is not only an incredible opportunity for audience development, it’s a chance to test your work, network, learn more about your craft and have a bucketload of fun

Who else are you most looking forward to seeing while at the Fringe?

So many artists! It’s easy to pick the big names we’re familiar with but we’re also stoked to be on the ground so we can follow tips and see some acts we’ve never heard of. That’s the beauty of the Fringe. In terms of Australian acts, we love Hot Brown Honey and the Briefs crew, Gillian Cosgriff (To The Moon And Back), Lauren Bok (Is That a Burrito in Your Pocket or Are You Just Happy You Have a Burrito), Laura Davis (Cake in the Rain), Hannah Gadsby (Nanette), Demi Lardner (Look What You Made Me Do), Double Denim, Betty Grumble (Love and Anger (Or Sex Clown Saves the World Again!)), Reuben Kaye, Neal Portenza…heaps more… We’re also excited to see Wild Bore, which has played in Melbourne but we haven’t seen yet.

How do you feel to be performing at Gilded Balloon at the Rose Theatre?

We’re excited to be performing in Rose Theatre, Gilded Balloon’s new venue – it looks like a beautiful space. We’re in the Basement, which will be intimate and wonderful. And the place will be full o’ gin. We’re bringing some boutique Aussie gin for locals to try (all ticket holders to our show get a sample Four Pillars G&T , and they’re serving Edinburgh Gin at their main bar, so it’s a perfect pairing of local and Antipodean.

Who or what are your inspirations?

Gin? Can we list gin as an inspiration? It definitely helps that we are all passionate gin drinkers… But on a serious note, we are constantly inspired by other writers, creators and artists. And we’re inspired by the women whose stories we tell in Mother’s Ruin – the show is based on true tales we’ve researched and these characters through history fascinate and inspire us – women like the first female head bar tenders at the Savoy in London, or Merle Thornton and Rosalie Bognor who chained themselves to the bar at Brisbane’s Regatta Hotel in 1965 to protest women not being allowed into the bar without the company of a man!

 Also, we make theatrical cabaret because it’s such a dynamic medium, the connection to audience is so strong and immediate, the opportunity for improvisation and play is such a joy. So we’re inspired by our audiences as well!

What is your secret to surviving the intense, fast pace of the fringe?

I am planning on obsessive packed-lunch-making! I don’t want to fall into a trap of eating baked potatoes every day…or do I? We have a great little team of four and we’re all really focused and dedicated to getting the most out of this trip. I guess we’ll all just pace ourselves and try to alternate gin with cups of tea…

What are the future plans for your show?

We are hoping to secure further international touring off the back of this UK tour. Gin is having a bit of a renaissance at the moment so our timing is good. We’re also in the midst of locking in regional touring in Australia in 2018. Libby and I are working on a couple of new shows, a musical and a new cabaret. And our pianist, Tom and Tour Manager, Ange are heading to Brisbane straight after our tour to produce the opening night party for Brisbane Festival, Young Hearts Run Free – a masquerade ball celebrating the 20_year anniversary of Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo & Juliet (Vol 1) soundtrack.

What is the best production you have seen this year – can be any genre, style, in any theatre or performance space?

I bloody loved Laura Davis at Melbourne Comedy Festival. And Hot Brown Honey. The Drover’s Wife at Belvoir Theatre in Sydney. And Barb Jungr at last year’s Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Oops, that’s four.

Is there anything else you want to highlight about your show/ theatre company/ production?

The show has been touring in Australia for a year, selling out shows in Perth, Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne and Hobart. We’re really excited to be performing it in the UK because gin has such a strong history there – there’s something a bit cheeky about heading over there to tell teach their own history!


Writers: Maeve Marsden; Libby Wood; Anthea Williams; Elly Baxter; Jeremy Brennan

Director: Anthea Williams; Jeremy Brennan (Musical Director)

Producer: Maeve Marsden in association with Crowded and The Ginstress

Cast: Maeve Marsden; Libby Wood; Tom Dickins

Mother’s Ruin plays Gilded Balloon as part of Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2017 from 2 – 27 August 2017. For more information or to book tickets, please visit the website.