Edinburgh Festival Spotlight: Dumbstruck

Edinburgh Festival Spotlight: Dumbstruck

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

Next up in our Spotlight feature is Dumbstruck, which plays Edinburgh Festival until 27 August 2017. I caught up with writer and actor Sam Goodburn:

Describe your show in three words.

Fine-tuned dexterous disaster.

Is this your first Edinburgh Fringe performance experience?

I have been up for a few days in the past few years to watch friend’s shows and do a little bit of cabaret and street performing. This is my first solo show to be performed anywhere so there I am having a whole world of emotions. After performing the preview in London, I took a breath before going on stage and realised that everyone there had come just to see me, a show with my name as the title – it was incredibly bizarre.

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

To satisfy my love of weird comedy I am really excited to see Spencer Jones, Tape Face and Paul Currie. For my passion of circus, I’m looking forward to seeing Circus Abyssinia by Bibi and Bichu and KIN  by Barely Methodical Troupe – I can’t quite fathom how much raw skill will be in both shows. 

How do you feel to be performing at Underbelly Cowgate?

I love it. I am really excited to have been put in a comedy venue. I went and worked with an incredible visual comedy director, Fraser Hooper, in New Zealand in May this year. We made a show that flipped the technical circus-inspired skills into laughs and mistakes and I think Cowgate is the perfect place for it. 

Who or what are your inspirations?

I love the freedom with circus and comedy, there are no rules and you don’t have to point your toes or recite Shakespeare. You get to go at it from whatever angle you like as long as you entertain an audience. I’ve been in shows where one guy before me reveals his chiselled body and then balances on one hand, then I come on, a pale stick-insect that can’t touch his toes and make the audience laugh whilst showing them a juggling trick that has taken me 1000 hours to only just pull off.

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

Don’t spill the milk! In rehearsals and past shows I have spilt just a tiny bit of milk in the cereal-unicycle-foot-bowl flipping bit in the show, If I spill milk every day of August we are going to have are going to have one hell of a smelly Cowgate and I am not going to be that popular with the other performers… 

What are the future plans for your show?

I made the show with traveling in mind. The rig that holds 40 bottles that I unicycle across fits into a ski bag and the rest into a very big, very heavy suitcase.  I’d like to take the show to some of the different festivals around the world and see where it takes me. I’ve already been thinking about the big-budget-dream version 2 of the show featuring some of the big skills I have under my belt – like unicycle tightwire. 

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

When I was rehearsing in New Zealand I watched a show as part of the comedy festival called Laser Kiwi. It was a new production by three insanely talented and funny performers. The concept was that over years they wrote ideas down for shows they have made in the past. This show was compiled how all of the bad ideas they never used. It was very funny and a joy to laugh with the performers as they played out sketches that made no sense, didn’t necessarily work or were brilliant but you didn’t know why. 

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

I am really excited about the journey the show will go on over the Fringe – the preview was hugely successful and lots of fun. I am excited to see what new little nuggets of fun I’ll discover and how the Fringe is going to shape Dumbstruck


Writer: Sam Goodburn

Director: Fraser Hooper

Cast: Sam Goodburn

Image courtesy of Craig Kirkwood

Dumbstruck plays Underbelly Cowgate as part of Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2017 until 27 August 2017. For more information or to book tickets, please visit the website.