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Mark Fisher
Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
Follow me on Twitter at MarkFFisher, WriteAboutTheat and LimelightXTC I am a freelance journalist and critic specialising in theatre and the arts. Publications I write for include the Guardian and the Scotsman. I am the author of The Edinburgh Fringe Survival Guide: how to make your show a success and How to Write About Theatre: A Manual for Critics, Students and Bloggers. I am also editor of The XTC Bumper Book of Fun for Boys and Girls: A Limelight Anthology. From 2000-2003, I was the editor of The List magazine, Glasgow and Edinburgh's arts and events guide.
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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Airnadette, Edinburgh Festival Fringe preview

Published in Edinburgh Festivals Magazine
IT STARTED as a joke between friends. Instead of having a solitary air guitarist on stage, they asked, what would happen if there was a whole band of air musicians? And as well as miming to their favourite records, how would it be if the six of them also lip-synced to the dialogue from classic movies?

The result – a daft collision of mass-market sound-bites – turned this bunch of Parisians into an overnight success. As Airnadette, they had played only two gigs when French singing star Camille asked them to open for her at La Cigale, a 1000-seater venue favoured by Prince, Red Hot Chili Peppers and David Bowie. "We did five shows in a row," says performer Scotch Brit, still amazed. "We were like, 'What's going on?'"

Her name, incidentally, dates from the time she wore a tartan skirt to do her Britney Spears routine. Scotch Brit also sounds like the domestic cleaning product Scotch Brite, which seems just about right for the band's pop-culture tastes. "When you are a kid, your parents tell you to stop watching TV, but we can say we were actually right," she says. "It's now our job. I spent so much time learning lyrics as a kid and my parents couldn't see the point. Now they kind of do."

Their initial good fortune stayed with them. Touring to the USA, they ran into another French megastar, Matthieu Chedid, who invited them to open for him at the 17,000-seater Bercy stadium in Paris. Now, they're talking to a top French producer about making a movie and they've set their sights on conquering the Edinburgh Fringe with a specially devised English-language show. "Every time we make a wish, it happens," she says. "We make crazier and crazier wishes and it seems to go on. We're having a dream life."

By accident or design, they've struck upon a formula that people love: a mix-and-match comedy constructed out of our guilty musical pleasures and the movies we love to hate. "For the audience, it's like a shot of energy," she says. "It's the best of pop culture cut up and mixed together to be the soundtrack of your life – then we make comedy by taking stuff out of context and creating absurd anachronisms."

Although they met each other on the air-guitar-and-hairbrush scene, their rock-god posturing is no more. "Air guitar is very boring because it's just one guy," she says, explaining that having six people on stage with such different tastes makes the very choice of songs seem funny. "We had Britney Spears, Queens of the Stone Age, Celine Dion and hip hop singers. Our characters previously existed because of air guitar, so we knew what kind of movies could be good to use; then we had the massive job of listening to the movie soundtracks and putting the show together like a puzzle."

Performing takes razor-sharp timing and concentration, but even after playing 300 gigs in four years, she can't wait to unleash it on Edinburgh. "It's a show that gives pleasure and happiness to people, so for as long as it goes on, we'll be very glad to do it."

Underbelly Bristo Square, 31 July–26 August (not 7, 13, 19), 8.50pm
From £10, Tel: 0844 545 8252

© Mark Fisher 2013
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