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Tom Lenk - Lottie Patchett Took a Hatchet - Edinburgh Fringe Interview

Actor Tom Lenk is probably best known for playing the role of Andrew Wells in the hit show Buffy The Vampire Slayer and its spin-off Angel. More recently Tom has found fame in the US and the UK on stage appearing in the 2018/19 surreal play 'Tilda Swinton Answers an ad on Craigslist' which played in London and at the Edinburgh Fringe.

Now Tom returns to the Fringe with an equally bizarre and exciting show - a high-camp feminist retelling of the Lizzie Borden story. Lottie Patchett Took a Hatchet by Justin Elizabeth Sayre is a high-energy comedy whodunnit based on the infamous true murder case of Lizzie Borden.

Ahead of the Fringe, I had a chat with Tom all about the show.

Our chat began with Tom explaining a little more about the show and where his role of Pansy fit into the piece. Tom explained "I like to describe it as a hilarious, queer, camp, parody of the Lizzie Borden case (which has been made into various films and TV shows starring Christina Ricci, Chloe Sevigny, Elizabeth Montgomery) but, like if the Muppets were doing a production of the Crucible as directed by John Waters, if that makes sense? Pansy is Lottie’s brother who is being persecuted by their conservative father for his unwavering homosexuality."

With such a fun-sounding show I posed to Tom what attracted him to the show, he said in jest "The tiny hands. (You’ll have to see the show to make sense of that tee-hee!)"

 Justin Elizabeth Sayre, Tom Lenk, Lauren Lopez and Tom deTrinisa - Photo by Arlo Sanders
Tom reunites with Justin after the success of Lottie Patchett and for Tom it's clearly a great collaboration "Thomas and I did Tilda Swinton Answers an Ad on Craigslist together and I just love being creative with him! There is so much laughter! He knows how my brain works and we have a shorthand when it comes to brainstorming ideas and creating bits. Him: “So first you’ll do a boop, then a boop, and then boom boop. Know what I mean?” Me: “Boop Boop.” Also, he knows how to wear heels, and I deeply respect and appreciate that."

Having enjoyed success at the Fringe previously our chat turned to what it it about the festival that made Tom want to return, he said "I love making theatre I want to see, and I love seeing theatre that I wish I made! My taste in shows is not mainstream and so I love the opportunity to go see shows created by people just as weird as me, if not weirder! The average Fringe show loses something like 10K pounds, so you know people aren’t here to make money. They are here to be seen and tell unique stories! I know there are lots of corporate sponsorships and companies involved, but it does still seem that if you have a great show, you can find a venue and make it happen. One of the best shows I saw in 2019 was my friend Ryan Lane’s show that was part of Free Fringe and was in a sitting room of a pub and now he’s back at Assembly in a bigger venue. Success!"

"Hmmm…is the Fringe like the YouTube of live performance? Yes, I am going with this analogy. It’s like a physical YouTube where you can search topics and find a person doing a show on that topic and pop in for a quick show and then pop out and see another. Instead of scrolling from video to video, you’re dashing from theatre to theatre, and instead of commercials you stop at pubs for pints! I think I’m onto something, someone get the marketing team! Also, I’m really excited about that chicken nugget hut at the Beer Garden. I hope they are back!"

Ryan W Garcia, Tom deTrinis and Tom Lenk - Photo by Arlo Sanders

Away from the YouTube of live performance and hopefully those chicken nuggets Tom explained he hopes that the audience leaves Lottie Patchett with "Sore abdominals from all the laughing!".

The show is described as 'a queer feminist retelling of a story that has become a firm favourite of the true-crime genre' but how relevant does Tom feel the piece is to a 2022 audience. He said "so much has changed for women and queer people, but with the recent Supreme Court ruling, it seems like we may be creeping backwards? I hope Lottie will inspire audiences to find their voices, claim space, and demand equality! But please don’t kill anyone and just know that raising doves in a dove coop is a big-time commitment."

As always I posed the question to Tom of what does theatre mean to you, he brilliantly said "When I was at drama school at UCLA with my friend, director Kristin Hanggi who was an acting major at the time said, “I think I’ve got Tinkerbell syndrome. If people don’t clap for me, I think I’ll die!” I think Lady Gaga has been quoted saying this more recently, but I still credit my pal Kristin. And I stand by it. There is a magic connection between audience and performer, that you cannot capture on film. Case in point, I watched a video of our Tilda play to remember the blocking for our remount in LA last weekend, and my God, why is a video of a play from the back of the house the saddest, deadest, most depressing thing to watch? You think to yourself, I was there! I know they were laughing harder than this! Theatre and performance are that things you start out doing on the playground…playing pretend, and it really can stay with you for life!"

Tom Lenk - Photo by Arlo Sanders

Tom has enjoyed a wonderful variety of characters in his career to date so I asked if could share drinks with 3 characters he's played to date who would he choose. He picked:

"1) Tilda Swinton - because having drinks in a time/space portal would be extraordinary! And I’d love to know what it’s like to be “part sun, part moon, part perfume sample, free with purchase, from Harvey Nichs.

2) Barbra Streisand (via Buyer and Cellar) - because I want to know if she really made Stephen Sondheim take his shoes off at the front door to her Malibu Mansion.

3) Hox (Dead End: Paranormal Park, now streaming on Netflix) - because even though he’s a cartoon, I think I have a crush on him? He’s so cute! He’s a magical demon host of a nether realm game show and I feel like we’d make a cute couple, so I will be treating this drinks meet-up as a first date."

Tom explained Lottie Patchett Took a Hatchet in three words "Tiny hand manicure."

We wrapped up our conversation with Tom saying why an audience member should check out the show "The laugh per minute ratio is out of control and honestly, I really need the attention right now. Clap for me or I’ll diiiiiieeeeee!"

Lottie Patchett Took a Hatchet runs at Assembly Roxy from 4th to 27th August (not 17th). Tickets can be purchased from

Tom deTrinis, Lauren Lopez and Tom Lenk - Photo by Arlo Sanders

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