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Twisted Tales - Interview

With the 2022 Edinburgh Fringe past its halfway point, there's plenty of time to catch some of the wonderful shows on offer. In my latest interview, I speak with Charlotte Bister and Daniel Richards all about their show Twisted Tales which is playing at Pleasance Courtyard at 1pm until August 29th.

Our chat began with an introduction into the piece. "Twisted Tales is a double bill of dark comedies designed to keep you guessing at every turn! The first of the double bill is called Will You Still Love Me (written by Jon Welch) in which a bandaged man (Kenneth) is seemingly help captive by the love of his life, Lisa. It’s probably the darker of the 2 shows with some truly twisted content but of course, like all our Twisted Tales, not everything is as it seems…"

"The second half of the double bill is Bilbo and The Blue Bear (written by Brett Harvey) in which a couple of truly messed up kids TV presenters are faced with a problem- how to dispose of a dead body armed only with their wits, a hack saw and a foul-mouthed, criminal-genius glove puppet. Bilbo and the Blue Bear has the most twists and turns of the two shows and keeps pulling the rug from under you till the last second. We love all things twisted in every sense of the words and both these shows have plenty of that!"

With such a fun-sounding concept I posed to the duo where did the inspiration for the show come from. They explained "We are both huge fans of various dark anthology television shows; The Twilight Zone, Tales of the Unexpected and Inside No. 9 to name a few. One night we were watching a box set of Inside No. 9 and bloody loving every one when it hit us- you don’t tend to get this sort of thing on stage! A collection of 30-minute plays, stand-alone stories with some good twists. Most plays are at least an hour to 2 hours long and all one linked story. So, we thought, how about collecting 3 half-hour shows and putting them all on in one night with mini intervals in between, like an evening of binge-watching an anthology box set but in your local theatre! And that’s what the first Twisted Tales was. When we were lucky enough to get into The Pleasance at The Edinburgh Fringe we knew we had to fit the shows into one hour so we chose the two fan favourites and here we are!"

As fans of the genre our talk turned to what research they'd done in preparing the show, they said "We watched (and encouraged our other writers to watch) as many of the shows just mentioned as possible! An absolute pleasure, not a chore. There’s a real art in burying the lead, dropping the right hints at the right time in order to make the reveal as satisfying as it can be without giving anything away before the right moment. Rod Serling is a master at this, as are Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton. We also studied late 90’s children’s TV presenters (Andy Peters, Phillip Schofield) to try and get the tone right in Bilbo and The Blue Bear which was fun!"

With Jon Welch and Brett Harvey on board to write the pieces I asked what brought the pair board. "Brett was and is our regular director and we knew full well he could write a good script having seen his previous feature films Weekend Retreat and Brown Willy. We really like how Brett works as he thinks of theatre in the same way he thinks of film. He kind of directs like he’s in the editing room getting pace and rhythm just right to land a gag or a reveal. We figured that he would take that through to his writing and bring us something with the same spark as our favourite shows, and we were right!"

"We had admired Jon’s writing for years having seen all of his previous work with Pipeline such as Transports and Spilikin (which was actually nominated the Carol Tambor Award in 2015!) and we knew he could bring us something funny and thoughtful in equal measure. We’re so happy to be performing a Jon Welch script!"

"We approached them with the basic anthology idea and challenged them to pitch us a few ideas (some of which we have ended up using in subsequent shows!) and landed on the shows that most complimented each other that we felt linked together with a theme- how far would you go to get what you want?"

Charlotte and Daniel are the founders for the Cornish Theatre Company 'Owdyado that produces this show. I asked them what made them want to start their own company. "We’re both passionate about theatre and have been working as theatre makers for around 15 to 20 years. But the reason we wanted to start our own company was, it is a way of creating work for yourself! It’s tough being an actor at the best of times and work is never guaranteed. Starting our own company meant we would have some control over that. It also meant we would have a say in what kind of work we would be performing in and be able to produce theatre that we were truly passionate about. It’s not a perfect solution as suddenly we went from being actors to being actors, writers, producers, arts administrators and many more things all at the same time and of course funding is always an issue. But we love the work we make and we hope that we will be able to continue to grow ‘Owdyado for many years to come."

Twisted Tales has been playing at The Fringe since the 3rd of August and our talk turned to how things were going so far. The pair said "We have been touring to Theatres, Arts Centres and Village Halls across the UK with ‘Owdyado since we began 12 years ago but this is our first time performing at The Fringe and it’s a very different beast! It comes with all its own uncertainties. It’s quite a financial commitment and so it feels like anawful lot is riding on it- will we get any reviewers in? Will the audiences grow over the month? Is this going to be worth it? But we’re fully aware that this is the same for every act at The Fringe and we decided that, whatever happens, we’re going to milk this experience for all that it’s worth! We are loving being amongst the hustle and bustle of the festival vibe and getting inspired by so many brilliant shows! It’s unlike anything else you’ll do as a performer."

What do Charlotte and Daniel want an audience coming to see the show to take away? "We really want them to leave feeling excited, amused and satisfied! We love seeing when different audience members twig what each twist is and seeing their faces light up as different things dawn on them. We often get people saying to us “that was very clever!” and we like that."

For devotees theatre is clearly something that is a lifelong passion, "We have genuinely devoted our lives to theatre and so it really does mean a lot to us. We think it’s one of society’s most important avenues of expression. Whether you’re doing something political or philosophical, funny or serious, one person or a huge ensemble it’s a way of holding a mirror up to your audience and expressing how we feel as a country. The history and pedigree of theatre in this country is something that we should all be very proud of and something that we should be fighting to protect and encourage for the future."

Our chat wrapped with the pair explaining why anyone should come and see the show "Another thing we get told by audience members is “We’ve never seen anything like that!” so, if you like some dark comedy which keeps you guessing and is like nothing else on stage, come see Twisted Tales."

Twisted Tales plays at Pleasance Courtyard until August 29th at 1pm daily. Tickets are available from

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