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Edie Walwyn - Tipsy Interview

Writer: Mark Johnson

Presenting an outrageous and laugh-out-loud production with no filter, Wallfrog takes Tipsy to The Cockpit theatre this summer. Written and produced by Birmingham Film Festival 2019 winner Edie Walwyn (The Frogs: Recroaked, Stockwell Playhouse, SUFUKU; Birmingham Film Festival), Tipsy is a vivid exploration into the mind of an overworked and overwrought young woman, spiralling into burnout and quickly unravelling - taking everybody down with her in the process.

Tipsy aims to explore the process of oversharing and when and why we feel content to do so. Why are some subjects so taboo, and who are the right people to share with? As internal monologues turn external, Maria’s innermost thoughts are shared and Tipsy begs the question, is a problem shared a problem halved? Intimate discussions revolving around relationships and their misgivings, sexual health and STDs and an open dialogue about mental health are thrust to the forefront of Tipsy, prompting conversation. Playing with genre and form, this production invites the audience into the nail salon to have these conversations too, and reflect upon their own misgivings as frank topics about cheating, HPV and fear of misogyny collide into one. How similar would we be if we all overshared?

Ahead of running at The Cockpit Theatre I spoke with Edie to discuss the show.

Could you tell me a little bit more about the piece?
Tipsy takes place over two acts: each representing two separate visits to the nail salonwith most of the action taking place in the nail salon itself. Although the story centres around our protagonist Mariawho is arguably the catalyst for most of the play’s shenanigans, Tipsy is an ensemble piece and each character has a story to tellThe salon setting is a writer’s dream when it comes to imagining the fictional lives of the people who work there as well as the customers. Anyone can book an appointment at a beauty or nail salon, so there was so much scope in terms of creating the world of Tipsy and the characters living in it. Tipsy’s run at the Cockpit will be staged in the round, which will place the audience in the centre of the play’s chaotic events, and enable them to get to know its eccentric characters to a cringeworthy degree

Where did the inspiration for the piece come from?
How would I have possibly come up with the premise of a young woman getting drunk and oversharing whilst getting a manicure? Because in October 2019, I got drunk and overshared whilst getting a manicure. I had recently left my job in the chaotic, pre-pandemic world of media, and it’s fair to say that I didn’t cope very well with the change. I noted the incident in my journal, partly to ensure that it was not repeated, and that journal entry became inspiration for a short film script soon after. Tipsy only became a play when I was awarded a theatre writing bursary, 18 months after the incident which inspired it happened.

How much of your own experiences go into writing a piece like Tipsy?
I’m not a particularly imaginative writer! Most of the stories I concoct are scenarios I’ve imagined based on real life experiences, and this plays out in one of two ways. The first is that something happens to me, and then I start to imagine crazy versions of that situation. SUFUKU and Tipsy definitely fall into that category. The other way that I come up with a story is seeing something and thinking to myself, ‘I wonder how that got there’, or overhearing someone gossiping and thinking, ‘I wonder how that happened That’s when my mind starts to imagine up these stories and their characters. My next two projects, being written as we speak, very much fall into the second category. The element that they all have in common is that the seed was planted from something I’ve experienced, seen or heard in real life.

Photo by Phoebe Wingrove

How important do you think issues such as mental health are given platforms to be discussed?
Theatre is a social activity even when experienced solo,because - by its very nature - theatre happens live: it lives and breathes before the audience’s very eyes. It is for that reason that theatre and in my opinion, comedy, is such an impactful way to explore issues that occur outside of the world of the play as well as within. Back in 411 BC, Aristophanes probably didn’t mean to create an antipatriarchal feminist masterpiece with Lysistrata (after all, it’s misogynistic AF). Nonetheless, as a 21st century woman I still delight in how the play pokes fun at patriarchy, and that is the power of live theatreI keep Aristophanes in my mind whenever I’m using comedy in my writing to explore wider issues and Tipsy was no exception.

What do you want audiences to take away from seeing Tipsy?
One of the most important messages from Tipsy is that if you’re struggling mentally, trying to bury it is unlikely to solve the problem. Our protagonist wouldn’t necessarily choose to have a meltdown in front of strangers in a nail salon, but she’s holding onto so much that once she gets a drop of alcohol in her, she simply can’t help it. If you’re struggling with negative thoughts, trauma, burnout, whatever it is, please talk about it. That’s my serious, sensible answer. However, ultimately I just want audiences to enjoy a night of comedic theatre, albeit quite 
dark comedic theatre, and walk away with a hunger for the weird and wonderful arts and culture that the UK has to offer.  


Could you describe the show in 3 words?
Piercing, playful, preposterous.

Tipsy runs at The Cockpit Theatre from 13th to 17th June with tickets available from

Edie Walwyn. Photo by Brandon Bishop

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