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Clementine Bogg-Hargroves - Please Love Me Interview

Please Love Me is an all-singing, pole-dancing spectacle about righteousness and strength. A first love, second heartbreak, and third piece of cake in a row make a naughty teenager question if she can ever be a "good woman". And what the hell that even means. Ready for some clubland classics and moral philosophy? Let’s go.

Created by performer, Clementine Bogg-Hargroves with Zoey Barnes (who also directs) the long-term collaborators last saw fringe success with stark, funny and sometimes shocking one- woman show Skank which, also produced by Mark Ashmore, received numerous five star reviews, sold out its run in 2021 and was nominated for the Offies 2021 OffFest award.

Please Love Me is the second full length play from Clementine Bogg-Hargroves and Zoey Barnes. And whilst Skank was certainly semi-autobiographical, this work is all the more personal and all the more autobiographical. The whirlwind show sweeps the audience into the mind of a teenager and explores the flux and change experienced in the life shaping time after childhood, finding your feet in adulthood. Feeling all powerful and entirely powerless, full of hope and full of despair, having fierce ambition yet being totally directionless. Skank was dark, Please Love Me is darker, a work that deliberately messes with form, style and tone. But it’s a comedy, we promise.

Ahead of the Edinburgh Fringe I caught up with Clementine Bogg-Hargroves to discuss the show further.

What inspired you to write Please Love Me? 
The deadline of Edinburgh is what pushed me to find Please Love Me. I knew I had this date looming in the distance, which meant a lot of sitting in Wetherspoons drinking cold coffee and hoping for some kind of inspiration to come. Finding the show wasn’t an easy process. I knew that I wanted to push myself in terms of form and scale, I wanted to make sure it wasn’t another what I call ‘living room’ play - where you create a show based on what you know you can use from your own house. It took a while to figure out that I could tell an intimate story and still use fireworks. 

Photo by Liam Rigby

You’re combining a few different styles including singing and pole-dancing. How did you approach blending the styles together? 
We’re still figuring that out if I’m honest, we want the mixture of styles to feel somewhat harmonious but still feel like a satisfying clash. The best way to see this has been to get the piece on its feet, experimenting with lights and sound as part of the creative process rather than pasting them on at the end. Sometimes we find a hit and sometimes we throw an idea away. We have also invited friends into the rehearsal room to watch it at different stages to get feedback, and there have been one or two style switches we thought were genius that the rest of the group agreed were actually awful. Great to get out of your echo chamber. 
As a writer is it easier to write about things you’ve experienced in your life or things that are hypothetical? 
I’m still very new to writing and have barely written anything but at the moment I’m definitely using my own personal experiences as a jumping off point for stories. I use things that I’ve experienced as a framework and then add or subtract things to make the content more theatrical. I sometimes struggle to deviate from what actually happened, which is where Zoey (co-creator of Please Love Me) comes in and says“That might be true, Clem.But it’s boring. So let’s make it not boring.” I’m paraphrasing, she’s actually a very nice and nurturing creative partner. As long as I make her cake. 
Do you ever feel vulnerable when you’re writing a show that is autobiographical? 
I definitely feel more vulnerable exploring the themes in Please Love Me as they feel a lot more scary to say out loud. In my first year of performing SKANK, I was in the mindset of ‘make something so that you can perform instead of sitting here in your pants eating Nutella all day’. I didn’t think too much about what effect talking about intimate personal issues to strangers would have on me - I was just excited about creating something for myself. I wasn’t expecting to be touring the show for four years, which was amazing but also meant that there were a lot more opinions about my work for me to contend with and reflect upon. I am a very sensitive person, so I don’t always cope well with negative reactions and feedback, but at the end of the day, it’s my choice to write what I write and then perform it. SO BETTER SUCK IT UP, GIRL! 
What do you want an audience member to take away from seeing Please Love Me? 
I want them to be almost in a daze, thoroughly satisfied by how much they saw for their ticket price, pumped from the fun music, but still reeling from all the challenging scenes they saw. We want it to be a whirlwind of glitter gel pen teenage love and cruel consequence that the audience feel deeply, whether they went through the exact same things or not. 
What performances/shows have inspired you? 
Oh my God, so many! But the ones that come to mind are I'm a Phoenix, Bitch by Bryony Kimmings, INSIDE by Bo Burnham, Mustard by Eva O’Connor and most of the circus shows in the Underbelly Circus Hub from the last four years. 
Can you describe the show in 3 words? 
Love, Laugh, Abort.
Clementine Bogg-Hargroves will perform Please Love Me at the Edinburgh Festival at 8.20pm in Pleasance Dome (Ace Dome) from 2nd – 26th August (Not 7th, 14th or 21st). To book, visit

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