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Patrick McPherson - The Way Way Deep Interview

Following the award-winning, sell-out festival hits, The Man and Colossal, Patrick McPherson’s new play The Way Way Deep debuts in Edinburgh. Blending bold storytelling, spoken word and original music, McPherson brings his inimitable style to a new piece that follows the ecstasy and chaos of a twenty-year friendship. Moving from beautifully nostalgic to bitingly poignant, The Way Way Deep delivers an hour of unforgettable theatre.

Photo by Matt Crockett

Ahead of the Edinburgh Fringe I spoke with Patrick to discuss the piece.

What inspired The Way Way Deep?
I was in an absolute mental hole last November and started writing some music and material. Was definitely too melodramatic for my set of circumstances so started to get all writer-y about it and think about what character might come from that melodrama and a story sort of fell into place. Luck of the overly-sensitive draw I guess.
What kind of themes are you incorporating into this production?
This has very much become a show about childhood versus adulthood and the moment of intersection between young and old that comes naturally when you hit about 25. Below that it’s about how to craft an identity and move into the business years of your personhood in your twenties. That all sounds very serious but I hope a large amount of it is dealt with deftly and lightly, with enough comedy to keep people engaged.
When you've had such a well-received and award-winning show like you did with Colossal does it put more or less pressure on you when you follow it up?
Colossal felt like a shot in the dark - was my first play. So for it to sell to ANYONE was a positive! All the rest, from awards to Soho etc, felt so silly beyond that, so no, not really any pressure now. All I know is that the team this year - Sam Rothera and Will Hayman (who both worked on Colossal) and my new director Ellie Coote, are coming at this with serious pace and energy. So working with that bunch takes a looooot of pressure off.
What keeps you inspired as an artist? 
Predictable answer but the people I collaborate with. My co-creator James is just a story addict, so any morsel of an idea gets gobbled up by him and makes me want to write more. Other than that it’s the shows I see, stuff like Sap at the Soho, Bundle of Joy? at Fringe last year. Proper stories told brilliantly - makes you want to keep upping your game.
What do you want an audience member to take away from seeing The Way Way Deep?
Just an hour of theatre they might not see elsewhere at the Fringe. Not too many one-person plays going round really, and with the music, lighting and style of my shows I’m hoping it’s different, if nothing else. Could be terrible! But as long as it’s singular, I can rest easy.

Photo by Matt Crockett

Can you describe the show in 3 words?
I fear this question every interview I do. Um…loud, fast, honest? But that could describe anything - that describes 90% of the family arguments I’ve had. Though in fairness if it has a tenth of the drama of one of those then you’re in for a treat.

The Way Way Deep plays at the Underbelly Cowgate at the 2023 Edinburgh Fringe. Visit to book tickets.

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