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Noam Tomaschoff - Our Little Secret - Edinburgh Fringe Interview

As part of our Edinburgh Fringe 2024 coverage, we are running a series of interviews with artists and creatives that are taking part in the festival. 

In this interview, we speak to Noam Tomaschoff about their show Our Litle Secret.

Where did your arts career begin?
One summer when I was about twelve, I was at summer camp in the woods of Ontario, Canada, and I accidentally stumbled into the theatre club’s production of Mamma Mia. They wouldn’t let me leave, and when I kept shouting “SOS!” people just applauded! Well, that felt pretty good. My parents, bucking the cliché, were hugely supportive of my newfound passion for theatre and encouraged me to pursue it throughout high school, where I befriended Russell Citron, Ryan Peters, and Ben Deverett, my oldest and best friends, and my collaborators on Our Little Secret! Our friendship was forged around the piano- Ryan is a virtuoso who can play anything, and we were constantly singing through our favourite shows, writing parody songs about our friends, and eventually we even wrote an original musical of our own, and forced our entire class to buy tickets!

I went on to theatre school at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, turned in a cracking performance as Farmer Brown in a tour of the classic children’s musical “Click Clack Moo: Cows That Type,” and finally, moved to LA and sacrificed my soul and sanity for three years to make a film about my love of the theatre called “Tankhouse,” starring two of my heroes, Christopher Lloyd and Richard Kind. That was my life until a few summers ago, when fate grabbed me by the scruff of the neck and threw me into a reality upending wormhole that resulted in this show!

What can you tell me about your show?
Our Little Secret is a solo musical that tells the true story of when I ordered a DNA test on a lark a few summers ago, and discovered that my parents aren’t quite who I thought they were, and oh, surprise! I’m not actually an only child, but actually have 35 half siblings all across North America…. I can’t say more! But the show is a blend of comedy, drama, music, confession, and communion, taking the audience through my and my family’s journey of genetic discovery right up until the present day.

How would you describe the style of the show?
Imagine being in your favourite village pub, warm and glowing as it snows outside, you’ve got a fresh and properly poured pint, and you and your loved ones are gathered around the piano, listening and tapping your feet along as your funniest friend regales you with a raucous musical rendition of the most unbelievable true story you’ve ever heard. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll order a round for the bar and you’ll be singing these songs in the shower long after Fringe is over- guaranteed.

How have you approached developing the piece?
As the revelations about my genetics and heritage were rocking my world, I quickly realized that I was going to have to create something out of this experience, or I wasn’t going to make it out in one piece. Luckily, my aforementioned best friends from high school and I are still in close contact, and when I told them about the shocking news that I had received and the continuously more absurd developments that emerged as I went deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole, we all knew that we had no choice but to turn this story into a musical! I wrote the book, and Ryan, Russell (our producer without whom we’d have nothing and be nowhere) and I camped out in Ryan’s basement for a week and wrote the music, and Ben, or rather, Dr. Deverett, did the arrangement on his laptop in the call room when he wasn’t anaesthetizing patients. Less than a year after I ordered the DNA test and got the news, we were premiering Our Little Secret at the Toronto Fringe Festival of 2023. 
Toronto Fringe was an incredible success. We sold out every show, won the Patron’s Pick award and Best of Fringe, and we just recently secured our first mainstage

How do/will you prepare yourself for a run at the Fringe?
Last year I was flattered to have been described by a prominent Toronto theatre writer as “the most energetic performance at the Fringe,” and the show really
demands it- it’s one solid hour of just me hooting and hollering with no breaks or even a moment to sip water. I am not a gym person, but I have been going to the gym like crazy this past year to bring myself up to fitness for what I consider to be an athletic event! Also, you know that Taylor Swift thing where she does her whole set while running on the treadmill? I’ve been doing that too. I still haven’t had my gym membership revoked and the regular weightlifter guys are already humming the songs so I think it’s going well.

Other than the show, what’s something you’re looking forward to doing in Edinburgh this year?
I actually have two unrelated friends who have shows at the Fringe as well, and right across the street from our venue! I’m looking forward to being together and supporting each other through what I am sure will be the experience of a lifetime.

What keeps you inspired?
As a solo performer it’s easy to lose perspective, as you are the only one performing and can’t really watch yourself, so my collaborators are the ones who inspire me constantly both from a creative perspective and also regarding the growth of the show. They always know what the moment requires, and relish any opportunity to call me on my BS, which is essential. The show would truly be nothing without them and it’s been amazing to coalesce as a close team over the past two years.

What do you hope an audience takes away from seeing the show?
I want people feel warm in their hearts. The show is funny, its moving, the music is awesome, but more than anything, I hope my family’s story of being confronted with a massive obstacle and overcoming it together instead of letting it drive us apart can inspire people to embrace honesty and openness over secrecy and shame in their own lives.

Where can audiences see the show?
5:30 PM, Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose Doonstairs for the full month!

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