Imagine Later with Jools Holland but featuring all the performance arts, live, earlier and hosted by someone taller and less likely to play boogie-woogie piano. Got that? You are picturing the Will Gompertz Fringe. Yes it's a hair gag but it's also 90 minutes of surprising, inspiring, hilarious, musical, bizarre and staggering takes on a given theme. This week it's MONEY.
There are three stages: Stand Up (for comedy, poetry and mini-lectures), Music (for our house band and guest artists) and Performance (cabaret, performance art, magic, sketch etc.).
Still can't picture it? Then imagine a Latitude-type festival in concentrated form. Swap Suffolk for the ICA Theatre, July for February, portaloos for actual toilets and that's about the size of it. A festival in one room in one night.
Directed by comedy director, script-editor and tutor Chris Head, this is the festival to get you out of the winter blues!
Friday 15 February: Money
- Suze Kundu. Dr Suze Kundu is a nanochemist both literally and professionally. And she is Miss June in the Science Grrl 2013 calendar. Her PhD in Materials Chemistry researched the transfer of solar energy to water molecules to drive a splitting reaction to evolve hydrogen and oxygen gases. But don't worry, she is used to sharing the wonders of chemistry to a wide range of intellectual abilities - from adults to children to Dick and Dom (on Radio 4). She will be bringing chemicals from Imperial College to the ICA to give you mind-boggling colour changes.
- TJ Shoesmith. TJ Shoesmith is a comedian and magician. A member of the Inner Magic Circle he has worked all over the world including The Comedy Store LA and Monday Night Magic in New York. Money is the theme so expect tricks with money! Come with £20 or £50 notes and be prepared to give them up in the name of entertainment.
- Festival of the Spoken Nerd. Festival of the Spoken Nerd is comedy for the insatiably sci-curious, with stand-up mathematician Matt Parker, geek songstress Helen Arney and experiments guy Steve Mould. Expect science, comedy and unashamed geekiness as they explore the surprising truth of barcodes through maths, lasers and a song. Keep your phones on for fact checking, and if you want to heckle you will need citations.
- Norman Rosenthal. Sir Norman Rosenthal actually. And quite rightly so! This British curator is quite simply a legend in the art world. As the Royal Academy Exhibition’s Secretary 1977-2008, (that’s 31 years!) Rosenthal directed many ground-breaking, blockbuster shows which promoted the RA to the big leagues as an exhibition venue. From Egyptian antiquaries, to Charles Saatchi’s Sensation exhibition, this guy is truly the master of big productions. He also got beaten up by Keith Allen and friends at the ICA once when he was Director of Exhibitions in the 1970s. We have a preserved bloodstain on an office wall aptly titled, This is Norman’s Blood. In the meantime he has made it up with Keith and of course loves Lily!
- Gregor Muir. Gregor Muir is executive director of the ICA. Previously director of Hauser & Wirth gallery, he is also author of Lucky Kunst (2009), a memoir charting the rise and fall of the YBAs.
- Alan Connor. Alan Connor is a great cribbage player. Oh yes, and a writer, TV-producer, journalist, sometime presenter, comedy and sitcom-writer, academic…and breathe. Alan has worked with Charlie Brooker and wrote the stunning and critically acclaimed comedy A Young Doctor's Notebook for Sky Arts starring John Hamm and Daniel Radcliffe.
- Rod Melvin. Rod Melvin is a London-based pianist and singer, resident at both the Groucho Club and Le Pont de la Tour. He’s also that guy who played in Ian Dury’s band, Kilburn & the High Roads, and was responsible for producing (with Ian) What a Waste which later became Ian’s first Top Ten hit!
- Hermine Demoriane. Described as a cult entertainer, new wave diva and slap-stick Nico-esque singer and writer, Hermine Demoriane is truly something special. Her varied work includes playing the role of Chaos in Derek Jarman's film Jubilee, singing with Rod Melvin, The Moodies and the Damned’s offshoot band, The Subterraneans, recordings with David Cunningham (Flying Lizards), appearances in French & Saunders TV shows, and several music albums. And that's just to name a few! To top it off she is also a former tightrope walker and has published the book The Tightrope Walker all about it. Phew!
- Michael Ayers. Michael Ayers is a working economist, erstwhile musician and comedian. Following an escape from New Zealand he moved to London where he fell victim to the appalling exchange rate mechanism which saw the value of his New Zealand dollar wealth dwindle to the point where he was obliged to work for a living. He teaches economics and continues to conduct research projects involving the mathematical relationship between his bank balance and the evolving spending patterns of his ten year old daughter.
- boyleANDshaw. BoyleANDshaw describe themselves as ‘catalysts’ rather than creators. Don’t know what that means? Well basically, they avoid standard chronologies and favour clashing images and disjointment to create impressive performance and multimedia works. Their most recent endeavour The Marmalade Factory, included DH Lawrence, an ex-miner, cycle time trials, post-industrial societies, sphere stacking (especially oranges), Leadbelly’s Take This Hammer and Arthur C Clarke’s The Sentinel. You gotta check it to get it.
- And your host...Will Gompertz. BBC's arts editor Will Gompertz is the host, provocateur and inquisitor for each night. Will was director at the Tate Media for seven years and now writes, presents, and produces programs about the arts. He recently wrote What Are You Looking At?: 150 Years of Modern Art in the Blink of an Eye and has been named one of the world's top fifty creative thinkers by Creativity magazine.
So, Roll up! Roll Up! for The Will Gompertz Fringe – the purest, most distilled event in the world. Drinks and food available throughout.