When Sarah-Louise Young first came to the Edinburgh Fringe 13 years ago, it had a major impact on her.
“It blew my mind,” she says. “I came here as a student and I was immediately hooked by the whole thing. And I ran up a huge amount of credit seeing all the shows I wanted to catch!”
Now, this talented singer, comedienne and actress is a regular at Edinburgh. Although she doesn’t attend every year, 2010 will be her 8th visit as a performer. In 2009, she brought her act ‘Cabaret Whore’ to the Free Fringe, and also appeared as her tortured French chanteuse La Poule Plombée character at Ministry of Burlesque’s High Tease, presented by Blond Ambition Events. In addition to that, she took to the stage with Desmond O’Connor in his Desmorphia show.
“The Free Fringe was fantastic,” she says. “The word of mouth about the show quickly grew and we went from initial audiences of 40 and 50 to playing to standing room only. And around half of the audience were from Edinburgh, which was great.”
This year, the ‘cabaret explosion’ sees Sarah-Louise once again jump into the Fringe with both feet.
“I’m returning with Cabaret Whore Encore!” she says. “As well as La Poule Plombée, I’m bringing three new desperate divas from around the globe – lots of different wigs!”
In addition to that, Sarah-Louise takes a starring role in Me! Me! Me! with fellow cabaret and musical stars Desmond O’Connor and Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer; she is also appearing in Showstopper! The Improvised Musical.
“It appears I must only perform in shows with exclamation marks in their titles!” she laughs.
Recently returned from great success at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival, Sarah-Louise is one of the stars of the new alternative cabaret, regularly appearing at venues such as London’s Soho Theatre.
“I’ve been involved in the scene for 10 years now,” she says. “It’s a great network and people like Des are fantastic – it’s like a big family.”
So, will Sarah-Louise have time to see any other shows this year, given she herself is appearing in so many?
“Absolutely!” she says. “I love so much at the Fringe. Last year I was in 66 shows – and still managed to see 32!”
“I’ll catch Smoke & Mirrors and Frisky & Mannish, of course. And there’s a fantastic physical theatre piece called Pedal Pusher which I’ll definitely see. Then there’s places like the Bedlam Theatre and C Venues – so much to see!”
With so much planned for August, how does she prepare herself for it?
“I don’t drink during the Fringe,” she says. “I stop drinking around mid-July – I must be in the minority there!”
It’s difficult to imagine how else she could cope – halfway through the interview, she remembers she’ll also be performing guest slots at Vive Le Cabaret in addition to her other shows.
“Gosh yes!” she says. “I suppose I am appearing in four shows after all! And the odd appearance at The Bongo Club too, no doubt…”
It’s safe to say Sarah-Louise will be a hard person not to see at this year’s Fringe. Her unique style of comedy musical cabaret is excellent and taps into an appetite for this type of entertainment which seems to grow every year.
As the interview closes, that question has to be asked. How often is Sarah-Louise mistaken for the ‘adult entertainer’ of the same name, (in)famous as the first British pornographic actress to make £1 million.
“I must get about one mail a week asking me if I’m one and the same person,” she laughs. “I wrote a show based around my namesake four years ago and brought it to the Fringe. She’s supposed to be a lovely person; and now working as a lawyer in Germany. I’d love to meet her – we’re both from Kent, apparently!”
“And it’s amusing on her wikipedia entry. It reads ‘not to be confused with the mainstream actress Sarah-Louise Young‘.
So, of course on my website I have ‘not to be confused with the adult entertainer Sarah Louise Young‘”
And lastly, why not visit Sarah-Louise Young’s website?
(Just don’t confuse it with the site of her namesake…)