FRINGE INTERVIEW – Miss Behave (The Crack @ Assembly in the Gardens)

The one and only Miss Behave (photo credit: Dave Pickens)

The one and only Miss Behave (photo credit: Dave Pickens)

“I’m the big boss clown!”

Miss Behave, dressed head to toe in black, smiles as she places a bestockinged leg on the table.

We’re sitting outside the fabulous new Assembly Festival venue in Princes Street Gardens, where she will be performing her comedy variety show The Crack nightly throughout the Fringe.

“I want to redress the balance,” she says. “The comedy industry’s become very narrow-minded.”

“I’m of the view that if it’s funny, then it’s comedy – and we’re here to bring some chaos, anarchy and craziness to the whole thing.”

Miss Behave has comedy and performance coursing through her veins. She’s played the streets, performed in nightclubs and is a regular on the variety circuit in the UK and Europe.

Onstage, she is a larger-than-life latex-encased ringmistress: offstage, she is a little more informal, but still utterly passionate about the variety scene she is here to revitalise.

“I’m a comedy & entertainment nerd,” she says. “The scene’s trends run in cycles, and there’s a big resurgence of variety at the moment which is fantastic.”

“With the recession and the attention-span of the YouTube generation, people want to be entertained; to get some bang for their buck.”

“The show’s filled with brilliant 8-minute routines, so it should appeal to today’s audiences looking for something a bit different.”

The Crack is a smash-hit cocktail of renegade clowns, surreal skills-based acts and anything-goes comedy.

“It’s the kind of show where you never know what’s going to happen,” she says. “I pick the best acts I know and have worked with before, then allow them to run at a brick wall…”

“My job’s to make sure that wall’s in the right place.”

She’s being modest. As well as compering and curating The Crack, Miss Behave is a performer extraordinaire, drawing on all of her years of experience of stand-up and street performance to create a larger-than-life stage presence with some amazing and mind-boggling stunts up her skintight sleeves.

And the rest of The Crack’s line-up is a mixture of variery legends – such as the lunatic genius of Phil Kay and ventriloquist comedy of Nina Conte; with some ‘undiscovered gems’, most of whom are old street performing friends of Miss Behave’s.

“There are some fantastic acts on the bill,” she says. “We’ve got Hotnuts & Popcorn who are amazing; and John Hicks, a comedy speed painter who you have to see to believe!”

“And it would be criminal to waste all the talent who will be in Edinburgh for the Fringe. We’re hoping for some very special guest appearances.”

“The Crack gives them an opportunity to play, rather than stick to their bread & butter routines.”

So is she looking forward to playing in Edinburgh, and at a brand-new venue?

“Definitely,” she says. “The programming at the Assembly this year has been fantastic. Plus Edinburgh comedy audiences are amongst the most discerning out there.”

“And we’re here to entertain – if we do that, then we’ve done our job.”

One thing’s certain – when The Crack opens in Princes Street Gardens, it will be crammed with so many top-quality acts it’ll tower over the Castle like a gigantic variety sundae. And with Miss Behave atop it like a shiny red cherry, anyone who decides to give it a taste is in for a sure-fire treat.

You can book tickets to experience The Crack for yourself on The Assembly website.

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