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I TALK TO Heidi Regan

"Last year felt very structured and my dream for each year is to get the audience giggling and myself giggling."

Last year saw Australian-born comedian and writer Heidi Regan debut at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe with one of my favourite hours of 2018, Heidi Vs Sharks in which she taught me more about shark films than I ever thought I needed to know. But crucially, it was very funny.

This year Heidi is returning to the festival with Heidi Kills Time which sees her move her attention to time and as we chat about what audiences can expect it's clear that Heidi wants to have more fun at the festival, she talks about wanting to be silly a lot and explains why there won't be a powerpoint presentation in this year's show.

How did you find your debut last year?

I think it went well. Towards the end of the run there were some bits I wish I hadn't have done like all the trade deal stuff, but it was a good learning experience without too much collateral damage. I think I'm glad I did it though otherwise I'd be sat here thinking that show could have been amazing if I had included those jokes.

When did you decide to come back this year?

Pretty much straight away. I don't think I really thought about not coming back because last year was the very very beginning of learning to do good shows. It would have been silly to just stop at trade deals.

What was the biggest thing you learnt from doing last year's show?

The thing that was a big surprise to me was how physically and emotionally draining it was. That shocked me by the end. I'm not sure I've learnt how to deal with that but at least I'm now prepared for it. Hopefully it'll be less like that this year without the pressure and the stresses of it being my debut. But I still don't understand how it works. My hope is that the pressure is off, but I always put pressure on myself anyway.

My main goal this year is to be sillier on stage, relax a bit and be more myself with the audience. There were some shows last year where I did that, but there were other shows where it was really hard to relax.

Did you read any reviews whilst you were up there?

I read three or four, only nice ones at first that my agent sent me - including yours - and then I knew that Steve Bennett (Chortle) had come in on my worst show of the entire Fringe. It was so horrific. I even said to the tech, "I bet today's the day that Steve comes" and then I saw him walk in.

There were these lads chatting all through the start which killed the mood and the joke I can normally rely on didn't work so I knew I had a bad review coming. Then I read it and was real sad. It wasn't a horrible review but it pointed out the flaws in my show and taught me to maybe avoid all reviews this year until closer to the end, unless I'm feeling particularly strong.

What can people expect from your show this year?

It's got lots of time travel jokes and it's basically all of the jokes I've thought of over the past year and earlier actually because last year's show was all new jokes. It was actually one of my friends who pointed out to me that all my jokes were about time travel so that's what I knew this year's show would be about.

A lot of them have a lot to do with climate change and my responses to the horror of the world. That being said, I've tried to be even sillier this year and everyone who has seen it has told me that they didn't feel sad at the end.

Oh and there's no powerpoint presentation this year. That was another goal of mine for this year, I wanted it to be just me and a microphone. I enjoyed the powerpoint stuff last year but I also now want to hone many performance skills without anything like that. It was also very hard to preview when you've got a projector!

What are you most looking forward to about Edinburgh this year?

All I can dream of is that I can be very silly on stage and get the audience feeling silly, that was my dream last year, but last year felt very structured and my dream for each year is to get the audience giggling and myself giggling.

Who are you most looking forward to watching perform this year?

I've got some friends doing debuts like Helen Bauer and Will Rowland who I did my split hour with a couple of years and I'm actually living with both of them so I'm very excited about that.

Eleanor Tiernan! I think she's so smart and I've seen her shows for a few years now but I recently saw her perform at a festival in Wales and by the end of it I was questioning why she hasn't got her own Netflix special. She's so clever and does it in such a way that really brings the audience to it.

Outside of the Fringe, what are you working on?

Over the years, before I did stand-up, I used to write for TV sketch shows in Australia and I've had a couple of those since last Edinburgh.

I've been recording a Radio 4 podcast podcast called GrownUpLand which was started by Deborah Frances-White but she's not on it anymore, and for this new series they've got four of us doing it, so it's myself and Sophie Duker with Ned Sedgwick and Steve Ali and we talk about being adults. That's essentially it.

Finally, how would you sum up this year's show in just five words?

Vey very silly time travel.

Heidi Regan: Heidi Kills Time runs from 31st July - 26th August at 4.45pm at the Pleasance Courtyard (Beside). Book tickets here.

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