Instructions for Border Crossing is about to hit the road again. I can't wait to get back out with it. I love performing this show.
It never stops being fun because it’s genuinely different every night, depending on what the audience bring. This means it honestly won’t be the same if you don’t come. Don’t let that put you off though: I’m not interested in humiliating audience members or making them look stupid. Looking stupid is my job.
The show changed rapidly throughout its Edinburgh run, and for a while not just the interactive sections. All of it. Between the first and second previews two thousand words were cut and rewritten. Joyce McMillan came early in the run and wrote this so it must have been doing ok early on. But it undoubtedly grew from that point - it was towards the end of the run before people started saying it was their favourite of my shows so far. It's an incredibly slippery show and it took that long to get a firm grip of it. It's the kind of show that won't ever be wholly under control and that's part of the excitement. I'm really thrilled with the results and I want you to come and see it.
The show was born out of a frustration that, despite so much patent awfulness in the world, I’m less and less involved in anything that might make genuine change. I wanted to tell a story about some people who go as far as they can to make change, people who make me look rubbish by comparison. Because I’m a massive narcissist, the story is also about how rubbish I am, and why that might be. You’ll be somewhere on the continuum between rubbish like me and brilliant like the made-up people in the show. In either case and everywhere in between, the show is definitely aimed at you. Yes YOU. So you'd better fucking come.
I love doing the show because of the space to be genuinely responsive to the audience, but also because it’s a thrillingly unusual format. The audience interaction mixes up with some carefully-crafted storytelling, some almost-stand-up-ish sections, some games and some lashings of live art. It's constantly on the verge of being a total mess and at times the only thing stopping it from tipping over entirely is the fact that I'm nice to be in a room with. If you've met me in real life, don't let that put you off. I'm much more charismatic on stage than I am in real life. It takes a lot of energy to pretend to be that witty and dynamic, and I can only manage it for seventy minutes at a time, preferably when paid handsomely.
I also love the show because it’s really good. Get your credit card out. Here are some tour dates.
I've spent the past two weeks working on this with the brilliant Aliki Chapple.
It's timely, brilliant and chewy.
It stages the comment thread that unfolded below an online comic about sexism on the internet. The ensuing thread embodied every point the comic made about sexism on the internet. It really is astonishing what some people, real people in real rooms in real places, will type and send into the world, with every indication that this is what they really think and feel. It really is astonishing and it really is terrifying. And sometimes it really is hysterical.
So the show is the internet made flesh in all its grisly, unhinged, diverse, beautiful horror.
Despite some of the voices represented in the show being the absolute worst people imaginable, it's been a pleasure to work on. And despite these dregs of humanity, there is in there, in the end, a kind of hope.
I'm incredibly grateful to Aliki, who's the powerhouse behind the project, for bringing me and everyone else on board.
You should come and see what we've been up to. ONE NIGHT ONLY.
Pessimism of the Intellect, Optimism of the Will