Doctor Who star enjoys A Joke at the Fringe

Humour is a very subjective thing in the 21st century, with so many people taking offence when something is meant to be fun.

As newspapers, websites, tweets, blogs and vlogs discuss whether something is offensive or not, that’s at the very core of A Joke, currently being performed at the Assembly Rooms, as part of The Fringe.

Written by Dan Freeman, it stars the seventh Doctor Who, Scotland’s own Sylvester McCoy, Robert Picardo from Star Trek: Voyager, and John Bett from Shallow Grave, exploring our attitudes to humour and life.

An Englishman, an Irishman and a Scotsman find themselves in a void and must work out who and where they are. Are they constituents of a story, or is the joke on them?

They approach the world respectively with fear, optimism and acceptance and gradually begin to solve the mystery of their own existence and ours.

Sylvester told Scottish Field: ‘We’ve got an Irishman played by a Scotsman, a Scotsman played by an American, and an Englishman played by another Scotsman, so that’s a good laugh for a start!

‘I suppose it’s a bit like Waiting For Godot, but this is another kind of humour.

‘We’ll tell a risque joke and the audience will laugh at it, but then we will dissect it and discuss it, and perhaps the audience might feel a bit embarrassed that they laughed along.

‘We’ve been getting very good reviews, and had a few five stars, which is great! Some people have said it’s gold standard, but I don’t read them myself… well, I don’t read too many!

‘We’ve a good cast, with Bob Picardo from Star Trek, and there’s the wonderful Johnny Bett – the three of us have a lovely time working with each other.

‘We did this show last year in a smaller venue and now we’re in the Ballroom at the Assembly Rooms. We’ve actually got three large chandeliers above our heads, and each is worth about £1million, so we don’t want the audience to laugh too much in case they bring them down!’

Although he has spent the majority of his career south of the Border, and on the other side of the world when making The Hobbit, Sylvester always enjoys coming home.

He added: ‘I love coming up to Edinburgh during the Festival. I’ve been coming here since the 1970s, and it’s always good to be here, back among the Scots.’

Click HERE to read about Sylvester’s life growing up in Dunoon.

Venue: Venue 20, Assembly Rooms – Ballroom

Dates: Aug 15-20, 22-26, 4.25pm (1 hour 10 minutes)


Suitability: 12+

  • Read more about the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scottish Field HERE.