Our Edinburgh Festival Q&As continue with comedian, science nut and all-round clever person Helen Keen, whose Edinburgh debut It Is Rocket Science! was turned into an acclaimed Radio 4 series. This year, she's back with Robot Woman Of Tomorrow - and here she is to tell you all about it (and Edinburgh):
Pitch your Edinburgh show in 25 words or less.
It’s a tale of technology, heartbreak and sexxxy robots that will transport you into the tinfoil-y world of The Future (by at least an hour).
Your best Edinburgh moment?
The very first time I went to the Fringe in 2005. I had no idea how much of a big deal it was and I’ll always remember arriving, walking up the hill from Waverley station and just coming out into the middle of it all on the Royal Mile - it was wonderful.
And your worst?
The first day of It Is Rocket Science!, my debut fringe show in 2008. In the end, it was an amazing experience and the show transferred to Radio 4, but for the opening performance there was only one solitary person in. It was a show with quite a lot of audience participation and, although he joined in (sort of), it’s quite a big ask to simultaneously play the part of John F Kennedy, Nikita Khrushchev, the American people, the Russian people and a worm hole...
You've got one hour free in Edinburgh - what do you do?
I might go and sit in Edinburgh Library and read a book under its beautiful dome - it must be one of the best public libraries ever, and so peaceful.
Which Edinburgh landmark/venue/place would you give a five star review to?
Definitely the Royal Observatory. It’s a bit of a hike up Blackford Hill, but the views are just incredible and the building itself is a Victorian mechanical marvel with a fantastically steam punk revolving dome. The suffragettes tried and failed to blow it up - and yet women still got the vote. So, win-win, I'd say.
Give us a secret Edinburgh tip!
Not to be a weather pessimist, but buy your wellington boots before you go - they always sell out in Edinburgh on about the 2nd of August and you’ll end up walking round for a month in a pair with giant luminous pineapples or Dora the Explorer on the side.
Deep-fried haggis or deep-fried Mars bar?
I’m a vegetarian so it’d have to be the Mars bar - although I’d rather just have chips and mushy peas, really. There’s a very good chip shop that sells deep-fried Mars bar and mushy peas on the Royal Mile. On the walls, it has faded cuttings of an unusually nubile-looking Prince Edward and Princess Anne - and they also appear in pop up in the windows of a nearby fudge shop. I’m thinking of only eating in places that advertise with pictures of royalty this year.
Kilt or trousers?
In spite of having not a drop of Scottish blood, my mother is an unusually big fan of dressing head-to-toe in tartan, and I’ve been subjected to far too many scratchy, unflattering kilts during my childhood, so I’d have to say trousers. (Unless the trousers are tartan, too, like the ones my mum got me - possibly from Edinburgh Woollen Mill’s sale? - when I was 11. They were not sort-of-Vivienne Westwood-y post-punk-grungy style cool trousers. I looked like I was about to go golfing with Ronnie Corbett in them.)
Arthur's Seat or Arthur Smith?
Either is excellent, although I guess whichever is the least windy on any given day.
Complete this sentence: “In Edinburgh, I will be mainly...
...just trying to enjoy it and not go mad worrying about everything, is the honest answer!”
Helen Keen’s show Robot Woman Of Tomorrow is at 15.30 at the Pleasance Courtyard - The Hut, 1-26 August. Find out more and book tickets here.