Richard Stott: 'The energy he fires out of just his pupils is a masterclass'

This article is from 2019

Richard Stott: 'The energy he fires out of just his pupils is a masterclass'

credit: Steve Ullathorne

Richard Stott's debut Fringe show uses his experiences with Poland Syndrome as a jumping-off point to talk about everything from body image and politics to mental health and jellyfish

This is your debut Edinburgh hour: congratulations! Do you have any interesting pre or post-show rituals?
Thank you! I'm very excited to plant my flag finally. My pre-show ritual is putting Steve Winwood's 'Higher Love' on full blast, jumping around to get the tension out and bring up the positivity. Post-show is a pint in a quiet corner.

Your show discusses Poland Syndrome, a birth defect characterised by an underdevelopment or absence of chest wall muscles, usually on the right hand side of the body. In your time talking about it on stage, how knowledgeable have you found audiences to be about it?
Hardly anyone knows anything about it. I guess it's not particularly life-threatening, so it doesn't get the press. I once performed and at the end I was approached by a woman who had very similar physical characteristics to me. She was in her late 60s and no one had ever bothered to check about her condition as it wasn't life-threatening. She'd never even heard of Poland Syndrome, let alone knew about the treatment there is for it. She's got my email and is going to let me know if she's also in the club after her doctor runs some tests.

You've been acting for over ten years. That business is famously quite brutal and obsessed with image. Has it changed much for the better during that decade?
I'm not sure it's changing but I also don't think we can easily point the finger at the industry for that. We need to look at ourselves because they only make what we demand them to. What's the highest viewed show at the moment? Love Island.

Who are your artistic heroes and inspirations, comedy or otherwise?
Stewart Lee has been a big hero of mine before I was even doing stand-up. His writing is excellent but what I really admire is how good he is as a clown, how much commitment he brings to his comedic performance. The energy he fires out of just his pupils is not just a masterclass in stage presence but also in acting.

You can invite any three people, dead or alive, to a dinner party you're hosting. Who are the lucky trio?
Orson Welles to tell stories, Andy Dick to do something that ends the night abruptly, and Louis Theroux to document the whole thing.

Richard Stott: Right Hand Man, Gilded Balloon Teviot, 3–26 Aug (not 12), 12.45pm, £8.50–£9.50 (£7.50–£8.50). Previews 31 Jul–2 Aug, £6.

Richard Stott: Right Hand Man

  • 3 stars

Debut show from this comedian.