In rude health

This article is from 2007.

With larger than life characters, Alyssa Kyria’s set was a sleeper hit from 2006. She tells Marissa Burgess that this year’s show is all about getting down and dirty

At last year’s Fringe, Alyssa Kyria’s one-woman, character-plumped show occupied an afternoon slot in the back room of the Holyrood Tavern. As the previous year’s Perrier winner Laura Solon performed a one-woman character-based show in the same room and in a similar time slot, comparisons were somewhat inevitable. ‘A lot of the reviews did compare us, which was quite flattering. This year I don’t know whether that will happen.’

Well, apologies for drawing further attention to that particular comparison. Trained as an actress, Kyria’s 2006 show was an exercise in creating projects for herself rather than waiting by the phone for work. Without hesitation she turned to comedy. ‘A lot of my parts through drama school have been the comedy role. I’ve never been able to play it straight.’ So she embarked on creating some comedic characters. ‘I wrote a little comedy monologue and performed it and it went down really well so I wrote another one for the next month and it went down really well. I thought if I can write two I can write nine; let’s just book a show in Edinburgh.’

The characters she created were all larger than life: a chav Pop Idol wannabe, a Greek WAG and a French jazz singer called Madame Bonjour who can’t speak French. Worryingly, she claims: ‘The characters were all splinters of my psyche, the ways that I think but taken to the complete extreme. With the chav character, I grew up in Bromley surrounded by girls like that. Then I was working at a health centre so I had this life coach character; I just get annoyed at them telling us how to lead our lives.’

Others had less direct inspiration. ‘One of my characters was inspired by the fact that I found an eye patch in a charity shop and I just wanted to say the line: “it’s a funny story in hindsight or lack thereof, as the case may be”.’ This year Kyria and the other Holyrood acts are in the back room of a nightclub and having bagged an evening slot, she’s decided to take advantage of the unwholesome setting. ‘I thought I’d make it a more raunchy show. I’ve got a stripper who has slept with Prince William, Tiggy the tennis playing socialite whore while Ariadne the Greek WAG’s back. There’s lots of variety in a really rude show.’

Alyssa Kyria, Holyrood Too @ Faith, 225 9764, 5–26 Aug (not 8, 15, 22), 8.45pm, £6 (£5). Previews 3 & 4 Aug, £3.

Alyssa Kyria

Sell-out comedian Kyria returns with another collection of larger than life characters. Patchy but entertaining. 'Part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2007'.

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