Kiri Pritchard-McLean – 'I grew up on a farm where you're confronted with horrific things'
- Marissa Burgess
- 25 July 2017
This article is from 2017.
Stand-up and Gein's Family Giftshop writer brings her Appropriate Adult to the Edinburgh Fringe
Kiri Pritchard-McLean is set to be pretty busy this Fringe. She's performing her second solo show Appropriate Adult, acclaimed sketch group Gein's Family Giftshop (of which she is co-writer) are up for their third outing, there's a one-night performance with Jayde Adams of the witty homage to the musical Amusical and there's talk of live recordings of her podcast All Killa No Filla with comic Rachel Fairburn (tbc).
A mixed bag of projects you might think but one theme that will no doubt unite all of Pritchard-McLean's work is a dark sense of humour, one which is particularly highlighted in Gein's. 'People say to us "oh you're really dark": Jesus, you should see the stuff we throw out! We think we're giving a really tempered version of what we do,' she laughs.
Pritchard-McLean blames her Anglesey upbringing for that twisted sense of humour. 'I think it's because I grew up on a farm and you're immediately confronted with pretty horrific things. When I was young, I read horror stories like Frankenstein and Dracula, and used to scare myself to sleep with them.' But the influences are also there in the comedy she favoured. 'The first comedy I got really excited about was the League of Gentlemen, but I used to really like Billy Connolly and Richard Pryor because it's all difficult, hard, dark stuff. Something that reveals an uncomfortable truth is brilliant.'
Appropriate Adult will no doubt be filtered through those inspirations as she looks at the past year of her life. 'It's been a big one in that I broke up with my partner of eight years and decided I was going to adopt and not have children biologically.' In the show, Pritchard-McLean explores her discovery that she's not the only one to favour adoption over biological parenting. 'I thought I was weird that I didn't want to have kids biologically but it's really common, especially amongst millennials. So a lot of it is me talking about this survey that they did and all the reasons why people have decided that they don't want to have a kid biologically.'
In preparation for adoption she's also spent a good deal of time mentoring and volunteering with disadvantaged children in the deprived area of Manchester in which she lives. 'I think if you're poor, you're automatically vulnerable as there's less in place to protect you. I've got an hour a week I can spare: we probably all have. It's a no-brainer for me; why wouldn't I turn up and take an interest in someone else outside of my friends and family?'
Pritchard-McLean's socio-political awareness is also apparent in the All Killa No Filla podcast. Though both she and Fairburn have an interest in serial killers, there's nothing salacious about their podcast and the gags certainly don't make fun of the victims. What has emerged is how the killers' actions are representative of attitudes and policy of the time. She cites the case of nurse Beverley Allitt who killed four children in her care. 'At the time we had a Tory government and the hospitals were so under-staffed that you have a nurse who has no qualifications and has been taken on to look after kids who are really sick.'
Possibly less socially responsible will be the third outing for Gein's. 'That show is going to look very different this year in the aesthetic and the type of stuff we're doing on stage. It's an evolution and a revolution. Also we're not coming back just for the sake of it.'
Kiri Pritchard-McLean: Appropriate Adult, Pleasance Courtyard, 5–28 Aug, 8.15pm, £7.50–£10 (£7–£9.50). Previews 2–4 Aug, £6; Gein's Family Giftshop: Volume 3, Pleasance Courtyard, 5–28 Aug, 10.20pm, £8–£10.50 (£7–£10). Previews 2–4 Aug, £6.