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Cast Member James Akka Talks Preparation

Next week begins my second year up in Edinburgh, and it’s beginning to look a lot like Fringemas. I’ve now said to multiple (presumably baffled) people that it feels like I’m a child again, waiting for Christmas morning. As I’m writing this, only 7 more sleeps! Can’t wait to unwrap a brand new 9 Hour Bus Journey to Edinburgh.

To step away from the laboured metaphor: excited would be an understatement. At the first readthrough for the Oxford run of Redacted Arachnid back in January, I remember our director Caleb tentatively raising the idea of bringing the show to Edinburgh, and since then it’s been an unimaginably joyful ride. The whole team immediately bonded on a level I haven’t experienced from other shows, and would be lucky to again. We joined forces like some sort of ComedyVoltron, with fewer guns and more obnoxious in-jokes (I’d list some, but nobody wants that). We made a show, together, that we were all very genuinely proud to show to Oxford (in a sold-out run, I might brag). That tentative suggestion of coming to Edinburgh seemed like such an obvious choice for Redacted Arachnid: it’s a funny multi-roling show where we wear an assortment of hats(!) and make jokes about an obscure theatre story. May as well have called the Oxford run our Fringe Preview [Ed: We are calling it that!].

Lucky enough to have Ellie join the cast in May (or as my Mum keeps calling her, Lily), we’ve really tried to take the show back to square one and make it the best version it can be. There’s been role-switches, line cuts, line additions, and cast brunch every Saturday. We’re all been busy people in Oxford term time, so having set rehearsals on a regular basis has made sure we haven’t stopped thinking about the show since the original run. Brunch has been good because it’s brunch.

In the final stretch, now, we aren’t in Oxford anymore (Toto), so focus on the show has been more individual. We’ve all got things we want to achieve on stage in Edinburgh, and having had a few weeks away to work on our lines and our characters individually is one reason it’s really exciting to get it back in front of an audience. Being at home has also meant me sending some (read: a lot) of pictures of my dog in his little spider-dog outfit to the group chat, which I’m sure everyone has loved.

Spidey-James and Spidey-Dog

The Fringe last year was far better than I had dreamed it would be, and I’m sure this year will smash my expectations too. I say that now; after three weeks of living with everyone I may be keen to get back home as soon as possible. Who knows! I can say that by August 18 I’ll be in the mood to not see a Redacted Arachnid flyer ever again, dreaming of Flyers Roasting on An Open Fire. See? Brought it back around to the laboured Christmas thing. Maybe at the Fringe this time next year I’ll be doing standup.


P.S. For my producer Jake reading this: I was joking about burning flyers.


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