Tuesday, July 23, 2019

William Hartley Brings His One Man Comedy Western GUN To The Edinburgh Fringe


Broadway World
July 3, 2019

Remember "If you're gonna kill a man, better make sure you do it properly. First rule of a murder."

Roscoe 'Blackjack' Porter, a rugged (read; drunk) gunslinger, has just woken in a filthy saloon in Hope Springs to find he's been stabbed. Let the high jinks begin...

Evil Martin Valance has a plan: build the biggest gun the world has ever seen, to destroy the Native American populace and make a sack full o' dimes in the process.

Will Roscoe foil Valance's machinations? Who is the masked assassin on his tail? Can he fight off bandits and escape the allures of an enigmatic Femme Fatale? Will he ever pay off his bar tab in the Mucky Donkey?

To fulfil his brother's dying wish he will have to ride across the rugged frontier, with only whisky, his cards, and his trusted guns, Bess and Bella, on his hips.

More cowboy than Clint himself, this one-man show deploys a charming array of makeshift props - think playing cards, saloon doors and cacti - in the service of its impressive twenty-five characters (and the entire gamut of American accents), all played by just the one man. Think about it that has got to be pretty close to all the characters the genre possesses...

High-energy and hilariously earnest performer and writer William Hartley charges, all guns blazing, through his joyous pastiche which references to every Spaghetti Western out there. There's killin' baddies, ridin' horses, seduction, drinkin' and (of course) fightin' on the roof of a movin' train. Moreover, there are also moments of genuine pathos AND a sex scene you are unlikely to forget in a hurry. For all its cavorting and set-piece clichés, Gun sets out to honour the mighty Western, not to mock it. The result is a homage to this timeless genre.

All twenty-five characters are in the safe hands of Will Hartley, best known as a quarter of award-winning sketch group Clever Peter, with whom he co-wrote and starred in five sell-out Edinburgh Fringe shows, toured nationally, and created a critically acclaimed Radio 4 series, 'Strap In - It's Clever Peter' (Pozzitive Productions) Additionally he has been on screen in The One Griff (BBC), Tracey Ullman Breaks the News (BBC), Cardinal Burns (Channel 4), Otherworld (BBC3) and BAFTA-nominated CBBC sketch show FIT. He has toured Italy and England in The Picture of Dorian Gray, as the eponymous Jekyll and Hyde for the European Arts Company, and the late Snoo Wilson's Lovesong Of The Electric Bear.

Will is also the co-creator (alongside Adam Miller) of Zomboat! - a new original zombie comedy-drama show. Starring Leah Brotherhead (White Gold), Hamza Jeetooa (Doctor Who), Ryan McKen (White Dragon), and Cara Theobold (Downton Abbey), the story follows the aftermath of a zombie onslaught being unleased in Birmingham. In their fight for survival, sisters Kat and Jo, together with unlikely travel companions Sunny and Amar, flee for their lives... by canal boat. Packed into tight living quarters, friendships develop, alliances form, arguments occur, romance blossoms and they soon realise that there's no escaping the problems of everyday life - even in a zombie apocalypse. Zomboat! is produced by Noho and will air on ITV2 this autumn before being available on Hulu.

William Hartley performs 'Gun' at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, from 1st - 24th August (not 14th). For tickets and more information: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/gun

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