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Brief Encounter With ... Brotherly Love’s David Schaal

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Actor turned playwright David Schaal is bringing his black comedy Brotherly Love to this year's Fringe. It is the fourth play for the actor who has starred in The Inbetweeners and The Office, tackling sibling rivalry between two ex punk rockers.

You are best known as an actor, how many plays have you written?

Brotherly Love is my fourth play. I had a reading of my play Shame (rather topically about a Sunday Newspaper scandal) at York Theatre Royal this year. I also took Reality Chokes to Edinburgh in 2009. I’ll be looking to stage It’s All Over Now (loosely based on the Raoul Moat shootings) in London after I’ve recovered from Edinburgh!

You are well known for playing Jay’s Dad in The Inbetweeners and Taffy in The Office, is your character Barry in Brotherly Love a comic part?

Although I have described the play as a black comedy, there are also serious themes. Barry is a recovering alcoholic and drug addict who has never really grown up. He is still rooted in the punk music of his youth and is haunted by the conflicts from the past, particularly with his brother Ian. After leaving rehab he has to re-evaluate his life and relationships. While Barry’s language and actions have comic undertones, it is actually quite a serious part.

You are staging the play at the Counting House Ballroom as part of the free festival, what was the thinking behind that?

The soundtrack to Brotherly Love is the punk music of Barry and Ian’s past. I grew up in the punk era and what I loved about the whole movement was the economic rebellion and ‘do it yourself’ ethos. Kids who could barely play their instruments put on gigs in their garages and recorded their own songs, keeping big business out of the equation. I think the free festival encompasses the spirit of the punk movement and I love the fact that anybody can come and see this play without having to dig deep.

You are also doing a sketch show at the Pleasance Beside, can you tell us a bit about that?

It has always been an ambition of mine to appear in a sketch show at the Pleasance. We are playing at the Beside at 11pm and I am appearing with 3 very talented and funny performers. Our sketches range from a man hearing Satanic voices during a work appraisal, to a daughter introducing her serial killer boyfriend to her dad. Incidentally, the Pleasance tickets are very cheap compared to London prices and I just love the whole atmosphere of Edinburgh during the festival. I think it encompasses the punk ethic in many ways.

Are you excited about the release of the film of The Inbetweeners?

Yes I am. While the film is mainly about the kids, I do have a couple of memorable scenes in it. I don't think fans of Jay’s dad will be disappointed. I’ve worked with the lads over three series of the TV show and I feel like I have watched them all grow up. The Inbetweeners has been a really enjoyable experience and I think the film will do very well at the box office.

Brotherly Love shows at the Laughing Horse at The Counting House from 4 - 28 August (excl 17) at 17.00.


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