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Brief Edinburgh Encounter With … Randy, the Puppet

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American alcoholic puppet Randy makes his Edinburgh Fringe debut with his new show, Randy's Postcards from Purgatory.

As an only child born into a modern-day vaudeville family in Wichita, Kansas, Randy spent his childhood traversing middle America performing in his father's travelling show, Mongrants and Son's Side Show and Patent Medicine Dealers. So natural was Randy on stage that he soon became the star attraction. People would come from miles around to see the little purple kid get thrown into scenery flats by his stony-faced father, while his mother played the bassoon side stage.

Suffering from a complete mental breakdown at the age of seven, Randy escaped the spotlight by becoming a roustabout for a two-ring Russian circus. His travels with the circus eventually landed him in Australia and it was here that Randy decided to leave showbusiness for good. He was taken in by a family of bus drivers and his teen years were some of the happiest of his life. Randy graduated high school with reasonable grades and, after a year of surfing and drinking excessive quantities of corner store bourbon, he enrolled in a teaching degree at Notingwood Technical College.

The next 15 years of Randy's life - including his dysfunctional marriage and his disastrous return to the stage - sets the scene for his Edinburgh Fringe debut, Randy's Postcards from Purgatory.

Why did you decide to return to the theatre?
I've been running a children's entertainment agency for the past six or seven years doing children's parties, so I've been performing every weekend for as long as I care to remember. Randy's Postcards from Purgatory was really a test for me to see if I still have what it takes to perform real theatre in front of an adult audience, as well as a chance for me to psychoanalyse the laughable state of my existence and publicly admit to a few reasonably poor life choices.

This is your solo debut at the Edinburgh Fringe. How do you think the crowd will respond to the show?
I'm hoping they'll come with very little expectation because then the element of surprise will really work in my favour. The show is theatrically driven and quite dark but genuinely funny and slightly twisted. I think it's quite a unique show, and I'm looking forward to seeing how a UK audience responds to an alcoholic puppet ranting at them for 60 minutes.

Why Postcards from Purgatory?
When I sat down to write the show, it occurred to me that I only really remember the shit moments of my life, only really paying attention during periods of transition while stuck between worlds. The rest of the time I coast along in a bit of an emotional cocoon, so I'm definitely at my most interesting whilst in a state akin to purgatory. If I'd written the show about the other 85% of my life, it would've been called Randy's Postcards From What Else Is On?.

At this year’s Edinburgh Fringe, Randy's Postcards From Purgatory is at the Underbelly, 8-30 August (no show 17 August) at 7:20pm.

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