Following its world premiere last year, Tom Wells and Matthew Robins’ one-man-musical comedy Drip arrives at the Fringe before a UK Autumn Tour. The Student caught up with actor Andrew Finnigan who plays Liam.
Can you tell us what to expect from Drip?
I think audiences can expect Liam to take them on a journey with his story definitely. He takes them through the highest and lowest points of his life and he just has to trust that they’ll follow him. With the help of his best mate Caz they also want to break through the boring ordinary life we live in sometimes and fill it with colour, noise and excitement so hopefully some of that comes out too!
You’re reprising your role as Liam. What is it like playing a fifteen-year-old boy in this one man musical? Do you face any challenges with the role?
I’m coming up on my 22nd birthday soon and my family are constantly teasing me about how I’m always cast as younger. I really don’t mind though! It’s kind of an excuse to just live life like I’m not really getting any older. I fortunately had a few workshops and meetings with the Shout Group, who are a young LGBTQ group who meet weekly in Hull. They’re all such a great gang, and their pride and optimism is so inspiring, and meeting them really helped with my work on Liam.
In the story, Liam signs up to Hull’s first ever synchronised swimming team even though he can’t swim. How would you do in the team?
I think I’d do pretty well in the shallow end, but I’ve never really been a confident swimmer. One story of how my poor swimming led me astray was a time I was on holiday around 2004. Since I didn’t go in the pool much, my 8 year old brain convinced me somehow that girls wouldn’t fancy me if my hair wasn’t wet (I know, I know). So I perched at the edge of deep end and started throwing water onto my hair but I must have leaned too far forward because I did a really impressive front roll into the pool. I absolutely thought I was a goner, but my dad was luckily on hand and came and rescued me. I would have absolutely loved even a drop of Liam’s optimism when I was younger though. Especially during my school’s swimming lessons. He’s a hero.
We are increasingly seeing underrepresented and regional voices being showcased in theatre. Drip centres on a queer teenager in Hull, what do you think it is about this story that resonates with audiences?
I think it’s a story for everyone who’s been a teenager and anyone who currently is. It’s that stage of your life where everything is just awkward and you maybe don’t know who you are just yet but you’re trying desperately to find out. It’s a story about friendships, teenage crushes and heartbreaks, and I think all of that is pretty relatable for anybody.
Why is musical theatre important now and what about this musical specifically appeals to you the most?
I think it’s just a really lovely format in which to tell stories. With Drip it’s really special being involved in Tom and Matthew’s work. Tom’s words and Matthew’s music complement each other so well they’re just a bit of a powerhouse together. I’ve worked with them both previously on their show Broken Biscuits a couple of years ago so any chance to get in a rehearsal room with them both again was a no-brainer.
Do you have any musicals in particular which you draw inspiration from?
It’s a bit cliché but I love Billy Elliot. It takes a lot of bravery for Billy to admit he wants to do ballet, and it’s just like the bravery Liam shows signing up for the synchronised swimming team even though he can’t swim!
Why the Edinburgh Fringe Festival? Have you been before?
We’re really lucky that the gang at Paines Plough caught our short tour last year of Drip and wanted us involved with their Edinburgh run. Their Roundabout space is so special and a venue I think the show will sit so nicely in. I’ve been to the Fringe as an audience member for the past 4 years or so but I never went as a performer! I’m so excited to experience it from the other side.
After Fringe, what can we expect next from Drip?
We have another couple of dates in the pipeline with Paines Plough for their Roundabout tour and then Drip sets up shop at The Bush in December for a 3 week run. We did a couple of days at The Bush last November which we performed in the library bar area so it’s really exciting to be making a return with it!
What three words would you use to describe Drip?
Warm, memorable and, most importantly, – glittery.
Roundabout @ Summerhall (Venue 26)
20-26 August (not 21)
Image: Josh Moore