Star of stage and screen, and BAFTA Cymru Nominee, Carys Eleri, is bringing her critically and popularly acclaimed show Lovecraft (not the sex shop in Cardiff) out to the Adelaide Fringe. Despite being madly busy, she kindly spent some time chatting to Glam via Skype, from her home in Wales.
Eleri has worked around the UK, including theatre in London, but is renowned as a fiercely Welsh actor.
Well Welsh is my first language, so it’s an intrinsic part of my culture. I love being in Wales and I just think that speaking the language every day is just a huge part of who I am. I sometimes find myself slipping into Welsh with non-Welsh-speakers and they must think I’m absolutely insane!
An actor who has rarely, if ever been out of work, this is new territory for her, in performing her own writing.
I was acting in other people’s work a lot and this is the first thing I’ve ever written. So, the fact that it’s taking me to the other side of the world is pretty cool for me!
Lovecraft is a show which had an unusual gestation, and comes from one of her other great passions: science.
It was a topic which I came across in an article in the New Scientist magazine, which I love. And it just stayed with me. It was about a drug which has been developed to help people get over abusive relationships: to help them break free of their abuser. And then I saw a Q & A with this incredible neuroscientist so I started to tweet him to see if I could pick his brain (coz I thought, this is absolutely nuts!) and he’s like “Hey do you want to Skype?” and I’m like “absolutely!”
He ended up giving me an hour’s lesson on how love works in the brain: changed my perspective completely! After that I went to Wales Millennium Centre with this idea of doing an hour’s show about the science of love.
The Millennium Centre picked up the show, and is presenting it here in Adelaide.
Along with science and comedy, the show is also packed with songs, almost all of which Eleri wrote herself.
For example, there’s an 80s power ballad set to a Tinder profile! My music producer is just epic and she’s also a secondary school teacher, so every time I would go to her with a particular genre I wanted, she would give me the history of that genre. I mean, who knew about the history of Garage? I do now! I wrote all the melodies and the lyrics myself, then I’d describe exactly what I wanted and I’d play them to her on the piano. She’s a wizard so she’d do exactly as I’d asked. It was a good process.
For example, I’d say to her “I want to do a song as if Britney Spears did Garage”. That one is called “I Brain You”. I’m trying to tell the audience, in the funniest way possible, that love isn’t to do with the heart, but with the brain. No, I don’t heart you, I fucking brain you! There’s a huge jazz number in there as well. I love to sing. Being Welsh, it comes with the package. Basic Welsh skills: reading, writing and singing!
Lovecraft had a highly successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe, despite Eleri having to return home in the middle of the season, due, sadly, to the unexpected death of her father. But she did receive a visit from one very special reviewer.
I actually had the New Scientist Magazine come and review it! I thought “that’s me done!”.
Lucky Adelaide is the only place in Australia to get Carys’ show (at least this time round), and she is keen as a jar of Welsh mustard to get down here.
I’m just really excited! I’m doing a few festivals back here as well before going on tour. In fact, I’m doing one gig in North Wales just before I come out, so I’m literally going from North Wales to Adelaide: the most ridiculous route!
Once she returns home there will be little time to rest, with a packed schedule for the remainder of 2019.
I was chosen to be part of BBC Writers’ Room through this show. I have lots of different things I’m lined up to do, and so much of it is to do with Lovecraft – it seems like I’ll be doing this forever!
I think I’ve got a sub-genre going here: science comedy shows.
Interview by Tracey Korsten
Venue: The Howling Owl, Vaughan Place Adelaide
Season: February 26th -March 2nd 9.45 pm
Language and content warning. M.