Glamorous burlesque act Minnie Melons has come to take the Fringe by storm. Awkward stand up and poet Rachel Slater just wants to make some friends. Disaster strikes when they are booked into the same venue at the same time. Slater vs. Melons isn’t a double act – they’ve been double booked! We talked to Rachel Slater and Hannah Platt (Minnie Melons’ everyday alter ego) about their forthcoming Edinburgh Fringe show…
How would you describe your act?
H: An hour of stand up, burlesque and sabotage. Like a clash of the two.
R: The show is a cabaret. Hannah does burlesque, I do comedy. The idea is that we’ve both gone up with our solo shows, but the two characters Rachel Slater and Minnie Melons have found themselves double booked.
H: They’re trying to steal the spotlight. They’re each trying to be the main one in the show, which is hard when I don’t talk for the majority of it! Then I do a little bit in the middle where I say that Rachel is just as bad as I have been and we have a tussle towards the end.
How did you meet?
R: We were at High School together.
H: We just used to sit in History and quote Spaced and Black Books at each other instead of doing the work. That was how we got into being funny people with each other.
How did you get into comedy?
R: Hannah started doing a stand up comedy course.
H: Because I was that kind of awful teenager.
R: And then she won a young person’s comedy competition.
H: And Rachel saw rivalry straight away.
R: The next year I did the competition and was beaten by a 12 year old.
Why do you want to do the Edinburgh Fringe?
R: It’s something we always wanted to do from when we were teenagers.
H: We went up there when we finished High School because it seemed like this amazing place where all of our favourite performers were.
R: It says something about us that when everyone else went to Magaluf, we went to the Fringe Festival.
How far are you similar to your characters in the show?
R: I think many people would say that I am my character. I started doing stand up when I was about 18. At the time I was just doing what I thought was observational stuff but it turned out my observational stuff was quite awkward.
H: No one related to Rachel’s observational so it became surreal.
R: My character never grew up from there.
H: My character when I’m doing burlesque is silly and cutsie and daft. The reveal of it when I do stand up is that I’m really dark and miserable.
How do you think burlesque and comedy compliment each other?
H: Especially with the burlesque that I do, it’s comic burlesque. And it’s not so much about the sexiness. That is amazing to watch, but with comic burlesque it goes with it that you don’t take yourself that seriously. I always get stuck in something, or I’m looking a bit silly. I’m not being the sexy object onstage, I’m being a daft clown. Rachel has a lot of clowning and physical humour in her stand up so it meshes together and compliments each other.
What performers have influenced you writing this show?
R: Chris Lynam, he’s a sort of clown. I like the way if he’s saying something funny, he’s always doing something funny. I like the idea of having two levels of laughs at once.
H: The stand up bit that I’m doing is presented like Sarah Silverman, because she looks like a very innocent pretty girl and then comes on and says all this filth. Velma Von Bon Bon who is based in Liverpool is a really amazing comedy burlesque dancer. She has a lot of clown in her burlesque and she often has a story. It can be quite hard to get a story across visually, so watching her has been a good way to figure that out and see how it should be done.
Your show has a lot of conflict, but who would win in a fight?
R: Hannah’s so skinny she’d probably snap.
H: I broke my collar bone earlier this year so Rachel just knows that she has to poke my shoulder and I’ll die. She knows all of my weak points.
R: The thing with me is that I’m not very coordinated, so I couldn’t aim a punch but I could swing my arms about and eventually someone would get hit. The fight would be clumsy, but I’d win it.
Are you really living together?
H: We are living together and we are sharing a bed, that’s where we got the idea for the flyer from.
R: I don’t think I’ll enjoy it at all.
H: I’ve known Rachel for ten years so I already know she drives me insane.
R: We can feed the angst into the show.
Have you ever considered swapping roles for the day?
H: We have a tiny bit of that in the show, because I’ve not being doing stand up, but I have a bit. I wear a cardigan to try and steal Rachel’s schtick.
R: No one wants to see me do burlesque. I do elements of burlesque without the stripping. Burlesque without the boobs.
What’s the last thing that made you laugh out loud?
H: I feel like I’m supposed to say Daniel Kitson or something, but I get texts from my mum and she can’t use her phone. She text me “Adolf” and then a text saying “That wasn’t meant for you”.
R: The [sketch troupe] Legion of Doom at the last Comedy Knight at MelloMello.
H: We’re living with them in Edinburgh and they really make us laugh.
Why should people come and see the show?
R: I don’t know how often stand up and burlesque is combined.
H: You wouldn’t normally see the two. I really like dead pan weird humour and I really like burlesque. We’ve made a show we would enjoy.
You can catch Double Booked: Slater vs. Melons at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, 2nd – 24th August at the Voodoo Rooms, 3.55pm. More information here.
Not heading to the Fringe this August? Never fear! Slater vs. Melons will be previewing the show completely free as part of Shiny New Comedy Lab on the 15th July.