'A Fringe must-see...'
One of great things about the Greater Manchester Fringe is randomly selecting a show from a list of countless top venues and unearthing a hidden gem. Last year, I did exactly that when we turned up watch Quina Chapman's Fangirl.
It was a celebration of the super-fan and of those willing to go the extra mile in pursuit of an icon. The show playfully looks at how fandom can spill over into something equally weird and wonderful. Thankfully, Fangirl is back for 2018.
Quina performs the show with wit and captivates for an hour using songs, poems and gags. It's educational, too. Fangirl takes an analytical approach, in-parts, to breakdown the science of why rational people can become obsessive.
I asked Quina what gave her the idea to do a show based on fandom?
"I like to make shows that share my own stories alongside stories and experiences from other people. I've always been a huge music fan - the most obvious example being my unhealthy obsession with the rock band Less Than Jake as a teenager - and so I had some of my own stories and experiences that I wanted to share, but I also knew that lots of other people would have their own experience so I started meeting and chatting to people and collecting stories.
"I chose fandom because as soon as I started researching it I got hooked with how fascinating it was. I started reading about a lot of psychology and science behind fandom, and also found out it had a history going way further back than Elvis or The Beatles - which surprised me. The more I researched it, the more material I had to inspire poems and songs, and the show just spiralled from there really!"
Has the show changed at all since last year?
"The show has changed quite a bit since last year. When I first performed it on the Greater Manchester Fringe in 2017 it was a bit of an experiment and I wasn't sure how it would go - but it went really well and audiences really warmed to it. I've been collecting more stories since last year and so I've changed some of the show to incorporate new stories, including memories that audiences have shared with me after the show. There's also some new videos - I recently met some very excited fans camping outside the Manchester Apollo to see Harry Styles - and I've changed the musical arrangement of a couple of the songs too."
Do you get lots of feedback from audience members that have been obsessive about a musician or celebrity?
"Yes - chatting to people after the show is my favourite part; I love to hear other people's fan memories and stories! There's a part of the show where I ask people to write down their memories and share them with me, and I've been looking through all of them again over the last few weeks as I write the show. People come and tell me about their teenage obsessions, or celebrities they have met, or songs that are their guilty pleasure. It's been interesting hearing from audiences in Salford and Manchester; there are a lot of Smiths and Morrissey fans!"
Fangirl is lovely tribute to music-lovers, gig-goers and individuals with an encyclopaedic knowledge of a band or artist. It's an entertaining celebration with great songs, rhymes and laughs from a charismatic performer with an outstanding voice. A Fringe must-see!
Fangirl by Quina Chapman
Thursday 19th and Friday 20th July 7pm
Kings Arms £6
For further details and to book tickets see the GM Fringe website – click here
Words by Ian Leslie