Onion Talking: Marny Godden on Where’s John’s Porridge Bowl?

© Mark Dawson / Marny Godden

© Mark Dawson / Marny Godden

The Edinburgh Fringe is now well under way and there’s a whole host of TVO related shows to savour. There’s also a large number of shows worth watching that are not technically related to our ‘family’ of regulars, but we love ’em anyway.

One such show is the latest solo hour from Marny Godden: one third of sketch trio The Grandees who has previously appeared in TVO favourites The Day They Came to Suck Out Our Brains, Umbridge Swain and Kill Phil, as well as at the sorely missed Forgery Club.

We caught up with Marny at the end of her first week at the Fringe to find out more about her latest comedic tomfoolery, Where’s John’s Porridge Bowl?

Hi Marny, thanks for catching up with us. Are you excited to be back in Edinburgh?

Yes, especially being on the free fringe with Heroes of the Fringe. Such a great vibe all round. Loving it so far.

You’re now over a week into your run – how is the show developing?

The show’s coming on nicely… There are a couple of new characters I’m still developing and this is the perfect place to do it. I’ve spent most nights staying in and thinking of new material to try the next day which keeps everything fresh and will hopefully develop into not just a good show but a great one…

What TVO finds particularly joyous about your work is that you’re completely unafraid of clowning, which often feels like a bit of a lost art. What draws you to the sillier side of comedy?

Thank you for saying! There’s something very alluring about walking into the unknown for me. With clowning you can pretty much take you and the audience anywhere as long as you surrender to the moment and trust your impulses. Who knows where it’ll take you…

© Mark Dawson / Marny Godden

© Mark Dawson / Marny Godden

This is your second Fringe in your own right following a couple of runs with The Grandees. What changes when you go solo?

Way more stage time. Much greater responsibility and  sometimes it can be a bit lonely. Much more play with the audience. You can grow a lot more on your own, well I have. It’s inevitable really. 

The Grandees were notably tipped for great things by James Wren, who famously did the same thing for Garth Marenghi and The Mighty Boosh, and you worked with him on Umbridge Swain a few years ago. Do you get the same vibe from James that TVO does: like he’s the coolest “comedy dad” ever?

Yes, he’s way cool. I have huge respect for James and Mark at The Hen and Chickens. Some of my favorite people in comedy.

Of course, you first came to our attention via your collaborations with Phil Whelans on The Day They Came to Suck Out Our Brains and Kill Phil. Phil has an extraordinary comic mind, so what was working with him like?

He’s one of a kind and very good at what he does. It was so much fun, we mainly laughed and he encouraged me to take risks and be as stupid and bold as I wanted. It was great.

These little connections got you onto our radar, and keep you in our extended family. Are there any of our regulars you’d love to work with in the future?

Any of them! They’re all legends.

Speaking of the future, what are your plans for beyond the Fringe?

I want to focus on getting some stuff on tape, so I shall be making so funny shorts to start and then see where that leads…

But right now, back to Edinburgh. Have you got any survival tips for the festival?

Well, looking out the window as I type this, this year’s a wet one and a windy one, so wrap up. Stay off the booze, if you’re a performer. Stay on the booze if you’re not… and come and see my show!

© Mark Dawson / Marny Godden

© Mark Dawson / Marny Godden

Are you hoping to catch anyone else’s shows whilst you’re up there?

Yeah a ton of them. I want to see all my friends shows, which is basically everyone at the Heroes of the Fringe.

Naturally, we’re coming to see you… and though you’re on quite early we have to ask: what’s your tipple?

I’m not boozing till the last week, however one of my characters AKA Mr Wilmot Brown, would love a gin and tonic.

Finally… our hardy perennial: If you were a pub, what you be called and what kind of pub would you be?

Nice question! I’d like it to be called ‘The Green Witch’ because I’m from Greenwich. I’d be green inside, very friendly and magical.

Marny Godden, thank you.

Marny Godden: Where’s John’s Porridge Bowl is at Heroes @ The Hive until August 28th (except 15th). Tickets are a mere five pounds, and can be found over yonder.

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