Shirley Gnome: Real Mature at the Edmonton Fringe Festival

Shirley Gnome: Real Mature by Shirley Gnome
August 11 – 15, 18 – 21 at the Almanac


An interview with Shirley Gnome.

Describe your show in five words. 

Silly smart smutty sex songs. Do I get extra points for alliteration?

Okay, now that we’re intrigued… what’s the longer description?

Let me pitch to you straight: I get onstage with my guitar, and I sing songs. People say my voice is really purdy; but instead of singing about purdy things, I prefer to sing about the unspoken, honest stuff about being a sexual lady in a free society. This seems to really amuse and/or shock people because these things are often not acknowledged publicly – yet I’m singing them as purdy as I can. I want to live in a world where Adele sings about how she can’t stop queefing during her concerts; but since she won’t (despite the many letters I’ve written her) I’ll do my best.

Your performance at the 2015 Edmonton Fringe Late Night Cabaret went over really well! What is it about your work that audiences connect to?

That was such a beautiful moment! I think playing with Ze Punters (the Late Night Cabaret band) really elevated the music and it was a blast to jam with them. As for the audiences, well, that’s probably a question better left to audience members. However, if I had to guess, I might venture that it’s the same reason I am terrible to bring to dinner parties. As soon as we all see the elephant in the room, I get up and point and yell “HEY LOOK IT’S THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM! ISN’T THAT CRAZY? WHY IS THAT THERE?” On stage, I think that kind of no-bullshit fun can be a safely delightful thing to enjoy. I also think people like the music a lot, the dirty words, my purdy voice, my sass, and the fact that I have internal sex organs and I’m bringing that perspective to the table. The awkward dinner table. Again, you’d really have to ask them though. I’m just singing about my v-hole for a little bit of cash.

Your shows are about sex, but as you say “not for the sake of smut”. What do you want to spur discussion about through your shows?

Oh gwarsh. I think most discussion is good. Sharing our thoughts help us feel less alone in this wacko cracko world, and in our sexual lives that is also important. I aspire to be like the antithesis of the lady with the bell in Game of Thrones. Walking around yelling “shameless… shameless…” People can take what they want from that. I suppose I hope the discussion is positive and illuminating, and not “that woman is awful and she is bad and she should feel bad and let’s all go home and feel bad and never masturbate and be irritable all the time.”

As a musical comedian, what genres, musicians, or sounds inspire the music you write for your shows? 

Am I a musical comedian? I thought I was just a musician! I love Dolly Parton – she is my Elvis. I also love Loretta Lynn and lots of other old country greats. I could go on for a thousand years about artists I love. I am most often inspired by my own life, and I’ll simply start humming a song about what has happened to me and BOOM! Another song that isn’t fit for radio. I have written many a song during a bleary walk of game back home. I also get inspired by stories my friends and audience members tell me, or about their own observations. I’m starting to think of bringing a confession booth to set up after shows – because damn, people want to tell me some wild shit once they know it’s okay to let it all out.

Anything else you want audiences to know about the show?

The show is at a new BYOV venue this year, The Almanac on Whyte. It’s right across from the Fringe grounds, and there are a lot of really awesome shows happening in there. Come check us out and have a drink with us. If you saw Real Mature last year, this is going to be a lot more intimate of a setting and I’m happy to say I have no scheduled matinees this year – thank Jebus! I highly recommend bringing a date there – I’m a great ice breaker. Oh yeah – leave the kids at home.

The 35th Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival is August 11 – 21. Tickets go on sale August 3 at noon and will be available at tickets.fringetheatre.ca.

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