Dave is on the beach, in Mexico, drinking margaritas. He drifts off... into a whirl of absurdities. Cross-dressing, phone-induced paranoia, a four-way divorce, a spirit-reading summoning a flasher, String Theory explained, the modern technology-addled brain (with robotic legs), a very strange romance, disappointed parents - and finally, a riot at the Shy People's Encounter Group, ending harmoniously in disco therapy. Funny where nine margaritas can take you... 'Will enthral and enchant all who venture through this theatricum botanicum' (Jack Black). 'Great material by a master comedy craftsman' (Griff Rhys Jones). 'A delicious comedy cocktail' (Kathy Lette).
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Three questions with alcohol-fuelled, freewheeling sketch show Margarita Dreams. Writer/director Richard Sparks provides the answers.
After 41 years away, what inspired you to return to the Edinburgh Fringe?
Second childhood - or maybe second adolescence. This all came completely out of nowhere, hit me like a runaway truck back in February and I haven't had this much fun in years. There were no rules, no expectations, no anything: the work came flooding out, the kids we've cast have picked it up and run off into the wide blue yonder with it.
We all feel like we're riding this great big wave - I have no idea how this all happened. But that's the thing about inspiration. When it hits, you have to jump on, hang on for dear life, go for broke, or miss the moment. What was it Shakespeare wrote, "There is a tide in the affairs of men..." If you'd told me six months ago I'd be going back to Edinburgh with a new show I'd have slapped you until I woke up.
What was your favourite moment of the Fringe the first time around?
Ian (now Sir Ian) Holm and Patti Love in Caravaggio, Buddy at the Traverse - followed a couple of beers later by Lindsay Kemp's dance/mime/movement extravaganza Les Fleurs du Mal. My God, what is all this stuff??!? Oh, and Mel Smith just completely hypnotising our audiences in my first Oxford Revue. I watched him from the wings thinking: 'I wrote that... I don't recognise any of it, what the hell??' That was the first inkling I got of what great performers can do with your material. They mine it, exploit it, make it flower, nail it to the ceiling, and you think - What?? Thank you!
How do you mix the perfect margarita?
Equal proportions of:
1: Tequila (make sure it is 100% agave. Cheaper commercial tequilas are 50% neutral spirits, i.e. vodka. Avoid. White [blanco] is best).
2 Triple Sec (tip: buy the weak, 15% alcohol Triple Sec. With all that tequila, the 30% hits too hard and fast.)
3 Fresh squeezed lime and / or lemon juice. Don't even think about using commercial mixes, or citrus juice out of a bottle.
Put it all in a blender with a lot of ice cubes. It will become thick and opaque with blending.
Dip the rim of each glass in the mix and then in salt scattered on a plate - or not if you don't want a salted rim, your choice.
Pour in the mixture almost to the top, leaving just enough room to top it off with a float of Grand Marnier - this makes it a "Cadillac Margarita". If you don't have Grand Marnier, no worries.
I keep my tequila and Triple Sec in the freezer, cold and ready.
Salud! - And see you in Edinburgh.