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Circuit Training 154: Louise Young looks likely to go large in 2024

Louise Young

Marching boldly into the new year like a young Gazza at Italia 90 - and the actual Paul Gascoigne pops up in her debut show, slightly bizarrely - Louise Young made massive strides in 2023. The Newcastle comic was nominated for Best Newcomer at last year's Edinburgh Fringe with that show, Feral, which is so packed with incidents from her wayward younger years, you'd imagine TV scripts must be on the table. It's remarkable stuff, and wades into some weighty themes.

Feral is now getting a three-night run at London's Soho Theatre, starting Thursday, so we had a quick catch-up, starting this time last year.

2023 was huge for you - can you remember last January, what your hopes were?

I had absolutely no idea if I could put together an hour show or not, so for it to turn out as well as it did was class. I think I had vague dreams of getting a PS5, and I did, so I'm happy about that.

Feral is quite a debut - incredibly candid. How did it go down with your friends and folks?

I think I had quite a few friends come to very early work in progress shows about six months previous to the Fringe, so they're probably quite confused as to how it got nominated for Best Newcomer. Other than that, family and friends haven't really said much about it apart from well done... so I can only assume they are thoroughly ashamed of me.

Louise Young

I called it a trojan horse of a show, really fun first half then weightier second - was it actively intended that way?

Well, I was criticised for unleashing all of those Greek soldiers halfway through but I pushed on. No, really I think you're right, the first bit had a lot more punchier, shorter stuff and then I went into more detail and real-life stories in the second half; probably as I wasn't sure of the environment and no-one knows me, so if I start punchy I can let people know who I am and hook them in first.

You packed an incredible amount into that hour - did you consider saving some for future shows?

There is stuff saved, ha ha, loads of stuff. That was just scratching the surface. Unfortunately.

How was your Fringe generally - all highs or a mixed bag?

It's a total melting pot for exacerbating the worst of people and mental instability. If you don't come out of it with at least one breakdown under your belt, you're a robot.

How did you find actually nailing down the finished hour - was it tempting to keep adding new stuff in Edinburgh, and have you changed much for this Soho run?

The show changed a bit during the Fringe. I think I flip-flopped between having it fast paced and then exploring more narrative, but I think generally as a stand-up at a festival like the Edinburgh Fringe that's often going to be the two things to balance.

Have I changed anything before this Soho run? Depends on how much I remember!

Louise Young

These Soho shows are at 7.15, what's your plan for the day? Other work, show prep, power nap..?

I'm staying with my two year old god-daughter, so probably a lot of Peppa Pig.

There are some big themes in there - any interesting post-show conversations?

Some people [were] grateful that I went into the topics I did, that are from a more uncomfortable side of life. It's a bit cringey to say that, but when people come up to me after and say that they felt seen or emboldened, it makes me keep doing this ridiculous job when it feels hopeless and my back is seizing up from all the driving.

2024 then - any plans you can share with us?

Stop playing on the PS5 all the time.


Published: Monday 22nd January 2024

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