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Jodie Irvine

Pleasance Online

Originally published in 2019

Gobby is a playlist of awkward encounters, starting over and growing up. A biting and heartfelt odyssey about what it really means to be loud, this new play is a darkly comic telling of survival, an exploration of self-awareness and a lesson in how to throw a really good party.

Hi Jodie thanks for talking to TNC, how are things going?

They're going good! We've got a few shows under our belt now ahead of the big Edinburgh run, so things are ticking along nicely. 

Are you looking forward to being at Underbelly this summer?

I'm so excited, I absolutely adore Underbelly so I can't wait to be back. 

What was your first Edinburgh Fringe experience like?

When I was 18 I was the stage manager and technician for a show my college drama teacher had written and directed. It was us and a decent-sized cast, and I was the only one in the group under the age of about 40. Everyone took me under their wing which was really sweet, but everyone had very different interests, so I did spend a lot of time on my own. I did loads of exploring and packed out every day with shows, it was fabulous! 

What have been the weirdest, nicest & strangest comments you got for your shows? 

I had a review in which the main criticism was about how small the font was on the handout I give out at the end, that was a strange one! People tell me that they find the story and humour relatable, which is really nice. I've also had people say that Bri's story rings true for them, and some of the darker content hits home, which of course I wish wasn't the case, but it's good to be making content that people can feel represented by. 

Do you have any nerves ahead of your run?

Mainly that I'm going to forget it all! It's a lot of added pressure when there isn't anyone else on stage with you to give you a nudge. 

You are bringing your show to the fringe with an all-female production company, is this something you will continue to do with future shows and tours? 

I'd love to, yeah. Gobby is so much about the importance of good female friendships, I think it's really nice to have that reflected in the crew. Plus, I was part of an all-female company both last year and the year before too, so it seems a shame to ruin the streak! 

Can you tell me a little bit about Gobby, what can we expect?

Gobby is a hugely fun show set over five parties, exploring at the idea of what it means to be a "loud" woman. Everything is made out of party props and accessories, so space is covered in paper plates, party hats, streamers - the lot. It's a comedy, but it also looks at some darker themes such as emotional abuse and gaslighting, so it's got a real range of subject matter. In the interest of not giving too much away, I would say expect the unexpected! 


"It's a very exposing thing, performing a solo piece, so I wanted to make sure I felt comfortable throughout the process."

Did you have any apprehensions about drawing from your own life experiences for this show?

Yeah, loads. I've made a really concerted effort to make sure that the show isn't 100% autobiographical, not only to make sure the story is the best it can be theatrically but also to protect myself. It's a very exposing thing, performing a solo piece, so I wanted to make sure I felt comfortable throughout the process. It's important to me that people know Bri's story is fictional, but not unlike many real stories that many real women have faced. 

What has been the most challenging part of putting this show together? 

I have taken on so many different job roles during the creation of Gobby, the biggest challenge has definitely been making sure I don't drive myself completely insane!  

Have you always had a passion for performing?

Yes! Much to the frustration of my poor parents, I'm sure. I was throwing shows and concerts in the living room left to right and centre as a kid.

Has your approach to your shows/writing changed much since you started?

When I started writing Gobby I was quite caught up in wanting to write it chronologically. I got stuck at several points and kept getting myself tied in knots, before I eventually gave in, jumped ahead and wrote the end, then filled in the gaps. Freeing myself of those constraints has helped so much not only with Gobby, but with other writing projects, I have on the go too, which is amazing!

What 3 words best describe this show?

Loud. Awkward. Surprising. 

What is the best piece of advice you've been given?

"Unclench your butt."  

And finally, what do you want your audiences to take away from Gobby?

I'd love for audiences to take away that it's ok to speak up if you're being mistreated, and that as long as you're not hurting anyone else, you can speak as much and as a loudly, as you damn well want. And hug your best friends!

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