Interview: Timranda Harkness
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Timandra Harkness has been many things in her life. Journalist. Clown. But now she seems to have found her niche in science comedy. Currently touring her new stand up show BrainSex, she took the time to talk to us over the phone. Describing her most recent gig, she tells us: “We kicked off in Northern Ireland. Bit eventful; we had a bit of a travel hiccup. We had a flight booked on EasyJet. But apparently having a flight booked is no guarantee on getting on the flight.” “They had to set up everything without me,” exclaims Timandra.“We had to text in ‘These props go here, these props go here’”. Any technical problems would have been pretty serious, as Timandra’s shows (which include songs, live experiments, video clips and a gameshow) are heavy on the equipment. Why all the variety? “I’m very mindful that asking an audience to look at the same person for, well its two hours with the interval, is quite a lot,” she explains. To keep the audience’s interest, Timandra deploys “A lot of props, a really excessive number of costume changes and a live rat.” The live rat, Socrates to his many adoring fans, may even have a brighter future that Timandra. “Gallingly he’s far more popular than me” she jokes, “The Welcome Trust [who funded Timandra’s two most recent shows] came to see me in Edinburgh. And they just wanted to see the rat.” Whether or not she is upstaged by her rodent companion, Timranda need not worry that she isn’t popular. Her last two shows, Your Days Are Numbered (a show about “The Maths Of Death”) and BrainSex, have been hits. Talking about Your Days Are Numbered, her first Edinburgh stand up show about science, Timranda says: “It was a kind of surprise hit. It was on at 11:30 in the morning in quite a big venue. I think we pulled in an average of 100.6 people, which is 93 more than most Fringe shows. We were quite startled because we thought the term ‘Maths’ would put people off.”
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