Award-winning Brixton-based comedian and Radio 4 regular Rosie Wilby hosts The Breakup Monologues at the RVT this Wednesday (11 Oct). This themed comedy and storytelling night is part of And What? queer arts festival and features some very special guests. Dave Cross had a catch up with Rosie to find out more.
Hi Rosie, how would you describe The Breakup Monologues?
It’s a new event where award-winning friends of mine from the comedy circuit tell me their breakup stories in a sort of confessional chat show format. Pippa Evans has an incredible story involving an orchard, a trampoline and crying on a train. We will also be interrupted now and then with poems from Barbara Brownskirt, who will also be on hand as our resident agony aunt to respond to the audience’s romantic dilemmas. It’s going to be a really funny night of comedy and storytelling with some moments of very relatable poignancy.
Where did the inspiration for the show come from?
It came from touring my solo show about breakups, which was called The Conscious Uncoupling, the phrase originally coined by author and therapist Katherine Woodward Thomas and made famous by Gwyneth Paltrow. The response to that show was overwhelmingly positive with a number of audience members and performer friends writing to me and saying we just don’t talk about breakups enough. We’re expected to just get over it and move on. The people who obsess about an ex and go over and over the reasons why a partnership folded are seen as the crazy ones, while I’ve always thought that taking time to process something is quite a healthy idea, and it might be the people who immediately start shagging somebody new the next day who might be the ones who really need therapy.
Do you think we should all be encouraged to look back and laugh at breakups?
After a bit of time, laughter at our own often-pompous actions is pretty good medicine.
Are you excited to be at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern this coming Wednesday?
Of course! I’m a proud, queer South Londoner. So the RVT is very symbolic as it’s one of the historic LGBTQ spaces that remains. We’ve lost so many of them. In the past, I’ve hosted my comedy cabaret Femmes by the Thames at the Tavern, performed my solo show The Science Of Sex and done comedy at Bar Wotever nights.
Describe each of your guests.
Pippa Evans is a multiple award-winner, a standup, character comedian and improviser. She’s on TV and radio and is a core cast member of Showstoppers, the improvised musical. Paula Varjack is an amazing multimedia performance artist who will be sharing with us a spoken word piece about being dumped by a couple she tried a poly relationship with. Sarah Keyworth is a rising young star on the comedy circuit. Finally, Barbara Brownskirt has performed at Duckie and is the comedy character creation of writer Karen McLeod. She’s a deliberately terrible lesbian poet and quite hilarious.
What else do you have planned for 2017 and into next year?
I’m doing a number of literary festivals to promote my first book, Is Monogamy Dead?, which came out in August and is getting great reviews. And I also present Radio Diva on Resonance FM every Tuesday at 6.30pm.