Fringe Fever: We catch up with Kate McLennan

 Check out our special video interview with Kate McLennan, and her answers to’s Fringe Fever Questions!

 Writer and performer Kate McLennan has created work for the Melbourne Fringe since 2001.  In 2006, The Debutante Diaries won a whole heap of awards and made us want to wear white frilly frocks.  In last Fringe’s Livin’ The Dream, Kate broke away from fiction because her own life was as funny as her creations. This year we find out what happened when she faced a break up, moved back her parents and ran away to New York.  

Show Information:

What’s your show called?Homeward Bound
When is it on?22–25 September

Where is it on?The Butterfly Club, 205 Bank St, South Melbourne
How do you get there by public transport?Tram 112, stop 128 on Clarendon Street (corner York St). Tram1, stop 24 on Park Street. 
Is there parking?At night there are usually plenty of spots along Bank St and around the South Melbourne Town Hall. Parking is FREE after 6pm

What time does it start?9pm (8pm Sunday 25) 
How much are tickets?$22/$18 
Are tickets available at the door?Yes, unless sold out.  (Ed note: this is likely, so book online)

Book Tickets 

A quick chat with Kate McLennan: 

Homeward BoundWhat three words best describe your Fringe show?Tales about Dad Who does your show speak to?Homeward Bound started out as my ‘break-up’ show about moving back in with my parents and how my situation was completely juxtaposed by my younger sister getting married and having a baby. But my director, the very clever Celia Pacquola, said to me, “Kate I think this show is about you and your dad” – and she was right. Really this is a love letter to him I guess, along with my humorous missteps toward getting back on my feet. I think anyone who has been a bridesmaid or had their heart broken will identify with the show – but essentially it’s a positive show about family, I want people to have a happy time in the show.  What other Fringe show will you NOT miss?There’s so much great stuff on, but Anne Edmond’s show My Banjo’s Name is Steven is at the top of my list, along with Bron Batten’s Sweet Child of Mine and Cautionary Tale of Barry von Peabody
What other Fringe show do you wish you were in?Fugly. 
What do you love most about the Melbourne Fringe?The whole fringe community, staff and performers alike, are incredibly supportive and adventurous. The Fringe organisers; from my first show in 2001 through until this year, have always put in such a huge amount of effort to create and maintain a festival where artists feel safe enough to be brave. It’s a gift for someone who makes their own work.  
How many Melbourne Fringes have you performed in?I have been involved in the festival in one capacity or another for the past 11 years – but this year will be my 9th show.   
If you could invite anyone to see your show (and you know they would come), who would it be?My dad…and my niece, but a 15-year-old version of her.  
What is the best theatre advice you’ve received?“When you’re on stage your main objective should be to get to the pub.” 
What was your most embarrassing moment on stage?A few years ago I performed at the HiFi Bar for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival – it was a packed house on a Saturday night because everyone was there to see US comic Patton Oswalt. I made a series of blunders, the first one being my decision to do a character, the second – to do a character with no costume or make-up and the third occurred when I changed my mind about which character I was doing literally seconds before I set foot on the stage. I died a horrible death. The only sound that could be heard was my supportive friend Dan Ilic trying to laugh me back to life. It was horrific. I went home and Googled “Diploma of Education”. But it taught me some really valuable lessons.  
Do you have any pre- or post-show rituals?When I was an “actor” I’d always do a vocal warm up – now that I do stand-up my ritual usually just includes excessive toilet use. 
What was the last book you read?It sounds trite but it was Tina Fey’s Bossypants – I love the woman.  She just puts her head down and does the bloody work. 
What TV show do you never miss?My schedule isn’t great for ritualistic tv viewing – I’m a dvd box set junkie though and can’t go past Friday Night Lights because it makes me believe that there’s good in the world. And Tim Riggins is hot. 
What film will you watch again and again?Best in Show
What was your first time on stage?Funnily enough I was 14, in a self-devised drama school show called The Wedding – I played my dad and did a speech about how much money the wedding cost and how crap the food was.  What is the first theatre show you remember seeing?The Woolly Jumpers came to my school when I was very young.  
What director/actor/writer would you just die to work with?The Cohen Brothers or Christopher Guest. 
What is your favourite theatre space in Melbourne?I love La Mama, but I’ve never actually performed there. The Butterfly Club is my next fav…as a performer it really feels like you and the audience are all in it together. I love that. 
Where in Melbourne do you always take visitors?I hook them in with a Sunday session at The Standard. 
How do you have your coffee?Latte, 1 sugar. 
What’s the best pizza topping?I Carusi in Brunswick do an amazing leek and gorgonzola pizza. I can’t go past it.  
What do you love most about your Fringe show?I love that I get to do a show where the fourth wall goes up and down, so I can talk directly to the audience, but still do characters and bring the audie
nce into my mum and dad’s lounge room.  
You can read old AussieTheatre reviews of Kate’s at Anne-Marie’s blog

Anne-Marie Peard

Anne-Marie spent many years working with amazing artists at arts festivals all over Australia. She's been a freelance arts writer for the last 10 years and teaches journalism at Monash University.

Anne-Marie Peard

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