ALTER EGO Q&A – Ty Jeffries is Miss Hope Springs

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Deadline at the Fringe are interviewing performers across the festival, putting 20 questions to them – both as an artist and as their stage or performance alter ego.

Ty Jeffries is back at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and at the piano, presenting original musical cabaret numbers as Miss Hope Springs.

Join Hope in ‘It’s Miss Hope Springs’ to enjoy her vintage repertoire of toe-tapping show tunes, finger-snapping pop and heart-rending ballads – interspersed with scandalous stories from her ‘Ritz-to-the-pits’ showbiz life in LA, Paris and… Dungeness!

Photo submitted
First we speak to Miss Hope Springs…
1   First impressions of our fair city and, why are you here?

It’s very old! I thought my husband Irving’s camper van was old, but this place goes back even further! In my hometown, Las Vegas, anything older than 2 years is ‘historic’.

2 Does your time here bring on joy or dread?

Dread! I’m not going into details but last time I was here we ran over a free range haggis and I’ve still not recovered from the terrible hissing sound they make whilst they expire. Ghastly!

3 How did you travel to the capital, and are you alone or with friends?

My husband Irving and his close hairdresser pal Carlos drove me up here from Dungeness where we all live together. They took turns with the driving while I experimented with different recipes for face-packs and ran through my musical numbers in the back.

4 Where will you visit on your day off and why?

I will be at the beauty parlour. Being fabulous is exhausting. The upkeep for my eyelashes alone is rigorous, they need a lot of exercise and regular grooming. To be honest I must be my most exquisite for the discerning Edinburgh audiences and all those famous Scottish people who will want to meet me.

5 What Scottish delicacies do you enjoy and, do any of them fill you with fear?

Neeps. I am a big fan of neeps. Neeps are the best. Can’t live without neeps.

6 Which watering hole will you most likely be stopping at?

Probably CC Blooms. But I always bump into this guy Ty Jeffries when I’m there and he will NOT leave me alone. Stalker alert!

7 Which other act would you be most likely to recommend to a friend?

I would say Ruben Kay is very talented. Underneath all that makeup, those false lashes and over done flamboyance he has that understated masculine energy I really go for in a man.

8 Plug your show in three words.

Vintage Vegas Vavavavoom.

9 Are you a newcomer or a veteran? 

I personally arrived in the U of K back in the early six…I mean seventies, but this is only my second time at The Fringe or ‘The Bangs’ as we would call them in The States. (That’s a hair joke)

10 What do you love most about the festival?

The people and the neeps.

11 What do you hate most about the festival?

The gas from the neeps.

12 What is your biggest fear before going on stage?

Forgetting where I am, and what I’m doing there.

13 Quote yourself. What’s the best thing you’ve ever said?

Armadillo! (I guess you had to be there).

14 What does success and failure mean to you?

Success means never having to say you’re sorry.

15 What is your worst habit?

The occasional light-hearted murder.

16 Most embarrassing moment?

There was this time I was in Elvis Presley’s dressing room and he turned to me and said ‘Who are you and how did you get into my dressing room?’

17 Where is your favourite place in the world and why?

Dungeness, on the spectacular Kentish Riviera. It’s the spot I call home. It’s so balmy compared to the rest of the U of K.

We have parking bay just a stone’s throw from where the radio active effluent from the local nuclear power station creates a mini Gulf Stream.

It provides us with free central heating, hot water and the occasional three headed lobster.

18 Who would you choose to be if you were not you?

I wouldn’t be someone else even if you paid me… although I could do with the cash.

19 What is your greatest ambition?

To bring world peace.

20 How can we bring world peace?

Kill everyone.

And now we hear from Ty Jeffries himself…
Out of character Ty Jeffries, photo submitted

1 First impressions of our fair city and, why are you here?

Solid elegance and brooding grandeur. There is something majestic and mystical about the city. This is my 2nd visit and my first full Edinburgh run so I’m very excited about exploring (if I get a chance!). There’s that secret lost street that sounds fascinating! I am here to bring laughter and tears and to leave audiences on a high, whilst also impregnating their minds with my original songs, which have been described as highly infectious ear-worms.

2 Does your time here bring on joy or dread?  

Definitely joy! How could it be otherwise? It’s all so exciting and such a memorable experience.

3 How did you travel to the capital, and are you alone or with friends?

I drove up from the West Country, I’m afraid my carbon footprint is no joke, but I have to bring Miss Hope Springs’ sparkly vintage Vegas piano and then of course there’s her hair…which needs a trailer of it’s own. I’m here with my vast entourage of course!

4 Where will you visit on your day off and why?

I’m not having any days off. I am certain that if I did, that would be the day that Cameron Mackintosh or Stephen Sondheim wanted to come and see the show. I’m working through my whole run.

5 What Scottish delicacies do you enjoy and, do any of them fill you with fear? 

I am a Pescetarian, so will be scoffing a lot of the delicious seafood. I‘m a big fan of a good breakfast but will be opting for the vegetarian haggis option which I had last time….it was scrummy  and of course no actual haggii were killed in the process!

6 Which watering hole will you most likely be stopping at? 

I’ll probably be heading to CC Blooms. It’s a fun place to hang out. I had a blast there last time with Andy Bell of Erasure and lots of other fab peeps.

7 Which other act would you be most likely to recommend to a friend?

I’m going to be making sure I catch fabulous Frances Barber in The Pet Shop Boys’ show Musik which is on directly after my show every night at Assembly Rooms ‘Bijou’ venue. We are both playing showbiz ladies of a certain age. Hers a has-been, mine a never-was.

8 Plug your show in three words. 

Hysterical musical comedy.

9 Are you a newcomer or a veteran? 

This is just my second time at the Fringe.  I came up for a short run of six shows in 2014 and  I’m very excited to be doing a full run this time.

10 What do you love most about the festival?

The incredible buzz. There is such an electric/eclectic atmosphere, and creativity flows out of every orifice! There is a crazy carnival atmosphere and everyone is very friendly.

11 What do you hate most about the festival?

I’m not good with crowds (unless I am entertaining them) so I will be scurrying along back alleys to get from A to B.

12 What is your biggest fear before going on stage?

That I’m in the wrong venue! I turned up once for a soundcheck and, although they were very amenable, even dragging out their piano for me, I was at the Leicester Square Theatre, and my show that night was at The Soho Theatre! I am truly a dizzy blonde!

13 Quote yourself. What’s the best thing you’ve ever said?

Aardvark! (I guess you had to be there).

14 What does success and failure mean to you?

I think I have a more evolved idea these days than perhaps I had in my youth. Success is being happy or at least finding contentment.

Don’t measure yourself against others, that’s a recipe for disaster. I think you are successful if you are a good, kind person especially to anyone or anything that is vulnerable and less fortunate than you are.

15 What is your worst habit?

My penchant for solitude. It has been said that I am the Greta Garbo of cabaret. Not because I am an exquisitely beautiful and extremely wealthy showbiz legend, (although of course I am) but because ‘I want to be alone’.

16 Most embarrassing moment?

I live next to a beautiful medieval church in Somerset. One day I met an elderly gentleman who was leaving the graveyard. We had a little chat and he asked if I was enjoying living next to the Church. I said (trying to be funny) ‘At least the neighbours are quiet, HA!’.

He responded ‘Yes…I’ve just been to visit my wife’s grave’. I wanted the ground to open up and swallow me. Oops!

17 Where is your favourite place in the world and why?

Unlike a lot of people who hate it, I love LA. I spent some of my formative years living there while my late father (the British character actor and film director Lionel Jeffries) was making movies out there such as Camelot with Vanessa Redgrave and Notorious Landlady with Fred Astaire.

I love the Hollywood history the gorgeous Spanish style houses, the palm tree lined Boulevards and those dappled aquamarine swimming pools.

18 Who would you choose to be if you were not you?

As Oscar Wilde said so wisely ‘Be yourself…Everyone else is taken’. But I’d love to be Barbra Streisand for a while. I could record myself singing some of my original songs and also go to bed with James Brolin!

19 What is your greatest ambition?

To become the first gender-bending cabaret dictator of the planet.

20 How can we bring world peace?

By supporting me in a coup to become the first gender-bending cabaret dictator of the planet.

Show Information

Venue: Assembly Rooms, Bijou, George Street, EH2 2LR

Time: 20:20 (60 mins)

Dates: 3 – 24 August (Previews 1-2 August)

Tickets: £10- £13

Bookings: Here | 0131 623 3030

 
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