Who Do You Think You Are? Barbara Brownskirt is on at Assembly Rooms - Front Room, from August 14 - 25.

Karen McLeod, creator Barbara Brownskirt, answers our questions.

  • Tell us about your Fringe show

'Who Do You Think You Are? Barbara Brownskirt.' features Barbara Brownskirt, Poet-in-Residence at the 197 bus stop in Penge. This anarchic knee-length show, semi-welcomes the audience into Barbara's bitter-sweet world of being an (unknowingly rubbish) lesbian poet.

Bookended by Barbara’s epic poem which, like Gaudi’s great church in Barcelona remains unfinished, the show is a multi-media spoken word collage of twenty-two volumes of poetry, projected video and theatre. With knees bulging from her trademark pop socks Barbara ruminates on the patriarchy, literary snobbery, Freudian mother love, her ex-Susan, existentialism and her muse, Judi Dench.

In January 2018 the UK Prime Minister created a ‘Minister for Loneliness’ demonstrating how tough life in contemporary Britain can be. Lack of success, loneliness and the failure to acknowledge what failure looks like are major themes in this show.

  • How does it feel to be playing the Fringe for the first time?

Nerve-wracking, but excited about the big challenge ahead. This is one steep learning curve and I've got my climbing boots on. I keep telling myself, this is to be enjoyed.

  • Why did you decide to perform at the Fringe?

I thought the time was right to push Barbara Brownskirt's act and so created a full length show to get her onto the international stage for reviews and chances to tour. Since putting the show together in early 2016 the aim has been to get the show on at Edinburgh Fringe in a respected venue so her audience can swell in numbers and soit's happening.

  • If you were not a performer what would you be doing?

In between selling books at the Bookseller Crow bookshop where I work part-time in South East London I would be at my desk working on the new book project I've got scheduled for the autumn.

  • How do you prepare for a performance?

Backstage before a show I have to move myself away from any chatter to get into thecharacter. In order to focus I try to become angry enough to summon all my energy for the militant stormy beginning of the show, so I usually think about people who have annoyed me. If no one has annoyed me that day I think about what I would say to Donald Trump and Jeremy Clarkson.

  • Best/worst advice you’ve been given ahead of your debut show?

Best advice - "You'll think you'll be good to yourself and be drinking healthy green smoothies for breakfast with a round of yoga before the day begins - you won't, you'll flyer, dash about, perform, meet people, perform again, and then think it's right you stay up drinking until 3am and down a burger.'

Worst advice: "There's always going to be another Edinburgh."

  • Favourite thing about being in Edinburgh?

The buzz, the view from the Arthur's Seat, the humour of the Scots, the parties, the sheer amount of creativity, fun, ideas and willingness to give it a go against all the odds.

  • What’s the most Scottish thing you’ve done?

I was born with a grandfather from Edinburgh (hence my surname McLeod) who introduced me to eating porridge with salt in it.

  • Favourite Scottish food/drink?

Gin and square sausage

  • Sum up your show in three words

Anarchic, funny, fragile.

Show summary

Barbara Brownskirt, the prolific poet-in-residence at 197 bus stop, Penge, semi-welcomes you to her thought-provoking and unsettling knee-length poetry comedy show. Charting Barbara's life as an unsuccessful poet in 21st-century Britain, Barbara takes the language of feminism and lesbian cliché and creates an anarchic pathos-filled experience.

The show premiered to a sold out audience at The Marlborough as part of Brighton Fringe 2017. Acclaimed National Theatre and Duckie Director, Mark Whitehall has directed the show with added input from Ursula Martinez. Initially funded by Arts Council England the show toured the UK in 2017 on many bus replacement services. Both Karen and her comedy alter ego Barbara Brownskirt perform withDuckie, Scottee’s Fraff and Southbank LGBT Literary Salon, Polari(though not at the same time!)

Who Do You Think You Are? Barbara Brownskirt is on at Assembly Rooms - Front Room, from August 14 - 25. For tickets, please visit www.edfringe.com

You can follow Barbara on Twitter at @BBrownskirt and visit the official website at www.karenmcleod.co.uk