Edinburgh Interview: James Dunnell-Smith on Sleeping Trees World Tour

James Dunnell-Smith on Sleeping Trees World Tour
James Dunnell-Smith on Sleeping Trees World Tour

Over the past eight years, Sleeping Trees’ unique brand of surreal, physical and fast-paced comedy have made them firm fringe favourites at the Edinburgh Fringe where they have been awarded Mervyn Stutter’s Spirit of the Fringe Award (2017), Voice’s Pick of the Fringe Award (2016) and been shortlisted in the Amused Moose Comedy Award Top Ten (2016). Sleeping Trees have toured the UK with their full length shows and performed at comedy nights all over the country as well as Latitude Festival and Brighton Fringe.

Sleeping Trees: World Tour is coming to Assembly George Square Studios what can you tell us about it?   

Sleeping Trees: World Tour is a sketch show with a story, it tracks the three of us as we travel around the world on three bizarre and distinctly surreal journeys. It’s chock full of weird and wonderful characters, old forgotten celebrities and inanimate objects that sing. We’re really excited for people to see it!

What’s different about Sleeping Trees: World Tour to your previous shows?             

All of our previous shows have been straight comic plays, with a clear start and a clear end. This is a more sketchy show where the narrative is threaded through the sketches, rather than the other way round. There’s a lot more audience interaction in this one and it has a bit more of a late night vibe to it, which is good as we’re on at 9.40pm this year!

What inspired you to write Sleeping Trees: World Tour?            

We have actually been working and living together for close to ten years now, and early in 2019 we are finally moving apart; this show is inspired by that really. We think we’ve done pretty well to have worked and lived together for so long and still be such good mates! So we wanted to write a show which nodded to that, as well as still delivering what people have come to expect of a Sleeping Trees show at the Fringe.

How does it feel to be at Assembly George Square Studios?      

It feels great! We’re really excited to be somewhere new and we love the Assembly, we’ve seen so many great shows there over the years so we’re thrilled to finally be part of their exceptional programme!

What would you say to people thinking of coming to see Sleeping Trees: World Tour?     

I would say come so long as you enjoy the more surreal side of comedy! We have always had a fairly left-field style but I think this show puts our slightly odd sense of humour in an extremely accessible context for the first time. As the show is about us going around the world, everyone has their own perceptions of that so has proven to be both extremely easy and extremely difficult to subvert these perceptions.

What’s the best and worst thing about performing at Edinburgh Fringe?             

The best thing is either the food (we have at least ten restaurants that we have to go to every year), or the fact that it’s socially acceptable to go to bed at 5am every night. The worst thing has to be the lack of personal space, last year the three of us shared one room, with two of us in the same bed. It was extremely romantic.

Sleeping Trees: World Tour is at Assembly George Square Studios 1st – 26th August 2018 (not 13th)

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