Sing For Your Life kills it at Edinburgh Fringe Festival

This is no ordinary musical. You'll never laugh so hard and feel so bad for doing so as real dead animal puppets perform in the greatest show that ever died.
“Harry Hill meets Mighty Boosh meets Avenue Q"
Express Radio Scotland 

Sing For Your Life follows a troupe of outcast animals desperate to get the attention of humans. Think X Factor meets Pet Rescue.... in your own back garden, as they sing for the plight of animal kingdom- but no one is listening...until they find their U.S.P.
An unloved trophy pet.

Sing For Your Life is a “Repulsively compelling” Hideously hilarious” multi laired comedy re-examining our relationship with all living things. Apart from being hilarious, it confronts us with the uncomfortable truth of how we purport to care about our fellow species, yet are blinded and driven to cruelty by narcissism and commodity.  Sing For Your Life is littered with blunt and crass puns along with sardonic nods to the canon, processes and practices that mock popular culture, tradition and the cult of celebrity...

" Incongruously clever....a sordid, sardonic Sesame Street"
The Londonist

After a sell out week long run at Vault Festival in March we took the show to the holy mecca of performances festivals, Edinburgh Fringe, at one of Edinburgh’s premier venues for comedy, The Underbelly…….


The reality of death singing and dancing in your face divided opinion across the board. We had every star under the sun, terrible tabloids, T.V interviews, and radio rally’s chanting 'SICKO! SICKO!' We had walkouts and West End Wilma couldn't stop talking about this laugh until you’re sick musical of misfortune.

 The Daily Record could smell the controversy. Talking to Scotlands biggest tabloid newspaper felt like a very bad idea but luckily, I made complete sense. This led to a stint on LBC radio which felt more like prime ministers question time. People actually chanted sicko live on the radio... I didn't hear it though, I had an award winning animal rights musical to perform in. 

We also made an appearance on STV Edinburgh, Scotland’s answer to ITV. Here’s the interview.

  And Sing For Your Life were announced FINALISTS at the Sustainable Practice Awards for a truly outstanding show raising environmental awareness...and incredible recycling job. Everyone looked at bit freaked out.

I was very worried about a few things: We didn't do any previews, weren’t in the Underbelly/Assembly/Pleasance/Gilded Balloon programme, didn’t pay for PR and came out of nowhere with no experience.

 You have to be inventive when you're battling it out with 3000 shows and company’s who have way more theatre cred, but I can be relentless when it comes to hard work. A machine with one setting: success. "Singing, dancing dead animals sir?" was a welcome break amongst the  “5* award winning sho….” chorus. A fresh Mexican wave of flyerers on every corner. I tweeted every #edf**** that moved. My extreme guerrilla marketing campaign meant no one didn’t see this poster. 

 People went wild for wildlife.

"Sing For Your Life is a fantastic show, seen it twice now and it's one of 
the best pieces of theatre i've ever seen."
Annabel Twitter

"Shocking and hilarious, I cried and howled with laughter. 
Sing For Your Life is a stella musical and puppetry performance."
Tim Montague 

"Sing For Your Life is astonishing...can't express the sheer value of this work both in meaning and pure entertainment"

"Hands down Sing For Your Life is the best show i've ever seen...."
Brittany Batkins Twitter

They brought their kids, their grandma, their mums and dads, for a hardcore show about animal rights which doesn't make you feel like you're joining a cult. The response was overwhelming. Some people even stood up at the end. 

But still things did fuck up all the time.  
Things you just can’t help. Things I can't even write down.
 We had a huge and cumbersome set, light ques to rival a VJ set, live band, decomposing/defrosting cast with theatre problems no one's ever heard of.  We danced with death every night without a day off and amazingly, caught no major diseases.

Sing For Your Life headshots by Mark Arrigo 
Halfway through the run I was approached by a very experienced stranger who revealed himself to me over his own stuffed fox.  The quick fire advice and notes helped sharply edit, chop and cut back script slack, giving a new lease of death. 

 This is a brand new show and a learning curve...

Which is actually a spirograph.

There’s going to be teething problems. This is the first thing i've written and at the end of the day I’m not a writer, puppeteer, a musician or performer- I’m a shy retiring artist who just happened to have the greatest idea to ever be scraped off the road. . .

The critics reviews range from the most sickening thing they’ve ever seen with no artistic merit(HA!), to the most brilliant piece of theatre in the history of the world. So here we go.    

  Broadway Bumhole 2**  "Think Avenue Q mixed with The Walking Dead"
Sounds great to me but this reviewer didn't like dead animals and couldn't see past the paradoxical irony of her own exsistance.

Fest Magazine  2** Saville decided to make it personal and call me the “arch-hipster” which was professional. Apparently the show was worse than a child doing an impression of Frozen and the puppets needed putting down…not sure she realised they were already dead. So incensed by the review, someone who wasn’t me and I didn’t pay wrote this.
West End Wilma hated it, wanted to walk out but stuck around even though the animals turned her stomach. Despite hating our guts, overall the review was good and very funny and she never stops talking about us.

3*** Time Out were a bit blasé about the whole thing and it's 'one note humour'. Unless you're up to speed with animal cruelty, you might not get what the hilarious ‘one note’ jokes and content constantly refer to. It’s not trying to be clever in a ‘theatre’ way. It is what

Musical Theatre Review gave us 3***  Our voices “seemed tired” and we needed mics but they were nice about the amazing music and impressive show "which makes a clever political statement."
However they said the puppets hadn't been “effectively re-purposed.” Basically, they haven't been sugar coated, they haven’t been made traditionally and do expose the reality of a dead animal. That was my artistic intention. Animals aren’t actually puppets.

The List gave us 3***  and said it was "hideously hilarious" but the main piffle was the band not being strong/loud enough. I insisted on a live band and spent a month raising a million pounds for a 3 piece.… But we still couldn’t afford all the high tech jizz or big bucks to chuck at what would in most cases be essential, like microphones.

"It doesn't come more bizarre than Sing For Your Life. Catchy songs, hilarious script and wonderful characters......The most bizarre but brilliant thing you'll see this Fringe....Harry Hill meets Mighty Boosh meets Avenue Q"

Edinburgh Blogger 4**** Great rating.....However they seemed to miss the point of the show. .... 

"There are many levels of irony to Charlie Tuesday Gates’s slightly unhinged production, not least of all its title...."

"The audience were practically rolling in the aisles with laughter throughout.... The best advice I can give you: make a point of seeing this show, and do it fast, before the props decompose."

The decrepit and deceased come alive in this morally questionable performance. Sing for Your Life is a unique show, one of a kind; it’s brilliantly executed (ha!) and definitely praise and attention-worthy..... The show is always a step away from crossing the ethical tightrope, nausea-inspiring, but brutally conveys the messages of the show" 

I don't know any of these people and none of them are my friends.   

"Saw Sing For Your Life tonight! Honestly THE BEST SHOW I'VE seen at any Fringe Festival yet. So in love with the whole magical evening" 

"Brilliant show tonight. I was so happy it had such a strong animal rights message, close to my heart. And fucking hilarious."

"Incredible!!!!! Surprising, hilarious and moving! Amazing actors, singers, set and of course taxidermied puppets"


Wonderfully surreal, adult Sesame Street-style, with dry, witty criticism of human treatment of animals
Kate Lovell

 It was worth the blood sweat and tears. 

We wouldn't have got to Edinburgh Fringe without the thousands of millions of pounds that were raised back in June for the crowdfunder, or the amazing VAULTS who saw a great idea and ran with it. Our amazing director Kieron Vanstone, cast (dead and alive), Madeleine MacMahon (Badger), Matthew Maguire (Underdog), Nicholas Anscombe (Red), musical director Barnaby Southgate, musicians, technicians, van drivers, Underbelly staff and all the people behind the scenes.  Now it's over I can start for-filing wishes and granting promises.
79 postcards have already been sent.

What's next?
 Look out for the 10 year run in the West End and imminent world tour 

Here's some more of what twitter had to say about the whole event:




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