• Sunday, May 26, 2024

Arts and Culture

Genevieve Sabherwal: Speed Dial for mystery, puzzles, and physical comedy

Lively Act: Genevieve Sabherwal


High energy stage play Speed Dial has been delighting audiences at the Edinburgh Fringe festival.

The 1970s-set physical comedy thriller, filled with puzzles, a mystery and funny moments, has a talented cast that includes Genevieve Sabherwal. The talented British actress is enjoying being on stage with fellow cast members and was happy to discuss Speed Dial with Eastern Eye before the production premiered on August 3.

She also spoke about acting, her dream role, and being part of the huge arts festival.

What first connected you to acting?
Brought up in New Delhi, I was surrounded by my big Indian family, lots of drama and, of course, Bollywood. Always the shyest in the room, I quietly observed everyone and everything. I loved pretending to be them and create my own shows in my room.

Tell us about Speed Dial?
Speed Dial is an explosive physical-comedy thriller about connection and forgiveness. It is set within a university campus in the 1970’s; so be prepared to get your detective hat on as you follow the professor and the mystery of his missing daughter.

How does this compare to other projects you have done?
There is no hanging about with this show – you get thrown straight into the action, silliness, and movement. Having loved ones in different countries, I resonated with this story immediately, and naturally felt very attached to the script. Additionally, there is such a lovely energy in the rehearsal room, and a joint ambition from the ensemble to push the work.

What is your own favourite moment in the show?
I can’t give too much away, but there is a su­mmer ball, and it’s epic. Be prepared to groove in your seats.

A Speed Dial poster

How do you feel being on stage?
I always feel proud to be sharing the story with the audience. When I’m nervous, I remind myself that this is a story for them, and I want to make it the best possible story ever.

How does comedy compare to other genres as an actor?
Comedy is so challenging. You have to be prepared to be vulnerable, silly, and make mistakes. It pushes you out of your comfort zone, and there is always the fear the audience won’t react the way you think; however, this is the beauty of it too, as no two audiences are the same.

Who is your acting hero?
Audrey Brisson has always inspired me. Ever since I first watched her in The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk by Knee High, I knew I wanted to be in theatre like her. Hopefully, we will be in the same show one day.

What inspires you as an actress?
The ability to share stories that need to be heard. To transport an audience to another world, taking them on a journey where they allow themselves to feel and see the world differently. I love that as an actress you can mould and shape yourself into anything and be anywhere. It allows you to embrace your imagination.

Do you have a dream role?
I would love to perform a mixed-heritage south Asian or English role at The National Theatre, in a show that uses contemporary ways to tell a story. We don’t see enough mixed heritage south Asians on our stages and screens, and we come in such an array of appearances that I feel it is so important to show this. I know it would have made a big difference to me, had I seen someone like me on stage or screen.

Why should we watch Speed Dial?
You should watch Speed Dial because not only will it make you laugh, dance, question society, and bring out your inner detective, it will also pull at your heart strings, make you think about your own loved ones, and, hopefully, everyone will pick up the phone afterwards.

Speed Dial by Spies Like Us in on from August 3-29 (not 16), 2.30pm (75 minutes) at Pleasance Dome, Queen Dome, 5 Bristo Pl, Edinburgh EH8 9AL www.edfringe.com

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