Interview with Jodie Irvine

Following a successful run at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Gobby arrives at London’s Pleasance Theatre this weekend for a strictly limited run. I caught up with writer Jodie Irvine to find out more. 

How did you get into theatre?
I’ve done theatre and performed all my life, I’ve wanted to act since I was really little. Growing up I got involved with local theatre groups, then at college and University I started to try my hand at more backstage roles, like stage management, design, directing and producing. After I moved to London, I got really immersed in improv and comedy, which led me back to performing. I adore the fringe theatre scene in London, and there are so many fantastic people making their own work, it was a no-brainer to throw myself into that too.

Can you tell me a bit about Gobby?
Gobby is a dark comedy that follows the central character, Bri, as she recaps the last two years of her life via five different parties she attended over that time. We meet the people who were in her life during a very confusing and upsetting time, and learn how a new friend pulled her back from the brink of self-destruction. The parties are not the most conventional, there’s a trip to a murder mystery night and an evening of Come Dine With Me style food prep, so it’s a hugely fun show that uses humour to explore some darker themes.

What prompted you to write the play?
Gobby is loosely based on real experiences that I had a few years ago, and ever since I’ve wanted to use them as source material to create something. I think I needed some time to pass before I was ready to write what ended up becoming Gobby, but I’m very glad that I did. So many other women I’ve met over the years have stories like Bri’s, so it was really important to me to create something that would let those voices be heard.

How would you describe the character of Bri?
At the start of the play, Bri is not the most likeable character, but I think she is relatable. I don’t think the two are mutually exclusive. She goes on a big emotional journey throughout the show which I think is nice for audiences to see. She’s quick-witted and definitely not shy, and she’s got a lot of love to give.

What can audiences expect?
They can expect a party! But maybe not a party like any other they’ve been to before. They can expect to laugh, self-reflect and hug their friends afterwards.

What would you like the play to achieve?
I would love for it to get people talking and to check in with their friends. To act as a reminder that everyone struggles, and even those with the loudest voices aren’t always heard. I hope Gobby encourages audiences to be loud and proud!

Gobbyplays at the Pleasance Theatre from 30 November – 1 December. 

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