Caro Meets Comedy Interview

Charly Clive and Ellen Robertson: Britney – Friends And Nothing More 

By | Published on Friday 2 December 2022

Edfringe-going comedy fans will no doubt already be well aware of the comedic duo Britney – aka Charly Clive and Ellen Robertson – on account of their sterling Festival work, and may therefore already be rubbing their hands in anticipation of seeing their latest Fringe success heading to London’s Soho Theatre. Quite the pre-Christmas treat. 

You may also be aware of the love we have, here at TW Towers, for the acts we first discovered up in Edinburgh, and that we are always eager to see more of them when they’re performing elsewhere, especially in the capital. 

Ahead of this month’s performances, I questioned Charly and Ellen to find out more about them and the upcoming show. 

CM: Can you start by telling us a bit about ‘Friends And Nothing More’ – what’s the general theme of the show? 
CC+ER: The theme is: lots of our friends are settling down and getting married and we’re both single and messing about and is that fine?

And what if the person you want to spend the rest of your life with for definite isn’t a romantic person?

What if they’re kind of a weird girl you sat next to on a trip around the World War One graves in France for two hours when you were fourteen?

It’s a classic, relatable, tale as old as time. 

CM: What sort of sketches can we expect and on what sort of topics? 
CC+ER: It’s pretty much an even split between modern concerns like dating apps and then also an invented but completely accurate look at the marriage between renowned horror writer Stephen King and his wife Tabitha.

CM: What steered you in the direction of these themes and topics in particular? 
CC+ER: We tried to write the funniest stuff we could think of, while also panicking a bit about our choices. It’s hard not to panic a bit about your choices when you’re a sketch comedian.

CM: The show had a critically acclaimed run at Edfringe of course. Has it changed or developed in any way since then?
CC+ER: We adored doing the show in Edinburgh, and this is the last time we’ll do it, probably, so we’ve left it largely untouched. And that’s NOT lazy. It’s clever.

CM: What do you like about Edfringe? Why do you keep going back? Will you go again? 
CC+ER: The ‘why do you keep going back?’ part of this question feels pointed.

We love Edinburgh. It’s a financial hell hole into which you sink your hopes and dreams and every pay cheque you’ve had that year, and which rewards you with some of the best comedy and performance in the world and an absolutely appalling two month hangover.

We love it. We’ll definitely do it again but something’s gotta give with the accommodation situation and with the brunt of the costs that performers are required to bear. It’s madness.

And it’s really depressing that it used to be this place that people who weren’t established could go and create cool things, and is now essentially a closed shop for people who are already in the industry or who have the financial means to take the risk. It’s where we got our start six years ago, but even in that short time it’s got worse. 

CM: You made a pilot for the BBC last year – what is the programme about? 
CC+ER: Yes! Without giving too much away, it’s about two of the youngest women ever. Frankly, it’s about us. And a really mad thing that happened to us. You can and must watch it here.

CM: Can we talk about your back story a bit now? Can you tell us about how you met and how you ended up working together on shows like this? 
CC+ER: Well, so we met at school in Year Seven but we didn’t become friends until we were forced to sit next to each other on a bus on a history trip in Year Nine. We went onto that bus strangers and we came off it soulmates.

We ended up working on shows like this because it’s the most fun you can have without a prescription. 

CM: Did you always want this kind of career? Were you always interested in performing? 
CC+ER: Always. When we were at school, we wrote a play called ‘Finding Emo’ – any resemblance to existing Pixar films is entirely coincidental!

We weren’t going to put ourselves in it, but then we actually ended up playing Bella and Edward from ‘Twilight’ who appeared as a kind of deus ex machina.

It was groundbreaking, copyright infringing stuff. 

CM: What have been the highlights of your career thus far? 
CC+ER: Playing Soho Theatre was always a dream of ours, so the first time we did that in 2019 was amazing, and this run will be really special too because it’s our second show we’ve brought there and we’re really proud of it.

Making the pilot felt surreal because we always always talked about ‘if we were ever writing a TV show’ from literally age fourteen, so to DO IT!?? Nuts.

CM: What aims and ambitions do you have for the future?
CC+ER: Charly would like to get better at juggling, Ellen would like to get better at carpentry.

CM: What’s coming up next for you after this?
CC+ER: We are writing our first feature together at the moment, and we’re both filming different things during the run which is very nice and also slightly stressful.

We hope next year will be a big one. But look, we hoped that for 2020, so we shouldn’t hope. We are just very excited to do the thing we love most in the world together for a couple of weeks. Is that cringe?

We are very young so it’s okay to make mistakes in interviews. But we’re not insecure about that kind of thing. 

CM: Any final words? 
CC+ER: Was that OK? 

CM: It was fine? 
CC+ER: OK. Is the question mark because you have to ask questions or because you actually thought it was fine?

CM: You can go now. 
CC+ER: That doesn’t really feel like a question. 

Britney’s ‘Friends And Nothing More’ is on at Soho Theatre from 12-22 Dec. See the venue website here for more info and to book tickets.

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