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Interview - Sonja Doubleday

David Cox

Aug 25, 2023

Working out an Edinburgh festival schedule needs a balance of seeing the familiar with the new. DARKCHAT took a chance with " Cheekykita: An Octopus, The Universe 'n' Stuff". We are glad we did as this has proved to be one of the hits of the unexpected hits of the festival. Cheekykita ( Sonja Doubleday) took time out of her ridiculously busy schedule to give us this interview.

So, you have a few days to go before the festival ends. How are you feeling?

Alright yeh could always be better as numbers have been up and down but think that’s maybe same for most acts..

Performing a solo show must be hard work. How are your energy levels?

I have loads of energy as I’m doing what I should be and what I love maybe i'll flag when I get home who knows but at the moment I’m ok.

In 2019 we saw a strange , yet good show about an Octopus so when picking a show to start DARKCHATTER Anne, David and  Thuranie's festival I picked your show. Thank you for starting their festival on such a high note that I am gutted I missed it. You have had a lot of positive reviews since you opened. Have you been surprised by the response to the show?   

Not surprised no but happy about it.

This is quite an unusual show. Where did the idea to write it come from? 

My brain ha , not sure ., I get one idea and another comes and so on , I have been thinking a lot about what’s happening on the planet and that inspired me

Was it an easy show to write?

It came quite easily, it was alright yeh.

What drew you towards the Octopus as a motif?

I like them and I saw the documentary "My Octopus Teacher" , they are really intelligent and unusual, it’s well worth a watch , I did a whole skit in the show based on it.

What is the appeal of the big pants? 

No idea , think I just ended up putting my whole body in them at home and thought was funny plus you can stuff ya face and be comfy on ya tummy. 

Last week you appeared on a long list for the ish Edinburgh Comedy award for Best Show. What was your reaction when you heard?

I was really chuffed,  The guy who came to watch from there liked it and said nice things about it but that’s all I knew, I had no iidea it was going to happen. 

Was it surreal being reviewed on Radio Four's Front Row?  

Not surreal but such a nice surprise that they came seeing as how I have zero support regards a PR, producer, director or flyerer and do it all myself, so yeh was good they took a punt on a free show and that they found me somehow..

Will you be glad when the festival ended or will you miss performing it?

I will miss it and won’t be glad when it’s over but won’t be sad as I’ve tried to make the most of the month here and enjoying it.  

Are there plans for the show beyond the festival?

Yes I’m doing Grimfest in London in October and Dundee Fringe in Sept 

Sonja, what is your theatrical background? 

Dance, drama, singing in a post punk band..

If you have been to the festival before what were your experiences? Yes but over 6 years ago I’ve always enjoyed it and good to be back and probably back next year!

Edinburgh in August is a lively place. Are you a party person? 

Yes and no  , I can party and love to when I’m in the mood but not when I’m doing three shows a day and a childrens show in the morning! I don’t ever perform with a hangover  and don’t drink before shows, I can’t and want to give my best performance. I’ve been quite sensible this time but il have a  few on the last night maybe have a dance and a shandy! 

I will now raise the tricky subject of money. You play at the Three Sisters under the Pay What You Can policy. What percentage of your audience pre-book ( we did) and on average what do yo think you take on the door every day?  

Honestly, I don’t know, I’ve not been counting it believe it or not!

Have you a rough idea how much your run here has cost?

I will know after the Fringe but think I’ve done ok cos I’ve always got things on the cheap and don’t like getting ripped off.  I’m a discount dolly me I don’t throw money down the drain plus I’ve been working in another show and doing three shows plus gigs so I’ve worked a  lot here!

Sonja is performing Cheekykita: An Octopus, The Universe 'n' Stuff at Laughing Horse @ The Three Sisters until August 27th, you can read our review of the show here

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