Fringe Fever: A Quick Chat With Ruth Wilkin

After taking out Best Cabaret at the 2012 Melbourne Fringe with Just A Little Something and blowing Melbourne Cabaret Festival audiences away with True Story, award winning performer and writer Ruth Wilkin is heading to the 2015 Melbourne Fringe Festival with Tribute, an witty and self-aware hour of comedy cabaret characterised by Wilkin’s signature blend of original songs, intelligent commentary and a healthy dose of self-deprecation.

Ruth Wilkin. Image by Sarah Walker
Ruth Wilkin. Image by Sarah Walker

You know this story. [INSERT ARTIST] comes from humble beginnings. Then they break through with their unforgettable hit: [INSERT SONG]. It tops the charts. Then [ALBUM] breaks records. Then the lavish parties. Then come the scandals. The two-year marriages. The drugs. Then the single most important moment in an artist’s career: someone creates a fringe festival tribute show in their honour. Tribute is a tribute to those tribute shows.

We caught up with Ruth to ask her our 20 Questions

A Quick Chat With Ruth Wilkin

What’s your name and what do you do?
My name is Ruth and I’m a writer and performer.

What’s your most underrated or unknown talent?
Spontaneous back-up harmony.

What makes you laugh?
Little kids accidentally toppling over… (I promise I check if they’re OK after I’ve stopped laughing)

What are you reading?
I just finished Jon Ronson’s ‘So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed’. Thought-provoking in the social media age.

Who is your role model?
Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. Highly unoriginal these days but true!

The world needs more…

The world needs less…
Blue cheese – unless I am starving in which case I’ll try it…

What tools do you need to be creative?
A computer and a piano. A glass of wine also helps.

What’s your happy place?
My home. I can wear tracky pants there without judgement.

Which show (other than your own) you think people should drop everything and see?
I’m really keen to see Yana Alana’s new work at Melbourne Fringe. She’s a bold and witty performer – definitely worth a look.

What was the last piece of theatre/film/TV that really left an impression on you?
I’ve just finished watching The Jinx miniseries which was chilling. It was hard to watch but I couldn’t turn it off either.

There isn’t enough art about …
Real Australian stories.

What three things can’t you live without?
My phone, my sunnies and a pepsi max.

Go-to shower belting song?
‘Quiet’ by Jonathan Reid Gealt

If you could change one thing about the Australian theatre industry, what would that be?
Sometimes I wish that it wasn’t such a huge journey to get to the UK and American theatre scene.

What’s the most used app on your phone?
Viber. My family are situated all over the world and we have a group conversation between the six of us. It’s a fantastic way to keep in touch when you’re not being woken by a buzzing message from England…

What do you wish you had been told before starting in this industry?
“Making art is like making pancakes. The first one is always going to be soggy and inedible but when you get into the rhythm of it, you’re making a whole stack of perfect pancakes with bacon and maple syrup on the side.” – May Jasper (Producer)

What are you addicted to?
Pepsi Max (see above).

What city do you live in and why?
Melbourne. I love it – it’s very friendly and culturally rich.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Still writing and creating original work.

Ruth Wilkin in Tribute

30 September- 4 October

Time: 7pm

Venue: The Butterfly Club, 5 Carson Place, Melbourne 3000

Tickets: The Butterfly Club

Erin James

Erin James is's former Editor in Chief and a performer on both stage and screen. Credits include My Fair Lady, South Pacific and The King and I (Opera Australia), Love Never Dies and Cats (Really Useful Group), Blood Brothers (Enda Markey Presents), A Place To Call Home (Foxtel/Channel 7) and the feature film The Little Death (written and directed by Josh Lawson).

Erin James

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