Q&A with Charmian Hughes

Greeting English comedian Charmian Hughes at Auckland Airport (from left) Shelley Gane, of Auckland, Salina Davies, of Australia, and Patsy Sim, of Auckland. Photo supplied.
Greeting English comedian Charmian Hughes at Auckland Airport (from left) Shelley Gane, of Auckland, Salina Davies, of Australia, and Patsy Sim, of Auckland. Photo supplied.
Shawn McAvinue talks with Charmian Hughes about her show Soixante Mirth, which she will perform during this year's Fringe Festival.

Comedian Charmian Hughes, of London, relaxes yesterday before her Dunedin Fringe Festival performance Soixante Mirth. Photo by Linda Robertson.
Comedian Charmian Hughes, of London, relaxes yesterday before her Dunedin Fringe Festival performance Soixante Mirth. Photo by Linda Robertson.
What brings you from London?

I worked as a messenger in about 1980 and made friends with some New Zealand women, who completely changed my experience of living in London. They lived in squats, went to parties and were slightly anarchic. We went to see Nick Cave with his band The Birthday Party and we made up a third of the audience - we could have got off with him, probably.

Where are your friends now?

They left London after two years and I was heartbroken, they changed me forever. I had a much better sense of what living is about. But one of them had a 60th birthday in Coromandel recently. When I got the invitation, I thought how can I work this and I found out New Zealand did the fringes and I was collected from Auckland Airport by my friends dressed up in wigs.

What's the meaning behind your show title Soixante Mirth?

Mirth means humour and Soixante is French for 60, it's a play on soixante-neuf, which was a very rude term in the 1960s, meaning 69, referring to mutual oral sex - or a sexual position were both partners are hoping the other one would really hurry up.

When did you start creating this show?

I started thinking about it this time last year, my 60th birthday was approaching and I wanted to something on that and stand-up based.

Where are some of the places you've taken it?

I took it to the Buxton Fringe and got nominated for the Buxton Comedy Award but the award went to a puppet and then I took it to Edinburgh Fringe in September for 24 performances and the show took shape - that's where you find out what works.

How would you describe your humour?

A reviewer once described me as a mad aunty on mild acid - I say true things in a funny way.

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