'We ended up sleeping in our 6ft vagina' | The Big Ask: What's the weirdest prop you've had?

'We ended up sleeping in our 6ft vagina'

The Big Ask: What's the weirdest prop you've had?

When I was 21, my improv group got asked to film a 'dirty' sketch for a dodgy production company. We made a 6ft vagina out of fabric from Edinburgh Fabrics. We hadn't slept the night before filming though and ending up sleeping on The Meadows (Robin Clyfan, Tom Skelton and me), three of us in the vagina, before filming started. Charlie Partridge, Charlie Partridge: I Can Make You Feel Good. By Comparison, Just The Tonic at The Caves, 16:50

I have a life-size cardboard cutout of Sue Perkins this year Richard Wright, Virgin, Just The Tonic @ The Mash House, 12:50

One parsnip a day during 2015 fringe for a joke about Gaz from Geordie Shore's penis. Hal Branson, MBOLO, The Bottle Room at The Mash House, 18:10

I spent an afternoon hand-sculpting fake dog turds out of malt loaf, tying them up in poop bags, and filling my handbag with them. My hands got very sticky. Georgia Tasda, Georgia Tasda Means Business, CC Blooms, 22:30

I appeared in Tom Binns' show one year, he had a machine made that appeared to fire babies from Jessica Knappet’s vagina. Made by Bernie Clifton. Justin Moorhouse, Northern Joker, Gilded Balloon, 19:00

I bought 30 breakable pint glasses from a special effect house so I could squeeze and smash one in my hand at the end of every show to make a joke about sexual frustration. Bit of fun. Brett Goldstein, What Is Love Baby Don't Hurt Me, Pleasance: Beneath, 19:00

For my previous show I bought a vagina-shaped cushion for £95: it is beautifully crafted and it is an educational tool. Luca Cupani, Luca Cupani: God Digger, Underbelly: George Square, 17:20

For years I did comedy with a double bass. Then to up the ante I splashed out on a grand piano that was designed to drive along the stage like a car, complete with music stand for window wipers, hazard warning lights and an alarm that went off when the ‘A flat’ key was depressed. This felt like the next logical step after the double bass but was a lot harder trying to make it fit in a Nissan Micra. Jim Tavare, From Deadpan to Bedpan..., Counting House Ballroom, Laughing Horse, 16:15

Three matching sunflower heads that were too big for the suitcase and too fragile for the underneath of the MegaBus. So they were worn on the bus on the way to Edinburgh. Ell Sachs, The Travelling Sisters: Toupé, Gilded Balloon Teviot, 18:15

Probably a mystic egg that whistles when you blow it Lucy Pearman, Fruit Loop, Monkey Barrel , 18:30

For my 2015 show I made a giant Yorkshire Pudding out of paper mache. I knew my degree in design would come into use at some point Scott Bennett, Leap Year, Just The Tonic At The Mash House, 17:55

For this year's show I have made a camel-toe cover-up, which as you would expect is designed to protect a lady's underwear modesty. Mine cover-up has been crafted from a shoetree and some glitter. Classy. Bryony Twydle, Flamingo, Underbelly Med Quad, 20:30

I asked the 'set designer' of a theatre show I was directing if she could source some camouflage material for a crucial scene in the play. She came back with an action man parachute, that was the most comouflage material she could get for the budget I gave her so thats what she bought, an eight inch by eight inch parachute for a toy soldier. The piece of set that needed covering was about seven feet by four feet. I politely asked her why she didn't just buy some green cloth and black paint. I can still picture the blank expression that greeted the question. I was then left with an action man parachute and no money in the budget. A budget that still had to accommodate the 'set designer''s fee. I then went into a nearby toilet and punched myself in the leg, I think I gave up producing theatre shortly after that. The 'set designer' now works in television. Garrett Millerick, Sunflower, Tron, 17:00

A paper mâché ghost. Took three hours to make, then the 'bit' bombed. Never used again. The Pin, Backstage, Pleasance Two, 20:00

Edinburgh's charity shops are an absolute treat. Last year for a terrible Hamlet number I bought a talking Halloween skull whose sole vocabulary was 'be aware... you're in a spooky place!' I used it once, and then it was lost to whatever purgatory misplaced props escape to. It's probably ended up back in the charity shop. If it has, I am definitely buying it again. Luke Rollason, Luke Rollason's Planet Earth, Monkey Barrel Comedy Club, 14:30

A lifesize rubber fist and arm all the way up to the elbow. I use it to store some watches now. Lloyd Langford, Why The Big Face?, Banshee Labyrinth 22:00

A full outfit of Britannia but with the Union Jack on the shield with the Irish colours. Christian Talbot, Desperately Seeking Approval, Finnegan’s Wake, 12:00

We're currently sitting on giant, hand-operated lump of gristle which may or may not end up being Amy's baby. The Delightful Sausage (aka Chris Cantrill & Amy Gledhill), Monkey Barrel 2, 12:00

This is a long list... For my second show I had my Mum make me a cloth peacock plume, that I could wear as a backpack and open up. I covered it with different pictures of Mickey Rourke's face, that I laminated at my, then, day job. One year I had someone make puppets of me and my fiancé in space suits, I still have them and they are genuinely wonderful. Oh and then there's the doll I had the London School of Robotics kit out to have its head spin remotely using an app they built for my phone... Matthew Highton, Insufficient Memory, Heroes at Dragonfly, 20:40

I was gifted the prosthetic hands of a 12 year old girl I teach and know not at what point the audience will be ready for me to pull them out

Helen Duff, How Deep is Your Duff, The Hive, 21:00

I made a giant spider hat with eyes that flashed and long legs on sticks the wearer of the hat could shake about. Marny Godden, Marny Town, The Hive, 18:20

Looks in this year's prop bag, sees clockwork teeth, rubber Batman, bag of dog poo. Has difficulty conceiving of what's odd any more. Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre, Superheroes, Gilded Balloon, 22:30

Viggo spent £500 over the course of one festival on cucumbers for his solo show Pepito. Very funny prop. Zach & Viggo and Thumpasaurus, Where Does The Love Go?, Underbelly Cowgate, 21:20

Natalie Palamides, Natr, Pleasance Courtyard, 18:00 A giant stuffed egg (which I made) and/or a big stretchy penis

A pink wireless dildo... I might add it wasn't for my show. A friend was writing a show where he wanted a phone on the table to vibrate, sadly as is the case in a lot of venues phone signal was non-existent. I suggested he should take a trip to an adult store and pick up a wireless remote vibrator, that was he could hid the dildo on the table and when he wanted the phone to 'vibrate' he could press the button for the dildo. He didn't buy one, I did and the first night together in Edinburgh I pull out a massive pink dildo, from his face he hadn't remembered my elegant solution and must have wondered what I had planned for the evening. Aaron Calvert, Declassified, Gilded Balloon At The Museum, 18:00

A muppet of myself. I named her Julieuppette. She now lives in a box. Like most millennials. Juliette Burton, Butterfly Effect, Gilded Balloon, 16:15

Statue of a bear dressed as a butler. We didn't even need it for the show, but we saw it while we were prop shopping for something else and decided we had to have it. It was never really explained why it was on stage. Douglas Walker, Douglas Walker presents: Of Christmas Past, Underbelly Clover, 22:50

A plasticine dinosaur. It's head fell off. Laura Lexx, Trying, Gilded Balloon, 17:15

When I was in a sketch act a few years ago, we had a sketch called 'War Cat', which as you might have guessed was a piss-take of 'War Horse'. This meant I had to painstakingly build a marionette model of a cat with moving head, legs and tail. It a nightmare to make. And then we decided the sketch wasn't funny enough so 'war cat' ended up in the bin. Nick Hall, Nick Hall: Spencer, Underbelly, Med Quad, 13:30

Over the year with BEASTS we've had some mental props. One of our shows required us to buy a raw chicken every day, another one involved me wearing nipple tassels with the South African flag on it, and in this show I've had to make a puppet which is half shark, half vagina. Owen Roberts, I Let A Six Year Old Write My Show, Pleasance, 16:45

A baby doll. We cut a small hole on it's head and filled it with marshmallow fluff and raspberry jam, so it looked like brains. It was for a sketch revue called "Basic Witch" all set in 17th century Salem during the witch trials, and the baby was used in an weight loss infomercial type sketch about witches trying to achieve their "moon body." The witches cheated on their diet by eating the baby brains and complaining about dieting. Audiences reacted well to it, except for one night when it was silent and someone, very loudly to their seat partner, gasped and said "oh my God that's a baby! They're eating a baby! Todd, it's a baby!; (Not 100 per cent sure the name was Todd. Might have been Greg, it was a long time ago). Anesti Danelis, Songs For A New World Order, Laughing Horse @ The Hanover Tap, 12:00

Published: 1 Aug 2018

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