Interview: Holy Sh*t (Riverside Studios)

Now showing at the Riverside Studio 3 in Hammersmith, Brick Fox Theatre Company have brought Holy Sh*t to the stage.

Written by Jack Fairhurst and directed by Rosa Higgs, this show is a dark comedy about two priests finding an unorthodox way to raise money for their church.

I chatted to Jack, Rosa and one of the small cast, Flora Douglas, to find out more about this play, which runs until 17 Dec.

Ticket link:

Promotional image for Holy Sh*t

What’s the best thing about bringing this show into London?

Jack (the writer): London audiences are unlike those anywhere else – there’s such a brilliant buzz around new exciting work and Riverside Studios is a hub for that!

We absolutely loved performing the show in the hidden away theatres of the fringe – but giving Holy Sh*t a home by the Thames for two weeks is very exciting!

There’s a bit of everything in this black comedy – religion, body snatching, money making. What should audiences expect?

Jack: A wild ride, definitely! The comedy has its tongue firmly planted in its cheek, but we aren’t afraid to go to some dark places!

These are characters on the edge of desperation and as a result they make some pretty intense choices! We’re keen to explore morality and just how far people will go to stick to their beliefs!

Tell us a bit about your role and how it fits in with the show.

Flora (cast member): I’m lucky enough to be multi-rolling as three very interesting characters in Holy Sh*t; I appear as ‘Tina’, a determined yet perhaps over familiar police officer, ‘Mrs Norris’ a fiercely devout parishioner and ‘Gwen’, the head of a scarily successful organised crime group.

All three women are integral to the moral demise of Father Hobbs and Father Moss, with ‘Tina’ also acting as something of an incredibly over-enthusiastic narrator.  Despite all three women appearing quite obviously different, they have a shared tenacity and confidence which is so much fun to play! 

Promotional image for the cast of Holy Sh*t

What’s your biggest ambition when it comes to your own career?

Flora:  This is a bit of a tricky one because there are so many things I want to achieve in terms of my career! When I was training I used to say that performing on stage at The National Theatre and The Globe would mean I’d die happy, but I think that would just be the beginning of everything now.

I’m fascinated by modern translations of Greek Classics, like Marina Carr’s Girl on an Altar which was on at the Kiln earlier this year, so would be beyond excited to be part of a similar production.

However, I think what I would like more than anything is just to be able to consistently make interesting and challenging theatre with wonderful, fun people, as I have over the last few weeks with Brick Fox. 

Fringe theatre seems to be fairly healthy at the moment – do you think it is challenging enough with its content? And is that ultimately its role?

Rosa (the director) -Making challenging theatre can be an extremely powerful form of social change and as creatives we are in such a privileged position to be able to make work which could educate, interrogate and warn people about the things which we would like to see done differently.

I have seen some incredible shows which have genuinely altered my way of thinking; whether that be on a large or small scale and when a piece of theatre resonates with and positively impacts an audience it’s such a perfect example of the transformative power of the arts.

However, for me, theatre is so much more than just a platform to preach about all the problems in the world, it can also be a form of escape and expression, it’s a way of accessing emotions and stimulating every part of our brain.

It’s about the intimacy and immediacy of watching something live, in shared space and coming away with every sense activated, feeling somewhat altered by an experience which is so specific to the people and the conditions in that exact moment of time.

I really believe that theatre has the capacity to break through language and touch the lives of the people watching without trying to change the world in a challenging way.

Holy Sh*t is a perfect example of that, it doesn’t pretend to be political or attempt to comment on social issues or fix climate change, but it has made people laugh out loud in every single performance we have ever staged.

In a world where we are constantly bombarded with reasons to be sad, mad, scared and resentful I think a show which also just makes you smile, for however long, could never be a bad thing. 

My thanks to Flora for facilitating this interview!