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Heading to The Fringe: An Interview with 'A Jaffa Cake Musical' Writer Sam Cochrane

Inspired by the 1991 tribunal which determined the true identity of a Jaffa Cake, multi-award winning Gigglemug Theatre (Scouts! The Musical, RuneSical, Timpson: The Musical) return to the Edinburgh Fringe with a brand-new musical comedy for the whole family!

In this Behind the Curtain interview I to speak to A Jaffa Cake Musical writer, Sam Cochrane, who also plays 'Kevin' to find out more about the show and to see what the audience can expect!


What is ‘A Jaffa Cake Musical’ about?

A Jaffa Cake Musical is inspired by the infamous 1991 tribunal which saw McVitie’s face off against the Tax Man to prove that a Jaffa Cake really is a cake rather than a biscuit.

What was the inspiration behind the show?

I’d heard about the tribunal before but only upon doing further research did I discover how mad it really was; it’s a story which not enough people know about and the perfect subject matter for a brand-new, zany Edinburgh Fringe show. We’re known for creating seriously silly musicals based on existing brands and, after creating shows about Timpson, RuneScape and The Scouts, a musical all about Jaffa Cakes seemed like the only logical next step!

Who is your target audience and what can they expect to see?

We like to think our shows are for everyone and this is no exception! We pride ourselves on creating family-friendly comedy musicals which can be enjoyed by young people and old folks alike. You can expect some whacky debates, a boy band and a lot of Jaffas...

What was the best part of the process creating a musical based on a very well known Biscuit/Cake and the Tribunal? And what challenges did you face?

It’s our first time creating a show inspired by a true story so I really enjoyed learning more and more about the case itself - I studied History at Warwick Uni so doing the research was right up my street. However, the biggest challenge was that there are actually very few documents available so I had to do some serious digging!

How would you describe the style of music for the show?

It’s a real mix! There are references to old school MT, rap, 90s music and yet I think it all works pretty cohesively! It’s my first time writing a musical on my own and I decided to throw myself in the deep end by making this production all-sung, which means there are 30 songs in total!

What is it like performing in a show you wrote? And do you have a preference Writing or Performing?

This is my third time performing in a show I’ve written - partly for budgetary reasons, partly because I love messing about onstage. I’ll always be a writer first and foremost but you really can’t beat performing on a fringe theatre stage to a crowd up for a good time.

What started your love of writing and musical theatre?

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, as for musicals it was performing in youth groups, amateur companies and student theatre which really got me interested. I took a lot away from those experiences, it was the best way to learn how theatre works in a practical sense.

What advice would you give to any writers who maybe don’t know how

to start putting their work out there?

The hardest thing when writing a musical or play is to finish it, I’ve met so many people with great ideas who never actually get round to reaching the end of a draft. The second hardest thing is to get it onstage, but there are so many spaces, pub theatres for example, which champion new writing and all you have to do is drop them a line. Be brave! Get it finished, get it onstage.

You have taken shows to The Fringe before, what do you love about The Fringe? And what keeps you going back?

I think the opportunities for exposure at the Fringe are unparalleled, the atmosphere is like nothing I’ve experienced before and the audiences are some of the best in the world. I don’t think I could stop going if I tried.

Describe the show in one sentence or 3 words?

Daft. Daring. Delicious.

Plus the big question, is a Jaffa Cake, a Cake or a Biscuit?

We couldn’t possibly say... You’ll have to come watch and decide for yourselves!


A Jaffa Cake Musical will be playing at Pleasance Courtyard 3:10PM (1hr), 31 July - 26 August 2024 (not 13 Aug)


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