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Nana Funk is ready to rock Liverpool Playhouse Studio

She’s feisty and fabulous and now Nana Funk is getting ready to make her unmissable debut at the Liverpool Playhouse this weekend.

The character, the creation of Liverpool actress and performer Angie Waller, brings her stage show An Evening With Nana Funk to the studio space as part of the Everyman and Playhouse’s commitment to supporting the development of work by Liverpool artists.

Expect a riotously joyful evening which combines cabaret, burlesque, improv and clowning (oh, and sparkly modesty vests) but also has heart and a serious message about expectations around the ageing process.

While Nana represents the older ladies out there, in reality she’s only eight years old herself, emerging from a burlesque course Waller took with Mimi Amore in 2013.

“At the end of the course I had to do a show, and I wanted it to be something comedic,” she recalls. “I was thinking of doing something to the theme to Black Beauty, but then Groove Armada’s I See You Baby came on my iPod with Gram’ma Funk.”

And Nana Funk was born.

That first performance was well-received, and then in Waller’s words: “People started paying me to dress like a grandma and take off my clothes. Although Nana never takes off ALL her clothes.”

Waller is also a musician who writes her own lyrics, so Nana soon picked up a ukulele and the act turned into more of a cabaret than a burlesque show, one whose star “shows being awesome transcends age.”

Above and top: Angie Waller as Nana Funk. Photos by Andrew AB Photography

The character gives her the chance to speak out on a subject she feels strongly about – standing, in a wig and girdle, on what she calls a ‘comedic soapbox’.

“A lot of the songs I do are structured around ageing - and ageing with joy,” she says, adding. “Although there are a couple which might make people cry.”

Earlier this year Waller secured some Arts Council funding to do some research and development which led to a week collaborating with Paperwork Theatre at the Unity.

She also has plans to create a more structured, less-improvised theatre version of Nana Funk, sitting alongside ‘cabaret Nana’ where the evening is a free-flowing fiesta in which reactions and suggestions from the audience play a key role and make each show unique.

“Quite often people ask you to do something and it’s a gift,” she explains. “And it’s really good fun when you’re gifted something that you don’t know that you can do.

“The thing I love about improv is that moment the audience looks you in the eye and you know you’ve both seen something at the same time.”

An Evening With Nana Funk is at the Liverpool Playhouse Studio on Friday and Saturday. Tickets from the website HERE


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