Lachlan Werner on touring Voices of Evil

Photo: Mattia Sedda

Following a sold out, critically acclaimed run at the Edinburgh Fringe and London’s Soho Theatre the award-winning poof prince of puppets, Lachlan Werner is taking his horrifying and hilarious debut show, Voices of Evil, on a tour of the UK (and LA) this summer.

One of the UK’s fastest rising and most innovative new talents, Lachlan Werner is a ventriloquist, clown and live artist. He is a graduate of Ecole Philippe Gaulier and a member of clown company, Pointy Finger. And his talent has been increasingly recognised, coming runner up in LGBTQ+ New Comedian Of The Year 2022 and being nominated for the BBC New Comedy Award, Chortle Best Variety Award, ISH Edinburgh Comedy Best Newcomer Award and VAULT Comedy Breakthrough Awards

We caught up with Lachlan to find out more about the show and the tour.

Q&A with Lachlan Werner

What can you tell us about your show, Voices of Evil?

Without spoiling it too much, it’s a ventriloquist horror comedy show. It’s what happens if you mix the Muppets and gothic queer horror. It’s a (very stupid and joyful) exploration of owning your own voice and body. It’s a solo show but it feels to me (and audiences, I’m told) like a three person show. It’s like a Simpsons Halloween special with one wiggly long limbed twink doing all the voices. The star is a squishy witch named Brew, and the show involves lots of fake blood, frilly underwear and water guns. I think that’s all I can tell you…

What was the inspiration for the show?

I’d researched these Victorian spiritualist mediums who were mostly young women. I read how they would pretend to be possessed by spirits for money and exhibit highly sexual behaviour which would’ve otherwise been shocking and punishable for them at the time. Those themes of repressed voices and self-expression through make-believe excited me. I thought it was so funny to imagine a ventriloquist show that was a really serious séance event – as a clown that darkness felt really ripe for stupidity.

I’ve been working with my witch puppet, Brew, since I was 10 years old, so it seemed obvious to make a show about her and this clown-persona of myself (Lachy) hosting this demonic night that gets out of hand.

How did you get into puppetry and comedy?

Jim Henson’s work was my first love. I was really shy, but strange and theatrical, as a kid and wanted to be on stage, and I taught myself ventriloquism as a kind of in-between for being able to be loud and naughty, while hiding behind a puppet.

I bought my witch puppet with saved-up pocket money when I was 7 from a toy shop and have kind of (horrifyingly) grown up with her. It means she knows all my secrets!

I did school talent shows and as a queer, dyspraxic weirdo child, making people laugh was the best feeling in the world. As a teenager I started going to fringe festivals, which led me to clown and physical comedy. My work is now a big mish-mash of all this stuff and somehow I am allowed to call myself a comedian.

Photo: Mattia Sedda

How does it feel to be heading on tour across Britain?

It’s already the best experience. Our first tour date in Newcastle was absolutely electric, I’m often blown away by the noise people make for this silly ritual. The London comedy scene is obviously amazing and I’m very grateful for the community there, but being able to take the work I’ve made with director, Laurie Luxe, to brilliant freaky audiences all over the UK is a proper dream. The show itself is such a weird hotpot of ideas and a wild journey in one hour, so getting to introduce all that to brand new, unsuspecting audiences is a new thrill. I love surprising crowds. I’m getting to go to places I’ve never been and returning to some of my favourite audiences in the country.

You’re also heading out to LA for a show at The Elysian – what’s it like to be crossing the Atlantic?

It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time and I can’t believe it’s finally happening, thanks to the producing of Saima Ferdows. Some of my favourite favourite comics and clowns are based in LA and are threatening to come see the show, which is the most terrifying part of all. The clown scene they’ve created there is absolutely wild and so inspiring. I’m having to go through and switch words like “poof” for “fairy”, source places to buy good fake blood, and hoping things still land.

Lachlan Werner: Voices of Evil is at The Elysian Theatre, Los Angeles on 7 June, then touring Britain in June and July.